I spent the past week in Barcelona, jealous of all their great pedestrian-only streets. Lots of the streets are so old and narrow that they’re pedestrian-only by default, but some are wide enough that they could easily have been converted into just another auto dominated street, and many were. But luckily many were not, including the most famous, La Rambla, a 1.4 kilometer long pedestrian boulevard in the heart of the city. This got me thinking about how much better some of our heaviest used pedestrian streets (North Broadway, Pike/Pine, 15th) could be if they devoted even a little bit more space to pedestrians, instead of the cars that dominate the space today. Here’s my vision of a La Rambla-ized Pike Street (from Broadway to 11th).
Pike Street as it looks today
Pike Street with two lanes of traffic replaced with a pedestrian walkway complete with outside seating for Cafe Vita and Quinn’s.
Pike Street as it is today
Pike Street La Rambla-ized between Broadway and 11th St.
Unfortunately, in the near future, a change like this to a major street like Pike or Broadway is probably a pipe dream, but there has been talk of closing Nagle Place to cars. This would be a great use of that barely used street, especially because of the proximity to the coming light rail station and the possibility of relocating the Broadway Farmers Market there. I was also excited to see that the development on 11th/ Pike included the little retail lined “Mews”, definitely a step in the right direction!