What does City Hall do when “the community” seemingly disagrees on how to move forward on a civic project? When it comes to the Pike/Pine pedestrian zone and its wide support among nightlife and entertainment patrons and owners, and street activation activists and less enthusiastic elements like some of the daytime-focused businesses and developers of the neighborhood, the answer will be a “community” meeting to set a new course for the plan.
Last month the Office of Economic Development released its comprehensive report on last year’s Pike/Pine street closure pilot project — otherwise known as the “pedestrian zone.” The city says a community meeting on the plan will be held soon.
OED spokesperson Joe Mirabella tells CHS that they’re still working on nailing down a location and exact date for the first public community meeting as recommended in the report. Sometime in “mid-June” is the current plan.
The community meeting is the city’s chosen way to address the report’s conflicting feedback from local stakeholders about the street closure. While the pilot was mostly positively received, the report showed that there was strong opposition from some local property and business owners. CHS reported last month on how the Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce, one of the original sponsors of the pilot, had asked the city to hold off implementing a street closure this year in order to give time for stakeholders to come to a consensus on the project.
The street closure pilot was a combined project of the Capitol Hill EcoDistrict, the chamber, and the Seattle Department of Transportation as a tactical urbanist attempt to address issues of crowd control, sidewalk congestion, and LGBTQ visibility and accessibility in the rambunctious Pike/Pine nightlife core of Capitol Hill.
As for the subject of the coming community meeting, OED’s report outlined the issues that need to be solved to move the plan forward.
- Review the results of the 2015 pilot, including lessons learned.
- Determine if the goals articulated for the 2015 pilot fit with the larger goals of the neighborhood
- Actively engage in a moderated dialogue regarding the boundaries, activation elements, and timeframes for the pilot
- Discuss how business and neighborhood participation and benefits could be achieved, as well as how economic development strategies could be better incorporated.
- Consider how to market a pedestrian street in Pike/Pine,to message the opportunity for positive activation and to support local businesses.
- Determine the right evaluation criteria on which to base decisions about whether and how to sustain an ongoing pedestrian street program
- Participation from adjacent businesses and residents, the Capitol Hill Chamber, and other key stakeholders will inform decisions about additional pilot concepts to be considered.
In the meantime, OED is also holding a non-public debrief meeting with a small group of not-identified local stakeholders that worked closely with the city on the pilot and who “helped the City coordinate programming or were directly in the footprint [of the project].” “This is not a decision-making meeting, just a debrief to sit down and talk about the report, and something the City committed to do during the pilot last year,” Mirabella told CHS via email.