While East Precinct’s new commander — literally — wrestles with getting Pike/Pine nightlife crime under control, and SPD and the FBI crack down on identified “open air drug markets” including the streets around Cal Anderson, a smaller effort underway to assemble a plan to make the neighborhood a safer place on crowded weekends can look to our neighbors to the south for an example of the initiative in action.
In March, CHS reported on funding for a study to sort out how to create a pedestrian-only zone in the middle of the Pike/Pine nightlife district. The Seattle Police Department sees the project as a promising way to better manage the late-night clash of cars and hordes of people streaming out of bars, officials say.
So how might it work? Here’s a recent message from the Portland Police Department:
Streets in the Entertainment District are closed tonight from 10p-3a. Cars inside the closure will be towed. Map: http://t.co/iilHqBMowU
— Portland Police (@PortlandPolice) March 22, 2015
Here’s how the PPD explains the zone:
In December 2012, Mayor Sam Adams began a pilot program to address safety issues in Portland’s Entertainment District–an area within Old Town. Since that time, City Council has voted to continue this program, where on Friday and Saturday nights, from 10 p.m. to 3 a.m., police close roads in this district, creating a pedestrian-only zone.
This area attracts large crowds of people to area nightclubs and bars. The safety issues prior to the closure included large crowds packing the sidewalks and spilling over into the streets. Police also were responding to calls of intoxicated people stepping out into traffic, urinating and other issues. Since the closures, the Entertainment District has since seen a significant drop in offenses and criminal cases.
Mayor Hales has conducted town hall meetings and has formed a Stakeholders Advisory Council to address issues affected by the closures.
This map shows the regular boundaries affected by the closures; police have the authority to alter these boundaries and the time frame as needed.
Would the same strategy help around E Pike? Judging by the weekend blotter items in our crime coverage, it seems unlikely to hurt.
UPDATE: Another component to consider in all of this is where best to stage taxi and car services. SDOT has plans to install 10 new car stands this year and is looking for feedback. The deadline was reportedly April 20th but drop a line if you’re so inclined.