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Proposal would honor Broadway business owner with E Barbara Bailey Way festival street at Capitol Hill Station

The Denny festival street

Seattle is working to rename the “festival street” portion of E Denny Way though the Capitol Hill Station between Broadway and Cal Anderson to honor a late Capitol Hill business owner remembered as a LGTBQ and civil rights champion.

The block-long Barbara Bailey Way will honor Barbara Bailey who founded Broadway’s much-loved Bailey/Coy Books only blocks away and passed away last fall.

“Barbara loved Seattle and she poured herself into making it better. She was an early pioneer for LGBTQ+ rights. Her bookstores were safe, welcoming places for the LGBTQ+ community,” said Mayor Jenny Durkan said in a statement on the proposed legislation that began its path through City Hall Monday.

“She cheered on public good and fought against any injustice. She championed civil rights here in Seattle for communities of color and for the LGBTQ+ community. Her mark on Seattle cannot be overstated; Capitol Hill would not be Capitol Hill, were it not for Barbara. She went to school there, lived there, built a business there and cheered the neighborhood on like few others. No LGBTQ+ person would have been elected to any office in this region were it not for Barbara Bailey. Always and forever, Barbara will be an incredible example of a leader who demanded equity, justice and fairness for all. I urge City Council to pass this legislation and help honor the life and legacy of one of Seattle’s great civil rights champions.”

Under the legislation, the City of Seattle would officially rename the designated “festival street” portion of E Denny Way between Broadway and 10th Ave East to East Barbara Bailey Way. The official street name change would take effect 30 days following City Council’s passage of the mayor’s legislation, Durkan’s office said.

The Denny festival street was designed as both a one-way traffic route above the center of the underground Capitol Hill Station facility and cutting through the development, plaza, and AIDS Memorial Pathway that will open at the site in 2020 — and a plaza that can be closed to traffic and utilized for events and gatherings.

“My sister had the biggest heart of any activist I have ever known. It was why her bookstore meant so much to the community. In Barbara’s world everyone felt included. Everyone felt loved. And everyone felt respected,” Thatcher Bailey, Barbara’s brother and CEO of the Seattle Parks Foundation said in the mayor’s announcement of the proposed legislation. “It is a fitting tribute to her memory that this street will connect the new AIDS Memorial Pathway plaza to Cal Anderson Park. Just like Bailey/Coy Books was in her lifetime, Barbara Bailey Way will be a sweet and soulful gathering place for everyone in the Capitol Hill neighborhood.

The honorary East Barbara Bailey Way would manifest itself with special street signs added to the utility poles in the area and would appear in addition to E Denny Way in maps and traffic apps. In one example in the area of another honorary street designation, Mount Zion’s Rev. Dr. Samuel B. McKinney was honored with his own Rev. Dr. S. McKinney Ave along part of 19th Ave in 2014.

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