Positive findings for Pike Street Pedestrian Pilot

The Office of Economic Development (OED) and the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) issued its assessment of the August 2015 Pike Pedestrian Street pilot project, a series of temporary closures of Pike Street on Capitol Hill for pedestrian activity.

“Capitol Hill is an iconic Seattle neighborhood that attracts both daytime and nighttime visitors,” Brian Surratt Director of Economic Development said. “Last year we experimented with enhancing the experience for pedestrians by temporarily opening streets to pedestrians only. We learned a lot and will continue to work with the neighborhood to share what we learned and to identify next steps.”

OED, SDOT, Seattle Police Department, and Capitol Hill EcoDistrict collaborated on the project.  The pedestrian pilot relieved pressure at sidewalk bottlenecks and allowed for cultural and performance activities in the street. Crowds gathered to watch and participate in yoga lessons, an impromptu brass band, and a six-act drag show.

“My guy and I were having dinner at Pettirosso and decided to check out Retrofit’s new couches. Between the time of going into the store and coming out there was a full-fledged yoga class filling Pike Street and beautiful drag queens everywhere getting ready for their show. Our night blossomed into an unexpected surprise with such great energy,” said Tracy Rector, executive director of Longhouse Media.

Staff and community volunteers collected data and surveys before and during pilot test nights and followed up the pilot with a community survey and stakeholder interviews.

“I felt safer and more connected to the community. I was able to reach my destination quicker and found myself visiting other businesses that I may not have otherwise gone into,” said a survey respondent.

One of the most common responses from the survey was that the street felt safer for pedestrians, and there was less congestion on the sidewalk.

More than 41% of people surveyed walked to the neighborhood. 22% used ride-share services and 15% used public transit. 70% of people who walked or used transit options had the option of driving a personal vehicle but chose not to. Only 14% of respondents drove alone in their vehicles.

66% of all survey respondents said they’d like to see a pedestrian-only Pike Street on weekend nights in the future. That percentage of support rises to 70% for neighborhood residents.

“During the pilot nights, the positive energy from the streets felt like it translated inside the bars much more than normal nights. The people seemed less agitated, were more manageable, and the vibe felt safer,” said Kaileigh Wilson, bar manager of the Unicorn and Narwhal.

City departments will convene neighborhood stakeholders in May to discuss the results of the study and explore ways that pedestrian streets in the Pike-Pine neighborhood can creatively meet resident, business, and visitor needs.

The report is available here: http://sdotblog.seattle.gov/2016/04/13/pike-street-pedestrian-pilot-findings/