Tuesday, December 23, 2008


Walking down Capitol Hill in the snow. The traffic is backed up for blocks and some people are walking in the streets. I've been watching this for days but have yet to write anything (though others have made excellent observations).

My mind starts wandering...maybe we need a critical mass for pedestrians. Or wouldn't it be great if a group went out one day with air horns and honk back at the cars -- dirty looks don't exactly work.

As I approach downtown, I see the throngs of Christmas shoppers flooding the sidewalks. The police are holding back the cars and letting pedestrians cross in every direction. Some jackass in an SUV is blocking the crosswalk and I "accidentally" slam my arm into the little plastic bug guard on his hood then give him a dirty look. A low point for me, I admit.

If only all these people lived in the city instead of coming and going all the time.

I see a proposed land use sign across from the Paramount Theater: 40 story building with above grade parking. Parking? Blah, but above grade is the worst because it creates a wall. Take a look at the Cosmopolitan and tell me it has a positive interaction with the street. Where are the "eyes on the street" that Jane Jacobs tells us makes a neighborhood safe? Why do we need so many parking stalls downtown?

And not to be a sourpuss, but what's up with the fins on Olive 8? I feel like the architects realized this huge smooth glass box was impinging on the street and decided it needed a little texture. Looks cheap, I'd say.

As I'm walking back across I-5 on Pine, the sidewalk is packed. I look over the railing at the gaping hole that is I-5: it is nearly empty and the snow has all but disappeared from this moat that bisects our city. I want to stand on the bridge and yell to every passing car that the action is here, in Seattle, that they should park that car and stick around for a bit.

1 comment:

Rich said...

I'm guessing the fins are to speed up heat loss -- that sheer glass wall isn't wasting enough energy.