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And really, a car wash in a neighborhood? That's a recipe for trouble.
Because if it's the latter, then cars really wouldn't be backing in or out through the garage doors, they'd more likely be driving forward through them in each direction, which would mean a much smaller potential hazard to pedestrians.
But regardless, it's still a FUCKING GARAGE DOOR! A door made especially for cars and trucks to DRIVE THROUGH. If that hadn't been the intention the builder would have installed a normal-sized door, unless the "pedestrians" on Beacon Hill have mutated into twelve foot tall giants recently.
The driveway had to have been built before codes prohibited such dangers, and as such, it's "grandfathered" in and can legally remain in place, no matter how large the hazard.
But the City still has zoning control and, with community support, has put this block into a Pedestrian zone, which -- yes -- prohibits new auto-oriented businesses.
You seem to be asking the neighborhood and the City to wink at this code violation, to just let it go for the sake of, well, I guess not having an empty building. Sorry, but there's plenty of other uses that could go in there without requiring customer use of this driveway.
If the building owner would actually invest some $$ into their fading asset, they could bring this about.
But it's been my observation that this owner, like too many in our community, is content to just milk the cash cow, and not invest dime one in useful improvements to their property.
Sorry, although I usually buy the Stranger line on community redevelopment issues (yes, including density) I'm not buying on this one. Maybe if you lived in or visited this community once in a while, you would understand what I'm talking about.
Don't be afraid Dominic, you can go south of I-90 sometimes. The stadiums do not count.
The visibility is terrible whenever there's a bus at the bus stop (and there usually is) and you have to pull into the street at just the right time - when no cars are coming from behind you, nobody is in the crosswalk or the intersection, but the light is still green - because by the time you're out of the driveway, your whole car is in the intersection.
On top of all that, this intersection is very pedestrian-unfriendly. The extremely long wait to cross, very long crosswalks, and very short crossing time basically force you to walk through the middle of the intersection, not in the crosswalks.
The whole intersection is one big fuck you to pedestrians, and I think the car wash is pushing people over the edge.
Investigate the town you live in and write about. Please.
and some history:
Ps. You're fired
I'll take the next "Stumptown" coffee outlet, but I'll gladly not take another Pink Elephant. Snobby? Yes, but you can go to 4th ave for that...
I love that y'all are so detailed about the cafe you're designing for this space that isn't yours.
ggg said: "The extremely long wait to cross, very long crosswalks, and very short crossing time basically force you to walk through the middle of the intersection, not in the crosswalks."
The intersection is intended to operate that way. It's one of the three (I think) intersections in Seattle which have an "all-stop for pedestrians", where all the traffic stops at once for the peds to cross. The others are at 1st and Pike and in West Seattle. There is even a brick crosswalk in the center of the Beacon and 15th intersection to show that you can cross diagonally. There are pedestrian issues there, but the all-stop isn't really one of them... other than that the wait to cross is soooo damned long.
Anyway, as others have mentioned, the site may be a garage, but current zoning does not allow a new car-oriented business to open there, period. (An existing car-oriented use would have been grandfathered, I guess. But there isn't one.) So the question then becomes -- should we enforce that zoning if it means there will be no business there at all?
You say "enforcing the zoning means there will be no business there at all". That's true only if the owner chooses it to be. MAKE AN INVESTMENT, dammit. Being cheap is not a lifetime affliction.
(Dominic Holden is among the best architecture/urban design critics anywhere because -- right or wrong -- he gets into the details of places and and raises questions/creates discussion about how spaces are actually used, the spatial dynamics of human behavior. That fellow at the NY Times could learn something Holden.)
This is an issue of values: you want to enjoy the place you live in for what it is--a culturally and economically diverse community with incredible amenities (parks, greenspaces, community services, etc.) that folks actually worked hard for many years to create -- OR you turn it into the monocultural blandness that is patently available everywhere else.
There is, of course, a middle ground between these perspectives. This car wash histrionic crap is nowhere near there.
And FWIW, there's not supposed to be any new car-oriented businesses in that area, as part of the Urban Village (or was it Sound Transit?) plan.
We could question whether the neighborhood planning process actually represents what the whole neighborhood wants, but that's another long topic in itself.
I've been around Beacon Hill since 1997 and we bought a house in 2003. The neighborhood is changing, but I don't think it's because the "the old Asians and Italians who have held on to all that commercial property for the last fifty years" are dying or being forced to sell. I think it's because property and business owners are making decisions that make sense for their property and business.
Baja Bistro is a great neighborhood business, targeted to provide exactly what is needed and wanted by the neighbors. They have a liquor license, but the bar isn't a hipster hangout--it's a cozy place to grab a drink. They have good food, but it's not a snobbish foodie hangout.
Red Apple remodeled and greatly expanded their wine and organics selections--but they still have core merchandise for their very diverse customers.
I love living in Beacon Hill, in large part because everything isn't catered exactly to me. I'm reminded that the world is full of lots of different people--including people who disagree with me. I don't want to live somewhere surrounded only by cafes and bars and people who fantasize about more cafes and bars.
That said, I also want a safely walkable neighborhood. Can a car wash operate safely out of that space? I don't know.
Is pointing out that the owners of the properties are folks who bought them back when the neighborhood was almost exclusively Asian and Italian, thus implying that they may not share the same ideas of what the neighborhood could be as a younger, highly assimilated person of mostly northern european heritage like me, really racist? I hate it when any mention of a person's ethnicity gets the "racist" label applied. Sometimes it actually is relevant to understanding what's going on.
Check out how much Sam Isreal held back Pioneer Square until he died and his heirs could do something with the properties. There's understanding to be gained from understanding how different cultural viewpoints affect business decision making.
Too often people who claim to love cultural diversity are surprisingly uncomfortable with the reality that "diverse" is synonymous with "different."
I am absolutely comfortable with that reality.
I *love* living in a neighborhood full of different kinds of people--especially people who don't share my ideas about what the neighborhood could be like. I live on Beacon Hill because I want to shop, eat, and take the bus with a variety of people.
I don't have to like each individual person, or expect them to like me--but it is nice to be reminded that the world isn't only "younger, highly assimilated person of mostly northern european heritage". I'm tired of hanging out with folks like us; many of us suck.
I visit Pioneer Square and Fremont much less frequently than I did 10 or even 5 years ago BECAUSE everyone there looks like me and/or thinks they can make money from people in my demographic.
Wishing for old people and/or people from other ethnic groups to die or go away might not be, technically, racist. It is hateful.
Wanting the old people to die off is AGEIST, not racist. If I were being racist, why would I want their kids to take over? They're the same race, dumbass.
....and since when are the Italians a race? Or Asians, for that matter. We're all one race.
You can spout off your crap all you want about diversity, but the Beacon Hill business district will continue to suck until the old people die off or are forced to sell off their property. That's a fact.
Check out the photo I snapped today of someone coming out of the car wash and then disregarding the red light and getting on her way.
I know Italians whose families have been on Beacon Hill for generations and have houses on 16th, 17th, and 18th, north of Bayview. That's the historical Garlic Gulch. If you don't live there, you might not notice how many Italians are still around.
I live in the North Beacon area and have only been here for 3 years, so I'm not *too* familiar with other areas of the neighborhood. I think I'm definitely the only wop in my area. :)
I forgot about Oberto's.