Seattle Could Be on the Cusp of a Street Cafe Renaissance



"Burlington established voting stations"

Matt, what led you to believe that Seattle, which utilizes a mail-only election system, would benefit from street closures adjacent to polling places on election day?


Let's do something nice and creative with the space and not just choke it with traffic again, absolutely, but can we please not let private businesses (that happen to be*The Stranger's* core advertisers) fence it off for themselves? I don't think enclosure is going to fix any of the problems with our public spaces.

And when restaurants return to full-capacity indoor service, those outdoor dining areas would sit empty in this city for more than half the year anyway. The novelty of eating a rapidly cooling meal while bundled up in hats and scarves is fun once in a while, sure, but it wears out its welcome in a hurry.


I'm totally in favor of temporarily helping restaurants recover from the pandemic. I have no objection to this as a temporary bridge gap till they are back on their feet. But I absolutely don't want to see this as a permanent use of streets.

This is effectively giving rent-free city-owned real estate to restaurants at taxpayer expense. That's okay short term as a means of stimulus to help businesses recover from the pandemic. But once they are recovered, this is a poor use of space and a poor use of taxpayer dollars.


As long as they pay market rate 24/7 for the exclusive use of the parking spot. Which means when there are less places to park the more people are willing to pay which means the market rate will go up. And how many table tops can fit into a single parking spot two or maybe three so more than one spot would be needed. Proper dining in a parking spot just doesn't sound appealing to me.


I think this is a great idea. Most of the actual data shows that big cities gain (taxable) economy when more space is given to more human activity flat out, so long as automobiles that supply businesses with material goods/supplies and public transit are accomodated. Also I've loved walking through the alleys between restaurants and dining areas every time I've encountered them. Excellent vibes.

Oddly enough having the majority of people using personal transports that require relatively enormous amounts of space on both ends of every trip as well as on the road in between to get everywhere within a dense city makes little sense efficiency or air quality wise. The city and its inhabitants lose money on every square foot serving no purpose other than accomoding private vehicles.


@5, I agree with your premise that people driving and parking single-occupancy vehicles is a huge waste of space and resources. To solve that, however, would take a massive shift in public perception and massive investment in far better public transport to make it a viable option for more people. I wouldn't object to repurposing some streets, and making them public parks and open spaces. I still don't think giving free city-owned land to restaurant owners is the best use.


Wait, you mean you on the Hill don't have street cafes like we in Fremont and Ballard do?

How will you survive the Long Wet Hot COVID-free Summer?


@1 -- Washington State has Vote Centers
for people wishing to Vote in-Person.
I'd be quite (unpleasantly) surprised
if Seattle doesn't follow suit as well.

otherwise, yep.


I fear that this trend is one auto accident tragedy away from being banned. Though, if the city choses to make these blocks one-way, adding angle in parking at non-restaurant store fronts, this is a more workable idea, vs. dining on the margins of a two way thoroughfare.