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City of Seattle

December 11, 5:06 PM click here to comment > 2

Agreement calls for specific actions to help Third Avenue Corridor

King County Executive Dow Constantine, Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn and Downtown Seattle Association President & CEO Kate Joncas today signed a landmark Memorandum of Agreement (MOA), calling for a series of improvements to the Third Avenue corridor to support Seattle’s strengths, address its challenges and work collaboratively with the community to continue building a great place Downtown.

Downtown Seattle Association President Kate Joncas, Mayor McGinn and King County Executive Dow Constantine sign the MOA

“Third Avenue is the front door to the city for those who come Downtown by transit,” said Executive Constantine. “By creating a common vision we can all work toward, we can make this  the kind of environment where people feel welcome and business can thrive.”

“We are working to help support the things that make Seattle special and align our efforts with our civic and regional partners to address the challenges we face as a growing city,” said Mayor Mike McGinn. “That’s why this agreement directly aligns with our Center City Initiative, an initiative to support a vibrant, inviting Downtown where everyone feels safe and welcome. I thank Executive Constantine, the Downtown Seattle Association and Metropolitan Improvement District for their commitment to helping support our great city. This new partnership between our office and King County is a key milestone in this work and the latest example of our collaborative work on important issues.”

The MOA builds on actions that have already made Downtown Seattle one of the most dynamic and livable urban centers in the nation. Downtown is recognized for its great cultural destinations, high volume of pedestrian activity, expanding transit and growing economic activity. The MOA details needed improvements such as transit reliability, attractive streetscape design, pedestrian flow, reductions in criminal activity and coordinated support for individuals who struggle with extreme poverty, limited housing resources, mental illness and/or drug and alcohol dependence.

“The Third Avenue MOA represents significant progress for a transformative project DSA has worked tirelessly to move forward,” said DSA Board member Patrick Callahan, CEO of Urban Renaissance Group, LLC. “Armed with a vision, the partnership of DSA, the City of Seattle and King County has the potential to create tremendous urban experiences in Downtown Seattle. Projects like these are not just about fixing what is wrong, they’re about producing what will be great.”

The MOA calls for coordination in five areas:

  • improve transit and streetscape infrastructure,
  • clean and maintain the Third Avenue corridor,
  • reduce crime and the fear of crime,
  • enhance management of public spaces, and
  • improve response to homelessness, mental illness, and/or chemical dependence.

Specific actions in these five areas include, but are not limited to:

  • installation of real-time transit arrival information at all major stops,
  • installation of new, well designed street furniture (i.e. litter cans, newspaper boxes),
  • afternoon and evening cleaning of sidewalks,
  • a more visible Seattle Police presence during periods of the day with greatest pedestrian volumes, in conjunction with Metro Transit Police,
  • directed foot-beat patrols at hotspots,
  • continued work between Seattle Police and human service providers and community leaders on non-traditional strategies to address low-level drug offenses, and
  • DSA, through its MID Ambassadors, will work with the City and other stakeholders to conduct targeted outreach to individuals in need of housing and services who frequent Third Avenue.

Third Avenue through Downtown Seattle is a unique and significant street to both the Center City and the entire Puget Sound region. Third Avenue now and in the future will serve as the primary transit corridor through Downtown Seattle, both above and below grade. The corridor is in the heart of Seattle’s densest, most populous and fastest growing neighborhood and proximate to community assets, including the Pike Place Market and Westlake Park. As such, a vibrant, safe, thriving Third Avenue is critical to the overall quality of the public realm, identity, and livability of Seattle.  The parties to the agreement seek to achieve the vision for Third Avenue by building on the acknowledged strengths and addressing the persistent challenges facing the corridor.

Please visit the Mayor’s Office’s media page to view the complete text of the Memorandum of Agreement.

Photo by Aaron Fishbone

Posted by: April Thomas


Comment from sraddha durand
Time December 12, 2012 at 5:28 pm

You’ve neglected to mention any enforcement of ‘transit only’ on 3rd Ave during peak hours. Illegal vehicle traffic greatly impedes transit efficiency and is rarely addressed by law enforcement.

Comment from Patricia Fong
Time December 12, 2012 at 7:50 pm

What a strange event this signing of a Memorandum of Agreement an MOA. It feels like OMG instead – Oh, My God. The City, the Downtown Seattle Association and the Metropolitan Improvement District have already undertaken steps to keep the streets cleaner particularly Third Avenue. At the Third Avenue stakeholders’ meetings, concerns were already noted over the social services needs of the homeless on Third Avenue. Again, nothing new to report here. That crime is now being targeted by special patrols is a new development. However, the biggest revelation in this Memorandum of Agreement is that Third Avenue is to become a de facto “Transit Corridor” something I opposed right from the start. I heard the Mayor or Mr. Dow announce that all buses would be taken out of the bus tunnel – the trains will take over – and the buses will be transferred to Third Avenue thus making Third Avenue an “open air bus tunnel”. I feel revolted by this idea. This will totally overwhelm any chance that Third Avenue will ever become pedestrian friendly and humanistic in scale and feel. It will be dominated – serving and served by the County’s Metro buses. It is ironic that Ms. Joncas defended the accusation that being hard on crime on Third would only push the crime onto the other downtown streets. Well, how about this? Putting a huge majority of the transit traffic both buses and riders onto Third Avenue will disgorge them onto Third Avenue only to have them leave Third once they have arrived for more desirable pedestrian friendly destinations such as perhaps Westlake and Fourth Avenue? What a transformation of Third Avenue – into an open air bus tunnel, clean, crime-free so that arriving transit passengers can come and go safely but not find much else to do on Third Avenue. I had honestly hoped for more imagination and vision for Third Avenue. Whose idea was this, anyway? As a saving grace, I can only hope that the Mayor and the City will realize the small business potential for Third Avenue by permitting mobile small businesses to operate on Third Avenue to liven up the long empty stretches that currently lack scale, appeal, interest and accordingly, pedestrian interest and activity, in short vibrancy. That could have been achieved on Third Avenue. Instead the city and the county with the collusion of the DSA have committed to surrendering Third Avenue to the domination by mass transit. Such imagination, such optimism, such a disappointment. Just think – downtown really “begins” east of Third and the rest of us can eat cake!