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City of Seattle

June 15, 1:50 PM click here to comment > 7

Reporting to the community on Pioneer Square revitalization

Pioneer Square is a wonderful asset, but there’s no doubt it’s had some hard times. Improving our neighborhoods and helping our businesses will bring economic recovery and shared prosperity. So we’ve rolled up our sleeves and worked hard with the community to revitalize the neighborhood.

Thanks to the hard work of neighbors, businesses, and the City of Seattle, Pioneer Square is coming back strong, though there’s still work to do. So I joined Pioneer Square businesses and community leaders, including former mayor Charles Royer, to update the community on what we’ve done so far, and what is coming soon.

Leslie Smith, Executive Director at Alliance for Pioneer Square; Todd Elliott, Comcast; Charles Mount, CEO Onehub; Mayor Mike McGinn and Mayor Charles Royer at today’s press event

In June 2010 we released Pioneer Square 2015, A Strategy for Seattle’s First Neighborhood. This report laid out action items that would revitalize Pioneer Square as a destination for new jobs, residents, and nightlife. From our fiber broadband project to the South Downtown rezone to restoring King Street Station, we are committed to making Pioneer Square the vibrant urban place it deserves to be.

One of the biggest concerns of businesses in Pioneer Square is the availability and reliability of Internet access. Four weeks ago I joined former mayor Charles Royer to announce the City was laying conduit under First Avenue to connect nearby businesses to fiber-optic broadband internet. Seattle City Light had already opened the street as part of a utility relocation project, allowing the City to lay the conduit as part of that existing project.

Today we announced that Comcast has been selected to provide the next generation of Internet service using the City-owned conduit. Service will be available to businesses on First Avenue this fall.

“We can’t wait to begin knocking on doors and connecting businesses to our fiber-rich network. We have long wanted to serve this neighborhood, because of its reputation as a business incubator, but the numbers just never quite penciled out until now,” said Todd Elliott, director of Enterprise Sales for Comcast. “Thanks to the city’s innovative proposal, we have an opportunity to meet the growing bandwidth needs of the area’s Internet start-ups for many years to come, as well as to help the city grow its economy by providing the services these businesses need to remain competitive.”

Onehub CEO Charles Mount

One local company, Onehub, is moving from Bellevue to Seattle and excited about the increased high-speed Internet.

“Onehub is very excited to be moving its headquarters to Pioneer Square,” said Charles Mount, CEO of Onehub. “Pioneer Square has become the place to be for Seattle startups. The neighborhood has great character, accessibility by public transportation, affordable office space and now, thanks to the city, high-speed Internet that is essential to Onehub and other technology startups.”

The City has also taken the following actions to improve the quality of life in Pioneer Square:

Parking: The extended pay parking into the evening is being delayed until 2012 to allow SDOT to collect additional information. The Pioneer Square commercial core rate boundary will be moved from Yesler Way to Columbia Street. This will lower rates at about 20 pay stations from $4 to $3.50.

Bringing new residents: The South Downtown rezone legislation was adopted on April 25, 2011 to increase residential density.

Public safety: Seattle Police Department increased its walking patrols and routinely conducts undercover drug operations at Fortson Square and other locations in Pioneer Square, resulting in the arrest of chronic drug dealers.

Homelessness: Seattle’s Department for Human Services, Department of Planning and Development and SPD worked with Real Change, the APS and Seattle/King County Coalition on Homelessness to address chronic homelessness, and have engaged leaders such as the Compass Center to provide creative and sustainable housing solutions.

Neighborhood enhancement: The Office of Economic Development’s Only in Seattle Initiative has invested $100,000 with the Alliance for Pioneer Square for improvements including replacing historic sidewalk lights, organizing and marketing events such as Art in the Park, Salsa Saturdays, and Seattle Square Market, and coordinating holiday retail promotion to draw shoppers to the neighborhood.

Mayors Royer and McGinn

“The business and community leaders of Pioneer Square have really come together around this shared vision for improving Pioneer Square, and we’re pleased to continue to partner with the Office of Economic Development and the city to make more improvements for our businesses and residents a reality,” said Charles Royer, Co-Chair of the board of the Alliance for Pioneer Square.

This is good progress, but there is still work to be done to complete the revitalization of Pioneer Square. Here’s what we’ve got coming for the rest of 2011 and in 2012:

• Supporting development on the North Lot of Qwest Field through financing and permitting tools.

• Starting construction on the First Hill streetcar, which will serve Pioneer Square along South Jackson Street.

• Designating an individual to coordinate communications with City departments and the community about construction impacts on parking availability.

• Re-examining the feasibility of a public restroom at the Fire Station.

We know there’s still a long way to go. We will keep working with the Pioneer Square community to lay a foundation for change.

Photos by: Jen Nance

Posted by: Mayor Mike McGinn


Comment from Joe Paschke
Time June 15, 2011 at 6:59 pm

I have a great idea… lets get rid of the viaduct and bury the through traffic in a tunnel. Improve the surface streets expand bus service make bike lanes and continue that work right into Pioneer Square to improve most of the south downtown core.

Comment from billy king
Time June 16, 2011 at 6:13 am

As long as downtown Seattle keeps the dysfunctional policy of mixing late night clubs and recovery centers in the same neighborhood these plans are doomed to failure.

Comment from Montlakeon
Time June 16, 2011 at 11:13 am

Better transit is necessary. Rather than a traffic-blocking streetcar line with stations in the middle of 1st Ave and patrons dodging traffic to reach it, a dedicated trolleybus route from King Street ‘straight’ to Queen Anne and back running every 5 minutes (a new 6-trolleybus mini-fleet of low-floor models) can ideally deliver patrons to main district venues.

Install at least 1 similarly frequent trolleybus line from Coleman Dock east to Forst/Capital Hills. (Forest)

Extend the Lake Union Streetcar Line to a 1st Ave Terminus or Turn-around and transfer to-from it there; 1-mile track, couple stops, relatively inexpensive.

Extend the First Hill Streetcar Line to Alaskan Way and reinstall the Waterfront Streetcar Line. One would think historic rail would of course be reinstalled but environmentalist-types want a Southern California-style beach, a high-maintenance pier openings contrivance and a questionable Alaskan Way design of insufficient side-streets that is sure to cause gridlock with or without the bored tunnel lunacy. Say good-bye to Pioneer Square’s historic buildings if that monster is built beneath them; and in an earthquake, a body count.

The Alaskan Way design that should be considered is the Post-Seawall/Pre-AWV era that incorporated a 2-lane frontage road alongside a 4-lane Alaskan Way.

Environmentalists fall prey to Seattle’s stuffed-shirt high art community who believe the completely out-of-character Sculpture Park is a model to replicate along the waterfront.

I’ll keep repeating this recommendation, Mayor Mcginn, until you or someone with more clout than me gives it more than 2 seconds thought. I must oppose the new SDOT crew’s Mercer West and Alaskan Way designs as utter folly.

Comment from Mike Klotz
Time June 16, 2011 at 1:28 pm

You are correct that it has been the policies of this city that have created the problems this neighborhood deals with every day. You can’t determine where a small business owner locates his or her business. The fact is the city has had a long standing policy of locating a disproportionate amount of social services, half way houses, shelters, missions and low income housing in Pioneer Square because of the relatively low amount of residents. To state that late night clubs have anything to do with recovery centers is misguided. The drug dealers mostly pray on the people in these assisted living or homeless facilities. The relative lack of police presence is largely to blame. It’s not from a lack of police effort, they know the problem it’s that there hands are tied by the city because other neighborhoods with more residents have more clout. The police foot patrols the Mayor speaks about are great but they go home by 7pm. You have club owners down here asking for the support of the police and being forced to hire off duty police as additional security outside, at $500 a night! Yet you can walk through Belltown and see literally herds of bike patrols all night long. I am a business owner and resident of this great neighborhood. Until the City changes it’s policy of neglect this neighborhood will continue to struggle. There are a number of small business owners and residents that are making steps to change that policy. Whether you are a resident or not contact the city and demand they take care of this Historic and First Neighborhood of Seattle.

Pingback from Comcast Will Bring High-Speed Internet to Pioneer Square « Comcast in Washington State
Time June 17, 2011 at 9:09 am

[…] here we are, and the city of Seattle has selected Comcast. Everyone here is thrilled to be involved in the neighborhood […]

Comment from Debra Di Blasi
Time September 19, 2011 at 8:10 am

Mike Klotz (above) is correct: The clubs are great for the district, in the same way clubs are great for Belltown. But there is a shocking, disproportionate number of social services per block in Pioneer Square, a number that I doubt any other neighborhood would tolerate.

When I moved to Seattle, I situated my headquarters in Pioneer Square because of its architectural beauty and history of music and art. Our building’s front and rear stoops are full of human feces and urine nearly every morning, and the curb in front of the historic OK Hotel is essentially an open sewer, with feces, urine, vomit and other body fluids standing in pools after a rain, conditions you might find in only the worst Third World cities. There are three homeless centers within one block of my office. I strongly believe in social services, but I know locating so many in one part of the city does nothing for anyone, including those using the services as, indeed, the area because a haven for dealers and other ne’er-do-wells preying on those who are really trying to create a better life for themselves.

Relocating some of these services and increasing police must be a priority for Pioneer Square, if it ever to achieve a habitable status.

Comment from Jim Jeremiah
Time September 30, 2011 at 3:47 pm

Given it’s History, Pioneer Square should be given its code as an indipendent City within the City of Seatle, which should gian status like the One Square-mile City of London, in London England-U.K., Manhatnan, New York, U.S.A., the City of Vatican in Rome itally, and the City of Hong-kong in Chaina.

To boost its idendity of the map, the City of Pioneer-Square should be within boundaries of Marion Street on the North to King Street on the South, and Alaskan-Way on the west to Sixth Avenue to the East. This bounderies will privide the City of Poinner Square with very strong operational base, because most of the City of Seattle and King County Administrative Head Offices are based within the City limits of Poiner Square, including some of the major financial institution, ie Bank of America.

Adminisraion: The City of Poineer Square should have it own excussive administrative headquarter built and established, separately from the city of Seattle and King County premises. Within 10 years after gaining its status, the City of Poineer-Square should be well established with it’s own mayor, police force, fire department, building code and ordinances.

Benefits: Believe it or not, once the above reforms have been put in place, Seattle will be a City on the moon. The will be a lot of job creation, as the city of Pioneer Square will attract a lot of businesses in the area. There will be a lot of revatalization in Poineer Square, with new appartments complexes built, which will attruct a lot of professional in he area, reducing crime, as public safety will increase highly under the City Poineer Square Police Department.

Please, feel free to send me your feed back:



Given this staus, the City of Pioneer-Square will be capable to act very independenly with its code of laws, very excusively, to preserve its historic dignity as the foundaion of seattle.