For at least the past 20 years, downtown Seattle at Third Avenue and Pine Street has been a no man’s land between our vibrant Pike Place Market and the retail activity around Westlake Park. Thus it was with some cognitive dissonance that I heard Mayor Jenny Durkan refer to it as “the heart of our city.” Does the mayor really want McDonald’s, a payday-loans center and a tobacco shop to be at our city’s heart?
Land use determines human behavior. Designate land for auto use, and people will drive cars on it, plan for residential use and people will live there. If we want different activity going on at Third and Pine, we must change the land use. And to do that we need a vision of what kinds of activity we want to have in the heart of our city instead of drug deals and gun violence. Additional police won’t fix the problem. Extra police had been added before the mass shooting of Jan. 22. An armed no man’s land is still a no man’s land.
The mayor has an opportunity to offer a different vision, one that creates and sustains activities that will make downtown a safe and desirable place to live, work and play.
Betty Merten, Seattle