Sunday, January 18, 2009

Seattle: A walkable city

I grew up just outside Seattle. My father worked in downtown Seattle, and we’d make frequent trips in to the city to meet with him for lunch, to go to REI to buy stuff for summer camp, or to otherwise enjoy the city. Many of the trips in to town, we’d pile into the car, and make the drive across the lake into the city. Once here, we’d “do downtown” by foot. We’d often park at my dad’s office building garage, and walk from there. Now, years later, my wife and I are living downtown. We’d selected our location to be close in and able to walk more places we wish to go.

Today, the sun came out early in the day and we had gorgeous blue sky. We set out on foot to enjoy our city. We were joined by many, many people (I’m too lazy to count ‘em all, and not very good at estimating, so we’ll just say lots of people). When you approach Seattle by ferry or from the south on I5, or look across from West Seattle, it seems so far from the Space Needle to downtown, you don’t realize how close it really is. Half an hour tops, and you can walk from the Space Needle through downtown to Pioneer Square and the stadiums. Walking the waterfront is easy (well, it’s a bit slow if it’s crowded) with wide sidewalks and only two crosswalks to worry about (the ferry terminal and the driveway at the Edgewater hotel) on the bay side of Alaskan Way.

Today, the Seattle Sun Worshipers were taking full advantage of the day. People were milling about the waterfront. The Seattle Art Museum’s Olympic Sculpture Park was busy with people walking the trails, sitting outside and inside the Paccar Pavillion. We saw many people starting up the Elliott Bay trail from Pier 70.

Seeing the number of people out on foot makes me feel like Seattle is becoming less car-centric people are opting more and more to use other means of getting around. Of course, we could all just be looking to scratch that itch for some sun that comes after periods of grey during our winters.

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