Buses to run next to Occidental Park

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Pioneer Square businesses and residents are against the reroute of buses through Washington and Main St while the viaduct is being replaced. They instead support the Columbia St reroute.

Buses proposed to Run Next to occidental park

Posted by Rose Petersky

June 20, 2012

Urban parks are an important asset to our cities. They provide areas for people to gather, space for events, and are pockets of serenity in a noisy environment. Parks also make the city more inviting to those that work there, and encourage them to get out of the office and go outside, thereby providing more foot traffic for local shops and restaurants. 

Feet First wants Seattle’s urban parks to stay inviting, safe, and walkable, which is why we, and many other businesses and organizations in Pioneer Square, are looking at Metro Transit’s proposed reroute of buses through Occidental Park and how they might affect the neighborhood.
Since 1971, Occidental Park has been a destination for locals and tourists alike in the historic Pioneer Square neighborhood. It is a car-free street made of brick that is approximately two blocks long lined with tall, leafy maple trees on both sides. Tables and chairs allow the customers of the numerous cafes and restaurants facing the park to eat outside, and benches provide space to sit near statues and sculptures. It has the sophistication of an Italian pergola and it provides a snapshot of what our downtown might look like if it was free from motorized traffic. 
When the Columbia and Seneca street ramps are closed in 2016 Metro Transit is considering permanently rerouting the buses that used to use the viaduct, a total of 550 buses a day on Washington and Main Streets, which would take them right down the middle of Occidental Park. Some Pioneer Square residents and businesses are opposed to this plan and, according to the Alliance for Pioneer Square, have “consistently resisted Metro’s efforts” to use this route. They instead prefer the reroute through Columbia St, which would still provide access to the buses for people in Pioneer Square while being well away from the park. 
The potential noise pollution from constant bus traffic is counter to the environment that an urban park is supposed to have and the neighborhood cohesion that Pioneer Square wants to maintain. If you live or work in Pioneer Square, or you just believe in preserving an essential component of the urban environment, please let Metro know what you feel by completing this short survey.  
Photo of Occidental Park

  Photo by Rose Petersky

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