15th and Market: Fuggettaboudit

Grok the intersection above. Classic suburbia, no? Six lanes meets seven lanes, a gas station next door to a Burger King with a drive-through, a chain drug store set well back from the street for convenient access by car, a grocery store lost somewhere behind a sea of parking.

This is the intersection of 15th Ave. and Market Street in Ballard. As previously reported, the Denny’s building on the NW corner has been nominated for Seattle Landmark status, likely scuttling plans for an 8-story mixed-use residential building.

Regardless of how you feel about the uniqueness of the Denny’s building, and regardless of how you feel about the need for densification, one thing is clear: From the perspective of the pedestrian, this intersection is a lost cause. And it will be for a long time to come. The Walgreen’s and Safeway are relatively new buildings. The gas station and the Burger King, backed by all their corporate might, are pretty much untouchable.

As with toddlers, we might do well to “pick our battles.” So whatever, keep the Denny’s. 15th and Market is perfect for it. Two 8-story mixed-use residential buildings are currently under construction on either side of Market Street, about half a block west of 15th. The urban village starts there.

4 Responses to “15th and Market: Fuggettaboudit”

  1. michael

    yeah, make it a museum for greasy, artery clogging slop, or maybe Mars Hill Church could establish a branch of its “college” there…
    Got to start somewhere Dan, the Walgreens probably has a life span of 15 years, Safeway seems to be quite amenable to doing mixed-use projects…change is inevitable at this intersection…remember 40% more people by 2040…that’s a lot of people.

  2. Dan Staley

    I agree with Michael – both arterials have major bus lines with stops right there. I think there’s potential for densification closer to the intersection. I can easily see the Walgreen’s going away as well as that cr*ppy Shell. Safeway, not so much. As for the Denny’s: eh. Two corners is batting .500 – enuf to get you in the Hall of Fame (or a blood test for steroids).

    BTW, one of my Planning Commissioners is a PM for McDonalds, and they are amenable to local review in many instances. Doing one on the Vegas strip, apparently, with much architectural re-do. I’m told.

  3. Steve

    Note also that the plans for the 8-story building include a drive-through pharmacy (or did as of about 6 months ago, when this issue first came up).

    This is not the battle I would pick, but still: 8 story density along major bus lines is not a bad thing.

    BTW, Michael, I believe the Belltown Mars Hill Grad School is not affiliated with Mars Hill Church (at least according to the grad school’s Wikipedia page, for whatever that’s worth)

  4. Brian

    Put ten, twelve, fifteen story buidlings on all four corners and you still won’t have a pedestrian paradise. Arterial traffic speed and road width will still conspire to make this a place to just get through and survive, methinks. And with the Sunset Bowl now doomed, where will Ballardites be walking to anyway?

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