23rd and Union

[ Photo: Dan Bertolet ]

This is the front door of Philadelphia Cheese Steak at 23rd and Union, in 2003. The sign on the door says “Closed for Troy’s funeral,” referring to the owner who was shot dead in his car a few blocks away.

Today the subsequent owner was shot and killed, and a second man critically wounded.

Coincidental, random acts of violence, perhaps. But one thing for sure is that 23rd and Union is one of the most miserable intersections in the City.

Given all the vacant lots and big empty parking lots, along with relatively few viable businesses with street presence, it’s not too surprising that street crime flourishes. I find it remarkable how underutilized this intersection is, especially considering how close it is to downtown, Capitol Hill and Madrona.

The vacant lot on the SW corner has had a chain link fence around it for seven years. A six-story mixed-use building with apartments is being planned for this site (more on this to come in another post). I’m optimistic that this will be the beginning of a new life for 23rd and Union.

5 Responses to “23rd and Union”

  1. Dave

    23rd and Union simply sucks. I intentionally avoid the area at all cost, and encourage my friends who take the bus down here to visit me to get off at the 18th ave stop and walk through the neighborhood to get to my place, since the corner is so shady.

    I really think that all four corners need to be completely torn down and rebuilt up with multi-use buildings. The large parking lots remind me more of the suburbs of detroit that i grew up in rather than an area that is 15 minutes by bike from the core of downtown. This will require our neighbors to stop putting up hissy fits about 6 story buildings, which in my opinion are even too short.

    The other thing we need to do is increase the walkability of the area, which means slowing down traffic and making crossing the street not an exercise in self preservation. We’ve already discussed a road diet for 23rd which will do much to make the area more livable and conducive to the urban center it should be.

    In other news the old barbershop building on 23rd and marion is up for sale, we need to be vigilante about whatever gets built on that corner. Seriously no more craftsman townhouses.


  2. Some Rules Are Begging To Be Broken | hugeasscity

    […] Given the apparent popularity of bloviations on density such as this, as well as all the recent hyperventilating over proposed changes to Seattle’s multifamily zoning code, it is perhaps surprising that there hasn’t been more of an uproar over the prospect of tinkering with allowed building heights in a residential neighborhood. The short answer is this: 23rd and Union ain’t Wallingford. That intersection has been a gaping wound for so long that most neighbors are probably willing to cut the developer a whole lot of slack. Furthermore, the location of the building is such that it will impact very few surrounding properties. […]

  3. Etiquette Question | hugeasscity

    […] to Seattle:  there be a whole lotta crack smokin going on around 23rd and Union.  All day every day.  Odd, isn’t it?  Gosh, it’s so un-Seattle!  But there it is, a […]

  4. What The Corner Really Needs | hugeasscity

    […] eleven years I have lived two blocks from the notorious intersection of 23rd and Union where Mike McGinn recently held a press conference on public safety. We all know that the crime […]

  5. Deciding Between Cars And People On 23rd Ave | citytank

    […] repel pedestrians have a tendency to become havens for street crime — it is no coincidence that 23rd and Union, as well as 23rd and Cherry and other areas further south on 23rd Ave have had troubled […]

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