Who’s Your Baddest Streetscape?

I’ve long thought that the east side of the block on 3rd Ave between Union and University deserves an award for being the most abominable pedestrian streetscape in the downtown core.   Behold its gawdawfulness:  at eye level the ~350 feet of street wall is completely blank save for a small length of sealed windows into the post office and the mammoth, gaping maw of a loading dock entrance.  The post office was recently given a face lift but it does little to improve the street-level pedestrian experience.

But listen:  there are those who believe that you have only to walk a block north to find as bad or worse.   There (photo below), only about half the block is blank facade.  But oh how radiantly barren and exposed that half-block is.  At least the post-office block has a few trees. 

Because it’s a bus corridor Third Ave gets a lot of pedestrian traffic, and these dead blocks are major missed opportunities for street-level businesses to captilize on that traffic.  Picture what it would be like with small-scale sidewalk produce stands like you find in some parts of New York City, or cafe tables spilling out onto the street.  The sidewalk news stand at 3rd and Pike—just re-vamped after 47 years in business at that site—is the right stuff, but it’s just so sad and lonely out there all by itself.

All this is not say there aren’t many other atrocious downtown Seattle streetscapes that deserve recognition.  First Ave between Columbia and Cherry, and  the west side of 4th Ave between Columbia and Cherry are two that come to mind.  Needless to say, one key ingredient is parking garages. 

So who’s your baddest Seattle streetscape?