Community Post

The Saddest Street in the CD

I was walking down Jefferson the other day and looked down what must be the bleakest street in the neighborhood.  The photo is shot from 15th Ave & E. Jefferson, which is nothing but Swedish parking garages and the blank walls of a Seattle U building that stretch for 650 feet.  The only sign of life is the new Kidney Center building at the corner of 15th & Cherry, but that only adds a driveway and a front door.

We should use this as our neighborhood development rallying cry and never again allow a street to become such a lifeless, auto-oriented void.


0 thoughts on “The Saddest Street in the CD

  1. Man if you think that’s the saddest street in the CD then you haven’t walked far enough east.

  2. I walk down Jefferson almost everyday, and honestly the Swedish parking garages/SU places don’t bother me. At least they keep nice plantings and make an effort to keep the sidewalk clean. Did you walk on the other side of Jefferson? That’s the sad side. Tons of trash strewn about, overgrown lots/weeds. There is a spot for some retail — there’s a corner store and barber shop on the corner of 17th and Jefferson. It would be nice to balance things out by adding these types of businesses. With Swedish right there, you would think more retail/neighborhood businesses could be supported around its campus.

  3. All these developments on Jefferson were built before Design Review was mandatory. It poses a interesting design problem, how can the street be retro fit to make it a human scaled environment? Design Charrette anyone?

    I spent 5 years on the SE and city wide Design Review teams and this would have never been allowed. Sadly the development across from the Red Apple at Jackson and 23rd was pushed through before that type of development would be subject to Design Review. The result is an ugly parking lot where more stores could have been. Walgreens and advocates that pretended to represent the neighborhood lobbied for a quick approval. Are there any other Walgreens in Seattle that have a large parking lot adjacent to the sidewalk?

  4. The Capitol Hill Walgreens on 15th is fairly new and isn’t much better, with a parking lot that occupies a key corner in that business district. I remember neighbors being opposed to it. Was it subject to design review too?

  5. The ones at 15th and Market in Ballard and at Rainier and Genesee in the Rainier Valley are the same

  6. Re: the Wallgreens on 15th – was that building torn down and rebuilt? It was the old City People’s and as far as I can recall it always had that small parking lot on the side there. I would guess if they weren’t changing it, then a design review was not necessary.

  7. Yes Scott it was. The developer can ask for “departures” previously known as variences. The Board can recomend that the Director can grant them or the Director can override the Board and grant them.

  8. Walgreens is indeed generally known for designs that aren’t neighborhood friendly. That’s what made me so pleasantly surprised when they agreed to re-do their design at Broadway and Pine to incorporate the affordable housing atop their store. The original design for that location would’ve been a lot more like the one on 15th, as I understand it.

  9. Dessel is right – the 15th Ave Walgreens was formerly City Peoples and it always had that parking lot. The building was torn down and replaced, too. If I recall correctly, that happened some time in late 2002.

  10. I guess you are the one who throws the fast food wrappers out the window of your car, speeds down side streets and does not believe in walking several blocks to a store. Rush and Fox news would be proud of you!

  11. I actually led the neighborhood push back to the 15th Avenue redevelopment of City Peoples into the Walgreens. Posters here are correct that there was always a parking lot along the south side of the lot (at least since the 1930’s). There was NO design review requred for the projet because it was called a “remodel”, which they achieved by leaving the North and East walls of the old building standing while the demolished everything else. This was what largely upset us neighors living literally next door — one day there were wreakers there and the building was almost all gone without a chance for design review. The other aspect that was upsetting is there had been published plans for a completely new building with below grade parking, ground floor retail, and upper floor housing.

    Anyway, we fought back against the developers (based in Bellevue) by putting pressure on Walgreens (who only leases the space technically) to get some concessions to there original plans — eliminating potential for drivethru pharmacy, no 24 hours, eliminate HUGE corner Walgreens sign, some window addition to 15th Ave, and barrier wall along the east side of the parking lot. Some of these, such as the windows, did not turn out as well as we would have liked, but this was all largely done without an enforceable requirement.

    When it came time for the development at Pine and Broadway others got involved in fightin the original design for there, which would have been a 1 story suburban style store like the one here in CD, and successfully got the mixed use space with below grade parking and residential above that was in scale with the Egyptian, SCCC, and buildings across the street.