Thursday, March 29, 2012

Plan for a Pedestrian Mall

DDOT is shopping a plan to close 10th Street between E and F to vehicular traffic and instead make it a pedestrian mall.

This plan would necessarily relocate the many tour buses that are often idling on that block, and replace them with little tables and chairs and perhaps booth vendors.  We love the idea of a pedestrian mall, providing that traffic is accommodated for (particularly those idling buses).  It could alleviate some of the sidewalk congestion, like this line of school children waiting to get into the Petersen House:

We're told that ANC2C will be addressing the issue at their next meeting, next Wednesday at 6:30p at the Shaw Library, but we don't yet see the item on the agenda.


  1. I like the idea of a pedestrian mall, though I wish it were on a block with a little more retail/dining establishments (nothing against the Waffle place!). I occasionally go through this block on my way to the Metro, and can't help but think of it as an office building, a waffle shop, the various NPS establishments (most of the block), and the rest being filled with various trinket shops. Somewhere to grab a bite and a table outdoors would be welcome, maybe some sort of functional art installation? (Pearl Street Mall in Boulder has huge, well, boulders that kids could climb on.. something fun like that)

    And I didn't pick up on it at first, but when you say traffic being accommodated for, did you mean auto traffic? The block would be shut down to all auto traffic if this idea were to go through, right? Did you just mean ensuring neighboring streets don't get jammed because this would be blocked to autos?

  2. Indeed - we like that pedestrian traffic on 10th will be alleviated by this plan, but if it causes congestion elsewhere and buses to idle on more trafficked streets, cars and pedestrians alike will be affected negatively.

  3. Awesome. I know people in other cities sometimes couldn't fathom the idea of closing a street to cars.. expand the sidewalks, sure.. but the whole thing? No way, they'd say!

    Thank you for your posts, love this blog!

  4. At the Penn Quarter breakfast meeting in mid-March we were told that during the tourist season there are over 50 tour buses a day dropping people off and picking them up in the block of 10th Street between E and F Streets, and that figure doesn't include the Old Town Trolley and the double decker sightseeing buses that stop there each day. There would need to be lots of places on the blocks right next to 10th Street for these buses to load and unload passengers. This would remove parking spaces and probably create some traffic jams. Also, we don't want those bus parking areas to be near three residential buildings that are between 9th and 10th Streets.

    The most important thing needed are police and others who can ticket the buses and enforce having the buses park only in the bus parking areas to let their passengers out and pick them up, and not wait while their passengers are busy being tourists. I wouldn't trust the drivers to park only in those areas or move on after the passengers leave the buses since they don't now even though they are supposed to. Now they even double park to let their passengers off the buses. Today the buses just sit outside of Madame Tussauds and on F Street by 10th and between 9th and 10th where the souvenir shop moved in addition to the block where Fords is, and don't obey the signs. They also are so huge they block being able to see what is happening on the street or sidewalk across the street.

    Also, there has to be a place for buses to go and park that is not far away or they won't go there. Someone also needs to be there all the time giving the bus drivers from out of town a map showing them where to go to park, how to get there, and how to get back or I bet they won't leave the bus parking places.

    Another realistic view of this: are people really going to put tables and chairs out every day then remove them before the street opens again to traffic, which is the plan that DDOT presented at the meeting? The restaurants on the Fords Theater block haven't placed tables on the sidewalk though we see restaurants on F Street, E Street, and 9th Street and elsewhere in Penn Quarter doing this though all are on flat streets, not on hills. So, could it be that it is not easy to have tables and chairs when the street is a hill? I have never seen a pedestrian mall on a hill in this country or Europe.

    Last, at the Penn Quarter meeting some people really objected to the closing and the next day DDOT sent out a notice that the street closing was being postponed; we received an email about it. They did not say when they would reconsider it or what had to be done to reconsider it. So I don't understand how two weeks later the creation of a possible street closing is on this blog and in the print media. It is all very confusing as to what is really happening. Can anyone provide some facts?