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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Did anybody see the article in today's Seattle Times about the proposed Civic Square?
There's also a rendering which looks cool.
 

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What came first: The bums or the boring parks that no one wants to go to?



Im on a negative streak today. sorry. I like freeway park a lot in the morning on a clear summers day.
 

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Journeyman
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I totally disagree.

Parks don't "cause" more bums. That's an absurd concept.

We do have parks that are dominated by bums. This boils down to two main reasons:

1. We don't have enough parks, causing the bums to be concentrated. This discourages others from using the parks. Adding parks would spread the bums out more, and remove some of the disincentive that keeps others away.

2. Certain parks don't have enough middle-class people around them, particularly at night. City Hall Park and Occidental Park are good examples.

The best way to address these problems are to build more parks, and to add more regular people. This particular project avoids much of this problem by having an active mix of uses in the tower and around the plaza.

And if it does attract street people, at least there will be fewer somewhere else.
 

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Journeyman
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A third reason, more to the root of the matter, is that we have too many people living on the streets. More low-income housing and a couple day centers would be helpful.
 

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I like the idea of live music outdoors there. Also, imagine if they put in cafes, restaurants and upscale pubs/clubs surrounding the open area. That would be a true civic square other cities would emulate!
 

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One unique thing is that this plaza will include housing which means more people day and night. IMO that's why parks lose out to vagrancy. You don't see bums where people live.

Good case in point is Denny Park. It's nowhere near the concentrated areas of downtown where most see homeless, yet it is home to many transients. The reason: there is NO housing near this park. Cheap hotels across the street, light industrial and commercial that shuts down 5ish on the other three sides. That combined with poor lighting at night make it the perfect haven for homeless.

Seattles oldest and (could be) most charming park is not living up to its potential. Mr Allen bringing in more residents to that area will truly help. Be nice to see a bit more lighting as well.
 

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Twinkie
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I totally disagree.

Parks don't "cause" more bums. That's an absurd concept.

We do have parks that are dominated by bums. This boils down to two main reasons:

1. We don't have enough parks, causing the bums to be concentrated. This discourages others from using the parks. Adding parks would spread the bums out more, and remove some of the disincentive that keeps others away.

2. Certain parks don't have enough middle-class people around them, particularly at night. City Hall Park and Occidental Park are good examples.

The best way to address these problems are to build more parks, and to add more regular people. This particular project avoids much of this problem by having an active mix of uses in the tower and around the plaza.

And if it does attract street people, at least there will be fewer somewhere else.
I that that Civic Square will become another bumtown.

1. Okay, we don't have enough parks. But we'd need a Seattle Commons x 2 to see the spreading of bums at a level you're talking about. Since we don't have that kind of space anymore (or ever will), it's inevitable that any pocket park or square built in the future will be filled with bums since the new spaces will be miniscule in comparison to what we need.

2. Bums don't care about middle class or not--especially in downtown. In fact, they're attracted to crowds because they have an opportunity to scrounge some change. Someone begged to eat my sandwich during lunch peak at the park by Pike Place. We're dealing with agressive bums here with nothing to lose. Not just parks are being run over by the homeless; but the central library is getting taken over too. I wouldn't mind them if the place didn't REEK.

We need more parks; but let's build more urban reststops too. Let these people clean themselves up with free showers, shaves, and laundry at least.

As for Civic square, it'll never see the crowds depicted in that picture unless it had the magnetism of, say, Pacific Place. The retail corridor needs something new and exciting to happen southward. This Civic Square project doesn't do it for me.
 

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Twinkie
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I guess the only way our parks will succeed is adding more and more people Downtown. I remember that Pioneer Square, ID, Sodo, and some waterfront port terminals may be redeveloped into mixed-use buildings.
Adding more and more people only masks the problem. The bums will still be there; but there'll be so many more normal people on the streets that you'll just notice them less.
 

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Journeyman
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The crowds in the renderings must be for concerts or other events.

Downtown Seattle has a very small acreage of green space and plazas, particularly near the middle. It wouldn't take a huge amount of new space to reduce bum density per acre by 30%, or 50%. That wouldn't make everyone happy, but it would take much of the edge off.

Of course they're attracted to regular people to ask for change. But a growing regular people population can have a substantial diluting effect on the chance of dealing with a bum.

PS, I work in the CBD and generally they're invisible. I might see a couple walking home. Of course I ignore them totally.

I don't go to the library much, but the bum thing pisses me off. They should crack down on stinky people in a big way.

Again, if Civic Square is a "bumtown", then some other place(s) will be less that way. That's the dispersal/dilution factor in action.
 

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....

i don't think it'll be a bumtown at all, there's a decent amount of retail a lightrail station tons of office and signifant residential and also more residential going in in the area. why are you guys complaing we're getting an awesome mixed use tower with much needed open space, why aren't you guys complaning about the new open space on 5th and madison on top of bartells guess what i was there to day and no bums. oh and the reason city hall park has so many bums is because spd is too lazy to do their job and kick em out, i'm not saying they shouldn't be allowed to sit there but there's not even a seat for the tax payers and you have to tippy toe through the park over all the sleeping bags. the fact that there's no residential nearby is a big factor too. freeway park is the same reasons and its closed off with bad lighting and all kinds of places to hide
 

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OK, we need a ray of sunshine here. Let's take a look at a recent (the most recent) success story. I've been to the Olympic Sculpture Park many times. Know what? NO BUMS! Why? Because it is surrounded by residential. People are constantly walking their dogs, jogging through and so on. I expect the same from Lake Union Park. Not a lot of residential around it at this time, but looks like it will be well lit. I stand by my assertion that more residential and better lighting will deter bums.
 

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I really like the mixed use aspect. I'd like to see a lot more of this in the future as hopefully Seattle's increased density warrants more taller towers. I think a beautifully efficient situation is where you can put offices on the lower larger floors and when you need to setback the building to allow light and decrease bulk you can put condos and hotel units there. So instead of a 125m office tower you could have a 200m mixed use tower!
 

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An odd aside to the transient situation.

On Capitol Hill, I don't see or notice that many transients in Volunteer Park, but I see quite a few at Cal Anderson park. Both have residential nearby, however, Cal Anderson also has commercial.
 
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