Day 5 of viaduct closure has Pike Place workers anxious about impact to come

Day 5 of viaduct closure has Pike Place workers anxious about impact to come

SEATTLE – Five days into the viaduct closure, Seattle downtown businesses are anxious they haven’t seen its true impact yet.

“Yeah, there’s a ton of apprehension of what’s going to happen,” said Mike Osborn, owner of Sosio’s Produce in Pike Place Market.

“When it starts raining and when the three weeks turn into five weeks. And then down the line what happens if they put the First Avenue trolley up, and then what happens when they close the Battery Street tunnel,” Osborn said.

Osborn said he’s seen average foot traffic into his shop during the first three weekdays of the viaduct closure.

Betty Clune, owner of So Much Yarn in Pike Place Market, also said her bottom line is about average despite the closure of the main roadway into downtown.

Clune said So Much Yarn will now close at 7 p.m. during the next three weeks until the tunnel opens.

Osborn has also adjusted due to the closure. He’s doubling his parking stipends to customers and offering shipping alternatives.

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Osborn fears the biggest loss during the closure could be the sense of community established at Pike Place Market.

“You can’t describe it unless you become part of it, and you can’t become part of it if you’re not down here," he said.

The viaduct closure though impacts more than just Pike Place Market.

“This is my 40th year of working in downtown Seattle. And I’ve seen a lot,” said Tom Douglas, who owns multiple restaurants in downtown Seattle. “And I’ve seen things ebb and flow. Ebb and flow. And we’re in one of those flows right now that has a chance to become an ebb right now if we’re not careful.”

Douglas is incentivizing customers to shop downtown during the viaduct shutdown with “99 reasons to stay downtown.”

“There’s been a lot of doom and gloom, people are doing some smart things, right – telecommuting and taking mass transit but we’re just trying to give people reasons to kind of hang out, stay and hang out a bit," he said.

Douglas said he fears the closure could impact traffic patterns into downtown even after the tunnel opens with the Seneca and Western Avenue SR-99 entry points now closed.

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