Now that I've got a financial stake in the Pike Place Market -- paying additional taxes after the passing of Proposition 1 toward making improvements at the historic landmark -- here are a few things I'd love to see happen:
Close the street to traffic, except for vendors and limit those hours to the beginning and end of the day. The best days to roam around the Market are when they've got traffic diverted for special events. It makes no sense to have cars crawling down this congested corridor.
Dedicate more space to true farmers. I talked with one grower today who echoed the oft-heard grumbling about produce stands that sell fruits and vegetables you can buy in any supermarket, except at higher prices. It's essential for visitors to understand and maybe then appreciate what's truly local.
Take a cue from some of the neighborhood farmers markets and have a few vendors selling food on the street. For instance, during oyster season, how about letting somebody set up a grill near the place where they throw fish. There's a cool setup like that near the ferry landing on Friday Harbor. It would be great to be able to buy barbecued oysters on the spot.
Tell tourists to buy something or get out! This ain't no museum people. These are hard-working folks trying to make a living while you take a pretty picture and block the paying customers. OK, that's a little harsh. But for this visitor attraction to work, you've got to show some love. Or plastic.
And for locals who shun the place because it's a tourist attraction: Get over yourselves! Despite the minor shortcomings, this is the most wonderfully funky place to shop and eat and hang out in the city. If you can't find it there, it's not worth having.
Today, I came home with Creole mustard, remoulade, the fixings for meatloaf from Don & Joe's Butchers, organic tomatoes and potatoes and shallots and tomatillos, a poblano pepper, garlic, smoked sea salt, anchovies and medium brown eggs from the most awesome little shop, Pike Place Creamery. Today, they had a bunch of fall leaves on the ground, and they let me slide when I was short 15 cents. Thanks guys!
Care to share your suggestions on making this great market even better?