An incident involving three vehicles rocked Pike Place Market Sunday night, causing injuries and stoking the embers of the fiery debate over traffic access through Seattle’s original farmers market.
Seattle police told news outlets that after a van driver and an SUV driver got into an argument as they tried to enter onto Pike Place, they started a physical altercation. When the SUV driver returned to the car and drove away, the van driver caught up with him, hitting him through the SUV’s open window. As a third driver approached the SUV, the two men pulled over. The third driver eventually smashed the SUV’s rear window with a hammer. The SUV driver then smashed the third car’s window. As the third driver reversed his car to leave, he hit the SUV driver and a bystander, who was later taken to a hospital for treatment of non-critical injuries.
According to the police, the victim, a 22-year-old pedestrian, was simply a witness and had nothing to do with the outburst of road rage that eventually caused her injuries.
Incident, Injuries Raise Questions Regarding Traffic Access
Last fall, City Council Member Andrew Lewis expressed interest in limiting car access to the market. The idea was based on the pandemic-era effort to make city streets safer for pedestrians.
After the Pike Place Market road rage incident, Lewis once again discussed his interest in bringing the number of drivers in the region down, while also stating that banning all cars, however, was not part of the plan. According to the pedestrian advocacy group Seattle Neighborhood Greenways and the Northwest Progressive Institute, 81% of the public supports the idea of limiting local vehicle traffic, allowing only loading and unloading vehicle access to the market.
Commenting on the latest incident, Seattle Neighborhood Greenways’ Executive Director Gordon Padelford said that “people have been injured in the past and people are going to continue to get hurt as long as we allow hulking SUVs driven by gawking tourists to drive through the market.”
Seattle: Dozens Of Accidents Reported In Pike Place Since 2004
The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) registered 170 traffic accidents in Pike Place Market since 2004, with at least 39 of them resulting in personal injury.
While many are concerned that keeping the market open to car traffic will continue to expose pedestrians to accident risks, however, others believe that limiting car access will ruin what makes Pike Place Market so special to locals. Until vendors, traffic officials, and council members discuss this matter in depth, we hope that drivers are doing their part to help avoid accidents in the region.
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