Friday, September 14, 2012

Safeco & Century Link Fields & Surrounding Area

The weather was wonderful and traffic around the sports arenas was light so it was a great day to walk in the Pioneer Square and Industrial neighborhoods (with a detour into the International District  to fill in missed streets). Including walking to and from the bus, I walked 10 miles but this included walking a few streets multiple times looking for ways to walk east/west.

Once I realized that some streets are elevated and that I should climb the ramp at S Royal Brougham Way to get to the street between CenturyLink and Safeco Fields, east/west walking became a lot easier.

Safeco Field felt more welcoming than CenturyLink Field. It seemed to be more outward facing and its gates were imaginative, with baseball-related artwork

and literary quotes.

CenturyLink Field had sculptures

but I liked Safeco Field's more.

Even its parking garage was nicely hidden behind a row of trees. I have been to a game at Safeco Field - the vibes on inside are even better than those on the outside.

CenturyLink Field has a nicer location, being part of the Pioneer Square neighborhood with its restaurants, art galleries and tree-lined cobblestone streets. I have never been to a game at CenturyLink Field but hope to attend a Sounders game before too long.

While in Pioneer Square, I passed King Street Station which is being renovated. Outside, is an Egyptian sculpture (to advertise the King Tut Exhibit currently at the Pacific Science Center);

inside, I was disappointed to see that some of the original detail was covered up and the whole station seemed to have been chopped into sections. The restoration website implies that this will not be the final result.

Across the street, Union Station was renovated in 1999 and looks much nicer both outside

and inside. It is the headquarters of Sound Transit.

Along the way, I noticed the Seattle Unit of the Klondike Gold Rush Historical National Park (2nd and Jackson) - well worth a return visit,

Seattle Historic Triangle Pub,

a row of art galleries along 1st Avenue (just south of King Street),
CenturyLink Event Center, a long line at the el camion food truck, the Seattle Team Shop, WA MU Theater,

the Salvation Army Store and Adult Rehabilitation Center, Dave Niehaus Way,

Edgar Martinez Drive which must be the elevated road because the street level at 4th Avenue didn't appear to be a drive, maybe not even a pedestrian crossing since there were no crosswalk lines painted on the street. I did cross 4th here because traffic was light but it could be a little dangerous and it didn't appear to go anywhere.

I also saw an artistic manhole cover across the street from Safeco Field's Home Plate entrance.

In the Industrial area, I noted a mural along the busway,

murals on the Grocery Outlet store,

an Outdoor Emporium, the Seattle Canine Club, a nicely landscaped plaza,

and a Metro bus barn, nicely landscaped building and a large employee parking garage. What does it say about Metro service that its employees need to drive to work?

In spite of all the construction going on, this area exceeded my expectations. I spoke with a sweet young woman who stopped to ask if I were lost. She'd seen me walking around these unusual streets and wanted to help. While waiting for a light to change (which I did many times today), I met an older gentleman who was going to a light rail station and said he hadn't walked so much in 5 years. There are some great sidewalks here but I'm not sure how many people walk them (unless it's game day).

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