In a Fizz aside earlier this week, we noted that Seattle saw an increase in foot traffic between 2011 and 2012 (an 18 percent jump in "pedestrian counts" in spot checks at 50 locations across the city.)
I was pretty ecstatic about this news and asked SDOT analyst Craig Moore if there was an explanation for the apparent one-year dramatic jump. (They only started doing ped counts in 2011, so there's no way to gauge a trend or to put the number in historical context.)
I wondered, for example, if the recent effort to design walkable neighborhoods by directing growth into "urban villages" and "residential urban villages" where a mixed-use approach (putting more amenities outside of downtown) was finally coming online and creating more street activity.
Moore said he didn't know—all he has is raw data of the counts (Broadway & Pine had the most foot traffic, with 3,613 people counted on a Tuesday afternoon in July 2012 over a two-hour period).
As for my theory about urban and residential urban villages: The heart of the Greenwood residential urban village, Greenwood Ave. N. & N. 85th St., increased on a Saturday afternoon two-hour count by 25 percent. On the May 2012 count, there were 3,280 people. On the May 2011 count, there were just 666 people. (Maybe the residential urban village strategy is working? Or maybe the Christian Taproot Theater at 204 N. 85th St. gave Satan the heebie-jeebies?)
Whatever the reason, the increase in Seattle's population doesn't explain it: Seattle's population increased just .7 percent between 2011 and 2012, from 612,100 to 615,500—hardly cause for the near 20 percent jump in ped traffic citywide