Letter to the editor: Rethink Walkable Main Street vs. Save Our Saturdays


I propose we continue Walkable Main Street (WMS) and work with retailers to explore options for improving their business… just as has been done with the restaurants.

Retailers need to get creative.  That may mean making some investments to increase business….just as restaurants have done.

Ideas around advertising, Special events, provide package delivery to cars, perhaps fashion shows walking down Main Street during busy hours at restaurants. Does the city have some resources to help them explore possible solutions?

Between the Saturday Market and Walkable Main Street, we see lots of people coming to Edmonds on the weekend. The people attending are not just locals, but Edmonds is drawing people from outside the area because of the water (of course) and the character and fun atmosphere of our small town. More people means more money being spend. Why would we want to change that and reduce the reasons to come to Edmonds?

We know WMS has helped the restaurants. But they have had to make investments to make that happen and to withdraw the city’s support after they have made big expenditures does not seem right.

Several retailers told me they had a great year last year as people were spending money on their houses because they are confined to home…some are the same businesses that signed the letter re: Save Our Saturdays (SOS). Are there any statistics that support eliminating WMS? The exception may be clothing, but during the pandemic why would we buy clothes to stay home?

Yes, provide more close parking for handicapped and maybe the city needs to think about a parking structure or busing to downtown. But, I find it hard to believe people will not walk two to three blocks if they want to shop.

I support Walkable Main Street and I support our restaurants and our retailers. Let’s get creative!

Helen Hall

  1. Sorry it is true. Once the walkable Edmonds closed our sales on Sat went back to normal. Selling retail needs parking and with 10% now being used for food service year round most still have sales. But when the walkable started retail dropped and made being open on Sat a loosing money story. Please just close the streets after 4pm Sat and Sunday till noon.

  2. Although I believe that Ms Hall’s suggestions are sincere, I believe they are unrealistic. I think that it is human nature to want easy access to their destination even if they are physically able to travel some distance to reach it. Of course, it is much more difficult for someone with a disability. The lack of that access to downtown businesses is detrimental.

  3. I don’t care what it cost for those “outdoor / indoor dining areas but get them gone please. They make downtown Edmonds look like some third world bazaar. What’s next ? allowing StreetSide tents for the walking dead and societal zombies similar to what has ruined Freeattle?

    1. I agree with you Frank. They take up parking places. These businesses got to expand their business into the street. Quit the deal. They didn’t have to renovate inside the building to expand, they moved into the street, that we pay taxes for. And they seem to be a somewhat permanent structure. They aren’t on wheels so you can remove them. No, they’re up for seven days a week. It’s a joke.

  4. All these wonderful ideas you talk about style shows, etc..cost money. The very thing retailers do not have or we wouldn’t be having this conversation. Retailers need a free to park tall (3decks) parking garage. After that is done, then see where your at. Those build out dining huts look terrible.
    Based on Inslee forecast and the mass exodus out of Seattle area I’m thinking they could be there for years.

    1. I agree but I do think a charge for parking is wise and feasible. You can stay in your stall and pay at exit. So no moving cars around. I need more than 2 hours for shopping, then returning to vehicle to put first load in trunk. Haha. Throw in a coffee or meal…more time. So, we pay for the convenience, you restaurateurs and retailers reap the benefits.
      I would say and this is very low…5.00 for 4 hours. Then 1.00 for each additional 30 minutes. I think charging for this will make it safer and help the city pay for it. But it must be close. I want that BOA parking lot, myself…real bad.

  5. Helen:

    I was there this Saturday speaking with the small business owners at the Save our Saturday Rally from 1 to 2 on 5th and Main. The majority of business, especially those in the walkable area are against this. Why do you think that is? Don’t you think that if WMS made them more money they would support it? Of course they would, but the fact is that it doesn’t and numbers don’t lie!!

    Let’s be real here. This is not rocket science and it does not have to be more difficult. Keep Main Street open for all traffic on Saturdays till 4 PM and then re-open Main Street Sunday evening. All businesses deserve a piece of the pie and decisions need to have some common sense to them and include input from all parties affected. They Mayor and 4 council members completely ignored the testimony from the small business community, which shows me they could care less about the retailers, but favor the restaurants. The bigger questions is why that is?

  6. Helen, I agree with you.
    I am open to new ideas but friends from Seattle have told me how much they like coming to Edmonds and especially for the walkable area. It is a destination for them.
    I have not heard of one person complain about parking.
    I agree that clothing stores have been hit hard. Clothing needs while spending most days and nights at home fundamentally changed. I had plenty of casual clothes to carry me through the last year. I suspect people will start purchasing clothes again now that they are getting vaccinated and going out.

  7. I was also there on Saturday speaking with small business owners and many shoppers. I’ve lived in Edmonds for almost 20 years and until this weekend when giving out flyers to folks I had no idea just how many folks from out of town come to Edmonds to enjoy food, shopping, and the beach – maybe half! Their sentiment was one of “We want restaurants and retailers. If we have only restaurants, Edmonds will lose its draw, its charm. Why would we come to eat only?”

    I agree with Joe Trevino. We need parking. And, yes, please let’s get rid of the built out huts as soon as we can. They are such an eye sore. They have served an important purpose in helping to keep our restaurants in business – something Edmonds supported without question. But now its time to support our retailers as they too need to survive these crippling COVID restrictions. Restaurant owners, you, like our retailers, are part of this community. We are one. Please come out and support your retailer neighbors right next to you.

    Keep Main Street open for all traffic on Saturday. Then reopen Main Street on Sundays.

    And lastly, I, like Rod Schick, wonder why it appears that the mayor and four city council members seem to support, to favor, restaurants to the detriment of our retailers. This is very perplexing.

    Theresa Campa Hutchison

    1. I agree with with Theresa and others who want to help our retailers and keep the charm of Edmonds. The restaurant huts were fine for temporary use but they look so bad – Hooverville. Really an eye sore. And while I’m an Edmonds resident, I have driven around and around looking for parking. Sundays for walking seems a great alternative for those who want it.

  8. Our retailers cannot hire the staff to walk up and down the streets to advertise clothes. They have been very creative and we keep holding them back by closing the streets. Give them a break.

  9. From a customer standpoint, I think WMS is the best idea ever. I do wonder if there are some creative ideas to help those businesses that say they are hurt by WMS. I also wonder how much of the issue is/was COVID-19. I know, personally, I didn’t want to go into any store last summer — in Edmonds or anywhere. Going to a restaurant outdoors is much safer. Many stores are cramped and small, and if you are worried about spreading disease, they’re not an ideal place to be spending time in.

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