Pike Place or Pike’s Place ?

Pike, or his/her current heirs, would be pretty happy campers if this was his/her place. Alas, it only gets its name, Pike ( without “s” at the end) Place, by virtue of it being at one end of Pike street. Though, Pike street itself is named after one John Pike, who was an architect and builder. He is said to have who laid the foundation of the present day university of Washington.

In the early days, it could have been called Goodwin’s place, named after the developer Frank Goodwin who saw an opportunity in a prosperous farmer’s market and built the shopping arcade some of what you see today. Or even Desimone’s place after Joe Desimone, the Italian farmer, who bought the place through the tough economic time of the world wars.

No, its not named after anybody. Pike Place market began its life as a place where famers got together to sell their produce without the need for middle men. When it started at the turn of the 20th century, it saw rapid growth, it was the then “Amazon” delivering fresh vegetables to the door step of Seattle.

Even after nearly 125 years, Pike Place is still a farmer’s market. If you could travel back in time you would see Pike Place filled with horse pulled carts filled with fresh produce bought to the market by the farmers.

Pike Place Market circa 1900 ( picture courtesy Pikeplace organization)

And just like it has been a farmers market since the beginning, it has also been very accessible to equipment with wheels, with lots of place to move around in a cycle or even a wheelchair. Had we, Wheels For Feet, been around back then we would have been renting wheelchairs that looked something like this

Dont worry, we are not renting these wheelchairs, though love to get our hands on one of them. 🙂

Mobility at Pike Place Market

Pike Place Market circa 1900 ( courtesy Pike Place Market org)

Pike Place gets its name because it sits at the end of the Pike street. ( read our blog “Pike Place or Pike’s Place”). My favorite entrance to the market is at the end of Pike Street. The entrance leads you right into the heart of the market.

There you are greeted by the famous Rachel the Piggy Bank, which is the mascot of Pike Place Market. At the end of Pike street is a red brick paved road that leads into the market. The paved road turns right and then along the length of the market. The brick-paved road is easy to navigate in a wheelchair, scooter and walker.

Once you come into the Pike Place Market it is very accessible by mobility equipment. The main market which runs inside along the pike place street is fully tiled and makes for easy navigation. The picture below was taken early morning before the market opened, typically you would see it hustling and bustling with people.

Right next to market entrance, on the left side of Pike street entrance is a steep cobbled street that leads down to the gum wall. You should Not use this cobbled road. Its not fun, I have tried 🙂

If you must see the gum wall, one of the quirkiest attraction of Seattle, you can use the elevators inside the market to get down to the gum wall

Gum wall ( courtesy Quirky Travel Guy)

As you move down Pike Place Street, the next street over from Pike street is Pine Street. The street is sloped and perhaps can be somewhat of a challenge when it is wet. On a nice dry day, it has not been difficult to get up the street for both our customers and our crew. Of course, the decision is ultimately yours whether you want to venture up and down this street.

The next two streets, Stewart and Virginia Streets our steep. Based on the feedback from customers, and having tried it myself personally, it is NOT a street you should take to get to the market.

As you wander on down, on the other end of the market, where Pike Place Street meets Western Avenue. It is nice and level, and also a great way to get to the market. At the crossing, is the Victor Steinbruek park that has houses one of the most prominent totem poles in Seattle. It was carved by James Bender.

To sum it up, Pike Place is a lot of fun and we definitely recommend visiting it.

Seattle Accessibility Map

The city of Seattle does a great job at providing resources for people with disabilities. I will talk about some of the resources in the coming weeks, today lets begin with something that is not much discussed or shared much. It is the accessibility interactive map that helps you plan your trip in Seattle. The map allows you to view slope, gradation and condition of the roads and the sidewalks. The map is intimidating at first, but it in reality is pretty easy. When get to the map, the first thing you notice is that all the streets and roads are colored.  There is a legend on the left that explains the colors. The colors clearly indicate the condition of the ramp and the sidewalks. Pretty cool.

Obviously the map does not know where you are headed. Its just shows an area in downtown Seattle. To view the condition at the location you are visiting, simply type the address in the “search for your address” box, and it redraws the map of the area. begin you can type the address of the location you are visiting. For instance, lets type in Space needle.


There you see the streets around space needle.

Seattle Accessibility Information

There are number of accessibility resources that are published by government and other agencies.
General Accessibility
Tourist Spots
Seatac Airport