EDITORIAL: The ID is a destination, but there’s still more work to do

Earlier in May, The Seattle Times released a list of Seattle’s top 10 attractions in preparation for the summer months. Nestled between Pike Place Market, the Space Needle, and the Seattle Art Museum’s Olympic Sculpture Park, the International District made an appearance buoyed by its long history, restaurants, shops, and the Wing Luke Museum.

This is just the latest in a recent series of wins for tourism in the International District — 2013’s Lunar New Year celebration attracted the largest crowd in recent history and the Wing Luke’s Smithsonian affiliation can only attract more visitors.

However, there’s still more work to do to make the International District a more friendly and prosperous place.

First of all, parking. The rate decrease in March was a good first step and has already had a positive effect, but the parking situation in the International District can still be improved. While the rates are now friendlier, there’s still a lot of confusion about the different zones and time restrictions. Though several other neighborhoods have “sub-areas” that have different rates and rules, the International District is the only neighborhood with sub-areas and time-dependent parking rates.

The amount of litter can also be an issue, though programs such as the CIDBIA and SCIDpda’s Spring Clean have been doing a lot to help. It’s still important that we all do our part to keep the neighborhood tidy from day to day to keep the district welcoming in between deep cleaning sessions.

Finally, the International District is well known for our restaurants and stores, but is also home to a lot of vacant rental space. As the economy improves and with the work of programs such as Storefronts Seattle, this should get better, but it’s important not to take these improvements for granted. Spend the money you would spend elsewhere near your home and support local businesses so they can grow our neighborhood. If we all work together, we can strengthen the International District, and we can make it one of the best parts of Seattle. (end)

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