Wallingford Farmers Market Options

This past Wednesday, the Farmers Market association presented the options under consideration for placement of the Wallingford Farmers Market, which can not continue at Wallingford Center. Sadly, we were not there to enjoy the discussion. Fortunately, though, Zach Lyons from the Farmers Market Association e-mailed us the list of sites under consideration. They are:

  • Lincoln High School lots (green): This is parking lot behind the Tilth, Smash, the Chili Pepper, etc. This seems like the best option to us, as it has lots of room. Apparently, though, the school kids use it in the afternoons, so maybe it’s no go. The Farmers Market Association folks are talking to the school folks and seeing what can be done.
  • N 46th St West of Wallingford Ave (red):  This is the street adjacent to and North of the QFC Parking Lot. The street itself would be blocked off on market day. Presumably, there would be some nice synergies with QFC (e.g., get the PCC and Trader Joe shoppers to come over and finish their non-market shopping at QFC), but the QFC people don’t necessarily see it that way.
  • Meridian Park (blue): Where the Tilth Harvest Fair, etc. are, in back of the Good Shepherd Center. Goodness and beauty, except that it’s far away from the commercial center of Wallingford, so you lose all of the “serendipitous traffic” of people who just happened to be walking by on their way to the bank.
  • Tully’s Parking Lot (orange): Behind Moon Temple, right across from Cutz on Meridian. Get a haircut, get a melon, get your melon a haircut! Perfect in many ways, except for its size. The Farmers Market Association has said they need a site that is “large enough to accommodate a minimum of 40 10×10 canopies, and ideally will allow enough space for approximately 8-10 vendors to expand during their high production months.  The size must also provide space for aisles that meet all safety requirements and the loading/unloading needs for market operations.” The Tully’s lot is small and once its filled, it’s filled. Unlike the other areas under consideration, there is no wiggle room.
  • Sledge (not shown): Though not an option proposed by the Association or steering committee, we believe this one may be the best: load the entire market onto a horse-drawn sledge that is dragged slowly down 45th St. It’s nearby everything at some point, no problems with schools, and you could charge the kiddies extra to ride the ponies.

So that’s the skinny. There’s still talk of moving the market to Saturday, but the main issue from our perspective is competition for vendors: many vendors who sell at the Wallingford market also sell at Saturday’s University District Farmers Market. Operations this small can’t all afford to operate multiple simultaneous stalls.

The Farmers Market Assocation folks promise to keep us updated. Expect another meeting in March.

  1. DOUG. said,

    These are all mediocre to bad alternatives to the existing farmer’s market location. Too bad Wallingford Center tenants can’t see the value in having the market in their parking lot.

    Thu, January 20 at 11:34 pm
  2. Carolyn said,

    Lincoln would be nice, if market started at 5pm. But school ends at 3:30 and that’s the main parent parking lot and bus drive-through area. As mentioned, it’s also where kids get their running time during the school day.

    Thu, January 20 at 11:40 pm
  3. Jen said,

    I think that the Tully’s parking lot would be great. It’s a little tight, but centrally located.

    Fri, January 21 at 9:52 am
  4. Chris W. said,

    I’m all for Meridian park, if vendors can get their trucks in there. It’s a few blocks to the main shopping district, but I think people who go out of their way to hit the market will also go a few blocks beyond it to finish their shopping.

    Fri, January 21 at 10:08 am
  5. MetaDot said,

    I’m all for just keeping it where it is. Agree with the comment that these are all mediocre to bad solutions to a problem that shouldn’t really be a problem. I come to the farmer’s market specifically to go to the market. Then I often schedule haircuts for kids, buy something at the toy store, stop at the hardware store, the map store, Pharmaca etc. I will not be doing this if the market moves. Too bad.

    Fri, January 21 at 10:54 am
  6. Halei said,

    I like the Lincoln parking lot idea the best. I think that having the market there from 5-8 pm (or something along those lines). I is still in a high traffic area, close to a bus stop for those who live a little farther, and only a few blocks from the current location. Sounds great to me!

    Fri, January 21 at 12:58 pm
  7. Peg said,

    I’m a fan of Meridian Park, but also the Tully’s lot – and possibility that “expansion” could go across the street into the bit of lot behind the store and near Cutz?

    Fri, January 21 at 1:58 pm
  8. Marley's Ghost said,

    Will the sledge include chimes like the Joe Ice Cream trucks so we know when it is coming? “Oh, the Wells Fargo wagon is a comin’…”

    Seriously, please lighten up on the tenants and other businesses. They do not have much influence in market location. It is my understanding that the market needed more space and the landlord at Wallingford Center did not want to give them more. Unfortunate, but not the fault of our neighborhood businesses.

    One grapevine rumor has the play area for the new preschool at Wallingford Center being moved to the back parking lot outside the space instead of on the front corner of the site, as was originally proposed last July.

    Please only consider the Lincoln parking lot with your eyes very wide open and be prepared to vacate on 30 days notice. The School District is a horror show. Remember 1996 and again in 2008 when the District chucked all prior agreements out the window without a hint of remorse. Some wonderful tenants, including a great daycare and the B&G Club, were unceremoniously thrown out on the street. B&G Club ended up over on Phinney for ten(?) years. The daycare ended up in Ballard and may have gone belly-up.

    Fri, January 21 at 2:09 pm
  9. kolokolo said,

    I like Lincoln and Tullys. If you go to Meridian people will NOT go. Behind QFC sounds off the main drag.
    Too bad the center didnt like it.

    Fri, January 21 at 6:28 pm
  10. Kara said,

    it is a shame that the FM can’t continue at W Center, but they won’t consider it. and Wallingford Ave and Interlake/46th was shot down as a possibility last year too, unfortunately. there are many businesses here that have said they’d kill to have the FM near them.
    we knew about these as possibilities for a while, but a lot of work had to be done to actually see if these 4 locations would be okay with permit issues, enough room for fire lanes, nearby residents/businesses, etc. it’s good that the lot behind the Neighborhood Office is finally being considered (some of us think), even though it’s not a favorite of the FM Assn. true, it doesn’t have the expansion possibilities of the school or the park, but it’d remain centrally located.
    re the school: it was discussed at the meeting that since this year the FM will start not in mid-May but beginning of June, there may only be 3 Wednesdays that would affect the school. couldn’t the school consider allowing it then? this is being looked into. imagine our lil’ market expanding into 50-60 booths! love to see that.
    btw, Wed was chosen since there are no other FMs then, and while it’s seen by some to be fine on Sat (not superclose to Univ Dist FM; theirs closes at 2; theirs doesn’t allow dogs), most of us wouldn’t want to switch days. whether it’s a switch of days or location, we’ll need all the help we can get from you community members to let everyone know! especially if farther from the business core at Good Shepherd Center.

    Fri, January 21 at 8:28 pm
  11. walkinroun said,

    Really like the Lincoln option: roomy, close by activities and other retail, visible from 45th, easy to access and coincides with school only a brief time. Also like keeping Wednesday afternoons/evening.

    Fri, January 21 at 10:05 pm
  12. amanzi said,

    With Cathy Tuttle recently getting a neighborhood grant from the city to convert 44th into a bike boulevard (http://greenwallingford.ning.com/forum/topics/bicycle-boulevard-project-for) and (http://wallingford.komonews.com/content/wallingford-get-citys-second-bike-boulevard), I would have thought that a block of 44th could have been used for the farmers market.

    Fri, January 21 at 11:54 pm
  13. Ffej said,

    Thanks for the update and summary of where things are, Wallyhood!

    Re: the N 46th St West of Wallingford Ave (red), between Wallingford Ave. N and Densmore Ave. N: While the south side of the street is commercial (adjacent to the QFC parking lot), the north side are all residences.

    Blocking off the street once a week for evening hours means that the people living there will have no access to their driveways, and will have to wait until the Market closes (and the vendors leave) before they can park their cars in the evening. And with the crowds visiting the Market, they may have a fair walk to their houses.

    Also, I’m having a difficult time seeing how this site would provide “space for aisles that meet all safety requirements and the loading/unloading needs for market operations.” (I.e., for booths on the North side of the street, how do the vendors get produce and products in and out of booths? Over the median strip?)

    There are other aspects to this for said residents (effect on median strip gardens/lawn from foot traffic, noise levels (bands playing, etc.)), but I think the limited access to their own homes once a week is probably the most significant issue. So, IMO, I doubt this is a practical option for the Market.

    Sat, January 22 at 10:00 am
  14. Kara said,

    re the previous two posts:
    1) we looked at 44th last year as a possibility – the street is way too small even for one row of booths since they need at least 20 feet for a fire lane. yes, would’ve been perfect, we thought!
    2) yes, some of us don’t see 46th/Densmore as an ideal. but it’d only be two rows, back to back, on the south side. the FM Assn likes this one, and many of us really like the Lincoln idea. many like the Meridian Park/GSC idea too, but since it’s on the grass and soil i’ve never thought this the best option.

    Sat, January 22 at 12:53 pm
  15. Fruitbat said,

    A Saturday market would not only compete with the University market for shoppers, but with University, Georgetown, Magnolia, Bellevue and I don’t know who else in the outlying areas for vendors. The current timing for Walllingford is great.
    A Saturday market would also add further traffic congestion to 45th St, if that’s even possible.

    Sun, January 23 at 8:24 am
  16. CTL said,

    Just to add a counter-perspective to comment #9, above — I strongly disagree that people would not go to Meridian for a farmers market. Personally, I would love going to a market held in such a spacious and beautiful park, and it’s really only a couple blocks from 45th. (Do people really think that this is some distant, “far away” location???) I like the image of having a weekly farmers market there, because it reminds me of the Seattle Tilth plant sale every year, which is always a highly successful and festive event. I rarely went to the W-ford Center market because I preferred the larger U-district market, but I imagine that I would go to Meridian every week.

    Going to a tiny and cramped market in the Tully’s parking lot is the least appealing to me. I imagine that I’d be standing in crowds of people, waiting in line for a glimpse at vendors’ produce. The hassle wouldn’t be worth it, especially given that there will be a limited number of farms represented. …Doesn’t seem sustainable for a neighborhood market that all of us (I think) hope will grow and last throughout the years.

    Sun, January 23 at 11:00 am
  17. Ffej said,

    I agree w/CTL re: Meridian Park. Given how many people head over there for the various plant sales, I don’t think it’s isolated.

    Sun, January 23 at 11:25 am
  18. CTL said,

    P.S. Imagine if the market has room to accommodate the musicians and food vendors who attend the larger markets, like the Ballard and U-district markets… AND if there’s ample green space surrounding the market to be able to picnic or just hang out. One of my favorite things about the Ballard market is that it often becomes a sort of hang-out place, as people sit along the sidewalks on either side after they’re done shopping and listen to music, eat, or just chill.

    I guess some people prefer a market where they can quickly run in for some ultra-fast transactions, to simply grab flowers or a bunch of carrots, but I prefer to be able to linger for a long time, buy as much as I can carry/afford, and chat with friends and neighbors. Meridian park is ideal for this.

    Last, some posters highlighted the fact that Meridian is the one location that’s on grass, as if that’s a disadvantage. I would choose grass over pavement any day! (As long as drainage, mud and overall impact isn’t an issue, but it sounds like that’s been considered already.)

    Sun, January 23 at 12:30 pm
  19. kolokolo said,

    There is NO parking as it is by Meridian.. if you hav ea market up there.. unless you wish to cater to the Good Sheperd residents including the Meridian School.. people will not go.
    Lincoln is a good site fo rspace.. and afterwardsas it is righ t next to the food Bank merchants can donate ‘aging ‘ produc eto it with little hasssle.

    Sun, January 23 at 1:23 pm
  20. Therese said,

    I think there is a ton of parking near Meridian Park — if you think about it, there is actually more parking than at most other neighborhood sites because you can enter the park from any one of the four sides. The way I see it, this means that the parking options are spread out over a larger geographic area (and therefore have less impact on the surrounding neighborhood.) In addition, there are TWO large parking lots on just the other side of the Good Shepherd building, essentially right in the park itself. (Some of those spots may be reserved, but I know many are open to the public.)

    I’ve been to several large events at Meridian, and I never have had any issues with parking. Any location within a block of 45th, however, is another story….! I never went to the W-ford Center market unless I had enough time to walk, because parking was a pain.

    I disagree that people will not go to Meridian park. I know that my family, neighbors, and friends in Wallingford go there all the time for all sorts of events — by car, foot, stroller or bike.

    Sun, January 23 at 7:44 pm
Read previous post:
Walllyhood Weekend Round-Up

As the weekend fast approaches, Wallyhood has been busy constructing a list of local happenings.  Let's hope the weather cooperates and we'll...