Kiosks! So adorable in old-timey European postcards with berets and cobblestones, but who actually uses them anymore? They're like phone books—the intrusive cultural vestiges of some old tradition your parents try to explain while your kids roll their eyes. Yet kiosks keep sprouting like mushrooms in the middle of Seattle sidewalks, where distracted cell-phone users can walk smack into them while checking their location via GPS. Instead of putting more and bigger street signs on downtown intersections, where they're needed, the city persists with its kiosk habit. The most recent municipal design appeared last year, along with the red directional poles topped with i-globes to signal their supposed utility. (The latter would be more helpful if sized appropriately for bike locks.) These annoying, Lucite-lidded new kiosks are more interesting when blank: Two convex panels bulge from the red trunk, devoid of purpose, begging for graffiti, cherry-topped by the little i standing for what: irritating, inane, irrelevant? The red paint suggests old-time London phone booths (also fast-tracked to extinction), and are hardly an improvement on the square, pomo, pastel '80s models you'll still find randomly about the city. Between Google Maps and common sense, there should be no such need to answer the out-of-towner's "Which way to Pike's Market, guv'nah?" Check your damn phone, tourist. This kioskery must not stand.
Alaskan Way & Pike Street (and other locations), seattle.gov.