There are several reasons why this has happened, including the location of the Mall, the building of the 9th Street Bridge and the location of Wal-Mart.
However, none of these reasons address the problems that 9th Street creates for Lower North and South side residents.
Pedestrians are constantly forced to play a game of chicken when crossing this street. And they have to cross it all the time: at 9th Street at 3rd and 4th Avenue North to get to and from Whittier Elementary; at 6th Avenue South to get to Longfellow Elementary; at multiple locations to get to work and shopping downtown; etc.
We need to better control traffic on 9th Street. We need more pedestrian crosswalks on the South side of the Street and (dare I say it) traffic light at 4th Avenue North
What do you think?
UPDATE: Of course, there is a light at 6th Avenue South. However, there is still a need for better traffic control between 2nd Avenue South and 10th Avenue South on 9th Street.