Stay Healthy Streets

What’s happening now?

Updated: December 16, 2020

Lake Washington Blvd (LWB) Update

Starting Friday, December 18 thru January 3, one mile of the northern portion of Lake Washington Blvd from Mt. Baker Park to Stan Sayres Park opens to people walking, rolling, and biking and closes to people driving. Barricades will be removed on Monday, January 4. During the week of December 14, electronic message signs are up in up to 3 locations prior to alert people driving of the upcoming temporary change. Read our November update to learn more about Keep Moving Streets and LWB.

As COVID-19 cases increase rapidly across the United States and we wait for increased vaccine availability, the safest way to celebrate holidays and school break is at home with people who live with you. Staying at home helps flatten the curve reducing demand on our hospitals and essential workers. Changing plans and leaving traditions behind is tough, and we hope adding space to recreate while keeping 6-feet apart makes this time a little less challenging.

Want to enjoy the benefits of Stay Healthy Streets on your block? Request a Stay Healthy Block permit and enjoy up to 20 hours a week of open streets. Read our guidelines to learn more.

New Signs!

Starting December 5, we're replacing A-frame signs along all Stay Healthy Streets with sturdier ones less susceptible to winter weather and movement. The larger barricades go near busy intersections and the small barrel with a sign at all other locations. We also revised the information sign to provide more clarity at a glance.

TS 8 Barrel

Type III Barricade detail

Local Access Only Sign Example

If your street not a part of the 26 miles of temporary Stay Healthy Streets, but you want it to be, check out our Stay Healthy Blocks Program. You can get a free permit to open your street to people walking, rolling, biking, and playing from 9AM to 9PM for up to 20 hours a week.

LET’S TALK!

Stay Healthy Streets can only be an asset with input and support from the people who live along and use them. This summer, we collected feedback from over 9,000 people using an online survey.  Question 5 and question 19 do not show up well, so we've attached PDFs. The majority of participants identified as white, so while we compile the comments, we're working with the Department of Neighborhoods and Vida Agency to include more Black, Indigenous, and People of Color in the conversation. We're discussing how to center race and equity, respect the cultural significance of neighborhoods, understand how to make streets feel safe for all, and confirm where up to 20 miles of Stay Healthy Streets should be made permanent. We expect to wrap up this phase in the first quarter of 2021.

In the meantime, you can share comments and ask questions by emailing StayHealthyStreets@Seattle.gov or sign up for a project listserv.

children riding big wheels and being glad people are driving the pace of people walking and rolling

As physical distancing becomes the new normal, we're thinking longer term. Stay Healthy Streets are an important tool for Seattleites to get outside, travel to essential services and our small businesses as we start to reopen and get some exercise. Despite the many challenges we face, 2020 will remain a year of thoughtful, forward progress as we build a safer, more livable Seattle for all. With community engagement, these streets can become treasured assets in our neighborhoods to facilitate stronger practices around mental and physical health. 

Background  

Throughout April and May, over 20 miles of Neighborhood Greenways were upgraded to Stay Healthy Streets and opened to people walking, rolling, and biking. Neighborhood Greenways are residential streets identified through past public engagement with enhanced safety features like speed humps, stop signs, and crossing improvements at major streets. Like any residential street, cut-thru traffic is discouraged, but local access, deliveries, waste pickup and emergency vehicles are allowed. With the designation of Stay Healthy Streets, it becomes okay to walk in the street to keep 6 feet apart.  

Currently, Stay Healthy Streets are in 13 locations:  

Street selection included working from our 45-mile Neighborhood Greenway network and avoiding impacts to businesses, fire response routes, transit operations and layover, and COVID-19 response efforts like healthcare provider parking. Neighborhood selection considered the Race and Social Equity Index, where existing neighborhood greenways served areas of dense housing or limited public open space, geographic coverage, and access to essential services and open businesses.  

Check out the following blog posts for information on their installation: 

And view photos on our Flickr site. We also opened Keep Moving Streets along W Green Lake Way N, Alki Point, Golden Gardens Dr NW (now closed to walking and rolling on the street), and one along Lake Washington Blvd (now closed to walking and rolling on the street) in coordination with the Seattle Department of Parks and Recreation COVID-19 response. These streets are temporarily closed to thru-traffic, likely until parking lots start opening up again in Phase 3 of the Safe Start Plan, and support social distancing to and at destination parks.  Thru-traffic is people driving from outside of the closure to a location beyond it. Local access is for people going to a destination within the closure, to access their homes, relatives, jobs, etc.   



What we're seeing and hearing

Observations indicate people of all ages are using the Stay Healthy Streets and travelers are following #KeepItMoving guidelines. About 10 to 40 people per mile are walking and biking in the streets depending on the location. The Keep Moving Streets near destination waterfront parks have seen the most use compared to locations along neighborhood greenways. People walking have room to spread out on both sidewalks and the street, while most people running or biking are using the street. We've also seen an increase in parents using the streets with their kids on bikes, scooters, and big wheels along with lots of chalk drawings! The streets tend to be busier in afternoons and on the weekends and are usually quiet in bad weather and in the morning. Neighbors in all locations have been observed resetting Street Closed signs and traffic cones as they get moved or knocked down. People driving are generally respectful and slow when using the Stay Healthy Streets, and we will be monitoring vehicle speed and volume over the next few weeks. Utility and construction workers, emergency services, and deliveries are still able to reach their destination when they have a job to do on the Stay Healthy Street. We continue educating drivers on the importance of sharing the road and paying attention. To make sure the temporary signs and cones remain in place and the streets function correctly, our crews inspect each route daily.

Initial feedback has been positive.    

Young boy waving with caption, “Our family loves the 25th Ave Stay Healthy Street. I’ve been surprised by how much it’s impacted our neighborhood’s quality of life. What has been a wonderful unexpected aspect is seeing how the whole neighborhood uses space

Smiling mom and daughter with quote, “we’ve been trying to teach our 6 year old to bike for a couple of years now. Since 18th became a Stay Healthy Street, we’ve felt comfortable going out to practice in it. There’s plenty of space for others to get around us and not many cars. Now instead of being scared going down a gradual hill, she’s yelling in excitement!

We've also heard concerns from communities of color around how enforcement will be handled, maintaining established cultural practices, and racism directed toward people of color traveling the routes. If we truly want to rebuild to better than before, then "we" must include everybody. It means understanding cultures that existed in the neighborhood you live in now before you arrived. It means valuing everyone's voices and finding ways to include them. It means everyone feels safe traveling on our sidewalks and streets. It means recognizing racism and becoming an ally. Use these links to learn more: 

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