Celebrate Seattle Summer Streets in 2013
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Is the City of Seattle going to do Summer Street’s again this year?
A: Yes, we’ll be hosting 4 events in the same locations as previous years: Ballard, Alki, PhinneyWood, and Rainier Valley. We also support the City’s Bicycle Sundays along Lake Washington Blvd.
Q: Why are you doing it again this year, is that a good use of money?
A: Summer Streets open up the city’s largest public space – our streets—for people to have fun, celebrate the spirit and personality of their community, discover active, healthy transportation and support local businesses. Each event is hosted with the help of local organizations (local chambers, PTSA, neighborhood district councils, etc.).
Seattle provides these opportunities at about a third of the costs of Portland, New York City and San Francisco events and funding is supplemented with sponsorships.
Q. How will bikers and walkers use the same street?
A. Summer Streets will be celebrated by walkers, cyclists, skaters and joggers at a variety of ages, abilities and speeds. Please be patient, aware and courteous to all participants.
For cyclists and skaters, please remember that pedestrians always have the right of way, so please yield to them. Pass other cyclists and skaters on the left, and make sure to use your voice or bell to alert those around you.
Q. What should I bring to the events?
A. Yourself and anything you think will make the celebration more fun, such as sidewalk chalk, a soccer ball, lawn chairs or your camera.
Cyclists and skaters should also bring their snug-fitting helmets and bicyclists should bring bike locks.
Q. How can I get to the event?
A. We ask that you make your trip to Summer Streets events car- free. Visit Way to Go, Seattle! to find a bike, bus or walking route.
Q. Can dogs attend the event?
A. Yes, but please keep them on a leash at all times and obey scoop laws.
Q. What kinds of activities can I bring to Summer Streets?
A. Summer Streets are about communities re-imagining their streets—these events can include whatever you dream up. Here are a few ideas to get your imagination going:
- Organize a bike ride
- Form a game of softball, kickball, stickball, soccer or touch football
- Give dance lessons
- Organize a scavenger hunt
- Teach origami
- Host a hula hoop competition
- Put on a play, skit, puppet shows or mime act
- Practice yoga
- Take drill team or band practice outside
- Jump rope and double dutch
- Coordinate wheelbarrow, three-legged or potato sack races
- Roller skate
- Organize chess or checkers tournaments
- Give music lessons
- Put on book readings or story time hour
- Draw with sidewalk chalk
- Relax with a crossword or game of sudoku
- Bring your living room furniture outside
- Make a hopscotch course
- Hold a street sale instead of a sidewalk sale
- Decorate your bike or skateboard
- Move your restaurant tables outdoors
- Display your art
- Put on a “Strut Your Mutt” parade
Residents and Businesses
Information regarding times of street closures, parking and re-routed transit is posted on the event-specific web pages.
Q. What is the goal of the Summer Streets events?
A. These events illustrate the city’s livability when people drive less. They showcase how streets can be used for people (not just vehicles). They present opportunities for affordable, healthy outings in city neighborhoods and encourage neighbors to shop at local businesses.
Q. How will people who live on the affected streets get to and from their homes?
A. Events should not prevent access to homes, although transit routes may be altered during this time. We appreciate your patience.
Q. What if there is an emergency?
A. Special events are required to leave a 20-foot lane for emergency vehicles to respond to any problems. Trained volunteers and police officers will be on-hand to help vehicles move safely through the street.
Q. How did you choose the dates?
A. We identified summer dates through requests from the community. Please email us with suggestions for next year at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q. How are you handling impacts on businesses?
A. We anticipate the events to attract large numbers of people and are partnering with the business community to encourage participants to support local shops and restaurants. Summer Streets events are a great opportunity for local businesses to promote themselves.
Q. Can businesses serve food and alcohol outside?
A. Special permits are needed to use the sidewalk or street space. If you're interested in serving alcohol or food, please observe WA State Alcohol Beverage and King County Board of Health codes and obtain necessary permits and contact the Fire Marshal's Office if you plan on using tents or propane.
Q. What are the guidelines for serving food for consumption off premises in one-time use service ware or packaging?
A. Whether a restaurant is serving food to go from inside an establishment, or have been permitted by King County Public Health to serve food outside of the establishment, compostable or recyclable packaging must be used and the restaurant must have collection bins for proper collections of these materials available.
Q. If the streets are open, can I block my sidewalk?
A. While we encourage creative use of both sidewalks and streets, sidewalk clearance for wheelchair access (at least four feet) should be maintained at all times. Those wishing to set up tables on the sidewalk should use the “planting strip”—the four to six foot sections closest to the curb.
Q. What if people drive to the event?
A. The streets involved will be closed to all motor vehicle traffic to allow residents to walk right out of their doors to experience their street in a different way. Although there will be street parking available on adjacent roads, we promote the use of bikes, buses, the Water Taxi and encouraging walking whenever possible.
Q. Will buses be rerouted during the events?
A. In some cases buses are being rerouted during the events, but this will not greatly affect bus schedules or final destinations.
Q. Will there be toilets?
A. Toilets will be placed along routes that do not have public toilet facilities.
Q. What if other communities want to Celebrate Summer Streets?
A. We encourage all neighborhoods to explore holding a Summer Streets event! Please contact us at email@example.com to learn more about how to get involved with the Summer Streets program.
For information on hosting a block party visit www.seattle.gov/transportation/stuse_blockparty.htm or for hosting special activities visit www.seattle.gov/transportation/stuse_special.htm.
For additional information and answers to your questions, email Summer.Streets@seattle.gov.