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City of Seattle
Ed Murray, Mayor

SUBJECT: Seattle opens up streets for people as part of 'Give Your Car the Summer Off'

7/30/2008  9:30:00 AM

Seattle opens up streets for people  
as part of “Give Your Car the Summer Off”

SEATTLE – Mayor Greg Nickels announced today that three streets will be opened to pedestrians and cyclists for three “car-free” Sundays in August and September. By opening select streets, people will be invited to walk, bike, skate, run and play in the street.

“Neighbors will have three to six hours to experience our streets in a new way and to see how livable a city can be when people drive less,” Nickels said. “This is our chance to experiment and to evaluate how these events work for people. And we’ll be fighting global warming at the same time.”

As part of Seattle Climate Action Now’s “Give Your Car the Summer Off” campaign to combat global warming by encouraging residents to drive 1,000 fewer miles a year, these car-free days will link recreational activities to neighborhood business centers. Cars are Seattle’s biggest single source of climate pollution and the city is offering a wide range of incentives for people to give up their cars for a day, a month, or a lifetime.

Three locations will be car-free:

  • Sunday, Aug. 24: “Car Free Volunteer Park and 14th Avenue East.” Opens 14th Avenue East from Volunteer Park to East Republican Street, from noon to 6 p.m. during the Peace Concert in the park. The Volunteer Park Western Loop will also be car-free.
  • Sunday, Aug. 31: “Car Free Rainier.” Opens Rainier Avenue South from South Orcas to South Alaska Streets from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. To link Genesee Park to Columbia City, cars will also be restricted on Conover Street, part of 38th Avenue South and South Alaska Street. This event coincides with Bicycle Sunday on Lake Washington Boulevard
  • Sunday, Sept. 7: “Car Free Alki.” Opens Alki Avenue from California Way Southwest around Alki Beach to the south end of 63rd at Beach Drive from noon until 6 p.m. One lane will be coned off for the Water Taxi Shuttle and to provide access for residents living along Alki.

People attending car-free days who do not live in the neighborhood are encouraged to take transit, bicycle or walk to the car-free locations.

“This is a great opportunity to safely open our streets for families to enjoy walking and biking to and through popular destinations in our city,” said City Councilmember Jan Drago.

In addition, Parks and Recreation’s popular Bicycle Saturday and Sunday program is being expanded to include Volunteer Park and Seward Park for one weekday each, and to add dates to Bicycle Saturday and Sunday through September for walkers, bikers, skaters and pedestrians.




Weekday dates/times


Weekend dates/times

Volunteer Park Western Loop

Mondays, 9 a.m. - 7 p.m.
(Aug. 4 – Sept. 29)

9 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Aug. 9, 17, 24, 31 and Sept. 7, 13, 21, 27

Seward Park Upper Loop Road

Thursdays, 10 a.m. - 9 p.m.
including Bicycle Thursday
(Aug. 7 – Sept. 25)

9 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Aug. 9, 17, 24, 31 and Sept. 7, 13, 21, 27

Lake Washington Boulevard from Mt. Baker to Seward Park

Thursdays, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.
(Aug. 7 – Sept. 25)

9 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Aug. 9, 17, 24, 31 and Sept. 7, 13, 21, 27

These occasions set the stage for adding more streets for car-free days in 2009, similar to the ones recently announced by the city of San Francisco. San Francisco will open six miles of streets to the public for four hours on Aug. 31 and Sept. 14. Other cities enjoying car-free days include New York, Portland, Vancouver, BC, and Bogota, Colombia.

While streets and park roads will be closed to non-motorized traffic during the car-free days, exceptions will be made for residents, park permittees, service and emergency vehicles, and access for people with disabilities. To learn more about the events, how to travel to them car-free and other programs that provide discounts or incentives for driving less, visit Seattle’s Climate Action Now site: and

Visit the mayor’s web site at Get the mayor’s inside view on efforts to promote transportation, public safety, economic opportunity and healthy communities by signing up for The Nickels Newsletter at

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Office of the Mayor

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