Stay Healthy Streets

What’s happening now?

Updated: November 20, 2020

Starting Wednesday, November 25 to Sunday, November 29, one mile of the northern portion of Lake Washington Blvd from Mt. Baker Park to Stan Sayres Park (mapopens to people walking, rolling, and biking and closes to people driving, except for emergency response. Please plan ahead. Barricades will be removed on Monday, November 30. Opening the street makes space for people to stay close to home and remain active while we work to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Read our listserv email to learn more.

Updated: September 4, 2020

The Stay Healthy Streets online survey is closed. Over 9,000 people responded, and we're busy reviewing and summarizing input. This task will take a while due to the volume of information. In the meantime, visit our survey dashboard to see responses to many of the multichoice questions. Question 5 and question 19 do not show up well, so we've attached PDFs.

We have an update on Keep Moving Streets. In coordination with Seattle Parks and Recreation:

  • Lake Washington Blvd and Golden Gardens Dr NW are now closed to people walking and rolling in the street and available to people driving.
  • Alki Point remains open to people walking, rolling, and biking until Phase 3 of reopening King County and while we do outreach on how the street could be configured in the future
  • W Green Lake Way N will remain open to people walking, rolling, and biking until the Small Crafts Center parking lots reopen

LET’S TALK!

Stay Healthy Streets can only be an asset with input and support from the people who live along and use them. Over the next few weeks, we’ll launch outreach to gather input on making them permanent. Our efforts will center race and equity, discuss how to respect the cultural significance of neighborhoods to those that live there and how to evolve the streets into the neighborhood fabric, share the type of treatments we could use to replace the current Street Closed signs, and collect potential locations for expansion. We’ll also discuss creating a possible ambassador program, similar to adopting a traffic circle.

We are currently designing the engagement plan and expect to start conversations in October and November. We’ll look to the Seattle Department of Neighborhoods and community leaders to identify good forums for talking to you, as well as providing online opportunities. In the meantime, you can express your interest by emailing StayHealthyStreets@Seattle.gov.

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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