Lake Washington Blvd Keep Moving Street

Updated July 1, 2021

What's Happening Now?

We're opening up space for people to walk, bike, and play in a healthy way. 

The holiday weekend is approaching! Friday (July 2) afternoon through Tuesday morning, we'll close 3 miles of Lake Washington Blvd to pass through traffic and open it to people walking, rolling, and biking. The 3-mile closure will extend from Mt Baker Park to Seward Park along Lake Washington Blvd. 

We'll continue these weekend* closures through at least September to give more people space to bike, walk, roll, and enjoy Lake Washington.   

*For consistency, barricades will be placed Friday afternoons and removed Monday mornings. This also reduces costs in paying staff overtime. On Fourth of July and Labor Day weekends, barricades will be removed the following Tuesday morning.  

summer weekends on lake washington blvd

Click for pdf of the map above  

Important details 

  • LOCAL ACCESS: People driving to homes along the boulevard because they live there, are visiting, or making deliveries are allowed from the nearest cross street.  
  • CLEANLINESS: Based on neighbor input, we're adding a portable toilet to the Ferdinand parking lot and will be servicing the Adams St portable toilet daily. We also deployed additional garbage cans in a few locations along the Blvd. 
  • DATA COLLECTION: We'll continue collecting data related to possible traffic diversion at S Genesee St (east of 38th Ave S), S McClellan St (east of 31st Ave S), and Wilson Ave S (northwest of S Lucille St). We're adding a counter to collect data for Hunter Blvd S.  
    • Staff will also be observing and collecting counts on the number of people walking, biking, and rolling along the street closure. 
  • DURATION: Current plans are to have the program run through September. It may extend into October depending on how well it's used. 
  • PARKING: Seattle Parks and Recreation parking lots are now open which should be a big load off the increased parking, driving, and noise on side streets. 
    • While all parking lots are open, to minimize driving on Lake Washington Blvd, we're limiting which lot entrances are open. See map above showing parking lot access. 
    • Please take extra caution at the entrance of Stan Sayres Memorial Park and Mt Baker Rowing & Sailing Center where there's a higher volume of people driving in and out of the parking lot entrance with boats. We'll be separating people walking/biking and people driving along that stretch to make access easier and safer. See entrance map below

Access to Stan Sayres Boat Launch and Mt Baker Rowing & Sailing Center

Lake Washington Blvd Keep Moving Street Overview

The global pandemic provided an opportunity to experience the city in a different way. Last year, Seattle Department of Transportation and Seattle Parks and Recreation opened 3 miles of Lake Washington Blvd all summer to allow for recreation close to home and space to keep 6 feet apart. This real-time experience engaged hundreds of people who shared their thoughts with us through emails, phone calls, surveys, and even videos (like this one from Anna Zivarts with Disability Rights Washington).

 "As a city, we're taking what we experienced during COVID-19, considering how to meet our environmental goals, and striving for safer places to walk and bike. Lake Washington Blvd is a gem and opening up space for people of SE Seattle and beyond to enjoy it in healthy and active ways supports and encompasses all these objectives." - Councilmember Tammy Morales

As one would expect, reactions to the change varied. A substantial number of people shared their joy in having an intuitive, flat space, free of traffic safety concerns, and to be outside alongside one of Seattle's most beautiful parks. We also heard concerns from some residents related to on-street parking pressures (particularly when parking lots were closed last summer), traffic transferring from Lake Washington Blvd to adjacent streets, and missing a treasured scenic drive whether for pleasure, lack of ability to walk or bike, or commuting. 

Here's a sampling of what we heard:

"I've loved seeing families and friends stroll along the boulevard when it's closed to cars, and it's been a joy to cycle through without having to worry about traffic." -Mariko W. 

"With the road being closed, it gives a lot more people the opportunity to come to a nice place that's safe and just a good place to hang out." -Jawara O.

"As a health care worker, I do not always have the luxury of time and sometimes need to drive. The quickest way to drive is along LWB, and after a long stressful day caring for patients, it is an absolutely lovely and relaxing drive home. Even as an avid biker, I prefer it stay open to cars, especially during the week." -Ben T. 

People walking ton Lake Washington Blvd

Striking a balance

This summer's approach builds on decades of Bicycle Sundays where on a typical day about 5,000 people participate. It expands the lakefront for more use and supports affordable travel options by making it easier to walk, bike, and roll. It provides space for children under 12 that are not currently eligible for vaccinations to stay active. It's consistent to help people planning their trips and it maintains vehicle access during typical commute hours.

We're balancing access for people with mobility challenges who primarily enjoy the lake when driving; and considering equity for those that moved out of the city due to affordability issues and often return to visit relatives and friends in the neighborhood. By keeping parking lots open, people driving from other neighborhoods retain access to the parks.

We don't take these decisions lightly as we work toward creating a safer, more sustainable city.

Mother and Child on Lake Washington Blvd

How did we select this option?

We received 6,700 responses to a poll open from April 23 to May 10 and the top preference was to close 3 miles of Lake Washington Blvd all summer (weekends and weekdays). When we broke the data down by people who lived in nearby zip codes and people who identified as BIPOC, the result was the same.

We also considered what we learned through listening sessions held with BIPOC community members and from people who live on or near Lake Washington Blvd. In addition, we received hundreds of emails to our project inbox and considered feedback from a 2020 survey. 

Seattle Department of Transportation and Seattle Parks & Recreation evaluated the options with this weighted criteria:  

  1. Equity (25%) 
  2. Community & Stakeholder Input (25%)
  3. Safety & Health (20%)
  4. Access (20%)
  5. Implementation (10%)

Balancing those metrics, we're moving forward with opening 3 miles of Lake Washington Blvd on summer weekends and holidays.

Two pictures of people on Lake Washington Blvd

Keep Moving Streets Program

During the summer and fall of 2020, we partnered with Seattle Parks and Recreation to create more space for people to exercise and keep 6 feet apart. While parking lots were closed, and people were discouraged from congregating, we opened streets adjacent to 4 destination parks (Alki Point, Green Lake, Lake Washington Blvd, and Golden Gardens) to create more space for people to get outside. 

Now in 2021, with the approach of summer, we want to continue creating space for people to stay healthy and enjoy some of Seattle's best features. Visit our Stay Healthy Streets page for more info.

4 Stay Healthy and Keep Moving Streets

What's next? 

No decisions have been made on whether the Lake Washington Blvd Keep Moving Street will be made permanent in some form. We're committed to conducting robust community outreach before any permanent changes are made. Sign up for a project listserv to stay updated on opportunities for input.

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