Tag Archive: Green Lake

Funding for Stay Healthy Streets and Cafe Streets!

Great news! Seattle City Council just proposed $2.5 million to make Stay Healthy Streets permanent, as well as $300,000 to fund Cafe Streets through 2022! Act now to:
  • Thank Seattle City Councilmembers for funding Stay Healthy Streets and Cafe Streets to help ensure that the funding isn’t removed.
  • Ask them to support Councilmember Herbold’s amendment to use future funding to make Keep Moving Streets permanent on Alki Point, Green Lake, and Lake Washington Boulevard. 
A blue button that reads
A family with helmets smiles at the camera standing on a Stay Healthy Street next to bikes and an A-frame sign that says
Stay Healthy Streets

Thanks to popular demand last summer, Mayor Durkan committed to making 20 miles of the pilot Stay Healthy Streets program permanent, starting with streets in Greenwood (1st Ave NW) and Lake City. The City began community engagement to design the final look and feel of the streets, but hadn’t found funding — until now!

 

People bustling around Island Soul's Cafe Street in Columbia City.

 

Cafe Streets

In May, City Council unanimously passed an extension of permits for Cafe Streets through May of 2022, which this new proposal would fund. We will be working hard to make this successful program permanent.

A mixed race family smiles for the camera with their dog in front of a boulevard full of people walking and biking next to a lake.
Keep Moving Streets
Unfortunately, this funding won’t cover improvements to Seattle’s three Keep Moving Streets at Lake Washington Boulevard, Alki Point, and Green Lake. But Councilmember Herbold just introduced an amendment to use future funding to make Keep Moving Streets permanent and conduct community engagement. We’re hopeful that with continued advocacy from people like you we can find additional funding to make sure these fantastic public spaces don’t disappear. Ask Council to support Councilmember Herbold’s amendment now!
A blue button that reads
Act now to thank Seattle City Councilmembers for funding Stay Healthy Streets and Cafe Streets, and ask them to support Councilmember Herbold’s amendment to find funding for Keep Moving Streets.

Thank you for your continued advocacy!

 

Clara Cantor
She/her

Community Organizer
Seattle Neighborhood Greenways
Website – Twitter – Facebook

 

What’s Next for Stay Healthy Streets?

In the last year, we’ve seen a huge increase in the number of people outside—walking, skateboarding, biking, and rolling down the streets—and engaging with their neighborhoods in a big way. What’s next for the City’s temporary street programs?

 

Click to watch this video about the Stay Healthy Streets Program in 2020:

 

Background

In the spring of 2020, Seattle Neighborhood Greenways pushed the idea of Open Streets as one of our 8 Solutions for Safe Social Distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic. These streets are closed to vehicle through-traffic, and OPEN to people walking, rolling, and biking in the street (local access, deliveries, and emergency services are still allowed).

Thanks to the outspoken support of neighborhood advocates like you, the City introduced Stay Healthy Streets a few miles at a time until we had over 25 miles in 13 locations around the city, as well as two sister programs: Keep Moving Streets (recreation space near parks) and Stay Healthy Blocks (neighbor-run DIY Stay Healthy Streets). And they have been a HUGE hit! Communities have rallied around their local open streets, and are eager to make them permanent. For instance, SDOT surveyed people near the 1st Ave Stay Healthy Street in Greenwood and found that over 80% supported making it permanent, which is incredible given that any changes to streets tend to be controversial.

So what’s next for these beloved streets? 

 

 

Stay Healthy Streets

Thanks to popular demand last summer, Mayor Durkan committed to making 20 miles of the pilot Stay Healthy Streets program permanent, starting with streets in Greenwood (1st Ave NW) and Lake City. Now, the City is thinking through how to fulfill this promise to fund and construct permanent improvements. 

Most of the Stay Healthy Streets created so far have been on existing Neighborhood Greenways. All of these Neighborhood Greenways already went through a public engagement process and were prioritized for people walking and biking, and de-prioritized for people drivingwith the use of stop signs, speed humps, and signs. Stay Healthy Streets, for the most part, just clarified and reinforced the original intent of neighborhood greenways, by placing signs that say “Street Closed” to indicate they are for local access only for cars, and that people are allowed to walk in the street.

 

A group of kids on bikes ride around a round-about in front of a

 

Should Stay Healthy Streets be made permanent? YES.

We believe that Stay Healthy Streets should be the new default standard for Neighborhood Greenways. The physical barriers and placemaking being promised are reminiscent of the promises made when the City introduced Neighborhood Greenways. But many Neighborhood Greenways in Seattle are differentiated from other streets only by small signs and speed humps, and are not functioning in the way they were intended.

Stay Healthy Streets should include community placemaking and clear signage for people walking and biking on the street, and people looking for the street, and both signage and physical barriers for drivers trying to avoid the street—with simple, clear branding that’s easy to understand and makes sense with other Seattle programs and infrastructure. 

In addition to the community engagement process SDOT has already launched, we believe partnerships with the Department of Neighborhoods and community organizations to host festival streets, farmers markets, neighborhood block parties, and other gatherings will turn these street spaces into the community places we’ve all envisioned.

 

A montage of images of people walking on the street, a street park, and a boy waving while riding a bike.

 

What about where Neighborhood Greenways / Stay Healthy Streets aren’t working?

Sometimes, Neighborhood Greenways and Stay Healthy Streets haven’t reached their true potential because too much car traffic remains on the street. In those cases, the City should improve the street through diverters and other traffic-calming measures. But in other cases, the underlying Neighborhood Greenways, and hence the additional Stay Healthy Streets, aren’t successful due to the route being too inconvenient, hard to follow, or hilly compared to other alternatives, which results in comparatively fewer people using the routes. In these cases, we need to ask people what they want and find alternative ways to meet community needs

We can act quickly to put it in as a pilot, get feedback, then move to full implementation if it’s well-liked. Do people need better routes for transportation? Protected bike routes, sidewalks, and bus lanes can do that. More space for recreation? The Keep Moving Streets program increases public park space. Spaces for community gathering? Cafe Streets, pedestrian streets, and play streets. Improved traffic calming? Fund the Home Zone program adequately to allow neighbors to create systemic traffic calming for a whole neighborhood.

 

A tweet by Dongho Chang with a photo of people and tents crowding a street. It reads: Stay Healthy Streets are people and community streets."

 

Should this program expand? YES! 

These streets should be everywhere. We originally envisioned 130 miles of Stay Healthy Streets that could be rapidly implemented during the pandemic, but the potential is even greater. They should be in every neighborhood and accessible to everyone, as much a part of every neighborhood’s fabric as the local community center, plaza, or park space. These streets can connect people to transit stations, schools, parks, grocery stores, and jobs. And the streets can also be destinations themselvesplaces to play, meet your neighbors, and build community. 

Stay Healthy Streets are most valuable in Seattle’s densest neighborhoods with the least access to outdoor public spaces, and this can only be achieved by expanding outside of the existing network of Neighborhood Greenways, that are mostly in low density neighborhoods. Let’s create Stay Healthy Streets in dense, rapidly growing neighborhoods like the U-District, Capitol Hill, First Hill, Downtown, and south Ballard. We should also add Stay Healthy Streets in neighborhoods that have less access to traditional parks like in South Park and Lake City.

 

A tweet reads: "I highly recommend getting a Stay Healthy Block permit and renting a donut truck for a kiddo pandemic birthday party." with two photos.

Stay Healthy Blocks

Last year, instead of rapidly expanding the Stay Healthy Street program to more streets like Oakland and other cities, SDOT decided to go with a DIY Stay Healthy Blocks approach that  allowed neighbors to build their own mini Stay Healthy Streets. It was incredibly exciting in theory, but was hindered by overwhelming permit restrictions that made it inequitable and overly burdensome. Instead of working to improve the program, the City rolled it into SDOT’s existing Play Street program. As a result, Stay Healthy Blocks can continue only as single-day permits, likely focused around holidays and festivals. We would like to see a path forward for neighbor-initiated open streets of some kind, and are eager to work with SDOT to expand this program in a way that could be open to all.

 

A collage of photos of families walking, biking, and riding scooters on Lake Washington Boulevard.

Keep Moving Streets

Keep Moving Streets are collaborations between SDOT and the Seattle Parks Department that create more public park space for recreation and play.

 

People walking and biking in the middle of the street in front of a beautiful view of water and mountains at dusk..

 

Alki Point

Thanks to continual neighborhood advocacy, SDOT announced last week that the Alki Point Keep Moving Street is officially extended for at least a year, through spring 2022! In the meantime, SDOT is seeking funding for permanent infrastructure and conducting public outreach.

 

A rendering of Aurora Ave with one lane protected by concrete barriers for people walking and biking around Green Lake.

 

Green Lake

SDOT has announced that the Green Lake Keep Moving Street will continue, and local advocates are working to extend it around the west side of Green Lake on Aurora. Sign the petition here.

A film still of a woman with curly hair and a blue shirt holds a microphone up to a man with dark skin. Behind them, a person rides by on a bike in front of a lakeshore.

 

Lake Washington Boulevard

SDOT just announced that they will re-open the Lake Washington Boulevard Keep Moving Street this summer, and we are thrilled! Lake Washington Blvd has been periodically opened to people walking, biking, rolling, running, and skating during the pandemic—and it has been a HUGE hit. Our local group, Rainier Valley Greenways–Safe Streets, is leading the way to solicit community feedback and rally support, and to encourage the city to conduct responsive and equitable community engagement. Click here to see the latest and sign the petition to reopen the full three miles of Lake Washington Boulevard to people again this year. 

 

Thank you to everyone who advocated for, and got outside to enjoy, these amazing street spaces in the last year! Let’s keep a good thing going!

 

Clara Cantor
She/her

Community Organizer
Seattle Neighborhood Greenways
Website – Twitter – Facebook

Community Outreach Around Green Lake

Story by Tom Lang, Green Lake & Wallingford Safe Streets

If you have been to Green Lake, you probably walked, biked, or drove through the Starbucks intersection (NE Ravenna Blvd / NE 71st Street / E Green Lake Way/Drive). This intersection is confusing, uncomfortable, and dangerous.

Because La Escuelita Bilingual School is right next door, and since many sports teams and families use the play fields nearby, fixing this intersection is a huge priority for Green Lake & Wallingford Safe Streets (GLWSS), a brand new member of the Seattle Neighborhood Greenways coalition that re-formed early this year. Since February, GLWSS has focused on the impending 2019 re-paving project that will see the installation of two-way protected bike lanes around the entire east side of Green Lake. While we support the project as a whole, our group has several proposed changes to the SDOT plans which would make the park, playfields, and business district safer and more accessible to pedestrians and people on bikes. By slowing speed limits, narrowing the car traffic lanes, and “squaring up” several intersections, this project will now result in greater predictability, visibility, and safety for all users.

 

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On PARK(ing) Day in September, we hosted two pop-up parks — one at the Starbucks intersection and another at the Kidd Valley intersection (N 50th Street / Stone Way N / Green Lake Way N).

One of the goals of PARK(ing) Day is to encourage residents to re-imagine their streets — exactly what we had been doing all summer as we talked with our neighbors about redesigning the two troubled intersections. Our small but mighty team of volunteers planned and organized a park at each of these intersections: next to Starbucks in the morning and in front of Kidd Valley in the afternoon.

With generous donations from both of these business, we were able to provide coffee to our morning visitors and milkshakes in the afternoon. We invited the students from La Escuelita to join us and add to our community art project. We set up a putt putt course in front of Kidd Valley and rewarded golfers with a coupon for a free milkshake. We had a great time transforming these spaces in the streets into places for people to gather and enjoy themselves.

GLWSS Park(ing) Day 2018

 

At each of these locations we talked with our neighbors about SDOT’s re-paving plans. The most common response we heard was that people hadn’t yet heard about the project. Despite the mailers and community meetings, most people didn’t know the details, and were eager to learn. We gathered another 30 signatures of support on this day and helped more people see
the potential in their streets.

Following a successful summer of community outreach, the Green Lake & Wallingford Safe Streets Group leadership met with SDOT project managers and went over the 60% design for the re-paving project — including many of our suggestions. We are very happy to see the Starbucks intersection will be much safer in 2019, and the proposed stoplight added at N 52nd Street has been removed from their plans. These are big wins for our small group!

Unfortunately, we learned in November that SDOT removed the bike lanes from the street design for N 40th St. We’re distressed at the precedent of removing a route designated on the Bicycle Master Plan, and awaiting more news from SDOT in early 2019. If you’d like to get involved, visit us at GLWstreets.org and drop in on our monthly meeting!

GLWSS Park(ing) Day 2018

We’re going to keep moving forward with our primary task: to make the streets around Green Lake and Wallingford safer for people of all ages, abilities, and transportation choices. Remember — one important role of our community group is to educate our neighbors about current transportation projects, build community connections, and get people thinking in creative ways about how we use our streets.