Forum Index > Trail Talk > Seattle will permanently close 20+ miles of streets
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Cyclopath
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PostFri May 08, 2020 12:08 am 
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These streets are closed to car traffic, to allow pedestrians and cyclists to enjoy more space.  We have a grid of streets, these will be no loss for motorists, but a gain for neighborhoods.  I know that a lot of nwhikers are cyclists, you should make a point to ride through.  You can find maps here.

Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan announced Thursday that 20 miles of closed city streets that were shuttered in order to accommodate socially distant outdoor activities will remain closed permanently and more streets could be added.

Durkan made the announcement during a press conference although officials did not elaborate on what prompted the decision to close the streets for good.

The streets included in the plan include those in Lake City, Aurora Licton Springs, Ballard and Delridge/Highland Park neighborhoods, Lake City,  the Central District, West Seattle and High Point, Green Lake, Greenwood, Othello and Rainier Beach.

Although vehicular traffic on the streets aren't permitted,  people who live in the neighborhoods and deliveries will still be allowed to use the thoroughfares.

Introduced last week, the street closure plan was meant to help people keep stay six feet apart at all times while outside to further slow the spread of  COVID-19.

And city officials warned residents that they shouldn't see this as an opportunity to have gatherings at parks or in the middle of open streets.

https://komonews.com/amp/news/local/seattle-to-permanently-close-streets-to-vehicles-for-stay-healthy-initiative


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Backpacker Joe
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PostFri May 08, 2020 4:21 am 
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Of Course they will! Nothing that city council does should surprise anyone.

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"If destruction be our lot we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen we must live through all time or die by suicide."

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neek
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PostFri May 08, 2020 5:45 am 
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Observations from a bike trip I did linking all these together last week (there were only 11 miles then):

- on some the pedestrian traffic was so dense I gave up, while others were deserted (sample size of 1 of course)

- people were still driving on them, including obvious non-residents

- the segments are short, disjointed, and don't seem to connect regional trails or parks or anything else of interest

- cross streets are not closed, so you have to worry just as much about uncontrolled intersections

- many of the roads are narrow and in rough shape

Now I'm not trying to be negative, I think this is great for local residents and families with small children, but it's of little use to serious bikers, runners, and urban explorers.
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BigBrunyon
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PostFri May 08, 2020 6:58 am 
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I'm gonna ride thru there faster than the car speed limit. They better get out of my way

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treeswarper
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PostFri May 08, 2020 7:05 am 
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BigBrunyon wrote:
I'm gonna ride thru there faster than the car speed limit. They better get out of my way

Be sure and use a hacked E-bike.  You can go maybe 70mph or so or whatever the latest rumors declare the top speed to be.   agree.gif 

Now, as to the closures?  I know nothing about Seattle.  I have read about European cities which closed streets.  People were against it at first, then embraced it.  But, being such a dependent on cars country here, what are the inhabitants supposed to do with their cars?  On my street, which is a 1950s and 60s designed place, there are houses where people have so many cars, they have turned their front yards into parking.  It isn't pretty. 

I was surprised when talking to a friend here, who is also a business owner, when they mentioned it would be great if downtown Omak was closed off to combustible engine traffic!  The idea is out there.....

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neek
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PostFri May 08, 2020 7:12 am 
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BigBrunyon wrote:
I'm gonna ride thru there faster than the car speed limit. They better get out of my way

That's what I did of course.  Not gonna let some 3 year old mess up my Strava time!!

treeswarper wrote:
But, being such a dependent on cars country here, what are the inhabitants supposed to do with their cars?

Lest folks get too excited, note residents (and delivery trucks and visitors and anyone else really) can still drive/park on the streets.

Of course I have various opinions on car culture and pedestrian rights but will keep quiet...
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Randito
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PostFri May 08, 2020 7:36 am 
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treeswarper wrote:
what are the inhabitants supposed to do with their cars? 

FWIW:  Some of the closed to vehicles city streets in Europe have bollards blocking the ends of the street.    These bollards have a garage door type mechanism to retract the bollard into the ground, allowing residents,  delivery vehicles and emergency vehicles access.

So its do able, but requires investment.

In Japan,  I think all that would be needed are signs,  but around here people take pride in being rule breakers...
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MtnGoat
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PostFri May 08, 2020 8:02 am 
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How frustrating.

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RumiDude
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PostFri May 08, 2020 8:29 am 
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If you travel to Europe you see this all over, even in many smaller towns.

Change that makes a difference requires thought and learning from what has been done in the past and elsewhere. Our road and street systems suck. Many things done in the US make traffic flow worse and increase the amount and severity of accidents. I don't know if this latest Seattle plan incorporates good planning or is just an ad hoc measure, but improving livability is something which should be promoted.

So I applaud the idea and hope the execution has sound thought behind it.

Rumi

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treeswarper
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PostFri May 08, 2020 8:52 am 
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Here's this.


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JPH
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PostFri May 08, 2020 9:10 am 
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Randito wrote:
In Japan,  I think all that would be needed are signs,  but around here people take pride in being rule breakers...

I'm pretty sure that the roads in question will just get a "Local Access Only" sign and maybe a little curb bulb to make it slightly less convenient for folks to drive onto the street.  Residents will still have unrestricted access, street parking, etc.
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JPH
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PostFri May 08, 2020 9:29 am 
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neek wrote:
Observations from a bike trip I did linking all these together last week (there were only 11 miles then):

- on some the pedestrian traffic was so dense I gave up, while others were deserted (sample size of 1 of course)

- people were still driving on them, including obvious non-residents

- the segments are short, disjointed, and don't seem to connect regional trails or parks or anything else of interest

- cross streets are not closed, so you have to worry just as much about uncontrolled intersections

- many of the roads are narrow and in rough shape

Now I'm not trying to be negative, I think this is great for local residents and families with small children, but it's of little use to serious bikers, runners, and urban explorers.

QFT except that on Beacon Hill the closed roads do lead to Jefferson Park.
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altasnob
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PostFri May 08, 2020 9:30 am 
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In Beacon Hill, the street they are closing (18th Ave S) is the same street that was already designated as a neighborhood green way and has been that way for nearly the last decade. So traffic engineers already did their best to divert vehicle traffic from these roads, and encourage bicycle and pedestrian traffic on these roads. Permanently closing the street to non-local vehicle access did very little to change the status quo for the last ten years (but people like to believe this is some kind of major change by the evil, anti-vehicle Seattle DOT). I haven't studied other streets that are now closed, but I suspect it is the same.

Article in 2013 talking about 18th Ave S becoming a neighborhood green way.

Article in 2020 announcing 18th Ave S is on the Healthy Streets initiative.
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Cyclopath
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PostFri May 08, 2020 9:54 am 
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The whole Beacon area has always been my favorite place to ride.  Beautiful parks, superb views, the Chief Sealth Trail is a delight.
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Auda Mawhay
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PostFri May 08, 2020 11:26 am 
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BigBrunyon wrote:
I'm gonna ride thru there faster than the car speed limit. They better get out of my way

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