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Closures for Stay Healthy Streets expand in Seattle, SDOT asks for feedback

Stay Healthy Streets across the city were created to provide safe recreational opportunities for walkers, runners, and bikers. (Photo courtesy of SDOT)

Four more miles of Stay Healthy Streets will be created by the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) to allow for safe distancing while exercising outdoors. This addition creates a total of 27 miles of Stay Healthy Streets in the Seattle area.

These streets are considered to be upgrades to existing neighborhood greenways, according to SDOT. Drivers may still use these streets to reach homes and businesses, but are asked to avoid these areas if their destination is elsewhere.

SDOT and Seattle Parks and Recreation will also temporarily expand the space where people walk, roll, and bike near Golden Gardens and on Lake Washington Boulevard. The boulevard project will be 5-day pilot to determine if it is worth extending the closure into the summer.

Residents may take an online survey before July 15, 2020, to provide feedback, share their thoughts on the Stay Healthy Streets, and offer suggestions for how to engage the community when selecting the streets that may become permanently closed.

The new streets opening this week are along the Cedar Park Neighborhood Greenway, the Wallingford Neighborhood Greenway, an extension of the Beacon Hill Stay Healthy Street, and along Bell Street.

SDOT and Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan announced previously that 20 miles of the newly created Stay Healthy Streets would be made permanent. The permanent locations could be where the Stay Healthy Streets already exist, or could shift to other sections depending on the public’s feedback.

Stay Healthy Streets are spaces closed to cars in order to allow safe social distancing while walking, running, and rolling. SDOT had said the streets were chosen with the goal to increase outdoor exercise opportunities in areas with limited open spaces, low car ownership, and routes connecting people to essential services and food. The street closures do not impact any food pick-up loading zones, parking near hospitals, or bus routes.

Why Seattle is permanently closing 20 miles of streets to through-traffic

Additionally, construction of bike infrastructure will be accelerated in 2020, and Seattle will fine-tune traffic signals for pedestrians.

As the economy and businesses start to reopen, the city said it wants to help more people be able to make their essential trips, commute to and from work, and provide safe recreational opportunities as we move into a “new normal” post-COVID-19.

SDOT said the permanent street closures are a “critical step” in this process. The city said the recovery period offers an opportunity to re-evaluate the way we get around and transition to “more sustainable, people-centered” modes of travel.

People may also email [email protected] with questions or feedback.

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