GreenLake Way Closure Permanent?

July 22, 2021 7:38pm
West Green Lake Way at the entrance to the Tennis Courts and the Off-Leash Dog Area in Woodland Park Credit: Erica Browne Grivas
West Green Lake Way at the entrance to the Woodland Park Tennis Courts and Off-Leash Area Credit: Erica Browne Grivas

Councilmember Dan Strauss has confirmed that a decision from Mayor Jenny Durkan is expected by the end of the month on the fate of West Green Lake Way linking N. 63rd Street to East Green Lake Way. Closed last April during the pandemic, it was recently opened in one direction from East Green Lake Way to the Woodland Park Off-Leash Area. There has been increased discussion on social media about a looming decision to permanently close the road, leading to at least one petition asking to reopen the roadway in both directions, citing environmental impact, increased traffic, and loss of business and services because of the block on this East/West road linking the Wallingford, Tangletown, and Ravenna neighborhoods to Phinney Ridge, Ballard, and Greenwood.

Speaking to Greenlaker today, Councilmember Strauss said “What they’ve [Seattle Department of Transportation] let me know is they are going to be briefing the mayor and making a final decision in the next two weeks.”

“I’ve heard from a lot of neighbors on the impact on their lives. I’ve heard that loud and clear. I’ve lived around Green Lake, so I know firsthand what that access means in terms of increased parking in the neighborhood and the need to avoid Stone Way and 50th Street. Unless you’ve sat at Stone Way and 50th for three light cycles, I don’t think you really understand,” Strauss said.

Councilmember Strauss has been advocating for the road to reopen and for the creation of a two-way bike lane on the lake side of West Green Lake Way to connect with the recently finished protected bike lanes around the lake. He felt that SDOT’s recommendations were in line with his, but noted that “the Mayor and I have a different view of what the future of the street should be.” Beyond stating the Mayor wants to “link” Woodland Park and Green Lake, he would not describe the Mayor’s position further.

Strauss says his proposed bike lane, which would help create a safe greenway for cyclists removed from the inner path of Green Lake, would only require restriping the traffic lines, since bollards are already in place.

SDOT’s Media and Public Affairs Lead Ethan Borgenson answered Greenlaker today via email, saying SDOT is aware of neighborhood concern, and that it is coordinating with Seattle Parks to create a “path forward” by the end of the month, at which point the community will be notified. The website has a listserv you can join for notifications on this page.

Saying the community “will be notified” is a change from a public email sent June 18, in which the same office wrote, “We will conduct community outreach before any permanent changes would be made.”

Last April, in response to the global pandemic, we implemented the Green Lake Keep Moving Street (KMS) to provide more space for people to walk, bike and roll at this popular destination park and keep 6-feet apart and provide a location for people to bike while the inner loop was closed to them. We are aware of the increasing calls from some neighbors to reopen the street to vehicle traffic as COVID restrictions are lifted and activities such as sports, boating events and camps return to the park. Other neighbors have organized for safety improvements along Aurora Ave N and are inspired by the Green Lake and Wallingford Paving and Multimodal project protected bike lane to provide a complete biking connection around the lake.

As Seattle fully reopens and travel patterns start to look more like they did pre-pandemic, options for improving safety, creating more space for walking and biking, and managing circulation needs for people driving and moving goods are all being evaluated for W Green Lake Way N. We’ve been coordinating the evaluation with Seattle Parks Department and considerations include:

·        Community input and values

·        Funding and staff availability

·        Equity and inclusivity

We have not yet made a decision about the long-term configuration for this street, and are still evaluating options to balance the needs of people who want to walk, roll, bike, and drive in this area. We expect to have a path forward identified toward the end of the month and will inform the community as quickly as possible.

-Ethan Borgensen, Media and Public Affairs Lead, SDOT in an email

In a recent email to the Green Lake Community Council, Councilmember Strauss suggested if you have constructive feedback on this issue, contact Mayor Durkan at 206-684-4000 and SDOT’s City Traffic Engineer Dongho Chang, City Traffic Engineer 206 684-5106 or email the following jenny.durkan@seattle.gov & dongho.chang@seattle.gov.

The Mayor’s office did not respond to Greenlaker’s phone call.

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Homegrown Garden Sale in Tangletown Saturday

May 20, 2021 7:16pm

Still planting your 2021 garden? We’ve got you.

This Saturday, from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m., find perennials for sun and shade, herbs, annual tomato, squash, and flower starts, potted dahlias, unusual shrubs, and climbing vines, and even some berry plants at this home sale. There’s a wide variety of choice plants, in limited quantities.

Details:

2324 N. 56th Street between 1st Ave. N and Kensington Pl. 10:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m.

Cash and Venmo accepted.

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Outdoor Art in Bloom Tour This Weekend

April 20, 2021 4:45pm

The Annual Seattle Art in Bloom tour, usually a studio tour, is moving outside this year to yards and open garages to permit social distancing. Get inspired by the work of more than 25 local artists in eight yards from Ballard to Northgate on a self-guided walking or driving tour this weekend, April 23-25, from 10am -5pm.

Mosaic by Majken Ryherd

The plant-based theme of the show is on works drawn from nature or that can be displayed outdoors, in glass, metal, ceramic, stone, and more. Enjoy a range of garden art, mosaics, stained glass, gifts, and home decor – just in time for both Mother’s and Father’s Days.

In Tangletown/Meridian, Bridget Culligan will display her glasswork along with mosaic artist Maijken Ryherd and ceramic artist Caitlin Sullivan. In Phinney, at Seymour Stained Glass Studios (still outdoors), view the art of glass artists Karen Seymour, Andi Ficker, and Lael Bennett, along with the upcycled wonders of Greg Delaney.

Thanks to http://artinbloomseattle.weebly.com/ for the photos.

Stained glass by Bridget Culligan
Wooden vase by Norm Vigas Norm Vigas Woodworking
Upcycled Whimsy, Greg Delaney

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Flower Shop Pops-Up in Tangletown

April 3, 2021 5:23pm

We were clued in to this fun pop-up when people were passing by with bouquets this morning. That’s not unusual – if they were coming from the UDistrict Farmer’s Market, but they were ambling from the opposite direction, with pastries. A short jaunt with the dog cleared this up.

Just outside Mighty-O Donuts on N. 55th Street at the corner of Keystone Pl., a flower stall had popped up, offering daffodils and mixed bouquets in the range of $10-20. Turns out Lia’s Garden in Snohomish has come here a few times since February. They’d like to make it a regular Saturday event, but they say for sure they plan to come back for Mother’s Day Weekend.

Lia’s is part of the Hmong Flower Farmers of Washington, a group of growers and artists formerly based in Pike Place Market. If you missed them today, you can also find them Sundays at the Ballard Market, or order online. You can also reach them on Instagram.

Lia's Gardens of Snohomish visiting Tangletown Photo: Erica Browne Grivas
Bouquets from Lia’s Garden in Snohomish featuring tulips, narcissus, and pussy willows.
Photo: Erica Browne Grivas
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Closing the Loop: Protecting the Green Lake Outer Path

March 24, 2021 5:08pm
Neighborhood volunteers seek to create a protected route surrounding Green Lake Park for safer biking and jogging. From Green Lake & Wallingford Safe Streets https://www.glwstreets.org/

In the Before Times, when bikes were allowed along Green Lake’s inner path, it was a challenge for various-speed bikers, joggers, walkers, dogs, and strollers to share the space. Today, with bicycles banned inside the park to enable distanced walking, bikers are forced to use the outer loop, which is shared with busy traffic in several spaces – creating dangerous conditions.

In September of 2019, a University of Washington student was struck and severely injured when a car jumped the curb near Aurora Avenue and 67th St.

Green Lake & Wallingford Safe Streets, a volunteer organization, says its plan to create a protected loop around the park would prevent accidents like this. It proposes a jersey barrier, as shown in the above illustration, along Aurora Ave. which would connect with the in-progress SDOT plans for a two-way bike lane on the North and East sides of the park.

An email from organization leader Brock Howell says:

“With a protected path on Aurora, there can be a complete loop around the Green Lake Park that is safe for kids and others to safely and comfortably get around the park.  It’d effectively be a 10- to 13-foot widening of the City’s best* park on all sides.”

Brock Howell

In a footnote, Howell says that “best park” bit is his personal opinion.

The group is asking supporters to sign a petition to ask city officials to support the project financially. Want to learn more? GW Safe Streets is holding an online meeting April 2: Tuesday, April 6, 7-8 p.m. Register here to get your zoom link.

What do you think? Would you welcome a dedicated biking and jogging lane around the park?

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Home Gardeners Grow Tiny Trees for Wild Spaces

March 6, 2021 6:52pm

Jim Wright, a former environmental engineer and biologist, understands the struggle to preserve habitat for salmon and other struggling species in the Seattle area. Realizing how work-intensive it is for habitat restoration organizations to identify and restore small plots of damaged salmon habitat, inspiration struck in his Greenwood garden. (You may have enjoyed his annual spring plant swaps over the years.) He thought: what if we can grow and donate ready-to-grow young trees to habitat restoration sites?

Jim Wright taking a batch of seedlings to their new forest home. Photo via Jim Wright

Wright started “Grow It Forward” in 2020 at the start of the pandemic, funding the supplies and plants himself – with 23 volunteer home gardeners around Seattle – each growing a mini-forest of 100 saplings to donate to restoration projects. Wright calls these “Micro-Nurseries” and hopes to expand the project by 50 growers this year. 300 of the first 2300 seedlings were especially robust Douglas Firs, and were donated last fall to the Skagit Fisheries Enhancement Group site at Sedro Wooley’s Riverfront Park.

GROW IT FORWARD | Restoring Forest Habitat with Micro-Nurseries
A “Micro-Nursery” of Western Hemlock seedlings freshly potted up Photo: Jim Wright

Grow It Forward aims to assist the restoration process while saving habitat restoration organizations time and money, by producing some of the expensive tree seedlings they must buy for their sites. This lets the organizations focus on identifying and accessing habitat locations and removing invasive plant species to prepare the site for restoration. Wright hopes to obtain grant funding to expand and offer seedlings to more organizations.

Wright says volunteers need basic gardening skills and about 16 square feet of garden space – that’s a 4 x 4 plot or raised bed. Initial planting takes about five hours followed by consistent watering over the next one to two years. He says seedlings like the occasional bedtime story, too.

Ready to become a mini-forest ranger for a year or two? Applications are open now for this year’s growers to start planting on April 4; the cost covering plants, soil, and pots is $95. Get started at the crowdfunding page or ask any questions via the contact page on the Grow It Forward website.

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West Green Lake Way to Sort of Reopen

February 23, 2021 8:26pm

Seattle Department of Transportation says as soon as this week the Northbound lane of W Green Lake Way – a “Keep Moving Street” since last April – will reopen, but NOT the Southbound lane.

This will open access to the tennis courts (and their parking) across from the Pitch and Putt, and the dog park, but will not allow drivers to go through the park to Aurora near 63rd St., Phinney Ridge, and parts west.

Commenters on Next Door South Green Lake were divided, it seems by whether their goal is to walk around the lake and enjoy its activities, or to use that busy byway to get to Ballard.

S. Kopf of Phinney Ridge, wrote: “How disappointing they are reopening this street to cars. A real loss.”

While C. Michael, of E. Phinney, said, “They [SDOT] really didn’t think about how many people from all over the county and frankly further than just the neighborhood use this space for recreation. Which means drivers.”

Still others expressed frustration that the northern section of Green Lake Way is currently filled with campers and RVs.

SDOT anticipates keeping that northern section closed, in part to enable access for cyclists who are currently not allowed on the inner lake path.

We anticipate keeping this Keep Moving Street open longer than others, because Green Lake is a popular destination even during the fall and winter along with the challenge of reaching vaccine levels of 70 to 85% by spring. With bikes currently restricted on the inner loop inside the park, this setup helps people walk, bike, and roll into the colder seasons and spring at a safe distance.

Seattle Bike Blog hopes it does become permanent, with additions to make it even safer to bike up to Aurora.

What do you think?

The current closure of West Green Lake Way
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Free COVID-19 Testing Opens in Woodland Park

January 28, 2021 11:37am

By Erica Browne Grivas

Free COVID-19 testing is now available at the baseball playfields in Lower Woodland Park at 5201 Greenlake Way N. The initiative is part of three new testing kiosk sites announced by Mayor Jenny Durkan in late December, including at Seattle Center and in South Seattle, to help stem the novel Coronavirus pandemic.

Time slots for the self-administered oral swab tests must be reserved and results are expected within 48 hours. The site is open from 8:00 am – 3:00 pm and bookable online through Curative.com or the city’s testing site up to three days in advance. At the time of writing, there are 441 slots open three days from now.

Curative.com asks two questions in the booking process but was ready to let me book a test even though I indicated I had no symptoms and did not work or live in a high-risk situation.

The city’s web site explains the procedure:

The new kiosks allow clients to use an observed and directed self-collected oral fluid swab COVID-19 test. A Curative staff member will be available at each location to walk clients through the quick and painless process. Results will be delivered electronically within 48 hours. As with other City-sponsored no-cost testing sites, individuals must pre-register online….Clients will not be charged and will not receive a bill, regardless of insurance status. For uninsured clients, Curative will seek reimbursement from state and federal resources including the Families First Coronavirus Response Act Relief Fund for the cost of the test. 

To learn about your place in the vaccine roll-out, read about the current phases here. 

See the latest on phase restrictions on gatherings and business openings here.

New COVID-19 testing kiosk open in Woodland Park ballfields. Free; by appointment only. Photo: Erica Browne Grivas
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Changes at Seattle Greenlaker

January 8, 2021 8:22am

Hi Greenlakers, 

You may have noticed that Seattle Greenlaker has been quiet for the past few weeks. That’s because our family moved out of Seattle late last year. Since then I have been wanting to find a home for Seattle Greenlaker. Or maybe I should say a caretaker, because I feel like Seattle Greenlaker’s home should always be in Green Lake, or at least cared for by someone who lives in the community and keeps a pulse on what’s happening. 

The good news is I have found that person, and she is someone you are probably familiar with: Erica Browne Grivas. Erica was the first contributor to the Greenlaker site. Erica is an amazing writer and longtime journalist, who, in addition to contributing to several local blogs, has written stories for Real Simple, The Seattle Times and many other acclaimed publications. She is also an avid gardener, but if you have read her work, you probably already know that. (In early 2020 she began writing a garden column for the Queen Anne & Magnolia News.) She has a passion for Green Lake, her home where she raised her family and hundreds of tomato plants over the past 11 years.

Seattle Greenlaker started 7 years ago, shortly after my husband and I moved to Green Lake and found that the previous blog, My Greenlake, was no longer operating. I missed my former job as a journalist and really wanted to get to know the community. And my husband, being a designer, wanted to create something. So, my husband created the blog’s look and feel and I started with the content and finding contributors for a new Green Lake blog. This was never supposed to be a full-time job or a money making venture for either of us. It was always a passion project for helping to promote and create community around the Green Lake area. And what it gave us has been so enriching over the years. It allowed us to meet our community. To get to know our neighbors and the small business owners around the lake in such a unique way. 

I want to thank you for trusting us these 7 years with your news. You emailed us news tips, you sent us photos and amazing stories and shared pieces of yourself with us and the entire Green Lake community.

I will miss Green Lake. My kind neighbors and picnics with them at the park. My quiet walks or paddles around the lake on SUP and kayak. But I’m so grateful that Green Lake exists and will always be there and while I can’t walk to it anymore, I love visiting.  

Over the next few weeks you will notice some changes to Seattle Greenlaker. Erica is relaunching the site. Be on the lookout for more amazing stories. And please continue to share ideas and photos. The email for news tips is the same seattlegreenlaker@gmail.com

Thanks, and I look forward to seeing you someday around the lake. 

-Sarah Lemmon 

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“Trump/Pence Out Now” Protest In Green Lake Saturday

October 23, 2020 9:24am

A protest called “Trump & Pence OUT NOW!” is planned at Green Lake Park this Saturday at 4 p.m. Protesters are meeting at East Green Lake Way N & NE 71st St. across from Gregg’s Cycles.

Part of a nationwide movement #TrumpPenceOutNOW, the group plans to use the time to “assemble in protest, to plan and organize.”

The group is encouraging all to wear face masks for the protest.

For more on the event, go to their Facebook page.

If you plan to attend the protest, why not drop off your ballot at the ballot box too? Green Lake’s ballot box is at the Community Center.

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