Update: 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

Edited July 28th

Seattle Parks and Seattle Department of Transportation issued a joint email today stating that after considering input from the community, the Green Lake Way will once again become a two-way street, and a two-way bike lane will be added. The construction is expected to be done by early fall.

The full email is here:

Green Lake Keep Moving Street

July 28, 2021
You’re receiving this email because you’ve reached out to our team to share support or concerns about the Green Lake Keep Moving Street on W Green Lake Way N, or have expressed interest in nearby City projects. 
The Green Lake Keep Moving Street helped us get through a global pandemic by creating more space for people to walk, roll, and bike. It also provided an opportunity to reimagine how W Green Lake Way N could support human powered transportation and reknit a divide between Woodland and Green Lake parks.  Based on community feedback, Vision Zero safety goals, and desire to provide more travel options, we’re pleased to share that early design shows we have enough street width to accommodate both a 2-way walking and biking path and 2-way vehicle traffic at reduced speeds. We plan to make this change early this fall. Creating a more seamless connection between two major parks Beyond returning vehicle traffic lanes to W Green Lake Way N, we’d like to explore creative solutions for making the street less of a divider between Woodland and Green Lake parks. We have a rare opportunity to build on the Keep Moving Street and reimagine how W Green Lake Way N can serve multiple functions. 

We’ll seek community input on how to improve connections between the parks by keeping speeds calm and including possible solutions like more crosswalks, additional walking improvements, decreasing the speed limit to 20 MPH, and temporary changes in street operations to encourage community use and celebrations.    Schedule In February, we opened the street to one-way traffic and created a path for people to walk and bike on the northern half. This configuration caused confusion and some people drove on the path. So, prior to reopening W Green Lake Way N, we’ll finalize a design that includes 2-way vehicle lanes, reduces confusion, and ensures safety. Once the design is complete, we can grind out the current street markings, shift the posts, and install signs. 

We anticipate completing work early this fall. We’re aware of 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 summer camps return to the parks and will look for opportunities to accelerate the schedule if possible. We’ll also work with Seattle Parks and Recreation on how we might increase access to parking lots. 

Studying a full outer Green Lake biking and walking loop  As we work on the final design for this near-term change, we’ll begin talking to neighbors about how we might expand a walking and biking path connecting around the lake, building off the recently completed Green Lake and Wallingford Multimodal Paving Project.

We’ve heard a lot from the community who are interested in creating a full outer loop for people to walk and bike around the lake, including repurposing the eastern-most lane of Aurora Ave N adjacent to the lake. We will be gathering feedback and sharing concepts with WSDOT (Washington State Department of Transportation), our partners in the corridor. Simultaneously, we’ll support Seattle Parks & Recreation in gathering feedback on reopening the inner loop of Green Lake Park to biking and other wheeled uses. 

To stay informed and engage with us, join our project email list (check the box for Green Lake Keep Moving Street) and share this information widely with your neighbors. 

Thank you, 
Keep Moving Streets team


Previous article:

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 &

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