Beating its expected deadline of Oct. 1, the Seattle Department of Transportation has completed and re-opened W Green Lake Way, with a new protected bike/walk lane, a slower speed limit, and better road signage.
Remembering it was open, I tried it today driving back from Ballard on 65th and found it a seamless transition. The speed limit is now 20 mph.
There was significant community pushback – including a petition, phone/email campaigns, and protests -about the closure of the road as a “Keep Moving Street” since May 2020. Critics felt the closure was hurting park use more than it was helping, as well as cutting off access to surrounding neighborhood businesses and increasing traffic pressure on 50th and 80th streets.
The post goes on to say, as we’ve reported, that SDOT is considering ways to improve the connection between Lower Woodland Park and Green Lake, as well as potentially creating a continuous bike loop outside the lake, including sections of Aurora Ave. N.
“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.
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. “
Seattle Department of Transportation announced that construction started a few days ago of the new two-way bike/walk lane in the section of W Green Lake Way N that has been closed since May 2020 during most of the pandemic. The target opening date is Oct. 1.
An e-newsletter sent Sept. 16th said,
“This design is based on City standards and best practices for safety, as well as community feedback to reopen the street to people driving as soon as possible. The features include reducing the speed to 20MPH, a new tuff curb and flex posts to delineate a two-way path, adding new stop signs at N 63rd St and W Green Lake Way N, reconfigured transition for people coming or going to E Green Lake Way N, and improved markings at intersections and parking lot entrances.”
Here are some renderings of the work being done in detail:
We could all use some time to breathe, stretch, and take a minute – or 50 – to pause and reset right now. Yoga instructor Michal Lahav, who has been teaching since 1998, is offering drop-in slow flow yoga classes in the field behind the Seattle Public Theater (7312 West Green Lake Dr N) on the west side of Green Lake.
Classes will be one hour long. Registration is not required. Walk-ups are welcome. The fee is $15 per class, payable through Venmo or Paypal. Lahav says, however, that no one will be turned away for lack of funds.
As far as equipment, all you need is a yoga mat, some layers for warmth, and an optional blanket for the final savasana.
Seattle Department of Transportation announced the section of W Greenlake Way N that has been closed since May, 2020 as a “Keep Moving” street initiated at the start of the pandemic, will fully reopen in October – that’s BOTH WAYS this time – with an added bike lane.
“We’ll be starting the construction and installation work of the new 2-way walk and bike path on W Green Lake Way N as soon as next week,” SDOT’s web site says. “Our goal is to complete the installation in early October with a target date of October 1 for reopening. After completion, we’ll have a street for people of all ages and abilities to safely walk, roll, and bike on”.
As we’ve reported, while some appreciate the car-free zone, the closure has caused frustration from many quarters – particularly people and businesses on both sides of the lake unable to use this major East-West crossing or to access parts of Lower Woodland Park, and park-goers finding the street congested with RVs.
The road partially reopened in one direction to enable some access to the tennis courts and off-leash areas, but many were not satisfied with this solution. Some never saw the benefit of the closure in the first place, since there is a full pedestrian loop inside the park, especially since bicycles were removed from the inner lake loop.
More changes ahead?
SDOT says “we’d like to explore creative solutions for making the street less of a divider between Woodland and Green Lake parks,” including lowering the speed limit to 20 MPH, and adding crosswalks. Saying it welcomes neighborhood feedback, it is also looking at creating a full pedestrian and bike loop on the exterior of the lake, incorporating the eastern-most lane of Aurora Ave. N and connecting the new bike lanes along the North and East sides of the lake.
Cross-country youth coaches citywide are getting their fall permit requests denied to train in Lower Woodland Park, a favorite training ground due to its varied terrain offering hills, trails, and fields. Today, as in parks throughout Seattle, those trails are being camped on and around, particularly in the upper area of the park, with large camps north of the 50th Street entrance and around the picnic shelters above the Off-Leash area.
“They’re not issuing any permits for usage there,” Corey Batten, one of the head coaches for the Rain City Flyers, told KOMO news.
The Project Seattle team reached out to the parks department and mayor’s office, reports KOMO, and was told the permit denials were “due to concerns around the current conditions at Woodland Park, including reports from our grounds crews of encampments blocking some trails.”
Writing in the Seattle Times, Danny Westneat notes in a column today: “By Seattle parks standards, it’s a fairly routine scene, and on a recent day some parkgoers tossed Frisbees and walked dogs around the tents. But there are parts of the running course now where kids would be effectively racing through a homeless encampment, within feet of tents, piles of debris, and, in one spot, electrical extension cords crisscrossing the trail.
The Rain City Stampede, an October meet held in Lower Woodland Park for 30 years, will not run there this year.
According to KOMO, several thousands of young athletes are affected, including over a dozen schools as well as private running clubs.
Coaches are scrambling to find other venues for training and races, like Magnuson, Lincoln, and Genessee Parks, but they cannot accommodate as many runners, nor offer the same training challenges, KOMO reports.
The tension has been building for years between a growing need for helping and housing the un-housed, and the use of parks as safe, healthy natural refuges, but never more so than since the pandemic, which has seen an unprecedented expansion of tents and RVs across the city. As KIRO-TV reported in May, the tension goes both ways – incidents of crime, reports of violence, and backlash harassment against the homeless are all on the rise.
Seattle Parks and Recreation’s web page for Woodland Park still reads:
East of Aurora, just south of Green Lake Park, the park is an ideal spot for picnics with reservable picnic areas, barbecues, woods, pleasant grassy hills and pathways. It is also one of the city’s most active hubs for sports and recreation….
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org & email@example.com.
The Mayor’s office did not respond to Greenlaker’s phone call.
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.
2324 N. 56th Street between 1st Ave. N and Kensington Pl. 10:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m.
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.
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.
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.
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’sbest* park on all sides.”
In a footnote, Howell says that “best park” bit is his personal opinion.