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.
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.
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.
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.
You may have noticed that some of the Green Lake Park parking lots that were closed earlier this summer to prevent overcrowding have reopened. Yesterday Seattle Parks and Recreation also announced that they will be reopening playgrounds throughout the city as well.
According to the release:
“All play areas in Seattle parks will reopen to the public on October 6. Seattle Parks and Recreation staff, with support from our partners at the Washington Department of Health and Seattle King County Public Health, have created some guidelines that can keep us all safe while using these spaces.
How to use play areas safely:
-Play equipment is open to five or fewer kids at a time – Some play areas have only one piece of play equipment (usually a climber/slide combo), and others have many pieces of equipment (swings, little kids climber, big kids climber, zipline, etc.). No more than five kids on a piece of play equipment. – Stay home if you are sick or if anyone in your family is sick. – Please wash your child’s hands before and after play. – All children over the age of two must wear a mask.See here for mask information and exception because of disability. – Give yourself and others at least six feet of space. – Please be aware that play areas are not regularly sanitized or cleaned.
Here are a few tips on how to keep us all safe and keep these spaces open: -Keep a close eye on your child to ensure that they are following the guidelines. -Stay for a short time (30 min. or less) to give everyone an opportunity to play. -No food or drink on the play equipment to ensure that masks are worn at all times. – Visit parks during less busy times. Visit less popular parks. Seattle has over 150 play areas (not including those at schools). Mornings are less busy than afternoons. Weekdays are less busy than weekends. – Green Lake, Seward, Magnuson, Discovery, Lincoln, Gas Works, Carkeek and Jefferson Park are some of Seattle’s busier play areas. – We are all in this together, so kindly remind others of the guidelines and find a different activity if the play area gets too crowded.
We cannot allow play areas to be places where COVID-19 is spread, so we need folks to use these spaces safely.