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.
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?
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 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.
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 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks, and I look forward to seeing you someday around the lake.
It must be Autumn in Green Lake. If you’ve been to the lake recently chances are you’ve seen (or heard!) the return of the American Coots to the lake. See our story for more on these interesting red-eyed birds. And special thanks to Bob Birnbaum for the photo!
Please don’t let the reopening of the city’s play areas give you the false sense that we can weaken our efforts to keep our community safe while COVID-19 is still running rampant. The Green Lake walking path continues to be one direction (counter clockwise) to allow people to be a safe distance from one another while enjoying the park. This may surprise you if you’ve been out on the path and seen people walking both directions. The signs that were placed around the lake warning of the one direction have all been removed and not by Parks officials. We’ve noticed them in the lake, and thrown in trash cans throughout the summer. Such a waste because guess who paid for those? All of us!
“(Green Lake Park is) definitely the busiest park in Seattle, and likely one of the busiest in the state, so we need folks to mask up, walk one way to create more passing width, and stay home if sick,” said Rachel Schulkin Seattle Parks and Recreation Communications Manager.
Enjoy the park Greenlakers, but please make sure you do it safely!