Seattle parks will be open this weekend

Last weekend, Mayor Jenny Durkan closed 15 of Seattle’s busiest parks ahead of a glorious weather weekend. While the city had received high marks for its social distancing efforts during the coronavirus pandemic, overcrowding remained, say, an area for improvement in places like Alki Beach Park and Green Lake.

While another balmy weekend is ahead, Durkan won’t stop you from strolling through Cal Anderson Park this time around. On Thursday, she announced that these 15 parks would remain open on Saturday and Sunday, provided visitors stay six feet apart and “keep it moving” by walking, running, biking or even weeling”. No barbecue, picnic or sports games will be allowed. (Large park parking lots will be closed.) Seattle Parks and Recreation’s “Social Distancing Ambassadors” (calling Amy Poehler) will monitor park use on an hourly basis; spaces that become too crowded will be closed. Civilians can also report social distancing violators by contacting Seattle Parks and Recreation through social media, calling 206-684-4075, or sending an email. [email protected]

Over the past weekend, the number of visitors to these 15 parks declined significantly but not completely. The application was spotty. And the move has been criticized for shutting down the open spaces that many vulnerable populations rely on, an issue that has been raised in cities like Portland and addressed in others, like Oakland, by closing some streets to cars.

Well, the city seems to have listened to this latest complaint. Its “Stay Healthy Streets” program will be piloted in West Seattle / High Point and the Central District for the duration of the pandemic emergency. Other than resident traffic and deliveries, vehicles will be prohibited in “portions of the neighborhood greenways along 25th Avenue S and 34th Avenue SW / SW Graham and Holly St / High Point Dr SW”, which “will be open to people living in the neighborhood to walk, ride and cycle,” according to the mayor’s statement.

The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) wants to convert approximately 15 miles of city streets “in the coming weeks” to Stay Healthy Streets. The pilot areas were chosen to increase outdoor activities in “areas with limited open space options, low motorization rates, and routes connecting people to essential services and take out,” SDOT said. . “We also ensured that the street closures did not impact the newly opened food pick-up loading areas, parking around hospitals for service to healthcare professionals and bus routes. “

The mayor also confirmed that the University District Farmers Market and Ballard Farmers Market will reopen on Saturday and Sunday, respectively. If all goes well, others may soon follow suit. “The city will work with farmers’ markets this weekend to monitor adherence to necessary public health practices and determine the possibility of extended openings for these and other markets after this weekend,” according to the press release. of the mayor.

Good news because time continues to be a rare bright spot in these dark times.

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