Seattle is stepping up its open streets game in 2015, remaking the old Summer Streets program into the bigger and more active Summer Parkways.
Basically, the events will smash together Summer Streets (neighborhood street fairs) with the car-free family fun of the city’s long-running Bicycle Sunday events on Lake Washington Boulevard. Bike, scooter, stroll, skateboard or roller blade for miles of car-free streets lined with garage sales, community parties, food trucks, fitness classes and basically whatever each neighborhood wants to make happen.
If word spreads as far and wide as it should, these could be some of the best family and community events all year.
We got our hands on the official routes recently. You might hear people say that these streets will be “closed,” but in fact they will be dramatically “opened” in a way never experienced in recent memory.
Central District – September 12
The three-mile CD route is shorter than the Ballard route, but it’s particularly exciting to yours truly because this is my neighborhood. The route is great and will showcase the nearly-complete Central Area Neighborhood Greenway on 25th Ave/Ave S.
Unlike CicLAvia in Los Angeles, which takes place on major cross-city boulevards, Summer Parkways 2015 follows the lead of Portland’s amazing Sunday Parkways events. The routes are loops of residential streets, often following potential or existing neighborhood greenway routes. It’s less about getting across the city and more about getting people around the neighborhood.
It’s also an invitation for people from all over the region to come and explore a part of the city they might not be familiar with, all in the safety of car-free streets.
And there’s probably no better chance for kids learning to bike to get a riding-in-the-street lesson safely.
Ballard – September 19
The Ballard route is seven miles long, following some excellent existing, soon-to-open and possible future neighborhood greenways. Ballard is flat (by Seattle standards) and perhaps the neighborhood most-ready for a rapid implementation of a neighborhood greenway network.
So get a glimpse into the future September 19 to experience what a neighborhood-wide network could feel like.
Is your organization or business located along any of these routes? Well start planning a party now! You can also help by becoming an event sponsor. Email Summer.Parkways@seattle.gov.
Cascade Bicycle Club is helping to organize the big volunteer effort needed to make these events work. Want to help out? Email Summer.Parkways@Cascade.org.
For more details on the events or for a handy info sheet to pass around to others in your community, check out this PDF.