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 [email protected].
Cascade Bicycle Club is helping to organize the big volunteer effort needed to make these events work. Want to help out? Email [email protected].
For more details on the events or for a handy info sheet to pass around to others in your community, check out this PDF.
Great to see this happening. It’s what was envisioned when cyclavia was first brought up at a Cascade Bike Month Breakfast quite a few years ago. That effort first morphed into Summer Streets which really doesn’t have a cycling loop component at all. Our grand idea was to have a downtown cyclavia from the Market to South Lake Union to the ID. We’re still waiting on that one but these are movements in the right direction!
Speaking of the Central District greenway, I’m having trouble understanding why they didn’t split all of the speed bumps in the middle so that folks on bikes can easily and comfortably bike through the middle of the bumps without hurting their bum. There’s one bump near Garfield on 25th where they did the split, but everywhere else, along both 25th in the south and along 22nd to the north, it’s just a regular solid speed bump across the whole width of the street. Sure, it slows down cars, but it’s not very comfortable to bike over. These aren’t the smooth, low-profile speed “humps” that would be better for biking over, but rather the very abrupt kind that are annoying and that will likely end up making me want to bike on another street, ironically. One might say that you could just bike around the bumps, since they don’t go all the way to the curb, but that’s usually impossible due to parked cars being in the way.
Does anyone know the rationale for splitting that one near Garfield but no others? Is this how they’re doing it everywhere? I don’t like it.
I do like the stop signs on the cross streets, however. :)
This is great to see. It shows our generation and future generations how to have fun and be creative, plus it shows you don’t need a vehicle for all your transportation needs. Maybe this will help shift us form fast pace, rush everywhere lifestyle, to a more slow and relaxed socicity. This intern could reduce traffic congestion and make non motorized transportation safer. For the speed bump problem, slow down and stand up knees bent over speed bumps, this helps. I understand we need to slow drivers down, especially in our fast paced society. And the garage sales are a great way to keep stuff out of landfills and help the economy when the seller spends the money they make.
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