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People are driving on ‘closed’ street because SDOT used barriers to build a wall at police precinct instead

When the Seattle Department of Transportation announced their plan to turn a section of Lake Washington Blvd in south Seattle into a car-light “Keep Moving Street,” a July 21 department blog post noted that they would use heavy cement “eco blocks” at many intersections along with signage to inform people driving that the road is closed to cars.

Two days after that blog post, SDOT crews used eco blocks to build a heavy wall around SPD’s West Precinct downtown:

Now people are reporting that many people are driving on the supposedly closed Lake Washington Blvd, which can be dangerous to people walking and biking in the roadway as intended. One problem is that the wooden road closed signs are easily moved or knocked over. Why didn’t SDOT install those eco blocks like they said they would? Yes Segura asked the department via Twitter, and SDOT responded that “eco blocks are currently not in inventory.”

So the city is literally using cement blocks intended to keep people safe in south Seattle to build a wall around the West Precinct instead. Wow.

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15 responses to “People are driving on ‘closed’ street because SDOT used barriers to build a wall at police precinct instead”

  1. Gary Yngve

    Wouldn’t we need a movable barrier so the fire department can still have access? In the long run, I’d love something like automated bollards/barriers, like are seen on Stanford campus or in several countries in western Europe.

    1. Andres Salomon

      Check these out: https://twitter.com/BrooklynSpoke/status/1288586300782772224

      That isn’t NYC DOT’s doing, it’s a private design. They’re likely easy to build, though.

      1. Gary Yngve

        Those look really cool!

    2. Tim

      You needn’t venture outside the city to see automated bollards; there are a set at the Seattle Center at the intersection of 2nd and Thomas.
      They also pay someone to sit in the booth and open and close them as vehicles need access. Must be a boring job

  2. Matthew Snyder

    I’m a little confused by this post. LWB is not totally closed to cars. Some folks have perfectly valid reasons to drive (slowly and carefully) on the “closed” sections: people live on it and need to be able to access their houses; delivery and emergency vehicles need access as well, etc. Other folks have no valid reason to drive on closed sections of LWB — they’re just doing it to be jerks, get a cheap thrill, lodge a very misguided protest, etc. Those are the people driving cars at 50+ mph screaming out the window at people walking and biking; I’ve watched it happen twice this week already. I don’t get the sense that those people would be dissuaded by a concrete block they could drive around, when they’re not dissuaded by a sign they can drive around. How would partially (but not fully) blocking a few intersections with concrete blocks make people safer?

    1. Tom Fucoloro

      When someone moves the sign, other people don’t know it is closed. A concrete block would harder to move. But no, it won’t stop people who are breaking the law on purpose.

    2. D

      I think the idea is that all of the barrier might end up getting moved completely off the road because they can be

      1. Tim

        They weigh almost two tons and need a gradall or backhoe to be set in place. Not something that even a dozen intoxicated humans could move by themselves

  3. Dave

    Maybe they used all they had at the precinct

    1. Becky

      That is exactly what they did.


    It is becoming unsafe as I saw young child almost hit and killed a few days ago that am so glad did not tragicallyend that way, howeverthe driver hit top speed through bikers. Unfortunately, There are lots of unsafe driving happening on LW. There needs to be some kind of patrol.

  5. If people were not attacking the precinct they wouldn’t have had to do that.

  6. AW

    What might help is having a manned station in the middle of the closed section of road that requires cars to stop and the driver explain why they are on the road. For those who are confused they will be educated. For those using the road as a short cut they will be delayed and hopefully figure out that it isn’t much of a short cut. For those intent on being jerks they will see that someone is watching them.

    On LWB and the other safe streets I ride right in the middle and try hard to make sure any car is slowed down as much as possible.

  7. Gordon Padelford

    Good news! SDOT will be adding additional signs are barriers along Lake Washington Blvd: https://twitter.com/SNGreenways/status/1289342133501956098

    No word yet on when the police station barricades will be redeployed to help keep people safe.

  8. BBiker

    After having purchased some to use to stop RVs from parking on the street, I know ecology blocks are about $25 each.

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