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Green Lake Keep Moving Street to shrink by half as southbound lane reopens

As early as next week, the Keep Moving Street in place on a portion of West Green Lake Way N, allowing space for people to more comfortably walk, bike, and roll apart from vehicles, will shrink by half as the Seattle Department of Transportation reopens its southbound lane to vehicle traffic. According to SDOT, this change is being made to allow people driving to access both the parking lot at the Green Lake Park tennis court and the Lower Woodland Park off-leash area parking lot.

This Keep Moving Street was the second most utilized open street in 2020 on a per-mile basis according to SDOT’s data, second only to Beach Drive in West Seattle. SDOT will be installing barriers to separate the newly reopened travel lane from the lane devoted to walking rolling and biking, but we don’t yet know what kind of barriers those will be.

Green line connecting East Green Lake Way N with N 63rd Street between Woodland Park and Green Lake Park.
Map showing the Keep Moving Street at Green Lake.

Scaling down the Stay Healthy Street to restore access to parking will be frustrating to many who have enjoyed it, but hopefully this opens up an avenue to its conversion into a long-term facility. Later this year, SDOT will open a bike facility on the other side of Green Lake Drive/Way, between Stone Way and Densmore Ave at the very north end of the lake.

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Permanently converting the lakeside lane where the Keep Moving Street exists now would continue that facility even further around Green Lake. By itself this would be nice, but it would also set up the future possibility of a safe bike route all the way around the lake that’s separate from the loop trail.

Person on bike with empty kid carrier on back on empty Keep Moving Street
Green Lake Way’s Keep Healthy Street last Summer. (Tom Fucoloro)

Along the very western edge of Green Lake Park is Aurora Ave. A substandard gravel path is the only way to navigate this stretch if you’re walking; if you’re rolling it’s pretty much inaccessible. Paired with the fast moving traffic on Aurora it’s a recipe for disaster. In 2019, a UW student, Bergen Fuglestad, was struck by a driver while jogging along this path. That collision resulted in what is likely to be permament injury to Fuglestad.

Converting the curbside lane on Aurora next to Green Lake Park could make everyone safer.

The rightmost lane of Aurora here is incredibly underutilized. Converting it into a bike facility protected by jersey barriers (as exist in the median of Aurora here) would protect the walking path and complete another segment of the full bike connection around Green Lake. It also would likely slow most drivers a bit more at that segment. Installing barriers on the south end of the lake this month will be a great way to pilot it.

SDOT says they envision the Green Lake Keep Moving Street staying in place longer than other Keep Moving Streets because of the restriction on bikes using the Green Lake path. Hopefully longer in this case means permanent.

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9 responses to “Green Lake Keep Moving Street to shrink by half as southbound lane reopens”

  1. Skylar

    Converting the curb lane of northbound Aurora by Green Lake seems like an easy way to improve connectivity and safety, with no negative impacts that I can see. There’s not even a bus lane in that direction on Aurora, since the northbound E runs on Linden until north of the lake. If part of it could be a two-way bike facility connecting to the bike lane and Aurora crossing on Green Lake Dr that would be even better.

  2. asdf2

    I would have preferred the city be a bit bolder. Convert the parking lots to other uses, such as basketball courts, tennis courts, or playgrounds, leaving a bare minimum number of parking spaces for parks department vehicles hauling giant rowboats. Convert the stretch of Green Lake Way into a trail and whatever street width isn’t necessary for the trail, re-vegetate it with grass and plant some trees.

    Once it’s all done, I doubt we’ll have masses of people lobbying the city to tear up their basketball and tennis courts and chop down the streets in order to widen the street and put in a parking lot.

    Drivers survived without Green Lake Way for the past year, and will continue to do so in upcoming years. Being able to walk through the park without listening and smelling idling car engines is a feature, not a bug.

  3. Kyle

    As someone living in the neighborhood who bikes but also drives, I would be happy to see this Stay Healthy Street go once restrictions on the Green Lake trail end. That’s because, unlike most Stay Healthy Streets, it is a significant detour to go around it in a car. On the other hand, the Green Lake trail provides a functional (if crowded) alternative for bikes, and the street itself isn’t too scary to bike on anyway. So, although I do support the general concept of Stay Healthy Streets and love most of them, I would be bummed if this one became permanent.

    1. asdf2

      Is it really that far of a detour? It’s just to 50th St., and I think it would be worth it to make Green Lake and Woodland park continuous parkland. I think it’s reasonable to have a very small parking lot for ADA and crew vehicles, but it doesn’t need to be nearly as big as the current lot or accommodate thru traffic.

      It’s still much more direct than the transit rider experience of having to not only detour to 45th, but also switch buses once you get there.

  4. Mark Phillips

    As a biker who bikes on N 50th and E Greenlake Way, I would not want to see more traffic on those streets if W Greenlake Way stays closed. Even though both streets have bike lanes, E Greenlake Way is not a great ride due to high volume and parking cars on the right. N 50th is basically a highway even now and people are not willing to stop for pedestrians or bikes turning. The past year has not been representative of traffic patterns.

  5. Jan Weldin

    It would be very simple, less expensive and much, much safer to add bike lanes to Linden Ave which runs just parallel to Aurora and has an easy connect from Green Lake Way. This seems alamos obvious!!

  6. Mike

    W Green Lake Way N is an arterial that connects neighborhoods. Keeping that blocked off to vehicles is forcing traffic into other already congested and distant streets (north to 80th or south to 50th)! From Greenwood/Phinney that street is a direct route to Wallingford, N Lake Union, I-5 Southbound, U District, etc… Access to the lake, dog park, tennis courts and golf course is also being blocked. The parking lots, now blocked off, have always been popular with park users – including bikes, walkers and general recreators. The traffic light at E Green Lake Way N is needed as anyone – in a car – turning right toward 50th has a neck stretcher to see bikes or other southbound vehicles. W Green Lake Way N is flat and wide and could easily accommodate a better bike/walking path if needed. A two-way bike path alongside Aurora is needed. Permanent closure of W Green Lake Way N is NOT needed or necessary!

    1. Ryan Packer

      No one is proposing a permanent closure.

  7. Kay McCorkell

    I would like to see the street fully opened with access to parking lots. There would be more people and cars which hopefully would reduce the crime that has moved into nearby neighborhoods in the absence of a through street. It would also be easier to for law enforcement to monitor illegal activities such as selling stolen goods and selling hard drugs.

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