54 years after the first Bicycle Sunday on Lake Washington Boulevard, the car-free event has long solidified as a beloved tradition. As was the case in 2021, SDOT and Seattle Parks will expand Bicycle Sundays into what they are now calling “Bicycle Weekends,” a series of car-free weekends during the summer. The first 2022 Bicycle Weekend is May 20–23. Here’s the 2022 schedule:
- May 20–23; 27–31
- June 10–13; 24–27
- July 1–5; 15–18
- August 12–15; 19–22
- September 2–6; 16–19
After a half century, public support has grown for making a permanent car-free space on the scenic and historic lakeside roadway. A 2021 online survey found overwhelming support for a permanently-car-free Lake Washington Boulevard. Though online surveys are a limited tool for collecting public sentiments, this one received 6,701 responses, 2,244 of which were from people living in the local 98118 zip code. That’s a lot of responses. Below are the results:
SDOT released an evaluation report (PDF) in February of the 2020 and 2021 Keep Moving Streets program on Lake Washington Boulevard.
“At a high level, we found a substantial number of people walking and biking on Lake Washington Blvd during the closures this summer (for example during the weekend of July 10-11, there were a total of 3,911 people counted biking on the Keep Moving Street),” SDOT staff wrote in the report. “We also found vehicle traffic on side streets was not higher during the weekend closures than during weekday non-closures, with the exception of Hunter Blvd S/S 38th St.” The report includes ideas for how to prevent cut-through traffic on Hunter.
With all this recent data and public feedback in hand, SDOT has announced a new “visioning process” for the the street. This process is planned to take all of 2022. The city has not announced a date for when street changes might occur, presumably because that depends on what comes from the process, but hopefully this will set the stage for permanent changes to the street in 2023.
“In the coming weeks, in partnership with the Southeast Seattle community, the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) will begin a visioning process for Lake Washington Blvd,” SDOT wrote in a blog post. “This process will continue through the end of 2022 and result in a framework for how the City of Seattle will make future decisions on what driving, biking, walking, and rolling will be like on Lake Washington Blvd.” More details from the SDOT Blog:
For the visioning process, the Southeast Seattle community will be actively involved in shaping the framework. We value your history and perspectives on Lake Washington Blvd. You will have multiple opportunities this summer to share your experiences and priorities for Lake Washington Blvd.
We are designing the outreach and engagement process from the ground up. We have asked a group of Southeast Seattle community members that represent long-time residents, people that ride bicycles, and neighborhood community organizations to help us design a community outreach process that will kick off this summer. We hope you will participate in the engagement activities when they start this summer.
We anticipate outreach and engagement will include a of mix community meetings, email updates, and in-person events in Southeast Seattle with opportunities to learn more and meet City of Seattle staff to discuss ideas, ask questions, and provide feedback.
I am getting increasingly frustrated by the city dragigng its feet when it makes changes to accommodate people on foot/bike, while wasting no time to approve car-centric changes, such as City Light’s plan for a surface parking lot near the waterfront, with so little public input.
So is the city really considering turning this critical throughway into a bike only and residential access street. Rainier is already incredibly dangerous and cannot safely handle more traffic.
We can only hope. From your description of Rainier Avenue, it sounds like it would be too dangerous to people walking and biking along Lake Washington Boulevard to let people in cars continue to use it.