Report #1: Alki Car-Free Day confirmed for noon-6 Sept. 7th

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What we reported here last Friday night is now officially confirmed: Alki’s “Car-Free Day” is set for noon-6 pm Sunday, September 7th. According to the official information handed out at the announcement event that just concluded at Alki/Bonair with Mayor Nickels and SDOT director Grace Crunican (pictured above) — both West Seattleites — plus City Councilmember Jan Drago and others, the closure will be from Harbor Ave/California Way SW to Alki Ave/63rd. Here’s a map (the hikers mark the western and eastern ends of the closure):


View Larger Map

Here’s video of the mayor explaining how he got into the spirit of the announcement while on the way there:

As we also had reported, the “Car-Free Day” won’t be entirely vehicle-free — there will be a lane for the Water Taxi shuttle and for residents who can’t get to Alki homes any other way; that’ll be the curb lane. Many more details and video to come in report #2; the mayor was joined at the announcement by West Seattleites including Christy Pudduck and Sarah Steere, the entrepreneurs who run Coastal on Alki — you’ll hear from them in report #2, along with Abby Suplizio, who leads the West Seattle chapter of CoolMom, the group that got first word of the impending announcement. Car-Free Days also were announced for Capitol Hill and Rainier Valley areas; read ahead for the official city news release:

Mayor Greg Nickels announced today that three streets will be
opened to pedestrians and cyclists for three “car-free” Sundays in
August and September. By opening select streets, people will be invited
to walk, bike, skate, run and play in the street.

“Neighbors will have three to six hours to experience our streets in a
new way and to see how livable a city can be when people drive less,”
Nickels said. “This is our chance to experiment and to evaluate how
these events work for people. And we’ll be fighting global warming at
the same time.”

As part of Seattle Climate Action Now’s “Give Your Car the Summer Off”
campaign to combat global warming by encouraging residents to drive
1,000 fewer miles a year, these car-free days will link recreational
activities to neighborhood business centers. Cars are Seattle’s biggest
single source of climate pollution and the city is offering a wide range
of incentives for people to give up their cars for a day, a month, or a
lifetime.

Three locations will be car-free:
· Sunday, Aug. 24: “Car Free VolunteerParkand 14th Avenue East.”
Opens 14th Avenue Eastfrom VolunteerParkto East Republican Street, from
noonto 6 p.m.during the Peace Concert in the park. The Volunteer Park
Western Loop will also be car-free.
· Sunday, Aug. 31: “Car Free Rainier.” Opens Rainier Avenue
Southfrom South Orcas to South AlaskaStreets from 3 p.m.to 6 p.m.To link
Genesee Park to Columbia City, cars will also be restricted on Conover
Street, part of 38th Avenue South and South Alaska Street. This event
coincides with Bicycle Sunday on Lake Washington Boulevard

· Sunday, Sept. 7: “Car Free Alki.” Opens Alki Avenuefrom
California Way Southwest around AlkiBeachto the south end of 63rd at
Beach Drivefrom noonuntil 6 p.m.One lane will be coned off for the Water
Taxi Shuttle and to provide access for residents living along Alki.

People attending car-free days who do not live in the neighborhood are
encouraged to take transit, bicycle or walk to the car-free locations.

“This is a great opportunity to safely open our streets for families to
enjoy walking and biking to and through popular destinations in our
city,” said City Councilmember Jan Drago.

In addition, Parks and Recreation’s popular Bicycle Saturday and Sunday
program is being expanded to include VolunteerParkand SewardParkfor one
weekday each, and to add dates to Bicycle Saturday and Sunday through
September for walkers, bikers, skaters and pedestrians.

33 Replies to "Report #1: Alki Car-Free Day confirmed for noon-6 Sept. 7th"

  • Cami July 30, 2008 (10:14 am)

    Looking forward to it! GO GRACE!!!

  • Tim July 30, 2008 (10:25 am)

    I am tired of the Mayor trying to control my life. Freedom is dying in Seattle. To quote Maya Angelou, we are being “pecked to death by ducks”.

  • grr July 30, 2008 (10:30 am)

    Seattle has become such a nanny-run city it’s pathetic. First, the grocery bag fiasco, now this.

    can’t WAIT to hear from the business down there as to how much money they LOSE because their customers can’t get there.

  • Trisket July 30, 2008 (10:42 am)

    I wonder how hizzoner and crunican’t got down to alki…

  • WSB July 30, 2008 (10:47 am)

    The mayor said he walked. We figured that was why they chose that particular spot.

  • WSB July 30, 2008 (10:49 am)

    Grr, side note on the grocery bag thing. I talked for a few minutes with Councilmember Drago before the event; she was over here in WS for the RapidRide update I covered last week:
    http://westseattleblog.com/blog/?p=9278

    She was a “no” vote on the bag fee and is getting interview requests as a result; she said she’s going to be on CNN at noon today.

  • JanS July 30, 2008 (11:42 am)

    and…did he walk back UP the hill? just curious….

  • Alvis July 30, 2008 (12:05 pm)

    The mayor’s announcement looks to have drawn quite the crowd. Eat your heart out, Barack Obama.

  • WSB July 30, 2008 (12:14 pm)

    It wasn’t an official public event – just your classic news conference for us media types – so no crowd was expected. Jan – I didn’t hang around long enough to see if he walked back up. I thought I saw his hybrid black SUV hovering in the area but not 100 percent sure of that – I would have expected he’d have headed to the office after that; there’s a ceremonial photo op at City Hall this afternoon to sign the bag-fee bill (sorry, we’re not going to that, you’ll have to rely on citywide media, got too much to do here on the peninsula today).

  • OP July 30, 2008 (12:58 pm)

    So when do we get a Nickels-Free-Day? Oh wait, check that. How about a Nickels-Free-Year? Yeah, that’s better.

    JanS….no, does it LOOK like the man comes within shouting distance of the word ‘exercise”?

  • Erik July 30, 2008 (1:00 pm)

    That was his (missed) opportunity to catch the WT shuttle and take the lil boat into work.
    As far as businesses losing money, people can still drive down the Admiral Freeway and park on any of the side streets that intersect with Alki, just as they do any other day.

  • TomA July 30, 2008 (1:07 pm)

    The irony of this announcement was that they chose to set up the mayor’s podium in the middle of the bicycle path.

  • WSB July 30, 2008 (1:07 pm)

    Reminder, size criticisms offlimits on WSB (as well as other traits such as ethnicity, gender). On this particular topic, your editor here is a Person of Size and it AIN’T because we don’t walk up hills or because we’re strapping on the feedbag. End of discussion, thank you, back to whether Car-Free Day is a good idea or not.

  • JH July 30, 2008 (1:33 pm)

    Sounds good to me! I just hope the walkers don’t get in the way of the bikers, like they do in the bike path. Grrr….

  • JanS July 30, 2008 (1:51 pm)

    I like the Nickels-free-term, actually.

    Erik..ya need to have a neighborhood yard sale at your place that day…lots of people will be walking by..;-)

  • nuni July 30, 2008 (2:00 pm)

    JH, Noooo kidding!! And they don’t get out of the way sometimes either. RUDE.

  • Al Kye July 30, 2008 (2:11 pm)

    From his podium, the honorable mayor could see the site of the crosswalk at Alki Ave. and Bonair that has been asphalted over and never restriped. It’s been that way for months. It would be nice if he or the SDOT representative in attendance could do something about that.

    My call to the city traffic safety department got a promise that they would restripe it, but as of today, still no action.

  • Erik July 30, 2008 (2:40 pm)

    Jan –
    I had a friend that lives in Lake City just ask me yesterday if I was planning on having a yard sale soon, he has stuff to get rid of…lol.

  • Nancy July 30, 2008 (3:26 pm)

    We need to take small steps. I think this is a great idea. I am proud to live in Seattle and especially West Seattle.

  • KT July 31, 2008 (7:43 am)

    What about the countless other REAL issues plaguing the city? Is the gang problem fixed; how about our roads; do we have adequate police protection…? Silly little gestures. You manage what you can and the Mayor is showing his limited abilities.

  • nunya July 31, 2008 (7:59 am)

    For me to go to Alki by bus would cost us $10.00 round trip and take over 2 hrs round-trip. In my car it would take 15 minutes and cost about a gallon of gas. The mayor is making a public asset like the beach semi private for those who own property there and harder for the general public to enjoy this amenity that my $6000 annual property taxes help maintain. I guess if you are an Alki developer it is a nice feature to tell prospective buyers about, can I restrict my street to “residents only” or is this only done at the wim of the “little Nickel”

  • Sarah July 31, 2008 (8:46 am)

    nunya: can you explain how it would cost $10.00 round trip to take the bus to Alki? And I don’t think this is an example of the mayor making the beach “semi[-]private.” It is an example of making the beach more enjoyable to those of us who would like to take a nice beach walk on the weekend, but never do because it gets so incredibly loud with all the idiotic drivers who feel they need to provide background music through their stereos. My only complaint is that he didn’t choose to arrange this for a Saturday from, say, 6 p.m. to midnight – that’s when the worst of it happens. And no, I don’t live on Alki, but I do enjoy walking there from my home on Avalon.

  • austin July 31, 2008 (9:23 am)

    If you’re spending ten bucks on a bus trip, either you screwed up or you live in Yelm.

  • worms Roxanne, I'm afraid of worms. July 31, 2008 (10:06 am)

    I really like the idea of making Alki, beach, and Harbor one way. I am sure the residents might feel differently.

  • nunya July 31, 2008 (5:06 pm)

    Sarah- family of three, $3.50 round trip for each on the 21 from Arbor Heights. Now that you brought it up, a night closure would make much better sense.

  • Erik July 31, 2008 (5:58 pm)

    Nunya – So why not drive to Alki? Only Alki Ave. is closed, not every street in WS.

    And FWIW, Off-peak (Sunday) price is $1.50 and youth price is $0.75 each way.

  • Erica August 1, 2008 (2:50 pm)

    I am concerned about what in inconvenience this will cause myself and my guests… After I work for 12.5 hours on 9/7/08 and drive across the West Seattle bridge to get home the last thing I need is a detour to get to my home on Alki Ave. SW. I am VERY upset about this “car free crap.” If the mayor is so concerned about this car free stuff he should try it on his street!!!

  • Carl August 24, 2008 (7:12 pm)

    All this is going to do is cause massive congestion and parking problems on the streets feeding into and out of Alki Ave. Cars will be burning more fuel and increasing the carbon footprint by taking detours and circling the area looking for non-existent parking. Plus, I envision many of the residents near Alki getting in their cars and taking off to other areas to avoid the chaos caused by this nonsensical whim.

    I’m so looking forward to the end of his regime.

  • Dave August 27, 2008 (5:14 am)

    At first, I was annoyed by this “car free day”. More “Nichols Nannisim” I thought. But having lived on Alki/Harbor Ave for the last 7 years, I have been at times highly frustrated by the cars and noise there. It can be unbearable when you are trying to relax. And there seems to be no end to it these days, with traffic increasing. And special occaisions, like the 4th? Fahgettaboudit. People…just look around you? It’s a sea of heavy metal out there (and not just the kind rolling on rubber). We need a break from this, even if it means the Mayor has to walk down a hill to tell us about it. I’ll see you on the 7th as I roll by (on my blades!).

  • KathrynV August 27, 2008 (10:08 am)

    Great idea! I think “Car Free Days” should be done on all Saturdays, Sundays and Holidays from May through Labor Day.

  • Vince September 3, 2008 (11:23 am)

    I ride a bycycle on Alki sometimes but I expect to encounter people on that ride (many, many people). For someone seeking a serious ride (free of pedestrian) mabye Alki is not the place, especially on “car free Sunday”.

  • Gretchen September 3, 2008 (8:38 pm)

    Wow…there is some serious crankiness about all of this. It is about 6 hours on one Sunday and we’ve had plenty of notice. What is the deal? I’m curious about going down there just to see what that beach feels like without all the cars. We avoid it most of the summer because it is so awful. From the sound of the ranting so far, there is some deep seeded anger that may be misdirected.

  • kim schwarzkopf September 6, 2008 (8:33 am)

    I am really surprised at all the cranky pants too. Maybe all the car fumes are getting to their mental and physical health?
    “Car exhausts contain a range of toxic substances that can have a serious impact on health.(respiratory, central nervous system, cancer, blood)

    Once released into the air, these substances are breathed in and transported in the bloodstream to all the body’s major organs.

    Potentially dangerous vehicle emissions include:

    * Carbon monoxide
    * Nitrogen dioxide
    * Sulphur dioxide
    * Benzene
    * Formaldehyde
    * Polycyclic hydrocarbons
    * Lead
    * Tiny suspended particles

    The most obvious health impact of car emissions is on the respiratory system.”

    As the mom of two kids (all suffering from asthma) and a 12 year neighbor of Alki, I highly support car free days. A little step in the right direction and a great event to get the friends and family together. Cheers.

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