Countdown to Alki “Car-Free Day” on Sunday: The official advisory


We’ve been talking about it since bringing you first word six weeks ago, and now, whether you’ve been anticipating it or dreading it, it’s almost here: “Car-Free Day” on Alki, noon-6 pm Sunday, with parking restrictions taking effect two hours earlier. We’ve shown you the map, the doorhanger, the flyer for cars, the no-parking signs (and as of this afternoon, the detour/street closed signs have been dropped off all over the area – 2 examples shown above); now, here’s the official final SDOT advisory:

Here’s what to expect during this time:

-Motorists cannot use Alki Ave SW from 63rd Ave SW over to Harbor Ave SW and California Way SW.
-Exceptions will be made for emergency response and people with disabilities.
-An eastbound lane will remain open along Alki Ave SW for the Water Taxi shuttle, bus route 56 and residents needing access to their homes.
-Detour signs will guide motorists around California Ave SW to SW Admiral Way.
-Parking will not be allowed, except for people with special needs, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Alki Ave SW from 63rd Ave SW over to Harbor Ave SW and SW Maryland Place.
-There will be local access to the boat ramp at Don Armeni park off Harbor Ave SW.

The Elliott Bay Water Taxi and Water Taxi land shuttle will operate on their normal Sunday schedule.

Cascade Bicycle Club volunteers will lead three bike rides to the Car Free Day including:
-From Seward Park at 8:30 a.m.
-From Greenlake Park and Ride at 10:30 a.m.
-From Kent at 10:30 a.m.

More details on these bike rides can be found at

All participants are encouraged to bike, walk or take transit to the event. If Seattleites drive every vehicle 1,000 miles a year less (about 20 miles a week), we can meet our current climate pollution reduction goals.

17 Replies to "Countdown to Alki "Car-Free Day" on Sunday: The official advisory"

  • GC September 5, 2008 (8:10 pm)

    How many and which businesses will be closing Sunday to keep their losses to a minimum during the boondoggle?

  • Ken Davis September 5, 2008 (8:29 pm)

    Perhaps I missed it. But did anyone come up with an explanation for why this is considered a good thing? And if it is so good would it not be ten times better between Madison street and Denny way?

    Luckily I don’t live in the area but I assume everyone who is not able to hike out of the blight will have made arrangements to flee beforehand.

    I do my part for environmental projects and support sustainable practices where practical, but Public Relations dressed up as Public Good has to be acknowledged when it is passed out on the lawn for all the neighbors to see.

  • JanS September 5, 2008 (9:20 pm)

    ya know…it’s not for a life time,’s for 6 HOURS…a drop in the bucket…geesh !! give the complaining a rest. It’ll be a beautiful day. Take some public transportation down there and just have some FUN !!

  • J September 6, 2008 (1:53 am)

    I guess it is easy to tell people to take public transportation on a weekend day when most people don’t have to work. However, for those who do, and live on the street where they cannot even drive out of their drive ways they have to rely on public transportation that is crappy at best. Instead of doing “feel good” environmentalist measures such as this, perhaps Nichols could work with the state to improve our public transportation so that those who live, but do not work in Seattle will not HAVE to drive their cars to work.

  • OlMom September 6, 2008 (8:04 am)


  • Jo September 6, 2008 (8:56 am)

    I agree with JanS above.
    For those of you who feel you’re ‘locked in’ do your errands before 12:00 or after 6:00. Or as she suggests, use public transportation for those 6 hours.
    OR park up in Admiral District garage and take the FREE Water Taxi shuttle or #56 metro down to beach.
    OR drive down Admiral, park in the neighborhood side streets (most do anyway). I know because I live on one of the side streets a block from the beach.
    Have lunch in one of the restaurants, have a picnic, just stroll along the street and enjoy one of our most beautiful parks. I think it can be great fun.

  • flipjack September 6, 2008 (8:57 am)

    Wow, guess we need to establish a car-aholics anonymous, whew!
    I agree mayor Gridlock is taking about as few steps as possible to reduce traffic and congestion, but man, get the f*#^ out of your car every once in a while and see what it’s like to walk a few blocks.
    Look at it as a snow day, an excuse to not run out to Costco, a reason to sleep in. Maybe have a different experience of where you live.

  • Mike September 6, 2008 (9:14 am)

    Flipjack’s right, frequently there’s not even parking along Alki way and we end up finding a spot on one of the neighborhood streets and walking down. The difference is now we won’t have to dodge the SoCal wannabee’s cruisin’ for hotties as we cross to the beach.

    As for businesses, we were planning on riding for a bit and then grabbing a bite to eat – how does that hurt business????

    Get out of your cars for a bit and try it for Pete’s sake!

  • Jo September 6, 2008 (9:22 am)

    “An eastbound lane will remain open along Alki Ave SW for the Water Taxi shuttle, bus route 56 and residents needing access to their homes.”
    That is from the SDOT advisory above. People who live along Alki CAN access their homes.
    Me and Flipjack and Mike and JanS are right!
    Hope you will make a FUN day of it.

  • Alcina September 6, 2008 (10:40 am)

    If someone chats with Mayor Nickels at this event, can you find out how he got there from his North Admiral home up the hill? Did he take the bus, walk, ride a bike as SDOT is suggesting everyone do……or did he get there by his personal car or city-owned SUV?

  • J September 6, 2008 (11:00 am)

    the argument “geez people, it’s only 6 hours and get out of your car for once” is simply stupid. The fact is, this is nothing more than a feel good measure that blocks off the roads that our gas guzzling machines have paid for. It does nothing for the environment and I see no benefit in closing a street for a day unless there is a fair (like in the junction once a year). I am an environmentalist and a liberal, but I am not crazy or stupid. I know the difference between a mayor who is trying to gain votes by doing useless, but expensive, moves and one who is actually making a difference. Nichols is foolish and NOT making a difference. It is not up to the few to tell the many how and when they can use their cars. We pay taxes to access these roads and deserve to do it.

  • WSB September 6, 2008 (11:06 am)

    He’s not scheduled to make an official appearance, don’t know if he’ll make a cameo. When the formal announcement was made in late July, a few days after we first reported it here, he walked to the announcement along Alki, down Bonair. (Not sure if he walked back – he might have gone downtown to work from there, it was a fairly early event.) Re: businesses closing. I’m going to take a casual walk past the main strip while down for the Statue of Liberty events in a couple hours, and if I see anyone with a sign up that says “Closed Sunday,” I’ll report on it (and take a picture!) but so far there has been no announcement by anyone that they will be closing. One citywide newspaper had a followup article in late July, shortly after the announcement, claiming that businesses were “caught off-guard” (this is more than a month after we first reported that a Car-Free Day was expected on Alki before summer was out, and almost a week after we broke the news it would be Sept. 7) and quoting one restaurant as saying they “might” close. I will be checking on that restaurant too – I would be shocked if they closed on a spectacular late-summer Sunday when people usually have to park a couple blocks away ANYWAY. Frankly, if I were a betting person, I would bet the beach will be as crowded tomorrow as it would be on a day like this at this time of year. We’ll see what happens. Meantime, we’ll be posting updates from Alki starting at mid-morning, to see how the parking enforcement is going ahead of the actual event – TR

  • J September 6, 2008 (11:09 am)

    A little more to add…

    If we want to reduce our use by 1000 miles a year – provide us with DECENT public transportation. As people: VOTE in $$$ and plans for good transportation. it is easy to say “get out of your car” and then vote down any public transportation issue that comes on the ballot. THE POWER IS IN THE PEOPLE, NOT OUR MAYOR WHO ONLY LOOKS LIKE HE IS HELPING! I for one will never vote for him again. I will honestly vote republican to get that guy out of office.

  • WSB September 6, 2008 (11:20 am)

    Mayor and city council are nonpartisan positions. Doesn’t mean the people who hold them can’t have party affiliations, but just a data point. (This is different from King County, where the executive and council are partisan positions – at least until and unless the measure on November’s ballot passes.)

  • flynlo September 6, 2008 (2:33 pm)

    Has the city published any figures on what the costs are of holding these “Car Free Days”?
    Is this the best possible use for tax payer money? Let’s face it, the city is never going to have enough money, so it seems to me that there needs to be some priority on how tax payer money is spent.

    As just one example: From the City’s Web Site;


    “Nearly two-thirds of Seattle’s streets are the least-traveled, non-arterial streets. Funds have not been available to assess the condition of these streets since the mid ’90’s.”

    Say nothing about maintaining them, we don’t even
    know what kind of shape they are in!!

    We could come up with literally dozens of other

  • Alcina September 6, 2008 (3:10 pm)

    flynlo, the only dollar amount I’ve seen reported for what this is costing the city is $45,000 for barricades, permits and police.
    However, that number wouldn’t include what the City of Seattle paid to reimurbse the people who had their cars towed during the first one. I’ve not seen the cost of that reported any place.

  • JH September 6, 2008 (10:00 pm)

    Wow. Lots of angry people here. I would think the restaurant business would be hopping with all the bikes. Maybe the naked bicyclists will even make an appearance. Sounds like fun. Too bad I can’t make it!

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