(scroll down for the latest photos/info)
Lots of bikes and skateboarders as we get into the heart of the afternoon, with Alki closed to most traffic. And there’s people-watching to do, as well:
When we interviewed Mayor Nickels on Saturday (check here for our first two reports on that, with more to come tonight), he mentioned that he’d be visiting Alki during today’s car-free event – and indeed, a few minutes ago, we spotted him and wife Sharon Nickels across the street (we’ve spent the past couple hours at Alki Tully’s but are about to head out) – so we scampered out for the photo op. Also caught on camera, Bill Reiswig, president of Sustainable West Seattle, and wife Tonya Hennen, at the SWS setup near the Bathhouse, where you too can pose for a photo like this:
A crowd’s gathering for the Ryan Leech bicycle stunt show that’s about to happen across the street so we’re heading out to get video of that and more on what’s happening further along the route. More as the afternoon goes on (if you missed it, our first report is here; our coverage of the West Seattle 5K [WSB sponsor] is here).
ADDED 2:02 PM: We’ve walked the western half of the route and are adding photos. One thing different from last September’s car-free day – MANY more food and beverage vendors – like Megan and Carmen selling lemonade, iced Thai coffee and more in front of the house at 56th/Alki:
At the same spot – Alki-made Teddy Quilts are for sale:
Other vendors include BeesNeez grilling “Alaskan reindeer sausage” by the Wheel Fun Rentals kiosk:
More recreational options too, though it’s not all free. A few bucks for a round of waterfront mini-golf, anyone?
Next up, this IS free — the “Learn to Ride” corral at the Cascade Bicycle Club setup:
And if you learn to ride well enough, maybe you can be like the aforementioned Ryan Leech – caught here in mid-air (note the crowd; we also have video of him we’ll add a bit later):
ADDED 2:45 PM: So how busy is it, you ask? Heart of the beach – very. Here’s a shot looking westward:
At Spud and Slices, the lines were out the door:
The coverage continues … the street closure lasts till 5. By the way – this may be the only dog that wasn’t on the walk route when we passed by earlier this afternoon:
4:09 PM UPDATE: Walking the east end of the route in the final hour – currently pausing just past Bonair/Alki, under a tree atop the seawall, watching the Norwegian Pearl sail off toward Alaska. Still a sizable crowd in the heart of the beach zone, where we found CoolMom volunteers painting faces and sharing information about how families can be more environmentally responsible:
East of the commercial zone, the crowd thins, but bike riders, skateboarders and walkers are still out in profusion. The closure’s scheduled to end at 5, but keep in mind it will take a while for cones and signs to be removed, so don’t expect to be out here at 5:01 pm zooming along as usual. Volunteers like Julian, up at the other end of Bonair, will appreciate it (thanks to Eric Bell for the photo):
5:16 PM UPDATE: We’re at the eastern end of the closure route, just past Don Armeni, and the police here have NOT been given the all-clear to open the road yet – apparently the police at the other end are waiting until all the booths and ramps and other special setups are cleared out, so it will be a few more minutes till westbound traffic resumes on Alki Ave. While we wait, a few more photos – Pam from Nerd’s Eye View caught the “blender bike”:
Pam also wanted to know “who we thank for making it so fab and who we contact to tell them we want MORE MORE MORE car free Alki Days.” We’d point you to the mayor’s office, which we are told has been in the driver’s seat on this, so to speak: seattle.gov/mayor Meantime, JayDee caught a “warning” sign of sorts at Alki Tavern earlier:
And David Hutchinson photographed artist Phil Jones with a sidewalk sale of sorts:
5:31 PM UPDATE: Alki is now officially open to traffic both ways – police here on the east end of the closure zone just removed the barricades and are riding off. (video added later)
We’ll have another wrapup sometime later with more photos and video from the day — we’ll be checking with police/others tonight/tomorrow but so far, appears no major problems at all today.