Mayor’s office: No Alki car-free Summer Streets sequel this year

(Alki Ave party-in-the-street setup Sunday afternoon, east of the beach zone)
Just in case you were wondering (we were), we just asked Alex Fryer in Mayor Nickels’ office whether, since Sunday’s “Celebrate Seattle Summer Streets” event was so early in the season, there’s a chance of another one this year. His reply: “Yesterday was the only Alki event for the year. It takes months of preparation, and it showed. It was a great event.” He also confirms that if you have feedback on the event – how it went, whether it should or shouldn’t happen next year, etc. – the mayor’s office is the place to send it: All the contact options are here.

34 Replies to "Mayor's office: No Alki car-free Summer Streets sequel this year"

  • Rick June 1, 2009 (9:43 am)

    It was a great day, and what a thrill to see people of all ages taking it in. I have heard the complaint that the local businesses feel it hurts their business. By what I saw, it helped them yesterday. I would love to see this occur each Sunday…people would flock to this. Memorial Day to Labor Day.

  • Worms Roxanne, I'm afraid of worms. June 1, 2009 (9:51 am)

    Personally I love it and would welcome it every weekend. Are there folks that feel it has a negative impact on them? residents, businesses? I could see how it possibly might be a negative for some restaurants. It also made a huge traffic backup on Admiral, which is no good.

  • Diane June 1, 2009 (10:05 am)

    just another reason to get a different mayor, please
    this event should be every weekend
    event was fantastic, as expected
    businesses were overflowing; so much for all the naysayers

  • Margaret Evans June 1, 2009 (10:14 am)

    What a beautiful day! We bicycled from Jack Block
    Park,it was way better then last year, fewer police, more activities. I saw so many people just enjoying themselves. I know it’s probably a hassle for the residents, but from what I saw it sure looked like all the restaurants, and coffee shops were packed. Thanks to the two bands for the live music.

  • noreaster June 1, 2009 (10:42 am)

    ohmygosh I feel the same! I live on Alki and yeah, maybe heading up to Admiral to the bridge instead of taking Alki Ave(which is often backed up and slow in the summer anyway) may be a tiny inconvenience, I would GLADLY welcome it every weekend. I made that comment to my fiance as we walked our dog. Yesterday was amazing! The energy in the neighborhood was AMAZING! I compared it to when I lived in San Diego and wished it was like this more often. BRING ON MORE CAR FREE DAYS! :-)

  • GenHillOne June 1, 2009 (10:49 am)

    First, the group in the pic (with the pirate flag) sure grew from their small table of folks eating grapes last year ;) Way to go!!!

    Second, I guess I feel like presenting this as an environmental event (even if only to build awareness) does/did it no justice. Even those solidly in the global-warming camp have a hard time defending it. BUT, as a neighborhood event ala take-back-our-streets/beach, it’s GREAT and a definite improvement over last year.

  • JBL June 1, 2009 (11:15 am)

    No more car free days this year? LAME!

  • wundrgrrrl June 1, 2009 (11:26 am)

    I’m an Alki neighborhood resident and I completely avoid the beach between Memorial Day and Labor Day – especially when it’s nice out – because it’s a friggin’ zoo as our streets are taken over for the summer.

    Sunday was amazing ~ I’d like to see it at least once a month so as a local resident I can ENJOY it when it’s nice out too.

  • carrieann June 1, 2009 (11:33 am)

    Every weekend may be a bit excessive, but what about once a month or even once every other month? I didn’t make it down there this year, but I’ll be there for the next one, especially for the 5k!

  • DebSara June 1, 2009 (11:41 am)

    Hi we’re the ones with the pirate flag and we love this event as a great way to meet our neighbors and share this wonderful alki community with others (sans pumped up cars with loud stereos). Our tables were filled with free games, free food and great conversation for all who stopped. Thank you to the organizers and we hope this event continues.

  • diane June 1, 2009 (12:32 pm)

    carrieann; if you had made it down, you may have seen it as completely wonderful and absolutely possible for every weekend
    it sure would resolve much of the crime problems; the only cruising yesterday was on bicycles, skateboards, skates, strollers, those cute rental pedal cars, ……..
    the only engine noise, couple of speed boats out on the water
    I didn’t encounter/see ANY unpleasant activity that is sadly the norm on weekends on Alki
    our wonderful beach was transformed into a haven for families, community, athletics, relaxing, lots of fun, as it could/should be always
    so why not every weekend?

  • WSB June 1, 2009 (12:43 pm)

    As Alex Fryer’s response noted, the logistics were rather major – We published a brief note on Thursday night with an urgent last-minute call for more volunteers, with all sorts of incentives promised, so clearly even the months of preparation still led to some eleventh-hour scrambling. That may be one roadblock, so to speak, although who knows what might be possible if you systemized it to where it was “every fourth Sunday” or something … TR

  • homesweethome June 1, 2009 (1:02 pm)

    parts of Lk Wash blvd are closed regularly for bikes/peds only – I think this year most of the summer – granted they don’t have the retail issue (but plenty of residential) there but once this program got going they have consistently added more days to the schedule

  • homesweethome June 1, 2009 (1:03 pm)

    most of the summer on Sundays I mean as to Lk Wash Blvd

  • john June 1, 2009 (1:08 pm)

    I must’ve missed what everyone else saw. I rode down there at about 1:00 PM. I rode from one end to the other and back again. I thought I’d see food vendors and more street activities. I saw several booths selling foods or drinks, a Cascade Bike Club area, and a dude doing tricks on his bike. That was it. There needs to be more.

  • WSB June 1, 2009 (1:21 pm)

    As noted in our comprehensive coverage, and what I can just recall from memory, here’s what was happening:
    -Alki has a rather extensive restaurant community so tons of food vendors may not be the way to go. However, there was a mobile restaurant in the Alki Auto Repair parking lot. A mobile coffee stand across the street. An ice cream/snow cone type vendor by the small restroom building mid-beach. The reindeer sausage folks by Wheel Fun Rentals. Carmel corn vendors. Vitamin Water samples. Full Tilt’s ice cream bicycle was supposed to be making the rounds though I missed it. Tully’s was doing outdoor sales as well as inside. I showed a photo of young ladies with a drink stand at 56th/Alki.
    As for the shows/performances – Coastal had live bands outside, Bamboo had live bands outside. There was the “dude doing tricks on his bike.” There was a skateboard ramp. Miniature golf. Bike riding lessons. Face painting. Some folks having small sales, like Phil the artist. Further down the beach, the folks whose photo I published atop this story had games and a mini-carnival earlier in the day – I caught up with them in literally the last hour and they said they’d had tons of kids there earlier.
    Certainly lots of room for MORE but that’s what I saw, and aside from going back home 1:30-3 pm to catch up on publishing photos/video, I was at Alki 8:15 am-6 pm. Not to mention, the race was a HUGE activity for the start of the day, and there was volleyball competition on the beach all afternoon too – TR

  • WSB June 1, 2009 (1:24 pm)

    And for JBL above – Want to be sure this was clear, there ARE events still to come in other neighborhoods. I just checked to see if there was any chance they’d be looking at another one here, since this one was so early in the year. The schedule for the rest of the city and the rest of the year (and Alki wasn’t even the earliest – Ballard was two weeks earlier):

  • Ken June 1, 2009 (1:56 pm)

    Great day, liked the addition of the local access only signs right off Admiral. This made a huge difference on our street as opposed to last year. Nice work to all involved.

  • Mark June 1, 2009 (2:12 pm)

    Was a fantastic day, each Sunday may be excessive, but let’s at least keep this a tradition for at least once a year.

    If the businesses feel they are being hurt there should be more done to advertise the event. I didn’t really know about it and just happening to be biking through.

  • carrieann June 1, 2009 (2:12 pm)

    diane – see WSB/TR’s response right below yours. Based on the prep involved, it sounds like something that takes quite a bit of planning and manpower, so I’m not sure it’d be doable for every single weekend. But who knows, maybe it if were a regular occurrence it would be easier to execute, since they’d have some sort of system down. I’m certainly not opposed (so don’t take my above comment to mean so, especially since I didn’t even make it down to check it out, firsthand) and am one of those who is for such a thing. Was merely saying that a nice compromise to once a *year*, as it stands now, may be once a month or every other month.

  • GenHillOne June 1, 2009 (2:23 pm)

    Maybe a nice compromise? A few times a year, one lane open in one direction with residents (showing home address on driver’s license?) being able to traverse…would cut down on traffic in general, especially cruisers and thumpers, but impact residents less.

  • troy June 1, 2009 (4:10 pm)

    Diane – so why is this “another reason to get a new mayor?” it was his idea! so if he closes streets you think we should get a new mayor and if he doesn’t close the street we should get a new mayor? what???

  • fluorescent carl June 1, 2009 (4:14 pm)

    It’s like night and day… Sooo much better than with cars, It gives the community back to the People who live her and would be a welcome regular addition to the Summer months. Personally I felt exited about Alki the way I did when I first lived here as a young adult Years and Years ago. It’s what Alki could be and should be more often.

  • diane June 1, 2009 (4:27 pm)

    yes, every weekend is a dream; just as I dreamed 30 yrs ago of smoke-free public spaces, which started with few tables in restaurants, many years of advocacy, the dream is finally coming true; I prefer to set the bar high in life
    just as someone mentioned the many successful years of car-free weekends along Lake Wa, it’s more about changing behavior, getting the word out, proving the naysayers wrong with show of positive outcomes
    much of the “human power”, staffing, volunteering, was about informing public who didn’t know about it; once this becomes the norm, much of it won’t be needed; and the loud obnoxious cruisers who like to shoot at each other will find somewhere else to “play”
    we can take our community back at much less cost than constant need for heavy policing of insane criminal activity and gang units
    yes I dream of a safe enjoyable community
    so if I ask for every weekend, perhaps starting with every month?

  • CountingCoup June 1, 2009 (4:47 pm)

    I agree it was huge success.

    And like many others, if it were weekly I would spend more time there. I think small vendors, live music, could provide many people with job opportunities and provide a neighborhood feel.

    If it were to occur on a Sunday, a temporary change of the existing farmers market or even 2nd farmers market could be brought in to add to the event.

  • Lookitsme June 2, 2009 (12:44 am)

    It’s too bad that this won’t be happening again this year. We rode over, had a lovely day at Alki, enjoyed a meal, snacks, and some refreshing adult beverages during the day.

    You couldn’t pay me to visit Alki on a “normal” summer day…

  • neighborly June 2, 2009 (5:06 am)

    It was great to ride there with our toddler and feel safe. It seemed more like peaceful Golden Gardens than the usual obnoxious scene. I’d love to see that street closed to cars every weekend.

  • gordon June 2, 2009 (10:49 am)

    Car Free Sunday 1x month>carthumpers/loud motorcycles/gangbangers

    Lets take back our streets!

  • HTH June 2, 2009 (3:09 pm)

    I would like to know what it cost the city to put on Alki Summer Streets. From what I could see it attracted, perhaps, a few hundred people more than are normally down here on a nice sunny day…I should know, I’ve lived on Alki for 30 years. And a good number of those “extra” folks were arrogant bicyclist who thought the entire road was theirs…screw the cars. If our Cities economic situation is so flush with cash I’m sure there are better and definitely more appropriate places to put it to use.

  • Erik June 2, 2009 (5:38 pm)

    HTH wrote – “arrogant bicyclist who thought the entire road was theirs…screw the cars.”
    In case you didn’t know, cars were sorta banned during this event.

    I walked my dog down the middle of the arrogant dog walker I must be.
    Also enjoyed running into many of my neighbors, don’t normally see them out there.

  • CountingCoup June 2, 2009 (7:55 pm)

    HTH wrote – “arrogant bicyclist who thought the entire road was theirs…screw the cars.”

    Hmmm sounds like a bit of an arrogant observation to me… Put some sugar in your ice tea, maybe that will sweeten your disposition a little…

  • alki_2008 June 3, 2009 (2:03 am)

    To those that want this event every week…are you willing to volunteer your time and energy to help with the logistics involved in making this type of event successful? This event cost the city $15-20k in each neighborhood where it occurs…and I don’t think that even considers the costs of the attractions (ie, the bike stuntman or the bands).
    Not sure if business was better than it would’ve been on a regular sunny/warm Sunday, but if businesses have to spend extra dollars on marketing or paying music bands, then the car-free days would need to surpass regular days to compensate for the extra costs. Definitely better than last year though, when there weren’t any additional activities/demonstrations going on during the car-free day.
    There are a lot of ways for people to get to Alki Ave, so there are a lot of places where barricades would need to be placed to restrict traffic to “residents”. And I guess the employees of the shops/restaurants would have to carry their paychecks, since most of them don’t live in the restricted area? And should we expect that all the tourists that come over will know about the street closure when this “becomes the norm”? They’ll just end up going to the Junction, which is great for Junction businesses – but not so great for Alki businesses…and then I’m sure the Junction-area residents will start complaining about the crowds that park in their neighborhood when they get turned away from Alki. Oh, and let’s not forget that when the Alki closure “becomes the norm” then many folks will park all along Admiral so they can take the water taxi shuttle to get to Alki Ave.
    Diane – “insane criminal activity”? WTF?
    But yeah, it was a nice change to the normal summer weekend scene…and I wouldn’t be opposed to having it happen 1-3 times a year during the summers IF all the additional events (5k, vb tournament, booths, demos, music, etc) could be incorporated AND cars still parked on Alki Ave at the start of the event are not towed AND enough people volunteer so that it’s not so costly for the city.
    I can empathize with HTH’s comment, as there were plenty of bicyclists (in the street) that didn’t stop for people walking across the crosswalks. It’s fine if they don’t stop while in the bicycle lane of the boardwalk, but when they’re riding in the street then they need to obey traffic laws just as much as cars are supposed to. You know, the vehicles that ARE ALLOWED on Alki Ave during the event, such as residents and public transportation.

  • WSB June 3, 2009 (2:45 am)

    Data point: Yes, there WERE additional activities last year. Many of which were documented in our as-it-happened report:
    Not quite as many as this year, and there still is plenty of room to add even more in subsequent stagings. But on behalf of those who did offer activities last year, from Cones 4 Kids to CoolMom to Sustainable West Seattle to Coastal, and even those fun folks with the pirate flag (their smaller setup is seen in our 2008 story), wanted to point that out.

  • diane June 3, 2009 (11:12 am)

    re: alki_2008 “insane criminal activity”? WTF?
    kids shooting each other few weeks ago in front of Pepperdock on a lovely warm Friday evening, in the midst of families, community trying to enjoy the beach

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