‘Stay Healthy Streets’ to launch with High Point greenway going almost car-free

The city news release that explains the signage we covered earlier also includes something new: “Stay Healthy Streets,” stretches of neighborhood greenway that will be “closed to through traffic – but not residents or deliveries – 24 hours a day, seven days a week for the duration of the emergency or until otherwise noted by the City of Seattle,” as explained in SDOT’s subsequent announcement, which adds, “People with destinations along Stay Healthy Streets – like residents, essential workers, emergency service providers, delivery providers, and garbage and recycling collectors will continue to have vehicle access.” One of the first two is in High Point (and a bit south), as shown on the map above, starting Saturday. The announcement says signage will go out starting tomorrow, and that these will likely be followed by other stretches of greenway – unspecified for now (West Seattle also has greenways in Highland Park and North Delridge).

54 Replies to "'Stay Healthy Streets' to launch with High Point greenway going almost car-free"

  • Angela April 16, 2020 (6:04 pm)

    Great idea! Sidewalks are more crowded with people out walking and running. It would help to have some streets open to pedestrians.

  • Trickycoolj April 16, 2020 (6:17 pm)

    Wait what?? It’s already hard enough to get out of High Point on the Sylvan side! There’s no room for cars to come and go both directions as it is and there’s going to be a line up to get out with the detour volumes we’re already experiencing on Sylvan.  Maybe don’t mess with the neighborhoods along the bridge detour?

    • High Pointer April 16, 2020 (8:25 pm)

      Hmm, I don’t agree. We live on one of these streets and I venture out a few times a week to drive Mrs High Pointer to work near UW. I haven’t encountered any backups in the neighborhood. This map shows that Morgan is still open, so I don’t see that changing. Maybe it’s worse at different hours? 

    • Craig April 17, 2020 (9:33 am)

      I completely disagree.    This and other types of traffic calming are critical for pedestrian safety,   especially in areas of known cut through traffic.   During this closure, SDOT needs to monitor traffic patterns on non arterials, and keep pedestrians safe with short term traffic diverters, speed bumps, whatever is needed.  “20 is plenty” signs aren’t going to stop people from trying to jump the queue, bringing gridlock and high speed traffic to residential streets.   This inevitable driver behavior is especially concerning in Highland Park and Puget Ridge along Holden, Austin, Orchard,  but also typical along other road oddities such as is the case with SW Thistle where the road shifts from arterial to non-arterial  at Delridge.   To your point,  drivers need to be able to get out of their neighborhoods (maybe in ways that might not be the what we’re used to,)  but allowing cut through traffic on  side streets will make things worse for everyone,  especially for those drivers who aren’t cutting corners and end up sitting through more rounds at stop lights because others are jumping the queue.   

  • Alki resident April 16, 2020 (6:50 pm)

    Who comes up with this stuff, seriously?

  • me April 16, 2020 (6:56 pm)

    I would love to see some permanently car free neighborhoods. Just saying.

  • Sad April 16, 2020 (7:18 pm)

    Well, since we don’t have a bridge these are the next best option!

  • ken davis April 16, 2020 (7:34 pm)

    This is somehow new? The locals don’t use the damn sidewalks now. Day or night there’s ninjas, elves and The Roadrunner in the street.

    • WSB April 16, 2020 (7:46 pm)

      We just drove 34th for a photo to add and did not see a soul in the street, at least south of Morgan. Our little block about a mile south though, not on a greenway, wow! Busy! But we only walked in the street to keep our distance from our fellow walkers…

  • Midi April 16, 2020 (7:47 pm)

    It’s an interesting idea, but will it actually reduce any traffic? As a resident in High Point, I know these roads and they’re not useful for anyone but residents and delivery/services – so who would this actually exclude?

  • T April 16, 2020 (7:48 pm)

    Great idea! Thank you

  • Had April 16, 2020 (7:57 pm)

    I think this is a good idea in general but this location perplexes me as there is a community center with lots of programming (aftercare, camps, lessons) at 34th and Willow plus two schools and a church. To me the street in the other side of Walt H would make more sense?  I think OLG uses 34th as a school drop off for the preschool kids? 

    • WSB April 16, 2020 (8:21 pm)

      This is not permanent. “End of the emergency,” and all those facilities won’t be reopening before then:

      • Robert April 16, 2020 (9:07 pm)

        They say that now….but you will be reporting on how they will “propose” permanent walking streets throughout Seattle. This is only the beginning. It’s shameful these people are using this disaster as a way to push their agenda. Shameful and unethical.

        • West Seattle since 1979 April 16, 2020 (9:54 pm)

          Oh please. Stop with the paranoia and conspiracy theories. 

          • Robert April 16, 2020 (10:18 pm)

            I acknowledge your denial.

        • Jort April 17, 2020 (9:56 am)

          “Shameful and unethical” — omg, such drama. Car drivers are responsible for one America’s leading causes of death and serious injury. “Shameful and unethical” because they’re letting people walk on the street. Oh boo hoo, such histrionics over restricting car access to a couple blocks of streets. Geez. It’s “shameful” to let people walk on the street? Man, cars do really weird stuff to people’s brains.

        • sam-c May 7, 2020 (4:32 pm)

          Robert, did you make any bets ? You win- they are permanent.  And yes, lots going on in that area- with the 2 schools and community center. It gets especially crazy during soccer season.   

  • High Point Resident April 16, 2020 (8:08 pm)

    Thanks WS Blog! We live on one of these streets and have had no notification of this. Wonder what the city is going to do to enforce this???

  • BD April 16, 2020 (8:18 pm)

    Is this even legal? Restricting access to public streets to residents only.

    • Jort April 16, 2020 (9:44 pm)

      You’re more than welcome to go walk around on the streets,  too. 

    • KM April 16, 2020 (10:14 pm)

      Yes, many other cities have already implemented this, and to a much broader extent. And the streets are still open to the public, so you are welcome to walk or bike down them. Also, OLG has a street closed every day they have school in session between 34th and 35th Ave already, and have for years.

      • run_dmc May 7, 2020 (5:08 pm)

        What other cities and where?

  • WTF April 16, 2020 (8:59 pm)

    So who, on the city council, complained about the speeders (there are a lot of them) and the stupid people walking in the street! Who just saunters down the middle of the street with their dog and baby stroller?! WTF? There aren’t that many people out walking around where GROWN ADULTS can’t figure out how to simply step aside…six feet, and wait?! What a bunch of lemmings! This is a monstrously ridiculous idea meant to distract us from other B.S. these people are ginning up! Wake up people!

    • Jort April 16, 2020 (9:49 pm)

      I’m sorry that the people walking in the street hurts your feelings so much. Maybe take another street, or consider slowing down and not worrying about it? Streets are only unsafe when car drivers think they are entitled to drive as quickly as they want, unimpeded by anybody else.

    • Kathy April 17, 2020 (10:14 am)

      We’ve been “stepping aside” for reckless vehicle drivers for many years in West Seattle.  They killed pedestrians last year in West Seattle. They shake their fists at us when we try to cross the street because they forgot when they took the driver’s test they were told that every intersection is a cross walk. They think obeying the speed limit is “just for losers” even though speeding threatens lives, needlessly wastes fossil fuels and contributes to bad air quality and climate warming. They cause crashes at unprotected intersections resulting in property damage. So yes, let’s limit traffic on some streets to local access only, you know, for the drivers who might actually have some skin in the game.

    • KM April 17, 2020 (10:36 am)

      Many of our older, narrow sidewalks do not have a 6 foot buffer unless you stand in the street or on private property. That’s just for our neighborhoods that HAVE sidewalks. There are parts of this EXACT ROUTE that don’t have sidewalks or have construction conflicts (literal equipment set up on the sidewalk) or parked cars (just can’t seem to make it into the driveway?) blocking access, which renders the sidewalk unusable. And you’re just referring to people who are walking, which leaves out any pedestrian rolling via wheelchair, bike or stroller. The condition of some sidewalks also means that some users have to take the roadway, as roads are often without as many tripping hazards (much like a snowstorm when the maintained roads are the safest surface). This greenway has plenty of space given to drivers and car storage, and with driving down 60% in the city at the moment, it seems natural that the pool of public right-of-way be reduced as well (a whopping ~.1% of our total roadways!)

  • aa April 16, 2020 (9:11 pm)

    I wonder how this will be enforced . We see a lot of people playing soccer at the Walt Hundley play field every day and today we saw a big group of at least 25 people having a bbq party. 

  • Darius April 16, 2020 (9:13 pm)

    How wonderful! These are narrow streets that non-local cars shouldn’t use as cut-throughs anyway. I hope people take advantage of this to keep distant and enjoy the beautiful weekend!

  • Jort April 16, 2020 (9:50 pm)

    This is some of the most wonderful news I’ve seen from the city during the quarantine. During this time we should be turning over more of our public land (streets) to people and not to automobiles. I look forward to further targeted driving bans in West Seattle in the future.

  • North Delridger April 16, 2020 (10:12 pm)

    This is a great idea! A lot of cities are doing this right now (https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/11/us/coronavirus-street-closures.html). It’s great way to take advantage of the lower driving rates to provide people with more space for exercise.I’d love to see this on the 26th Ave Greenway in North Delridge also!

  • Stevie J April 16, 2020 (10:20 pm)

    Cyclists: I’d like a safe direct route on this street to get me and my family around the neighborhood on bikes.

    Drivers: no! I need to leave my car where you want to put that bike lane! Use the side streets or the neighborhood greenway! 

    Cyclists: But drivers drive fast on those streets and don’t give me any space. The street is lined with parked cars so drivers get impatient when they can’t go around me and make me feel unsafe. Can we limit cut through traffic on the greenways and just allow residents and deliveries?

    Drivers: NO! You are so entitled!

    • two wheels April 17, 2020 (7:25 am)

      This!Greenways can be more dangerous when there’s traffic on the main streets. 

  • CeeBee April 16, 2020 (10:23 pm)

    I’m wondering about the people who will be crossing Morgan Street (twice if they do the loop) while Morgan is super busy as a Bridge detour route.  And on those streets, there aren’t any lights or ped signals, only a sidewalk bulb on 34th if I remember correctly.  Frogger!

  • RIDICULOUS April 16, 2020 (10:36 pm)

    This is silly. I hope no taxpayer time or money was spent on this project. That stretch of 34th has little pedestrian traffic that can’t be easily self-managed to stay 6 feet away. Please Seattle, spend time, money and energy on helping people in meaningful ways. This is incredibly selfish and worthless effort.

  • LarryB April 17, 2020 (4:15 am)

    I live on that stretch of 34th, and it’s a dog-walker superhighway. Just as long as I can get in and out as needed, I think this is a pretty good idea.

  • AN April 17, 2020 (8:14 am)

    Who’s paying for all the signage and the cost to put them up! This money would be better spent on the Bridge! 

  • Ice April 17, 2020 (8:48 am)

    This neighborhood has become incredibly popular for walks since the social isolation started. Every time I go for a stroll I am always surprised at the amount of people out for a walk. This is a nice idea in concept but I seriously doubt it will stop anyone cutting through or driving like a maniac on these streets. If they make this more permanent (one can hope), it would be great if they will put in some diverters.

  • DumplingGirl April 17, 2020 (9:02 am)

    SDOT is out this morning putting up street closure signs along 34th.

  • Cassie April 17, 2020 (9:12 am)

    This will only be great if enforced, which I don’t see happening. I live on that little stretch of 34th South of Morgan and the amount of extreme speeders cutting threw is insane. Even after the city put in speed bumps the speeders have not disappeared. I only see the amount of cars increasing when folks start going back to work and try to cut around the traffic on Morgan. Good thought but only if it is enforced.

  • Walker April 17, 2020 (9:27 am)

    This seems like a great idea.  I’m surprised by the volume (and speed) of traffic, considering the stay at home order.  Is there any information about how this stretch was selected?  Seaview is very busy with walkers and bikers and could use something similar.

    • KM April 17, 2020 (10:40 am)

      Likely because it is a Neighborhood Greenway, and it’s a roadway that in “normal” times is designed to calm traffic to encourage pedestrian and cyclist use. I’ve had experiences both negative and positive with greenways as a cyclist, but that’s the intent of the roadway designation/design. https://www.seattle.gov/transportation/projects-and-programs/programs/greenways-program

      • Walker April 17, 2020 (8:16 pm)

        Thank you, I appreciate your explanation.

  • Um, No! April 17, 2020 (9:49 am)

    This is a priority right now?   I’m continually amazed by this city’s “leadership”  and general scatter brained approach to projects they deem important when there are other much more significant and urgent things to deal with that could actually provide real benefits to the city.  Instead we focus, and I’m sorry to those this might offend, stupid and useless feel good projects.   I can only imagine the hours, manpower and resources that were used up for this clearly very important city need right now.   Makes complete sense.  Virus and Bridge aside, city and county leadership needs a reality check.  What a joke and embarrassment.  

    • Stevie J April 17, 2020 (12:06 pm)

      Believe it or not, SDOT employs many people with different specialties in different departments. They aren’t all bridge specialists (like all WSB commenters seem to be), and they are being deployed to continue working on transportation projects and goals. The “T” in SDOT does not stand for “auTomobile”, it stands for “Transportation.” Driving a private automobile is not the only form of transportation.

      Driving is at an all-time low in the city, and walking at an all time high (I made up those facts but I wouldn’t be surprised if they were true). It makes sense to reallocate some of the 99% of roads normally dedicated to cars to people walking and trying to avoid people. Is fixing the bridge not also a “feel good project” to make motorists feel better? What’s wrong with feeling better, anyway? 

      • Um, No! April 17, 2020 (1:46 pm)

        Thank you for the condescending lecture. I had no idea SDOT didn’t stand for automobile and wasn’t aware they had people with different specialties? Huh?   Although “critical” thinking doesn’t appear to be one of them. As I said in my original post,   “Virus & Bridge” aside, there are way more important and beneficial projects the city and SDOT could be focusing on.  But,  if we’re focusing on traffic,  does this really and truly have any impact on the real issues at hand for 99.99% of the West Seattle?  Time and money well spent!   

    • Kathy April 17, 2020 (12:43 pm)

      Would you rather have them spend  manpower trying to enforce social distancing because there is not enough space on the sidewalks to safely walk? Um, No! They are addressing a specific need during this time of the isolation order. They are putting up some temporary signs. That is about as low budget high impact as it gets. I would say you are dramatically overreacting.

      • Um, No! April 17, 2020 (1:14 pm)

        You clearly didn’t get my point.   The “specific need”  you referred to is for a few blocks that in the big picture of the Seattle area equates to a drop of water in the Puget Sound.  My point is our leadership needs to focus on doing things that make a real impact.  I’m so sorry a few neighbors in the city don’t have enough room on their sidewalks  to socially distance themselves. Booo Freaking  Hoo!   Sure, let’s divert important resources on something that really has no effect on anyone other than a few neighbors because this is clearly the  only area that has such a problem.  Um, Not! Listen, I get the idea,  but is this really important in the big picture?  Especially now?  How about going back to 4 lanes on 35th?  That would be a real change that would actually help this “temporary”  long term traffic problem that’s about to become the **** show of **** shows.  How about freeing up intersections with new light patterns and lane changes that would also actually make a difference?    Nah, let’s focus on a few meaningless blocks.  Makes perfect sense. 

        • KM April 17, 2020 (2:38 pm)

          Thank you for the condescending lecture.

  • Community Member April 17, 2020 (2:30 pm)

    @ um-no:  I believe this is ABSOLUTELY significant and urgent, and shows that city workers are actively planning for how WS residents will get off the peninsula.   The Morgan-35th intersection will inherently have humongous congestion as drivers are forced to funnel down Sylvan Way to get to the 1st Avenue Bridge.  Without mitigation, these neighborhood streets are likely to fill with drivers who are trying to skip the light, and think they can save a few minutes by racing through this neighborhood to go around the cars that are waiting at the light. Those drivers jumping the queue do not increase the bridge capacity. If there must be long back-ups, let’s let those back-ups happen on the designated through routes. 

  • TreeHouse April 17, 2020 (5:10 pm)

    This is an awesome idea! I wish they did this in more of West Seattle!

  • Blake April 18, 2020 (2:00 am)

    I’m a grocery store worker who lives on 29th & Graham. I noticed the signs during my commute on Friday. It’s really annoying that the main road I take to get to work and cook food for people is now blocked off. I was able to drive around the signs on my way home but it’s just ANNOYING. Is it even being enforced? I don’t see the point of putting up signs when the only people it is hurting are the essential workers and people who need to leave their house for necessity. This is a very dumb and stupid idea. Are the people risking their health to jog really that concerned about people in cars. Stay indoors!! 

  • TJACK April 18, 2020 (10:30 am)

      It’s nuts !

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