Some startled by ‘Stay Healthy Block’ in South Alki

Steve sent that photo this morning showing “Stay Healthy Street”-style signage facing north/westbound trffic at 61st SW/Beach Drive, a little more than a block from the south end of the Alki Point Stay Healthy/Keep Moving Street. SDOT hasn’t announced any expansion of the program – hasn’t even decided the fate of the 63rd/Beach stretch – so we were a little skeptical, especially when we went to check it out and found this less-official-looking sign a block north, at 61st/Spokane:

We weren’t the only ones wondering; we got texts asking about it, and someone even called police to investigate, according to a scanner conversation. That call and our research reveal this is a legitimate “Stay Healthy Block” – shown on the map on that program’s webpage. The “Stay Healthy Block” program allows residents to request permission to close non-arterial blocks to through traffic up to 20 hours per week. The officer who checked out the signage told dispatch that it was authorized 10 am-4 pm on Saturdays; we went back for a look around 5:30 pm and the barricades were gone. Steve, an area resident, notes that using 63rd between Beach and Alki is faster anyway – if you haven’t been on 61st in a while, as we hadn’t, take note that it now has several sets of speed humps south of Admiral.

P.S. The city’s asking for feedback on Stay Healthy Blocks, which were launched – take the survey by going here.

68 Replies to "Some startled by 'Stay Healthy Block' in South Alki"

  • Texas Tom January 23, 2021 (7:27 pm)

    Worst program ever.  Closing public thoroughfares so people can “walk on them to stay healthy” is just about the dumbest idea from the city yet, and with the cornucopia of terrible moves from the city lately, that’s really saying something.   Shut down this program and stop encouraging people to walk in the middle of streets that are “closed” but still allow traffic to drive on them before someone is seriously injured.  Horrible, horrible idea.    

    • Sixbuck January 23, 2021 (8:11 pm)


      • 1994 January 23, 2021 (8:26 pm)

        Especially when the streets are full of single family homes, with yards, and paved sidewalks! Agree this is the worst program ever~! The city is filling up with townhomes, and multifamily housing – which means more cars! So limiting street access is not helpful to anyone.

    • Jort January 23, 2021 (9:07 pm)

      Or, slow down and add an additional, like, 10 seconds to your journey so that somebody doesn’t die because you feel like you need to get there faster. People can walk in streets, people can drive in streets, and these things are not fundamentally incompatible, unless you think people driving should have complete and total unquestionable supremacy of the road.

      • K. Davis January 24, 2021 (7:48 am)

        Gosh – why get so worked up?  Just ignore the sign and drive through.  No big deal.  

      • Tim January 24, 2021 (11:46 am)

        yes, cars should have priority in the road.  Unless you think cars should be able to drive on the sidewalks and through people’s yards.  There are spaces for people and spaces for cars.  Beyond crosswalks, people don’t need to be playing in the street.

    • Kathy January 23, 2021 (10:01 pm)

       It’s incredible how riled up people get over these residential street closures. If it’s your street, you were consulted before the permit was issued. If it’s not, take another street, it won’t kill you. I suggest looking up the definition of a “thoroughfare”. This is not one.

      • Rachael January 24, 2021 (10:19 am)

        It’s not just about the people that live on the streets that are being closed. That is the problem. They are the only people being asked about this. Of course they would rather having less cars drive down their street. But what about all the people that live on the streets near by? That all the traffic is now being funneled down. Their opinions, and safety don’t matter? This is a very entitled program. Basically certain members of a neighborhood get to say “I don’t want you driving down my street, but I will be driving down yours to get around”

        • Kathy January 24, 2021 (2:13 pm)

          Sounds like you should talk to the neighbors on your block and see if they agree to apply for your own street closure permit. When you do, I will be happy to drive a different route. 

        • Barb Armo January 24, 2021 (7:31 pm)

          Perfectly reasoned and expressed, Rachael.  I find no fault in your logic.

      • Chemist January 24, 2021 (12:47 pm)

        I live a block away from where a play street block was located.  I knew nothing about it until folks were parking their cars outside the barriers but the folks who have the play street also have been extremely spotty about actually hosting the play street on their posted schedule and have never stationed folks at the barricades to move them/explain the closure as required in the permit.  They also applied for the maximum amount of time the permit allowed, which gives them a lot of flexibility I guess.  I do think there’s a problem when a permit can be issued for the good of the public but then the host can arbitrarily not close the street most of the evenings requested.   

        This 61st st permit was applied for on Jan 4th and issued back on Jan 7th.

    • Reed January 23, 2021 (11:08 pm)

      If you don’t like it saddle up that pony and head back to Texas.

      • Barb Armo January 24, 2021 (7:35 pm)

        Reed, if we all had ponies, none of this would be an issue. Other than the cleanup , that is.

    • John J. Sapelak January 23, 2021 (11:44 pm)

      I disagree. There are far worse ideas. Also, I happen to like this one.

    • Gary January 24, 2021 (11:29 am)

      I agree… What a joke of a program. I live on “stay healthy street”… cars come and go as normal. It makes the street much more congested and challenging to drive around the roadblocks. It’s not safe to walk down the middle of the street to keep social distance. Wear a mask and stay out of the street. 

      • vincent January 24, 2021 (12:34 pm)

        If can describe driving around a sign on a 20mph road is a challenge you should reflect on if you are cut out for the responsibility of driving.

        • Spooled January 24, 2021 (5:14 pm)

          Vincent:  When there are cars coming and going in BOTH DIRECTIONS and one lane is blocked by the bloody stupid sign then yes, it IS a problem, it IS more dangerous, all for a feel-good social engineering program nobody asked for.  Don’t play in the street.

          • Jort January 25, 2021 (8:56 am)

            It’s not actually a problem unless you are actually literally incapable of just pausing for a few seconds, literally just a few seconds, and proceeding with caution. It is just so incredibly uncomplicated. And P.S…. we’re playing in the street, it’s allowed by the law, and car drivers will need to either learn to adapt and deal with it or stop driving on the street.

  • Kathy January 23, 2021 (7:58 pm)

    Good for the locals for setting this up. This is a route I take to get to Beach Drive because I live in the area. But I will now gladly use Hinds or Spokane to jog back over to Beach Drive. 61st gets a lot of rather fast cut through traffic, but it’s not an arterial.

    • Walk on the Right Side of the Sidewalk January 23, 2021 (8:26 pm)

      Agree. Speed bumps and round abouts have failed to slow cut through traffic. Just trying to cross the street is dicey, let alone actually walking down the middle of it. And, no I don’t live on this street.

    • rpo January 23, 2021 (11:02 pm)

      Every time I am driving north on beach and see a car ahead of me take the “shortcut” on 61st to get to Admiral, never once has that car been ahead of me in Admiral. I drive near the speed limit on Beach too. 

  • Ryan Packer January 23, 2021 (8:20 pm)

    They…called the police?

  • Jort January 23, 2021 (9:09 pm)

    This benign and mostly meaningless program just brings out the most surprisingly histrionic panic reactions from drivers. Calling the POLICE because of a stay healthy street? People’s minds are just so weirdly wired for automobile supremacy and they view even these tiny, insignificant programs as apocalyptic threats to their well-being. It is So. Unbelievably. Weird. 

    • Kathy January 23, 2021 (10:42 pm)

      It’s not meaningless if it reduces the reckless driving on this stretch. Crossing 61st at Spokane, Hinds and Beach Drive on foot can be a hair raising experience. It’s on my dog walking route so I know from experience. A lot of people cross at 61st and Spokane to use those 80 stairs up to 60th for exercise.

      • Jort January 24, 2021 (9:52 am)

        Kathy, I agree with you that there are benefits, perhaps “meaningless” was the wrong word choice. What I’m trying to express is the strange maximalism in the severity of driver reactions as compared to the triviality of any actual changes. These are really simple, small changes that add, at most, additional seconds to a driver’s route, and people in these comment threads call them “unconstitutional” (!) and almost lose their minds over them. One person proudly admitted to literally breaking the law and brazenly dismantling the street signs, “every day.” People often accuse me of hyperbole, but, my goodness! Looks at what happens when even the smallest, most benign “restrictions” are implemented! People act as though Pearl Harbor has been bombed again!

        • Foop January 24, 2021 (5:41 pm)

          I love being attacked for trying to enjoy my local streets on foot or bike, in the times when I am not driving. People hurling hyperbole and insults at my for suggesting more bikelanes or rooms for people or that people, god forbid, yield to pedestrians as intersections, as is the law. These are the most law abiding citizens ever – but only when it has to do with homeless people. I saw a thread where someone complained about the dangers of 34th being close – 34th like it’s a main arterial?? If you’re using 34th to avoid 35th you clearly are not in a hurry to go anywhere. Let’s work on giving the city back to the people folks. Building safer bike and multi-use infrastructure is better for everyone. Literally everyone benefits from fewer cars on the road and safer places to ride, walk, run, skate, and roll.

    • Tim January 24, 2021 (11:49 am)

      really what’s weird is this antiquated notion that you live in a little hamlet where kids play in the streets and all the neighbors know and care about each other.  This is a big city, and these are city streets.  People don’t play in the streets in neighborhoods in L.A. – because cars….  Cars are an essential means of transportation.  They get people to work, to hospitals, to stores to get food.  Not everyone can or wants to ride a bike to work each day or take the bus.

      • Kathy January 24, 2021 (2:37 pm)

        They are also giving more priority to pedestrians on selected streets in L.A.: No one is denying people the right to drive to work, hospitals or stores. Arterials are maintained  and used for that purpose. 

        • spooled January 24, 2021 (5:19 pm)

          Arterials have had lanes removed and speed limits cut to 25 like the rest of the city.  When everything is 25 then everything is an arterial.   Don’t be shocked when drivers find a new route.

  • onion January 23, 2021 (9:13 pm)

    The crappy condition of 61st is all the deterrent I need. It’s worth it for my bones and car’s shocks to follow the arterial rather than use this “short cut.”

  • TiredTulip January 23, 2021 (9:14 pm)

    As a walker, I love these streets. I often walk with a friend who uses a walker. When we can walk on the street surface, it’s much smoother for her wheels, and the device requires less strength to push.  Moreover it’s much easier to move out of the way or to have other walkers go around us when we don’t have to deal with curbs and other sidewalk edges. Finally, in this time of pandemic, we can all put greater distances among us when we have the width of a street in which to manoeuver. I say make more streets like this!

  • City Living January 23, 2021 (11:15 pm)

    The make-shift signage on 61st has been pushing for no one to drive down this street, if you don’t like cars driving down your street, a city street, then move. 

  • JJ January 24, 2021 (7:26 am)

    I am happy with the city’s program. There are no sidewalks on some of the streets where I live (Puget Ridge), and the “closed” streets are now safer for runners and walkers because the drivers who use those streets have seen the signs and know that they need to be more careful. I agree with TiredTulip. The city should do this to MORE streets.

  • Newbie January 24, 2021 (8:33 am)

    Newcomer living on 63rd.  Have speed bumps been considered from north 63rd to Admiral?It is a drag strip on weekends. But it’s a bus route.  I’m assuming that’s why we don’t have them,

  • ThePeopleof61st January 24, 2021 (8:54 am)

    This is my neighborhood.  We’ve been petitioning the city for years to cut down on the insensitive people using 61st as a ‘shortcut’ and raceway between Beach and Admiral.  Flying through the turn northbound onto 61st like you’re playing Grand Theft Auto.  Hitting the curb as you round the traffic circles too fast, leaving your tire scrapes for the poor salmon to eventually absorb. Would you like this if it was YOUR street?  I think not.  You’ve ruined this street for those that live here.Those of you that continue to use 61st despite the prior attempts to slow traffic and redirect you to the arterial at 63rd are not good neighbors nor understand the meaning of a ‘community’ where we treat each other with respect. 

    • Scubafrog January 24, 2021 (1:55 pm)

      It’s a public street.  Not “your street”, as much as Alki is certainly not “my Ave”.  Good heavens. Could you imagine if everyone in Seattle felt that the streets they lived on were “their streets”..  “My Alki”… Seattleites pay taxes for upkeep on 61st, and they get to drive on it. The same as you paying taxes for Alki.  I’m sure we’re all tired of race cars, home thefts et al, but barring tax-paying Seattleites from your street?  Illegal.

  • Joe Z January 24, 2021 (9:15 am)

    Oh no, there go my plans to drive my car down random residential streets…what a travesty! 

    • flimflam January 24, 2021 (11:50 am)

      these are public streets, not private, and are paid for and maintained with tax dollars – all of our tax dollars.

      • heartless January 24, 2021 (12:11 pm)

        We pay for lots of public things we don’t drive on: parks, playgrounds, etc.  

        I think what you mean is that we pay for and maintain the streets AND (this is the important part) they are supposed to be driven on.

        But the response to that is just to ask why.  Why do we need to drive on all of these side streets that don’t really go anywhere?  What will happen when we stop driving on all of them.  Wouldn’t some places be nicer if we didn’t have so many people driving around, and instead people walking and playing on them?  And as for the drivers, still plenty and plenty and plenty of roads for them to still drive on.

      • Joe Z January 24, 2021 (1:48 pm)

        Last I checked they are still public. Nothing says they have to allow cars. 

        • Foop January 24, 2021 (5:45 pm)

          It seems people just don’t like to be told ‘No’. I bet most of the loudest dissenters to this idea haven’t even heard of these streets but just the act of being told they can’t do something enrages them.

  • Reality Chick January 24, 2021 (10:22 am)

    The residential streets to the east of Alki Point and north of Admiral Way are further impacted by these closures. It’s not hard to imagine how much worse it will be when it is warmer, sunny, and (hopefully) the pandemic has waned. What is the plan for the neighborhood as a whole? 

    • Shadowtripper January 24, 2021 (11:28 am)

      The City has no plan.  61st Ave SW between Admiral and Beach Drive is the only residential street that is impacted going as far back as the 1990’s and supported by petitions and traffic studies to make 61st safe.   63rd Ave SW is an arterial and designed as such.  Living on Alki is a gift in the winter.  Summer brings drugs, shootings, robberies and traffic to all in this area regardless of where you live.  We all want to feel safe on our streets.  Support those that are making a change.  

  • Jerry January 24, 2021 (10:27 am)

    I had no clue it was socially acceptable for private citizens to close public streets. 

  • Shadowtripper January 24, 2021 (10:34 am)

    Using a residential street when the arterial is 2 short blocks further and no turns, negotiating traffic calming humps, having to stop for crossing traffic at 2 intersection if they are entering the traffic circles from the right, limiting your speed to the required 20 mph and actually taking longer to reach Admiral makes no sense at all.  Those that use 61st as a shortcut do so out of habit not good sense. 

  • Lmanuever January 24, 2021 (10:51 am)

    Locals segregating themselves from taxpayer paid streets.What’s next,a homemade toll?

  • MC January 24, 2021 (10:54 am)

    Seems like common sense to drive along Beach Drive, 63rd Ave, and Admiral Way. All are arterial streets, pavement in relatively good smooth condition, and no traffic circles to negotiate. 61st is a rutted, potholed mess with two traffic circles and multiple sets of speed bumps. The time required to move from point A to point B is roughly equal. Why not take the easiest option?

  • JGM January 24, 2021 (11:45 am)

    As somebody that walks the neighborhoods in the evenings for exercise, and walks on many of these closed-to-cars “Stay Healthy” streets, I can say with confidence the street closures have nothing to do with staying healthy. The streets are devoid of people, daily, rain or shine. I’m sure there are times of the day/week when there are kids out playing. Are there, though, in 2021? 

  • norman January 24, 2021 (11:52 am)

    You can have your private streets as long as my tax dollars aren’t funding it.

  • Shadowtripper January 24, 2021 (12:50 pm)

    This particular blog is addressing the volume and speeds on 61st Ave SW ONLY. The temporary closure just brings attention to that residential street and it’s volumes & speeds. Residents on residential streets have the right to demand volumes and speeds be safe and legal.  This is not about privatizing any street. 

  • Kip Wing January 24, 2021 (12:53 pm)

    I moved to Seattle per its inclusive communities. I was shocked when I read this article that a neighborhood has made an effort to separate from the rest of us. 

    • Kathy January 24, 2021 (2:10 pm)

      “The rest of us” are all free to walk on this block. So don’t include us all in your gripe. How much “inclusiveness” is fostered between drivers cutting through a neighborhood, in a hurry to get to their destination, and threatening pedestrians in the process? There is documented bad driving behavior at this location. 

  • Scubafrog January 24, 2021 (1:45 pm)

    This is asinine.  Streets are for cars.  We should vote on it.  Failed one-term Durkan is a disgrace in every facet (homelessness, “police reform”, corporate taxes, covid et al).  Shutting down public streets?  No.  I’m all for slower traffic laws, and more parks with an emphasis on exercise.  We need streets for parking because Durkan’s lobbyists developers aren’t required to build parking.

  • HarriettaW January 24, 2021 (2:03 pm)

    The homeowners have a right to some temporary refuge from the aggressive never ending traffic in front of their homes.  The people complaining about their tax dollars…. lets face it, you are not home owners and are barely contributing and should mind your own business.  Plenty of streets- use another one.

    • anoninstl January 25, 2021 (11:31 am)

      Did they not know they were moving to Alki? It’s always busy there. 

  • Out of curiosity January 24, 2021 (4:02 pm)

    I work down in that area and saw these signs along 61st and the first thing that came to mind is…you can’t legally close down a public road without a permit. I know the two large roads( parking on both side and still allow two way traffic (61st and 63rd)) has been an issue with fast traffic but doing this is not the answer. What’s to stop 63rd from having a tissy and put up signs up as well. Also for the safety of 61st, the city needs to pick up the loose gravel around the roundabout, which is dangerous even at the acceptable speeds of 61st. Sadly i have said, Alki life also comes with Alki problems.

  • Alki Local January 24, 2021 (4:54 pm)

    Went for an evening walk on the local “safe street” at constellation park.  No joke saw 2 runners and a biker almost get hit by speeding cars driving down the street. I think it’s a good idea, but in normal City of Seattle fashion—-poorly executed. Hopefully this gets fixed before the WSB is posting about a vehicle/pedestrian collision! 

    • Fop January 24, 2021 (5:48 pm)

      I don’t this in this case it’s fair to blame the city for citizens flaunting the rules and nearly taking out their neighbors. This and the low bridge is evidence that some ownership for our problems needs to fall on the citizens, and a large portion of us refuse to take accountability.

  • Judy January 24, 2021 (4:58 pm)

    I love this program. It slows us all down. Helps us to appreciate our neighbors and our neighborhoods. Best idea ever. 

    • Alki Res. January 24, 2021 (7:21 pm)

      No, its not the best idea ever really.  Nor will it change much. Call it closed all you want but  it’s a wide two way road from Alki Ave to Beach Drive deliberately designed to be a short cut as it goes North and South defining the Alki  Peninsula before the Admiral hill starts (60th dead ends going South).  Its a City Design going back to the horse and buggy.  A lot of traffic is allowed in the City Permit making walking and playing in the street still a bad idea.  As far as stopping commuter traffic, go for it and may I add Good Luck.  I happened to walk down 61st as the speed bumps were being made and talked to the workers.  They told me they cause sides wipes as drivers try to avoid the bumps. 

  • Pessoa January 24, 2021 (5:55 pm)

    I look at this from a pragmatic and non-ideological standpoint.  Mobility and freedom of movement is paramount, and anything that restricts that is generally not a good idea.   A pedestrian, or bicyclist can use a (street for bike) sidewalk, or a bike path;  a car is restricted to a street.   The exceptions I would make would if there are no other ways to “tame” traffic and/or reduce the risk of injury to pedestrians.  Or, if there is overwhelming enthusiasm, and use, from the immediate neighborhood.   But whatever one’s opinion and/or outcome, I’m not sure its the sort of issue that should cause angst and sleepless nights for people, IMO. 

  • momosmom January 24, 2021 (6:02 pm)

    We’ve  lived in our neighborhood since 2005 and our neighbors have always walked in the streets even though  we have sidewalks on both sides, not sure what all this whining’s about!

  • Josh January 24, 2021 (7:10 pm)

    We’ve effectively allowed some neighbors to privatize their streets. Get rid of non-emergency traffic (no local access) if you are serious about closing the street for pedestrians.

    • Jort January 24, 2021 (11:16 pm)

      Wait, are you saying only the private citizens are allowed to walk on this now-private street? Or can anybody walk on it? Like, any citizen? Confused. 

      • Peter S. January 25, 2021 (10:02 am)

        I believe Josh is suggesting no cars AT ALL and anybody is free to walk, bike, skateboard, etc.  There is nothing inherently safer about a car driven by someone who lives there or is one of their invited guests, vs. someone just driving through.  It all depends on the driver, right?  To be safe, no motorcycles or motorized scooters either, because they too can be dangerous to foot traffic.  Let the folks who live there or their guests find a parking place as close as possible outside the zone, just like everybody else is supposed to.  They can lug their groceries, grandmother, or other items back and forth between car and destination, same as the folks that don’t live there.  That seems fair, because otherwise it does create privilege for those who live on one of these (so far) public streets and inequity between who and who cannot legally use the street for driving.  We don’t want that because I thought we were all trying to reduce those things?

  • k January 25, 2021 (3:29 pm)

    Someone *called the police* about a sign. THE POLICE. 

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