Mayor Durkan Urges Residents to Continue to Stay Home and Announces Stay Healthy Streets Pilot Will Become Permanent, Bike Projects Will Be Expedited in 2020

City announces all regional parks will now close at 8pm, urges residents to #KeepitMoving when visiting Seattle parks 

SEATTLE (May 7, 2020) – Mayor Jenny A. Durkan announced today that at least 20 miles of Stay Healthy Streets will become permanent and the construction of bike infrastructure will be accelerated in 2020. In addition, 3 more miles of Stay Healthy Streets will be added in Rainier Valley and 1/3 mile of Beach Drive SW in Alki this weekend. The Mayor also announced that all Regional Parks will now be closing at 8 p.m. to ensure residents do not gather and create a public health risk.  

“We are in a marathon and not a sprint in our fight against COVID-19. As we assess how to make the changes that have kept us safe and healthy sustainable for the long term, we must ensure Seattle is rebuilding better than before. Safe and Healthy Streets are an important tool for families in our neighborhoods to get outside, get some exercise and enjoy the nice weather. Over the long term, these streets will become treasured assets in our neighborhoods,” said Mayor Durkan.  

Stay Healthy Streets provide an effective option for travel to essential services like grocery stores and small businesses open for pickup. As the weather gets warmer, these Stay Healthy Streets will add to the City’s extensive park system and provide more room for people to recreate or exercise outdoors safely.  The installation of bike infrastructure will also be accelerated throughout the rest of 2020 to provide more mobility options for residents as the City begins the process of reopening.   

“Just like we must each adapt to a new normal going forward, so, too, must our city and the ways in which we get around. That is why we’re announcing a nimble, creative approach towards rapidly investing in a network of places for people walking and people biking  of all ages and abilities and thinking differently about our traffic signals that make pedestrians a greater priority. Despite the many challenges we face, 2020 will remain a year of thoughtful, forward progress as we build a safer, more livable Seattle for all  ” said Sam Zimbabwe, Seattle Department of Transportation Director. 

The City also announced 3 additional miles of Stay Healthy Streets in Rainier Valley along the existing Neighborhood Greenway from the Mount Baker neighborhood to Columbia City and Othello Neighborhood, and a small portion of Beach Dr SW in Alki from 63rd to Alki Ave. There are now more than 23 miles of bike and pedestrian friendly streets in Seattle.

“We support the Mayor’s proposal expanding and making permanent the Stay Healthy Streets network. It is the kind of bold actions we need to encourage healthy options for recreating and traveling in our city as we deal with our current crisis, and discourage a return to high levels of traffic and associated pollution and injuries as we move into recovery. Accelerating bicycle projects as requested by a coalition of South Park, Georgetown, and West Seattle neighborhood organizations and endorsed by the Seattle Bicycle Advisory Board is needed to ensure that residents can safely travel within their neighborhood and to the rest of the city, and to mitigate the impacts of additional car traffic in their communities. All these action together will help the Seattle come back as a safer, healthier, and more climate friendly city,” said the Seattle Bicycle Advisory Board.

Starting May 8, major parks will close at 8pm (instead of 11:30pm) to further deter the BBQs, bonfires, parties, and gatherings that are taking place in parks. The parks now closing at 8pm are: Alki Beach, Cal Anderson, Carkeek, Discovery Park, Gas Works, Golden Gardens, Green Lake, Kubota Garden, Lincoln Park, Magnuson, Seward Park, Volunteer Park, Washington Park Arboretum, West Seattle Stadium, Myrtle Edwards, Judkins, and Woodland Park. This weekend, more than 60 Social Distancing Ambassadors will be out reminding people of this change, and SPD will be assisting in closing these parks at 8pm.  

“This weekend is Mother’s Day and I want to remind everyone – the best thing you can do for your mother or grandmother is stay home. Please do not gather at our parks” said Mayor Durkan. “We are not out of the woods, and we owe it to our moms and grandmas to fight COVID-19 with the only tool we have: social distancing.”  

“Seattle has been an example of how we can keep public spaces open, without creating crowds. But we cannot relax these efforts just yet. All of us can do something to help reduce crowding: exercise at home, visit parks during less busy hours, keep it moving, visit parks closer to home. I am confident that Seattle can do this, and that we won’t see the crowding in our parks that would lead to closures,” said Jesús Aguirre, Seattle Parks and Recreation Superintendent. 

In addition to this closure, Seattle Park and Recreation would like to reiterate the following guidelines: 

  • Keep It Moving in parks. Parks are open for running, walking, and biking. Do not come to the park to have a picnic or gathering. If we all keep it moving, more of us can use the park without it getting crowded.  
  • Stay Home and Stay Local. If you have to get in the car, it’s probably too far. Use your back yard, walk in your neighborhood, use a neighborhood Safe Street, or visit your local parks. We have over 485 parks in the city, and over 94% of us live within a 10 min walk to a park.  
  • Stay home if you are sick, wash your hands frequently, and if you visit a park, make sure that you can give yourself and others six feet of space.  
  • Motorized boat ramps, tennis courts, basketball courts, play areas, athletic fields (except for walking through), picnic tables/shelters, and other high touch amenities are closed.  
  • Parking lots remain closed at many popular parks. The goal is to cut down on the crowding that we see at these parks. Lots are closed at: Along Lake Washington Blvd (Adams St, Duck Bay, Ferdinand St, Lower Colman, Mt. Baker Bathhouse, Stan Sayres, Prichard Beach, 49th St), Seward Park, Genesee, Carkeek, Discovery, Golden Gardens, Green Lake, Kubota Gardens, Lincoln, Magnuson Park, Matthews Beach, Riverview, Volunteer, West Seattle Stadium, Woodland, and Atlantic St Boat Ramp (except when UW will be offering their drive-up COVID testing).  
  • Please visit parks during less popular times. Mornings are typically the least busy times at parks. 

Mother’s Day is typically one of the busiest days of the year in City parks. This year, socially distancing is critical, and it is imperative to follow the guidelines given to prevent crowding at parks during this holiday.  

To provide an alternative way to enjoy one popular park from the comfort of your home, the City of Seattle, UW, and the Arboretum Foundation have created some fun virtual events to provide the “Mother’s Day Arboretum experience”