Stay Healthy Blocks program extended through February! Stay home and healthy – while staying active – with our Holiday Edition: Streetsgiving.

Photo Credit: Erik Witsoe, Unsplash.

UPDATE: NOVEMBER 23, 2020

Happy Thanksgiving! SDOT’s offices will be closed on Thursday, Nov. 26 and Friday, Nov. 27, and on-street parking around the city will be free on Thursday, Nov. 26 only.

Walk, roll, and bike along Lake Washington Blvd. Nov. 25-29. Starting Wednesday, Nov. 25 to Sunday, Nov. 29, one mile of the northern portion of Lake Washington Blvd from Mt. Baker Park to Stan Sayres Memorial Park will be open to people walking, rolling, and biking and closed to people driving, except for emergency response. Please plan ahead. Barricades will be removed on Monday, November 30. Opening the street makes space for people to stay close to home and remain active while we work to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

Shop Your Block: The City of Seattle Office of Economic Development has launched the new Shop Your Block retail map that aims to support small businesses throughout the holiday season. Read more below!

First things first: we’d like to acknowledge we’re on the traditional land of the first people of Seattle — the Coast Salish People.

We honor with gratitude the land itself, the Duwamish Tribe, and the Coast Salish people. Many Indigenous peoples thrive in this place—alive and strong. 

Like you, we’re hopeful that 2021 returns us to our traditional ways of enjoying the winter holiday season. Until then, we’ve extended our Stay Healthy Blocks Program until the end of February 2021. And we’re excited to bring you Streetsgiving*. This change makes it easy for you to stay home and keep active over the Thanksgiving holidays and beyond.  

*Streetsgiving /strēt ˈɡiviNG/ noun: the act of giving thanks for having public-right-of-way to exercise and play in while staying 6-feet apart. 

In observance of the Thanksgiving holiday, one-block closures are allowed from 9 AM to 9 PM each day from Wednesday, November 25 through Friday, November 27.  

Image of a sign that people should put on their blocks to indicate it is closed for Streetsgiving. Text reads: "The Seattle Department of Transportation provides free permits that allow community organizations to temporarily close their street for socially distanced recreation. We're registering to close our block to through traffic. Please let us know if you have questions or concerns. {icons of fall leaves, pumpkins, corn, and foliage}. More information can be found at www.seattle.gov/transportation/permits-and-services/permits/stay-healthy-blocks." There are spaces for the sign user to indicate the streets, days, times, and contacts for the closure.

Register using Survey Monkey by 12 PM on Tuesday, November 24 and follow these guidelines for notification and setup.

NOTE: Rather than applying for a Stay Healthy Block as noted in Step 3 of the guidelines, you need only to register your block to celebrate Streetsgiving!

Short on ideas for how to use your time and give back? Take a look below! 

  • Stay active by kicking a soccer ball around, learning to ride a bike, or playing Hopscotch, giving an outlet to energetic kids 
  • Play a game like Simon Says, or have a nature scavenger hunt along your street, giving creativity a chance to flow 
  • Set up holiday decorations giving holiday cheer 
  • Remove leaves from your gutter and storm drains and give the gift of safer streets with less flooding 
  • Plan (from a safe distance) with senior neighbors and those with specific needs on how to clear sidewalks should it snow and give pedestrians easy passage  
  • Shop Your Block! The City of Seattle Office of Economic Development has launched the new Shop Your Block retail map that aims to  support small businesses throughout the holiday season. Shop Your Block connects people shopping to local small retail businesses throughout Seattle using the new retail map and online neighborhood marketplaces.  You can now access the campaign website, retail map, neighborhood marketplaces and shoppers guides here.

Thanksgiving became a national holiday in 1863 during the Civil War under President Abraham Lincoln, who was looking for opportunities to unite the Country. 

Today it’s often seen as a time to come together, share gratitude, and frequently…watch football.  

The history of Thanksgiving is often traced back to 1621. It is popularly understood that newly arrived Plymouth colonists and the Wampanoag who had long lived in the area shared a meal celebrating a plentiful harvest. As the story evolved, it was suggested the Wampanoag were at the table because they helped the colonists learn how to grow the unfamiliar crops. Indian Country Today writes that while a meal was probably shared, it’s more likely the Wampanoag were present to understand what was taking place and confirm their tribe’s safety. The colonists were vulnerable, and the Wampanoag did help ensure their survival.  

Although this relationship continued for a while, settlers increasingly took more land from the Wampanoag, while diseases they passed on tragically reduced the Indigenous population. By 1675, the relationship collapsed into conflict and war. This event was only a part of the destruction of Indigenous American lives and culture that has continued over time.  

As we express gratitude, this is also a time to acknowledge and consider the lasting harm caused to Indigenous Americans as settlers formed the United States, and how we can elevate their voices today. Here are some suggested ways to do that:  

  • Use the Holiday Placemat for Indigenous Justice to raise awareness and take action  
  • Make a virtual visit to the Burke Museum, where they care for and share natural and cultural collections so all people can learn, be inspired, generate knowledge, feel joy, and heal 
  • Donate to a local community based organization  
  • Read and listen to podcasts that describe how we can rethink Thanksgiving and reverse the impacts of colonization (Here is one source of information.)

Finally, during these difficult times, consider supporting Seattle restaurants and retail businesses by getting your holiday meals and doing holiday shopping locally. Over 600 restaurants have our convenient curbside pick-up zones installed near them. If you’d like to search for businesses owned by women, people of color, veterans, LGBTQ, families, and differently-abled people, visit Intentionalist.com.

Stay Healthy Blocks are an outgrowth of the popular Stay Healthy Streets Program

Implemented in response to the global pandemic, 26 miles of streets throughout the city now give people extra space to walk, roll, and bike to essential services, local businesses, and recreation. These streets quickly became desirable in more neighborhoods. Our observations showed that while popular, the streets were not overcrowded, and people could stay six feet apart. So, a free, flexible permit program was piloted to allow neighbors to have a similar experience on their block for up to 20 hours a week. 220 permits have been issued over the past three months and early feedback has been generally positive. We have received constructive feedback as well, which will continue to inform future changes to the program.

Here’s a sample of what we’ve heard: 

  • People generally felt safe from traffic and felt that physical distancing guidelines were followed. 
  • People called for extending the pilot of Stay Healthy Blocks, which was set to end at the end of November. Now, residents can apply for Stay Healthy Blocks till February! 
  • There was interest in seeing and using more durable and visible traffic control equipment. 
  • There was some concern about impacts to neighborhood traffic circulation, which is why we’ve added a limit on how many hours the block can be closed per day. 

If you’d like to share your experience, we’d like to hear it! Please take our short survey.  

Stay safe and healthy and watch out for each other! 

Happy Holidays,  

SDOT Staff