Stay active safely, close to home – and celebrate the New Year – with Brand New Year Blocks! Lake Washington Blvd will also open again to people walking, rolling, & biking.

A snowy evening in the neighborhood. Photo Credit: Stephen Andrews on Unsplash.

Summary

  • This month, there are three great ways to stay active and healthy while staying close to home! 
    • Brand New Year Blocks allow you to close one block for three total days from now through January 3. 
    • One mile of Lake Washington Blvd is open to people walking, rolling, and biking through January 3. 
    • Stay Healthy Blocks are extended through February. 
  • We’ve provided some ideas to stay active using these blocks, but we’d love to see what you come up with! 
  • Also, during these difficult times, please consider supporting Seattle restaurants and retail businesses by getting your holiday meals and doing holiday shopping locally.   

As 2020 draws to a close, we’re hopeful that next year returns us to our traditional ways of enjoying the holiday season.   

December is still a time for celebration, connecting with loved ones, giving to others to the extent we are able, and finding joy in the colder, darker months. We at SDOT wish you and your neighbors, families, and communities a season where you can reflect on the unprecedented year and prepare for a new, hopefully much better, year ahead! 

To help you safely enjoy the holiday season and beyond, we are excited to bring you Brand New Year Blocks! This is in addition to our traditional Stay Healthy Blocks, which are here through February

Much like our Rock the Blocks and Streetsgiving Blocks, you can apply for a Brand New Year Block to close one block on a non-arterial street. The closure can be up to 20 hours over three total days (consecutive or non-consecutive) from now through Sunday, January 3. You can find more information on eligibility, sign and barricade requirements, neighbor notification requirements, and how to apply on our Stay Healthy Block website.  

“When the COVID-19 pandemic touched down in Seattle, we worked quickly to launch our Stay Healthy Blocks program to provide residents and businesses the opportunity to safely get outside and be active while maintaining social distancing,” said Seattle Mayor Jenny A. Durkan. “This time of year, we’d normally be out and about with our neighbors, exploring the holidays lights and being in community. With Brand New Year Blocks, we’re creating new ways for Seattle residents to be in community with their loved ones and neighbors in a way that’s safe, healthy, and respects the need for social distancing.” 

While hosting or taking part in a Brand New Year Block, be sure to follow Public Health – Seattle & King County guidance. Current restrictions limit outdoor gatherings to no more than five people who do not live with you. Our permit does not authorize or encourage gatherings; rather, it’s meant to provide everyone with more room for active recreation while maintaining physical distancing.  

With that in mind, here are some ideas of activities to do on a Brand New Year Block!  

People walking at night through Denny Park. There are blue and yellow holiday lights in the park, and the Space Needle can be seen in the background.
Denny Park’s holiday lights. Enjoy your neighbors’ lights from a safe distance, too, with our Brand New Year Blocks. Photo Credit: SDOT Flickr. 
  • Learn about the trees on your block or in your neighborhood & how to identify them. There are printable pages of the different leaf and needle types to help you identify the trees in your area. Go on a walk on your block and try to collect as many different kinds of leaves or needles as you can! (Thanks to Run Wild My Child for the suggestion!) 
  • Bundle up, grab your camping chairs or blankets, and have a physically-distanced outdoor picnic to celebrate the Winter Solstice on December 21. Maybe consider this a new Solstice tradition! 
  • Have a luminary walk to enjoy the holiday lights in your neighborhood. 
  • Remove leaves from your sidewalks, gutters, and storm drains to keep your neighbors and community safe on the sidewalks. Maybe remove leaves from your neighbors’ walkways and drains, too, if it’s okay with them!
  • Give kids flashlights or glowsticks to light up the evening while they run off extra energy. 

Remember: If you’re out walking, rolling, biking, and even driving at night, know that you’re less visible to everyone. If you’re driving, be extra careful and stay vigilant as you look out for people walking, rolling, and biking. Keep our tips for staying safe in the darker months in mind! 

We’re also re-opening one mile of Lake Washington Blvd to people walking, rolling, and biking, like we did around Thanksgiving! 

Starting Friday, December 18 through Sunday, January 3, 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. Barricades will be removed on Monday, January 4. We hope you enjoy this temporary Keep Moving Street! 

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 https://intentionalist.com/

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 access the campaign website, retail map, neighborhood marketplaces and shoppers guides here

If you’d like to share your experience with Brand New Year or Stay Healthy Blocks, 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