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Our Concerns



  • Equity of access for the whole community, including seniors, people with disabilities, African-Americans and people of color


  • Safety -- cars being forced up into neighborhoods and narrow residential streets


  • Reduced emergency vehicle access


  • Loss of important north-south arterial


  • Increased traffic congestion throughout the South End


  • Impacts on psychological health in the community


  • The Task Force and outreach process has been skewed and is unreliable


  • Minority interest groups are driving decisions that will negatively impact the majority of commuters and residents


  • The voices of those without access to technology will not being heard


  • Closing one lane of the boulevard to cars in order to create bicycle lanes does not improve conditions for pedestrians or those using mobility devices





Equity: fair access for the whole community

The City is deciding where, how and by whom the 3 miles of Lake Washington Boulevard

and its public parks and lakeshore can be accessed. They are considering permanently closing the boulevard to cars from Mount Baker Beach to Genesee Park, and also restricting drivers to a single one-way lane from Genesee Park to Seward Park.  


For all those who are unable to walk, bike or roll, or others who cannot afford one bicycle much less bikes for all members of their family, restricting driver access will deprive them of the opportunities to enjoy LWB.


For many in the community, the drive itself IS their park experience, one that soothes the soul on both ends of a stressful day. For others, driving along the boulevard is the ONLY way they can physically access and enjoy the lakeshore. These people include: 


  • Seniors

  • People with disabilities

  • Individuals and families over-burdened with responsibilities and short on time

  • African-Americans and people of color who have long-enjoyed driving on LWB for            community gatherings along the lake


Commuters, visitors, and local residents alike remark on the beauty of the drive on LWB. Many Coalition Members have emphasized the psychological benefits they experience from driving along the boulevard and their great concern that they may be deprived of this.


Minority interest groups taking priority over the majority

Most recent Census data shows that the majority of residents in neighboring communities commute to work by car. Of the 76,209 total residents living in the 98118 and 98178 zip codes near Lake Washington:

  • 45,096 people drive alone or carpool to work

  • Just 994 people bike or walk to work (Less than 2 percent)


Impacts on commuters driving through the South End

  • Increased congestion everywhere:  SDOT’s “traffic diets” on the major arterials running through the South End has led to heavy congestion. With further lane restrictions planned for Rainier Ave S and MLK, closing any part of LWB will result in even worse traffic jams on the roads in the South End. 


  • Congestion not only costs time and adds to driver’s frustration but for those who cannot        afford newer model cars, idling in traffic costs more in fuel and creates more pollution.


Among the 10 most densely populated big cities, Seattle has the second highest rate of cars per capita in the nation, higher even than Los Angeles. There are 647 cars for every 1,000 residents.  Hills, rain, and insufficient infrastructure are the main reasons Seattleites depend on their cars. The City does not have an integrated public transport network that offers accessible, convenient, and safe options to get everyone where they need to go, nor affordable stores and services within easy walking distance of many homes. For thousands of residents, it would be impractical or impossible to get to work or do their grocery shopping without a car.


While cars are demonized for contributing to pollution and climate change, more drivers are turning towards electric vehicles and WA has set a goal to phase out new gas-powered cars by 2030.  Meanwhile, the City is on the one hand incentivizing drivers to buy expensive electric vehicles but on the other, dramatically reducing the road space on which they will be able to drive. Pollution will be eased but as Seattle’s population continues to grow, less road space will inevitably cause every journey by car to take longer.


Restricting traffic on LWB will further deplete the South End of a much-needed north-south route.  It makes no sense to do this in order to either create additional recreational space (in an area that already offers an abundance of parks, including a wide 2.4 mile protected bike and walking path in Seward Park), or in order to serve a small number of bicycle advocates who say they need protected lanes on this stretch of LWB to use as a safe north-south commuting corridor to downtown.  The changes being proposed would not provide this as cyclists will have to merge back into 2-way car traffic on reaching Mount Baker Beach. Restricting car access on LWB is not in the best interests of the majority of the community.



The ever-increasing congestion caused by the road diets on South End arterials like Rainier Ave result in more and more frustrated drivers diverting through residential streets. This becomes exponentially worse when the boulevard is closed to cars, especially during rush hour. The proposal to separate LWB with a concrete barrier and to force all vehicular traffic into a single one-way lane will inevitably produce lengthy back-ups, especially during trash collection, mail delivery, and when any work is being done on the boulevard.


  • Lake Washington Boulevard is an important north-south arterial.


  • The City is forcing traffic – residents, commuters, visitors and essential workers – up into neighborhoods with narrow residential streets where people walk and children play.


  • The City does not have the resources to enforce speed limits or respond to reports of   reckless driving on the residential streets.


  • Access for emergency vehicles to the community as a whole will be compromised if LWB is reduced to one lane, and may be significantly delayed trying to reach residents who live on the boulevard when the single lane is clogged with traffic.


The Task Force and Outreach Efforts are Skewed


  • A majority of people initially on the SDOT Lake Washington Boulevard Visioning Task Force were from anti-car advocacy groups. 

  • Outreach has been focused on cyclists, many of whom do not live in the neighborhood.

  • SDOT’s survey questions are skewed and the validity of submissions is unverifiable.

  • The voices of people who depend on their cars have not been given equal weight. 

  • Many of the voices of those who don’t access technology will not be heard.

  • How much influence will people who don’t live in the neighborhood have on the final          decision? 

  • The process has not been fair and equitable.

"I have run the trail along Lake Washington Blvd. for more than 40 years.  All people, car drivers included, should have access to this beautiful stretch of road. I am against changing the access and limiting car travel." – Greg, 76 years old

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