Seattle Parks and Recreation banned all bicycling, skateboarding, curler skating and scootering from the internal loop path round Inexperienced Lake in March regardless of there being no viable different alongside the west facet of the lake.
The choice to limit wheel use on the often-busy path was initially a part of the division’s scattered response to the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020, akin to closing the playgrounds, ingesting fountains and loos. The concept again then was to restrict crowding on the trail again once we didn’t know a lot about how the virus unfold. Outside exercise like strolling or biking round a lake has since been largely thought of a low-risk for transmission, however we didn’t know that on the time.
Nonetheless, as an alternative of reverting the trail guidelines again to how they have been earlier than, the division determined to maintain the ban in place on a “long-term non permanent” foundation, no matter meaning. They even modified all of the permanent-looking signage to mirror the rule change. And as famous in a October 21, 2021, memo to the Board of Park Commissioners (PDF) that Ryan Packer uncovered by means of a public disclosure request, the division had “not carried out any neighborhood engagement particular to this situation” earlier than making their suggestion.
After some vital backlash, Parks is now internet hosting a sequence of “listening periods” September 7–9 which might be separated by mode of use. These periods “will present a means for the general public in several consumer teams to share suggestions on what works nicely and what may very well be improved to make sure a secure and pleasing expertise on the Inexperienced Lake Park Internal Loop,” based on the mission webpage. The dates:
September 7 – Bikes
September 8 – Small Wheels
September 9 – Pedestrians
Questions could also be directed to Todd Burley at [email protected]
Individuals have been complaining about crowding on the Inexperienced Lake path for many years. However bicycling has been common on the trail ever because it was first created. For some time, folks would drive their bikes to the lake simply to trip round it. The town has gotten extra dense and the variety of biking choices has expanded, so I doubt many adults are driving their bikes to Inexperienced Lake to trip round as of late.
Nonetheless, households do nonetheless deliver children and their bicycles to Inexperienced Lake. Numerous children have discovered to trip a motorcycle on that path as a result of there are not any vehicles they usually can go as gradual as they should. Children on scooters and bikes also can sustain with dad and mom who’re operating, which is an excellent use of this park. It’s onerous to get time as a father or mother to train, so with the ability to brings children is large. If Parks adjustments nothing else, banning children from utilizing wheels on the trail was ridiculous. Is a child on a scooter extra harmful than an grownup operating?
Adults completely shouldn’t be bicycling rapidly on this path. It’s not enjoyable to be handed by somebody transferring quick on a motorcycle whereas out for a stroll. I can perceive why somebody may expertise a quick go and resolve that bikes must be banned. One purpose adults may be biking there’s that they don’t have an alternative choice alongside the west facet of the lake. SDOT lately constructed an on-street bikeway that goes about 2/3 of the best way across the lake, and they’re at present planning a hyperlink to finish it. Why not simply take away path restrictions till the outer loop is full after which see what occurs? There’s no drawback with somebody driving lazily across the lake on the internal path, and anybody attempting to go quick may have a significantly better time on the outer loop bikeway. This drawback might remedy itself with out the necessity for any difficult path restrictions.
Cascade Bicycle Membership appears to agree, writing, “Let’s focus efforts on how folks share the path, not the mode they select to make use of it. The Inexperienced Lake internal loop is a neighborhood gem, and this secure possibility should be accessible to everybody who bikes, walks, and rolls.”
Different wheeled customers are additionally getting screwed right here for no purpose. Some folks prefer to curler and inline skate, and that is an apparent place to try this. The place else are they speculated to go? Not like bikes, skates don’t do nicely on hills. Inexperienced Lake is a flat and exquisite car-free loop of asphalt. Banning skates actually feels type of imply. Like, why bully folks for eager to curler skate across the lake? Go to Vancouver and also you’ll see numerous Canadians skating on their park paths, and it’s great. We simply obtained an NHL staff, and curiosity in inline skating might improve as extra folks study to skate on and off the ice. Parks ought to need to encourage this improve in recreation. Isn’t that their mission?
Parks belong to the general public, and limitations on use ought to applied fastidiously and solely when actually mandatory for the enjoyment and security of the general public. It’s not the job of Parks to dictate how they need to recreate except they’re inflicting hurt to others. If there’s hurt, the purpose must be to deal with the issue with the lightest contact mandatory. With all the issues dealing with our metropolis, are we actually gong after individuals who simply need to trip a motorcycle round a lake? This rule goes too far and must be reconsidered.