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Summer Streets program comes to Greenwood-Phinney

A huge stretch of Greenwood Avenue, from 65th St. to 87th St., will be closed to cars and open to people from 6-9 p.m. on Friday, April 10, as part of the city’s Seattle Summer Streets program. The idea is to get people out of their cars and into local businesses and restaurants, to create a renewed sense of community.

“Why is it a great idea for our neighborhood? Because it puts our neighborhood on the city’s map,” Greenwood-Phinney Chamber President Steve Giliberto says. “It allows us to come together, take over our streets from automobiles and really have fun. I think both businesses and residents could use something to just have fun with.”

Seattle tried a pilot project last year – Car Free Days – and decided to expand the program to more neighborhoods this year, including Ballard (May 15), West Seattle, University District, and Rainier Valley. Greenwood-Phinney’s Summer Streets day coincides with the April Art Up/Open Up monthly art walk.

East-west traffic will be able to cross Greenwood Avenue at 65th, 80th and 85th streets. Seattle police will be on hand to help direct traffic.

Neighbors are invited to walk, bike, stroll, roller-blade or skate their way along Greenwood Avenue and meet neighbors and get to know businesses they may not otherwise patronize.

The city says the program is modeled after other similar, successful programs in New York, Chicago, Portland, San Francisco, Williamsburg, VA, Vancouver, B.C. and even Bogota, Columbia.

Giliberto hopes Greenwood-Phinney businesses will use their imaginations to draw people in. For instance, he says a Middle Eastern restaurant could host a belly dancer in the street, a clothing store could have a fashion show on their sidewalk, a pub could set up a DJ outside the store or have lawn bowling in the street.

“Our only limitation is our creativity,” he says. “There is no hard cost to our neighborhood. It takes the block party concept and expands it.”

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