Who will create the first ‘play street’ on Capitol Hill?

A Capitol Hill "play street" pioneer (Image: CHS)

A Capitol Hill “play street” pioneer (Image: CHS)

Seattle loves a pilot program — especially one that is low cost and creates benefit with little or no effort. A new Play Street pilot program for the Seattle Department of Transportation enables a neighborhood’s residents to close off an area street for a period of recreation and frolic.

We’re interested to see how the program might play out in dense, apartment-rich aresa of the Hill — the Seattle Bike Blog reports that a test has already played out near a school in the Madrona neighborhood:

(Image: SDOT)

(Image: SDOT)

What is a play street, you ask? Essentially, it’s a brilliantly simple way to temporarily expand or create park area: Close a nearby street to traffic. While this may not seem like a big deal, it can be revolutionary in neighborhoods with parks that are either too small, too crowded or too far away. As SDOT puts it on their website: “Think of a play street as an extension of all the front yards on your block.”

You can read more about the details of the program and how to sign up here. The basic requirements open up much of the Hill to the program — if your neighbors are on board.

  1. The play street should be no more than one block long.
  2. The street should be a non-arterial street (click here to learn your street classification).
  3. There must be clear visibility from each intersection.
  4. The play street must have neighborhood support.

How that “neighborhood support” will be measured isn’t clear. The application form handles it with a simple check box:Screen Shot 2014-06-18 at 10.37.10 AM

We’re assuming SDOT is prepared to deal with any issues on a “complaint basis.” And who is going to complain about your pop-up roller skate rink, right?

Meanwhile, some of you might want to consider putting your alleys to better use, too.

Seattle Night Out
While we’re talking about putting your block’s streets to better use, it’s time again to register for the annual Seattle Night Out block parties. On August 5, the city makes it even easier to close down your street for a barbecue party with neighbors. If you’re lucky, a fire engine or police are might drop by the party and let you turn on the siren. Here’s a look at a few Capitol Hill block parties from 2013.

A 2013 Night Out dance party in the street at 11th and Denny (Image: CHS)

A 2013 Night Out dance party in the street at 11th and Denny (Image: CHS)