Seattle to close 20 miles of streets for good

Seattle Mayor Jenny A. Durkan said Thursday at least 20 miles of streets closed to allow people under stay-at-home orders to get some exercise would remain permanently off-limits to vehicles.

"People have more ways to get out safely and get out and walk and bike," she said at a news conference.

The blocks are part of a program, launched April 17, called Stay Healthy Streets. The city also announced that an additional three miles of streets would also be closed to through traffic, at least temporarily.

The closed streets are intended for pedestrians, bicyclists and people engaging in exercise while practicing social distancing. Many of the streets have speed humps and stop signs. They will now have "Street Closed" signs, the city said.

The streets are in neighborhoods with lower rates of car ownership and limited open space, officials said. Parallel city programs that include rapid walk signals at stoplights and curbside food delivery zones are intended to mesh with the closed streets.

"Stay Healthy Streets are an important tool for families in our neighborhoods to get outside, get some exercise and enjoy the nice weather," Durkan said in a statement. "Over the long term, these streets will become treasured assets in our neighborhoods."