SEATTLE — Seattle's Parks Department is testing out a "no wheels" policy around the inner loop at Green Lake Park. The parks department called the change a "long-term temporary" ban, while the city develops a design to complete an outer loop around the park.
The ban means activities like biking, roller-skating and skateboarding cannot use the inner loop. Strollers and mobility devices are allowed.
The parks department said the wheel ban is designed to give more space on the crowded trail for people on foot. However, bikers say they enjoy using the inner loop as an escape from the urban-like area surrounding the park.
"For me, it's contact with nature, being closer to the water, seeing the ducks, smelling the trees," said biker Felix Vlanco. "When you're at the street, you probably smell more of the fumes of the cars and probably [are] more exposed to accidents."
A survey completed by the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) said 74% of people who responded get around Green Lake Park on foot, 51% on a bike and 7% on another type of wheel.
To complete the outer loop, the SDOT is discussing turning one of the three northbound lanes on Aurora Avenue North into a bike lane. The proposed project has raised questions about safety and traffic impacts.
"It's really become more of an issue," said Paul Kostek, chair of the Green Lake Community Council. "I think for safety for small children, people learning to ride their bikes. Makes no sense to put them out there on the outer loop around the park, makes more sense to put them on the inside. So, I think we just need more discussion from the parks department about what's the plan here moving forward."
The parks department said there will likely be a public meeting in June to discuss potential options moving forward.