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World & Nation

Walking and biking only. Seattle is shutting 20 miles of streets to most vehicles

Seattle
A bike break with a view of the Seattle cityscape. The city is making some neighborhoods friendlier for walkers and bikers.
(Michael Robinson Chavez / Los Angeles Times)

Almost 20 miles of Seattle streets will permanently close to most vehicles by the end of May, the city’s mayor, Jenny Durkan, announced Thursday.

The streets had been closed temporarily to provide more space for people to walk and bike at a safe distance during the coronavirus crisis, the Seattle Times reported.

Washington state fruit growers say that a ban on bunk beds in farmworker housing would cut their seasonal work force in half, likely leading to food shortages and price hikes.

Now the closures will remain even after Gov. Jay Inslee’s stay-at-home order is lifted. Durkan made the announcement Thursday.

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The Seattle Department of Transportation will replace the temporary closure signs on the so-called Stay Healthy Streets with permanent markings, guiding drivers to other routes.

The deadly outbreak among members of a choir has stunned health officials, who have concluded that the virus was almost certainly transmitted through the air from one or more people without symptoms.

The program, which has rolled out in phases, has been implemented in the Aurora-Licton Springs, Ballard, Central District, West Seattle, Greenwood, Othello, Rainier Beach and Beacon Hill neighborhoods.

Residents, delivery drivers, garbage and recycling workers and emergency response vehicles can continue to use the streets.


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