It may still feel like October outside, but the Fourth of July really is almost upon us. And, as we do every year, Eastlake is bracing for the crowds of fireworks fanatics who descend on the neighborhood to see the Gas Works show.
Representatives from the Seattle Police Department say that their Eastlake traffic plan is unchanged from last year. The attached map shows what areas will be restricted, when and how, and where you and your guests can park. The map can be downloaded and printed to hand out to visitors.
SPD Officers Chris Kelley and Gerald House spoke to a public meeting sponsored by the Eastlake Community Council on Monday. They'll be working traffic and crowd control here on the Fourth. East Precinct Lt. Von Levandowski and Officer Kelley will be managing Eastlake traffic this year for the Fourth.
Kelley said the basic goal of their plans is to limit vehicle traffic west of Eastlake Avenue to the water to try to control the number of people in that area.
The best time to have guests arrive, Kelley said, was 6 to 7 p.m. And the best time to leave is after 11 p.m.
Visitors don't need a written invitation, but they do need to know where they're going and where they'll be parking. Notices of parking restrictions will be up three days before the Fourth. The map and the info below also explain how parking will work.
A total of 31 officers will be on traffic duty during the day in Eastlake with 23 more coming in the evening for the fireworks show. One change from last year: Due to budget constraints there won't be any police on bicycles in the neighborhood for the Fourth.
The attached map shows most of what you'll need to know. Here are the details:
- Parking along Eastlake Avenue: It's tight. Parking is totally prohibited on both sides of Eastlake from Hamlin south to Newton from 11 a.m. to midnight on the Fourth. North of Hamlin, you won’t be able to park on the east side of the street. Warning signs will be up and officers will be out and ticketing people on the Fourth.
- Pre-show limited access: The area west of Eastlake to the water will have limited access during the day (gray zone on the map). During the day, SPD officers will check with people attempting to drive in to that area to make sure they have a place to park and are aware that they’ll be towed if they park illegally.
- Traffic barricades along Eastlake: On the map, you’ll see orange barricades marked on Newton and along Eastlake. Officers will start staffing those positions around 6:30 p.m. Around 7:30 to 8 p.m., they’ll begin to assess the traffic and around 8:30 p.m. they’ll close car access to that area until after the show. You can always walk or ride a bike in to this area. After the show, barricades move from the west side of Eastlake to the east (blue circles on the map).
- I-5 off ramps: They’ll be closed from 9 to 11 p.m. The Mercer, Boylston and Roanoke ramps are all closed at this time by the State Patrol. The Patrol will reopen them as quickly as possible after the fireworks. The Lakeview overpass will also be closed to cars and pedestrians for the show.
- Street flow after the show: Big changes after the show is over. The two blocks of Lynn from Eastlake to Boylston become a one-way street heading east. If you want to go south on I-5, get in the right-hand lane. Want to go north? Get in the left-hand lane. Harvard E. from Roanoke to Eastlake becomes a one-way street going north. The goal of SPD after the show is to move people out of the area, Officer Kelley said.
- Who ya gonna call? In past years, SPD has told me that if you see someone parking in front of a fire hydrant or blocking a driveway, call the police early before the fireworks begin and they'll take care of it. Don't call the East Precinct; just call 9-1-1 to report it.
- Fireworks: They’re illegal inside the city limits. But, folks have them and, as the SPD has said in the past, they just don’t have enough personnel to respond to every incident. If fireworks are potentially causing a fire or a safety hazard, Kelley says to call 9-1-1 to report it and police will take care of it.