Many cities are closing streets to vehicle traffic in order to provide safe space for recreation.
Seattle has recently added Lake Washington Blvd for walking, rolling, running and more. I decided to run from Capitol Hill down to Seward park using the Stay Healthy Streets and Neighborhood Greenways.
Benefits of Stay Healthy Streets
The main benefits of reducing, limiting, or eliminating vehicular traffic on various neighborhood streets are as follows:
- Allows for heavy breathing, congruent with social distancing.
- Provides a continuous interconnected linear and mostly uninterrupted path for runners and cyclists to focus primarily on their own efforts.
- Creates space for mobile recreation since many gyms, fitness centers, and studios are closed.
- Welcoming to all types of activity provided that people keep moving.
- You can see your neighbors, smile, wave, and say hi if you’d like (since these are lonely times for a lot of us, it’s nice to get out there).
However, there are some general criticisms that I would like to present here.
Limitations of Stay Healthy Streets:
- Biggest problem is that navigating the stay healthy streets isn’t all that intuitive (you wouldn’t know where to go unless you have studied the map before, and even then it’s easy to get off track).
- There need to be more connectivity of stay healthy streets from Capitol Hill to the Central District to Lake Washington.
- There are many intersections with car traffic to be aware of.
- Some areas always seem to have constant local car traffic (like 22nd and Union). I move out of the way for cars, but I also think it is important for everybody to share.
- I’ve noticed people sitting in their cars, idle and it isn’t until it’s too late that I notice they are sitting there inside. People need to keep moving or keep their windows up. If idle, they should have their parking lights on.
City Resources are Lacking
Due to the pandemic and all of the issues surrounding funding and government, there isn’t an appropriate enough response to supporting the health of the citizens.
Most of us are struggling with mental health and we need physical activity in order to process our traumas.
If anything, the city should erect socially distanced workout equipment like pull up bars in the parks. I know this is complicated, but not everybody has the resources to hire a personal trainer or the motivation to do it on their own.
What is the future of fitness in Seattle during the pandemic?
This is a really big question. We know that obesity (which is less about body size and more about the functions of the organ systems) is a complicating factor in the outcomes of covid-19 infection. Thus, investing in preventative health is paramount.