Car rallies take over Golden Gardens

For the last two weekends, car rallies have descended on Golden Gardens Park, slowing traffic along the way. Last weekend it was the Northwest Nissan BBQ and car show (photos here), and this weekend it appeared to be a Honda event, with suped-up cars driving up and down Seaview. “Took me 30 minutes to get from 85th & 32nd to the dog park (at Golden Gardens), and then there was no parking,” said one My Ballard reader in the forum.

We got caught in summer-like traffic along eastbound Market St., waiting for the light at 24th Ave. Traffic was backed up all the way to Stone Gardens. As the weather gets warmer, Golden Gardens becomes a Seattle hotspot on the weekends, much to the chagrin of many Ballard residents.

Geeky Swedes

The founders of My Ballard

72 thoughts to “Car rallies take over Golden Gardens”

  1. My chagrin is not feeling good. I might catch a ham tonight. Lets all pray for good food.

  2. I remember “cruising the gardens” many years ago. Doing the slow cruise with a carload of friends checking out the cute boys… /sigh

  3. I am keeping my fingers crossed that they won't be back again this morning. But it's after 9:30, and by now they've usually awakened the entire neighborhood with their obnoxious noise, so maybe we'll finally be able to enjoy a sunny day off.

    Is the mayor's office the place to call? Or the police? It's probably not appropriate to call 911 until someone gets hurt, right? But I saw a kid almost get hit trying to cross the street at a corner yesterday, and the speeding driver had the nerve to lay on his horn at her. It's just a matter of time.

    The weekend traffic around Market and 24th has been especially horrible lately. It didn't occur to me that these racers were to blame, since we're all sitting (quietly) still, waiting to get through the intersection. Sorry Fred Meyer, Trader Joe's, and Ballard Farmer's Market. I'll have to spend my money elsewhere…

  4. It's illegal to cruise, but not to have car shows. There are no permits required. I remember as a kid, there use to be drag racing along the strip at golden gardens, and cruising. Car shows are fun to be in, but there should be police down there to make sure there is no tire spinning or racing involved or alcohol. It's very surprising to see it at golden gardens, because most car shows are usually at state parks like lake sammamish.

  5. Look at all that CO2! These people clearly hate Mother Earth! I'm calling Sustainable Ballard to put a stop to these Enviro-killers!

  6. Oh come on people. Golden Gardens is a public space. And most of you moved to Ballard for the “liveliness” and now you are going to have to deal with other people enjoying the area too. Just because some people are causing traffic or their stereos are bumping (at normal day hours too) isn't a reason to call the cops. You can't pick and choose who is allowed to be using it. If that's what you want, I think Medina might be more to your standards.

  7. We got stuck in it going home from the dog park. We had fun making fun of the kids and their tricked out Hondas (A Civic? Really?) It's true the noise from the mufflers (lack of?) and bass systems got annoying, but seeing all those kids made me wish I was young and stupid again for a minute.

  8. I'd just like to point out that if a group of cyclists slowed traffic this much (vis a vis critical mass) there'd be a shitstorm. But hey, it's written in the US Constitution that cars get the roads and bikes don't.

    I just ride my bike to Golden Gardens. I don't get blocked by all the cars, I don't have to look for parking, and I might add (albeit self-righteously, like the biker I am) that I don't create traffic jams since I'm on the trail.

    Get out of those coffins on wheels and join the fun club!

  9. Envior Killers? Are you kidding me!! It's only a 1 day event!! People like to have fun. As long as their not braking any laws there should be no problem. The money clubs bring in go to their local childrens charity. The one I belong to goes to the childrens hospital, and other I know goes to families for christmas, who can't afford gifts for their children, and to local foodbanks.

  10. duh, this has been going on ever since the farmer's market has descended. where have you been?

  11. Yes, let's get rid of the hundreds of people coming to our neighborhood and spending their money. Filling their tanks with gas. Buying dinner at our restaurants. Buying stuff at our shops. It's just horrible.


  12. I really like when they do these car shows. I noticed them a couple of summers ago; I never knew if they were ad-hoc or organized by someone. (I guess I still don't know for sure ;)

    I live near 85th and my wife and I were taking our daughter out to the park when we saw the traffic on 85th. Being a Honda guy, once I figured out what was going on, I was thrilled! Sure, it took us an hour to get down and through both parking lots. Once finished we came back up 32nd and were home in 10 minutes. That wad of traffic is prettyeasy to avoid if you need to. Need to cross Market Street? Don't use 15th! 8th can get you there.

  13. It's not the right locale. Golden Gardens is the only somewhat natural area in Ballard. A place to walk, picnic, enjoy the birds, the breeze off the water, the peaceful views.
    The earsplitting din and stinking exhaust destroy the use for which the park is intended, and make it inaccessible to those who wish to use it. Surely there must be a more appropriate venue…

  14. HEY PARENTS IN THE BALLARD AREA: This is where your kids go at night with their buddies to drink, fight… etc. Keep a tighter leash, would ya? Or you can pick them up at the police station.

  15. This question was asked on the form.

    “What, exactly, are the car clubs doing to harm you,” me, the neighborhood? Or, do you mean the general quality of life in what once was a quiet place to live?

    My answer is,

    There is way in hell that you live here.

    But, to answer your question.

    Car clubs in of themselves do nothing at all to harm me (if I don’t count the air polution.) I have never been one to tell other people what to do with their time (life.) If these rallies were, being held down at the Seahawks stadium I would never even know that they existed.

    What brings harm to the neighborhood is the NOISE and the RISK of being HIT by a speeding car (driven by a teenager) while crossing the street.

    What I find telling about your attitude is indicative of the kind of disrespectful behavior displayed by the “race car ya yas” in general. It doesn’t even occur to you and your friends simply to stay off the residential streets. By staying on NW Market St. and Seaview Ave NW to Golden Gardens Park, and staying off NW 85th St. and Golden Gardens Dr., you wouldn’t be pissing anyone off.

    Remember, one day you’ll grow up and want some peace and quiet on Saturday afternoon.

  16. I agree with Audreyl. This is NOT the right venue.

    The car clubs are not there to enjoy the beach or any other activities at Golden Gardens. They take up all the parking spaces and clog up traffic.

    I walk to Golden Gardens each weekend and yesterday was ridiculous. I can only image the number of families who had to turn around and go home after battling traffic and then not finding any place to park.

  17. The last time I checked people that drive cars also pay taxes that support parks.

  18. Okay, almost getting run down a few times today gave me a new perspective on this. To my mind, there is no issue about using Golden Gardens for any sort of club gathering or celebration. It is a public park, after all.
    But they weren't keeping the enthusiastic enthusiast driving down there. Taking a walk just seemed a little more dangerous this weekend.

  19. I have no problem with car shows, cruising (not too long ago I was a passanger . . ). But I do have a problem with the reckless driving, passing in the lane for ongoing traffic, and the general aggressive driving. All I wanted to do was take my toddler to the park on a beautiful day. All we got was a screaming toddler, lots of CO2, fried nerves and frustration.

    Signs in advance (ie like the Husky games) would be great in the future.

  20. OK, I'm confused. Half of you are whining that the cars cause traffic jams that brought traffic to a grinding halt but the other half of you are complaining about being hit by speeding cars. Which is it? How can cars be speeding while also causing traffic jams?? I think you people are just whining for the sake of whining which seems to be the Seattle way.

    I agree it is funny how many people don't think it's a big deal but you just know those same idiots would be blowing a gasket if it was a group of cyclists causing traffic jams. Yeah, no hypocrisy there!

  21. Okay, “coffins on wheels…”

    That's pretty ridiculous. What if these people are coming from Bellevue or somewhere? Sometimes car are necessary.

  22. You are right, because all the cars that showed up this past weekend is no different than all the cars that show up during the late Spring and Summer when the PUBLIC park is above capacity.

    Move to the Eastside if you can't handle ONE day of inconvenience.

  23. It is so funny how many people think that their idea of the “proper” use of a public space should define how it is used. Look, it is a public space, and the car show folks have every right to clog the parking lots at GG if they want to.

    If I was a Grinch and did not like the Christmas music and crowds that go down to GG for the Christmas Ships celebration, does that mean everyone should stop doing it? And if I was not a dog person and wished the city would not use public space for off-leash areas, does that mean that the dog owners do not have the right to legally use them? And maybe I do not like kids with shovels playing in the creek. Or old people sitting on benches. Or drum people playing at sunset. Or anyone that is not quiet and like-minded with the highest power that can possibly exist: ME!

    Well, welcome the the city, me. There are other people that live here with vastly different interests. They make this place interesting and heterogeneous and they have every right to legally pursue life, liberty and happiness -even if happiness, for them, is a souped-up Honda.

  24. I don't see how a bunch of car clubbers is any different from the other groups, or just busy days down at Golden Gardens. I didn't see the Honda club, but I did see the Nissan/Datsun one the other week and I didn't see any reckless driving or speeding since the cops were there. If anything the Nissan guys that I saw were doing just under the speed limit since they knew they were being watched.
    Weekend nights could benefit from the same thing with a little police presence. Even a car parked at the entrance would get the message across.

  25. We should slap a carbon tax on them and give the money to build bicycle lanes for lesbians.

  26. While they tend to exceed speed limits in my neighborhood, different racers can also clog traffic on Market St, which can HAPPEN AT THE SAME TIME.

    I'm sorry for residents on 85th, because those little race twits really have no other way to get to Golden Gardens. But do they need to zip up (or down) 32nd, and race west down the hill on 67th?

    Most of us who live around here probably DIDN'T move to Ballard because it was “lively”, we moved here because it was a good neighborhood.

    It's great that those racers are driving here and might buy food, but personally, I doubt they'll bother. Golden Gardens is definitely NOT the right venue for them. Marymoor Park was mentioned, which does not have houses just a few feet from their noisy exhaust, so it's perfect. And West Seattle has numerous parks, all much closer to White Center and Burien than Ballard is, so maybe they should think about that next time.

    I'm just grateful we had a normal Sunday that was peaceful enough to have a BBQ near the street. Just the normal traffic, a Harley here and there, with plenty of walkers with kids and/or dogs.

    I don't think that's too much to expect.

  27. I bicycle from Ballard to Bellevue. It takes about 3 hours depending on my route and how athletic I'm feeling. I normally bicycle in blue jeans. I'm not the stereotypical spandex clad cyclist.

    Bellevue also has buses with bicycle racks. I used to do a bike plus bus commute from Ballard to Redmond every day. It can be faster than driving.

    Cars are convenient, but not necessary. I haven't owned a car since 2005.

    In the news yesterday, we are making huge progress, we only killed 37,313 people in motor vehicle crashes this year. The lowest number per year since the 1960's!

  28. I think you mean “much to the DISMAY of many Ballard residents.” I can't imagine feeling chagrin at a park's popularity…

  29. Its nice to live so close to GG that I don't have to drive. I couldn't imagine wanting to come from somewhere far like Bellevue just to spend a good portion of the time in the car.

  30. 1. Golden Gardens has a large parking lot unlike a lot of beaches in Seattle. Good place to park and check out cars, have a BBQ, etc.

    2. Marymoore is used for car meets as well, but speedbumps is a huge reason why a lot of people don't suggest marymoore, plus it's a little out of the way for the people who are into cars around here.

    3. I wouldn't call these people “racer kids” but rather car enthusiasts who want to have a car meet. Once the sun comes out it's awesome to check out new builds and meet with people you know through a common interest.

    Plus car meets happen only a few times a year, hondas less than nissans and yes there might be traffic but try going to Alki and having a car meet…..yeah

  31. But Nari, this is Seattle, cars are evil, bicycles heavenly. Get with the program.

  32. The meet up was organized on the Honda-Tech forums.

    They tried to have a fun day out of it, and asked participants to behave themselves (note the rules: No ass-hattery, no littering, no excessive revving, no burnouts, bring a positive attitude, have fun.) They have as much right to use the park as any one of you people. I say it's a great use of the space. And I think you people could stand to be a little more welcoming of what can potentially be a stream of money into our community. You were young once too.

    As I see in the post, they were expecting over 200 cars from all over Washington, and some from Oregon and BC, which is far too many to fit into Golden Gardens, and it sounds like they might have had a bad feeling. So they made a mistake in that they didn't change venue when the number of participants started to rise. And I doubt they will be back to Ballard.

    I guess my question is, if they were hot rods instead of hondas, would anyone be complaining?

  33. Would you guys rather see kids dying left n right on the news from street racing, or having everybody sit in a parkinglot enjoying the beach and other cars?

  34. Its a public place to be enjoyed by everyone.When we organize these events we
    post a warning to anyone that revs there engine, burnout, or race that they will be kicked out.Yes people are “hooking up” hondas and theres is nothing wrong with that at all.Im sure you have done at least one thing to your car(whatever it is)to make it unique.From bike racks to cd players many of these guys take pride in hooking up there car and enjoying it for what it is.

  35. I thinks its funny the things that people will complain about just for the sake of complaining.

    1. Every one that was there pays taxes on that park just like you do. Some more and some less but we all have the right to use that park.

    2. Some people say the park was not being used for what it is ment for. Why do you think that spot was chosen? Its BEAUTIFUL there. No matter who you are or why you are there I think we can all appreciate how nice of an area it is. The parking spots were parked in, the scenery was enjoyed and people had a good time. Isnt that what a park is for?

    3. All the cars, loud exhaust, stereos etc. are ruining the park. Common, it was ONE afternoon. The honda meet was from about 1PM to 5PM and im sure the Nissan meet was about the same. I dont really see how the park is being ruined by people gathering for 5 hours…….once a year.

    4. To all the people that want to poke fun at the cars/people I hope you feel really big. We dont sit around and have pointless little internet discussions bashing your hobbies, recreations and passions.

    For alot of us cars bring us together to form friendships and give people a creative outlet. Everyones cars whether they are hot rods or import cars are their canvas to express them selves. You may not like the “art” but should have at least some respect for it. People ended up coming from WA, OR, ID, CA, MT and B.C. for some thing that lasted a couple hours and personally I find that impressive.

    Sure there are a few bad eggs but you get that any time you get a bunch of people in one spot from the bicyclist that doesnt think laws apply to him to the guy at the dog park that doesnt clean up after his dog.

    I guess what I want to say was most of just wanted to meet up and look at neat cars. Sorry if this inconvenienced people but if being stuck in traffic for a few minutes and not being able to go to the beach for one afternoon is the worst thing going on in your life……feel lucky.

  36. Well, I can tell you folks that the Northwest Nissan Meet and the Meet's are an annual occasion, once a year. And I don't know about the Nissan meet, but the Honda-tech meet grows every year in numbers and it has become obvious to the organisers of these meets (on the honda side) that Golden Gardens may not be an ideal spot for it due to the limited access and parking. And I know the next meet later in the summer is planned at a different location (state park) with much more parking. Hopefully it stays that way and we won't have to go and clutter up GG anymore. I, myself know I won't be going ot golden gardens for a car meet anymore, just not worth the traffic and wait time. Although I do plan on bringing my wife and children there as it's a very nice park and I'm sure they'd love it.

  37. I was one of the participants of this get together.

    I will agree that the parking situation was a huge mess but what does that have to do with the use of a public park by auto enthusiasts? This is a public venue and open for anyone to use. Who are some of you to say that is shouldn't be allowed and the police should be called? And as for revenue… how about the $40-$60 dollar tickets handed out to those people who chose not to obey the parking laws? That should keep your streets swept for the next few years.

    Did anyone notice the traffic jam on I5 Northbound due to contruction? You complainers should call DOT and inform them that it inconvenienced people and they should have done it on your schedule.

    The meet was great, the people were great, my 18 month old daughter loved all of the “vroom, vrooms”, and the traffic and parking sucked.

  38. You guys complain about the dumbest things.. Pollution really?? Our Hondas dont pollute the air anymore than whatever you treehuggers are drivingsome of these cars are loud. I bet you wouldnt give a squirt about it if you passed one of us on I5. Or if a bunch of old guys on Harleys were riding thru town.But no, you old, stuck up hippies act like you were never a teenager or early 20's. Actually a good portion of people at that meet were 30 and above. Sorry but I pay taxes on that park and all others in the county so I will feel free to use them when I want. Not on your terms. Get a life and stop bitching and moaning so much. Have a nice day.

  39. Would you be equally pissed if the meet was a harley davidson meet? they are just as loud if not louder than any domestic/import car with an exhaust. We are just driving through to and from GG… that is all.

  40. Call the whambulance. Who is anyone to stop a group of people with common interests from having a get together! You don't see us complaining when the dumb hippies close downtown for one of their idiotic protests! No crimes were committed, and none of you got hurt. Live life and have fun! Peace.

  41. Please check out our pictures, we all had a really good time.
    I'm a more “mature” Honda owner, i respect all and i use the dog park at golden gardens daily.

    please do not “hate” or “dislike” our hondas as we respect all hot rods and older muscle cars. Yes our cars are loud, but thats considered “JDM”

    -Fellow Honda-tech member

  42. Chill out, you dont own the place. We all have rights. Those who were illegally parked, got ticketed. So be it. Public park, open to the public. We are enthusiests, feel honered we chose “your park” to show our cars at. We spend a lot of time and money just for these meets, we dont mean harm. If we bug you, just remember, its only a few times a year. Be happy we dont meet up there every friday and saturday night.

    No harm, no foul.

    Just people and cars.

    Dont get your undies tied up in a bunch.

    Thanks for the publicity.
    Enjoy the sunshine.

    Everett, WA

  43. Im pretty sure Fred Meyer, Trader Joe's, and Ballard Farmer's Market would take 10x the amount of daily spending over your spending anyday.

  44. How did a daytime event of car enthusiests get turned into a midnight drunk brawl?

  45. I think the only disrespecting going on is you to us. I didnt see any speeders, shenanigans, or any close accidents.

    Im 32 have a house and a family. I make a good amount working in sales. Guess I'm not grown up yet.

    Ill be sure to let my GPS know to not go through quiet neighborhoods. Or did you not want me to go by the Fred Meyer to spend my cash? Or the intersections without pedestrians?

    This meet has people from cali to canida coming to it, do you really expect everything to go perfect?

  46. There is enough peopel in the club that make sure that does not happen.. with our without cops.

  47. i wish people would stop coming to my town and boosting its economy. even if it is just for one or two weekends a year, my town can't handle the extra coin in our collective pockets!

  48. Damn hippie, Get a life . Complaining doesn't get you anywhere. Theres always going to be big meets like this so get USED to it!

    I <3 Nissan


  49. oh wow. really? -.- you hippies and your environment. the earth is going to be here for years to come, no matter how much damage we do to it.

  50. I was a participant of the NWN golden Gardens 2009 meet. I know for a fact that this was planned months in advance and a code of conduct was published for all NWN members to adhere to. Being that this is a public venue and anyone had the privelage to participate in, there were the occasional “bad apple” it happens. SPD was on sight and helping to keep things under control. If we inconvienieced anyone Im sorry. However our meet occurs once a year and more than likely will not be held at GG next year. For all of the enviromentalist who think everyone should drive prius's well sorry not gonna happen. I know many of the enthusiast who took part in this meet were not the “racers” you speak of. The group we belong to does no advocate street racing or illegal activities, and in fact looks very poorly on such behavior. Bottom line we are all enthusiast in one way shape or form. Had we been a bunch of hot rods showing our cars I dont think people would have there panties in a bunch so much. But since we happen to drive imports which are profiled by law enforcement and everyone else we are all the sudden the enemy. We just want to have our hobby just like everyone else has theirs. We all pay taxes and have the right to use GG just like anyone else. I do appologize for the unsafe and irresponsible behavior of some of the people who attended, however they were the minority and the majority of our scene is not like that. We are doing the same thing the hot rods do, just with a twist. If you can not or will not see that then I am sorry and you my friend are narrow minded. Do not be so quick to judge us just because we may drive something which you do not understand or agree with. We are enthusiast no matter how you look at us, and were not going anywhere anytime soon.

  51. aureyl, really? A public park is just that……public. Anyone can use it at any time, as long as no laws are being broken. An appropriate venue is anywhere the f*** we want it. The Nissan event is once a year….f***ing deal with it. I'm sorry we were ruining your perfect little world for 6 hours on 1 day. But guess what, there are other people on this perfect little world. peace

  52. Like I said in a recent post. All of the owners of these cars got up at 5am to make sure that they had parking. First come, first served. God I love America.

  53. so anyone can go to this public park,
    but when a group of people (who drive the same car) come in they should be treated as a public nuisance and not individual citizens.

    give your head a shake, maybe next time these guys should just go street race instead of a nice quiet picknic

  54. The Nissan meet has outgrown (too many people showing up for the amount of parking) Golden Gardens and will likely not return next year.

    The hundreds of people coming from BC, Idaho, Montana, eastern Washington, and Oregon will be going to some other park in some other city with more capacity.

    Never fear, you will have your streets back and several thousands of dollars less for your Ballard businesses.

    There were several Seattle police officers patrolling the park during the meet, writing fix-it-tickets and towing improperly parked vehicles.

    Instead of complaining perhaps you could work constructively with the car groups to positively voice your concerns and work towards a mutually beneficial compromise?

    Keep in mind that many of the guys (and girls) that fix up these cars devote their lives to this hobby which is way better than wasting their paychecks and braincells on drugs and other criminal activities.

    Car hobbies are a great way to keep kids off drugs and away from crime so be thankful they are just making some noise, slowing traffic, and fouling up parking and not selling your kids weed, knocking up your daughters, or vandalizing your property.


  55. would you people get the f*** over it, its a public park that EVERYONE is entitled to go to, and no we dont have to get permits becase we werent selling anything and it wasnt an actual car show. it was a group of car enthusiasts that got together to mingle and admire eachothes cars. so drop your ” were better than everyone else” attitude and get the f*** over it. if you dont like it then dont go to the park.

  56. Blah blah blah…. damn whiners.. pollution? i work for the a company that makes those bike racks for bus, im doing my part arnt I?.. we're just car enthusiasts who loves cars..

  57. It was a great event, i dont understand why people are complaining about traffic delays, there was construction on the freeway that was also backing up traffic and i dont hear any complaining about that. It took me more than one hour to travel 10 miles on the freeway. The meet was a success and I was driving from Moscow Idaho. Representing It is good to see a multi-million project that was built from our tax money (I am a Washington Resident) being used. Like mentioned it brings in revenue, which in my eyes is great!

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