Kid-themed block parties are catching on quickly in Ballard, with half a dozen regular meet-ups each week in our ‘hood. It’s called the Play Streets Program, and involves closing off a neighborhood street so kids (and adults) can have more space for play and physical activity, according to the City of Seattle.
The Play Streets Program is a pilot with the Seattle Department of Transportation, allowing anyone with a permit to temporarily close their street for special activities. Play streets have been hosted by schools, community groups, and neighbors. What happens on a play street? “Think of a play street as an extension of all the front yards on your block,” SDOT writes. “You can play hopscotch or 4-square, have a dance party, do yoga, have 3-legged races, bounce a ball, skate, scoot, walk, roll, bike, and run. The options are limitless.”
There are currently around 70 play streets in the city, and several are in Ballard. Check out the map for ongoing play street locations around the neighborhood – blue tags are upcoming or recurring play streets, and red tags are previous play streets.
According to the city’s website about the program, almost any non-arterial street can be a play street. They say a play street cannot be longer than one block and cannot include an intersection. If you want to apply to make your street a play street, click here.