A parking lot at south Seattles Seward Park today.
A parking lot at south Seattle's Seward Park today. ES

Outdoor playgrounds have already been cordoned off with yellow tape in an effort to slow the spread of coronavirus. Now, to reinforce that "congregating parks is not allowed," the City of Seattle is shutting off parking lots at its most popular parks: Green Lake, Lincoln Park, Golden Gardens, Seward Park, Magnuson Park, Gas Works Park, Alki Beach, and Discovery Park.

It's also closing local beaches and shutting the Seattle Public Utilities-controlled gates to the Rattlesnake Ledge Trail (which saw "upwards of 4,000 visitors" over the weekend). Though that trail and all Seattle beaches are now officially closed, Seattle's parks remain open—despite the shut parking lots—for people who are walking, biking, and doing other types of activity that comply with social distancing requirements.

The move comes as Mayor Jenny Durkan is still looking into whether Seattle, in an effort to ease crowding in public parks, should open some public streets to people-powered movement. Two local bike advocacy groups have called on Durkan to do this, and a third group, Seattle Neighborhood Greenways, tells The Stranger it also wants streets opened up "for people to recreate on while maintaining a safe distance from each other, particularly in areas without a lot of other large public spaces."

Today in New York, Governor Andrew Cuomo declared that some New York City streets will be shut down in a pilot project because "people want to go out and get some air."