Seattle's Child

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Close your block: instructions on how to close a block for an election night party

This diagram from the Seattle Department of Transportation shows how to temporarily close off your street.

Close your block to traffic for a safe neighborhood Election Night gathering

Deadline is 4 p.m. Tuesday.

If you live on a residential street in Seattle, the city is offering you the chance to close your block to traffic on Election Night.

You can register online any time up until 4 p.m. on Tuesday.

The program comes in the wake of the very successful “Trick or Street” program on Saturday, in which more than 200 Seattle blocks closed to traffic in order to make way for parades, games, live bands and other Halloween fun.


What you can do

While there are drawbacks to the idea of a street party on Tuesday night (the weather forecast calls for rain, and the political situation has many people on edge) the Seattle Department of Transportation’s blog has some suggestions to lighten the mood.

These are:

-Host a movie night.

-Eat together at a distance. “Take your chairs and plates outside, and eat out front, at least six feet away from your neighbors for a 2020 take on the neighborhood BBQ! It’s also Seattle Restaurant Week, and residents planning to stay home and stay healthy during Election Day can order takeout or delivery from participating Seattle restaurants.”

-Set up a scavenger hunt. Bonus: possible use for leftover Halloween candy.

-Get some sidewalk chalk and draw on the street

-Hand out glow sticks to neighborhood kids, so they can enjoy the early darkness.


How it works

To be eligible, a block has to be on a non-arterial street, outside an urban center. It also has to be more than three blocks away from a ballot drop box. If you are next to an arterial street, you have to rent special barricades.

You can register to close your block any time between noon and 9 p.m. (If you are closing it after 5 p.m., the rules call for you to use reflective tape for your “street closed” signs. )

If you and your neighbors find that you enjoy having limited traffic on your block, you can apply to the city to make it “Stay Healthy Block,” and stop non-local traffic on your block through Nov. 30.


More election stories:

An election playlist for kids: get out the vote – and the wiggles 

How this teacher shows little kids every vote counts

About the Author

Fiona Cohen

Fiona Cohen lives in Ballard with her husband, two teenagers, a big vegetable garden and an absurd cat. She is the author of "Curious Kids Nature Guide," and is working on a new nature book for kids, to be published by Little Bigfoot in 2022.