Batten down your hatches, people, this 4th of July is going to be a doozy. Wallingford typically sees 35,000 – 45,000 visitors coming through to Gas Works to watch the fireworks. This year, however, the crowds are going up a notch: the Elliot Bay fireworks display has been cancelled, meaning all the people who traditionally go there are coming here. The SPD is expecting an extra 10,000 – 15,000 people to visit our sedate little neck of the woods that evening.
The SPD and the Department of Neighborhoods visited the Wallingford Community Council meeting last week, and WCC president Mary Heim provides us with this summary of the plans:
SPD’s media department is going to try to get the word out that it is going to be a mess and urge people to stay away. Right. Their goal is to minimize additional disruption for the people that live in lower Wallingford as much as possible, so they will have entry points at every other intersection during the day. People may be asked to show their registration to prove they live there and they are asking that people that are having parties send invitations stating the address and that parking is available for the guest.
…The Seattle Fire Department is working on a calculation to determine the maximum safe capacity for the park in order to determine at what point they just shut down the entry. In that event, One Reel will direct people to the Wallingford Steps and up Wallingford Avenue to view the fireworks from there. There will be officers to direct people up the street, walkways on the sidewalks with the street (no parking there obviously) taped off for standing and viewing the fireworks. A significant percentage of people arrive in the last hour or so before the fireworks start so they would not be standing there for very long.
SPD will have additional traffic control, extra bicycle units, and officers on foot throughout the community during the day and particularly starting 5-6 PM when most of the action really starts. The other big push will be after the show is over and gridlock begins. There will be officers at every intersection along 40th and I think maybe even 45th. They will be directing traffic, with the big flashing signs and will move Southbound I-5 flow along 45th, Northbound I-5 entry to 50th and a significant amount of the traffic coming out of the West portion of the community up onto Aurora N/S. Their goal is to keep it moving and clear it quickly.
Of particular concern, to those who live in the area is the bathroom facilities: One Reel is providing none outside of Gasworks Park itself (and, as noted above, even that may be closed to entry after a certain point). Given our country’s fondness for drinking beer, and beer’s fondness for causing urination, Wallingford leadership has correctly determined that this is a recipe for disaster.
The WCC and the Wallingford Chamber are seeking local businesses that are willing to sponsor port-a-potty’s to be distributed up Wallingford Ave (and environs). It shouldn’t be too expensive (~$100) and it’s a great opportunity to create a very, very positive impression on the public. Contact Kara (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you’re interested.
Alternatively, residents could charge passerby’s for use of their facilities. Beats selling lemonade.