City to close Sunset Avenue North to traffic and parking starting April 17

Sunset Avenue North on April 6. (File photo by Larry Vogel)

To ensure pedestrian safety during the warmer weather and still allow for social distancing amid COVID-19, Sunset Avenue North will be closed to through traffic and parking as of noon Friday, April 17.

Edmonds Mayor Mike Nelson announced the limited closure Wednesday, with support of Acting Edmonds Police Chief Jim Lawless. Starting at noon Friday, Sunset Avenue will be closed from Edmonds Street to Casper Street. Local traffic – drivers bound for residences along this stretch of Sunset – is permitted.

“Due to increased crowds, people have been walking in the street to maintain 6 feet social distance, while drivers are passing through on this already narrow road,” Nelson said. “With the nicer weather, increased numbers of vehicles and pedestrians were leading to a situation where it seemed like just a matter of time before someone got hurt.”

The city said it expects to see even bigger crowds on the walkway as the warmer spring weather continues. Temperatures are expected to be in the mid-60s through this weekend.

This limited closure goes into effect Friday at noon and is considered a pilot project. It may be altered based on what happens in the coming weeks, the city said.



  1. What are the evaluation factors being used for this “pilot” project? Will it be the number of phone calls into City Hall and attendance at City Council meetings of the public being denied access to this public right-a-way. Seems like there is a group of folks at City Hall that like monkeying with this stretch of road. There is legal exposure but it isn’t anything that signage and, better yet, a good attorney couldn’t help the City work through. This is a win for the wealthy homeowners who live on this stretch and a big LOSS for the commoners who enjoy driving down to the area and walking the waterfront.

    1. perhaps you misunderstood the article. Sunset is closed to cars, not people, so that people can safely walk. Everyone is doing the best they can to mitigate this pandemic and ensure the safety of everyone. Having to park your car and walk a couple of extra blocks to Sunset is probably good for all of us.

      1. Ah! Now this sounds like a good idea. Up on 76th Ave near the sound, people are crisscrossing the street and walking down the middle when necessary, and a driver honked at me and cussed. Better to get the drivers off the street on this lovely walking spot.

      2. ”Having to park your car and walk a couple of extra blocks to Sunset is probably good for all of us.”

        More advice from yet another well-meaning but condescending person.

        We drove to Sunset Ave. on Wednesday because the beaches were closed and we wanted to get out of the house for about 30 minutes. We saw several groups of people on the walkway conversing. Those people gathered were not doing the best they could to mitigate this pandemic. They were not safely walking. Cars are not the problem.

    2. Send in a public records request for the information.

      Also, ask for the list of online classes that Patrivk Doherty says City employees are taking while they sit at home on full pay.

  2. The reality is that folks can still park nearby on 2nd Ave. and Edmonds St. and Bell St. and Main St. With all the bars and restaurants closed, nearby parking should be easily available for folks who want to walk Sunset and enjoy the view. Let’s dial back the heat a little, OK?

    1. Perhaps a few disabled parking spots could be allotted for those who cannot make their way except in a car. There are places on sunset that don’t interfere with home views since that is most likely what this is really about. I’m still amazed that we are all so helpless that our government has to protect us from getting run over. On the other hand it will be nice to walk unimpeded by parked cars.

  3. Is there a proposed solution for those who may be disabled and can’t walk to the beach or sunset? Mind, Body and Spirit is key to health. The government has exercised it’s solution to protect the body so what is the suggested solution for those who can’t walk to take in the view?

    1. The real solution is parking enforcement – and not warnings, but tickets – to deal with the constant illegal parking. Do that and then the cars can be allowed back.

  4. Pilot project, I wonder. Pilot for who? Better not be a permanent project. Only street with parking for water view. Should be open to all. Temporary I understand but not forever.. Judy Baker

  5. Open all the parks and waterfront parking back up immediately! Saw 2 city workers get out of 2 trucks start talking to each other about 2 feet apart. No gloves or masks or any distancing, different rules for Edmonds employees vs citizens. Welcome to nazi germany! Oh i thought we lived in America. Bill of right, the Constitution. Freedom to assemble. Not in Edmonds. Time to take back our rights. This has become madness. Those that are vulnerable stay in, the rest get back to your normal life. Will Nelson take our car keys next?

  6. Perhaps it’s a pilot for making all sidewalks in the city one-way. Walk northbound on the west side of the street, and southbound on the east side. That way, “social distancing” is ensured without pedestrians having to step out into a vehicle lane when encountering anyone walking in the opposite direction.

    And no stopping or standing anytime, no speed walking… Definitely no running or jogging…

  7. Well of course; the obvious answer was to wait until one or two people got flattened by some drunk or just distracted driver talking on his/her phone while admiring the view from their car; and ignoring the pedestrians. Plus I’m sure those filthy rich people with the nice houses and views are really the one’s behind this obvious taking of our personal rights by the evil lefty Nelson.

  8. I thought we were better than this. Let me assure those of you who think this is Rodeo Drive, not all residents of Sunset Drive are millionaires. I’m surprised we’ve not heard anything about gun rights. Just saying…

    1. My wife and I are both elderly, and I am a handicapped parking permit holder as well. With parking in Edmonds being what it is, I doubt very much that finding a place to land anywhere within walking distance for us, will be possible. Probably will be nearly impossible for anyone, handicapped or not. I do not believe that any public thoroughfare should be denied use by the people that paid for it, period. This is not a good start for the new Mayor.

    2. That was sarcasm on my part which is always a dangerous approach and I should have known better. My point is basically the same as yours Mr. Tays. Whether right or wrong ideologically, temporarily closing Sunset is an attempt to protect lives of pedestrians in the area due to unusual circumstances and not some clandestine plot to close Sunset forever to please the people who have view property there. I suspect there will be some effort to accommodate cars with legitimate handicapped needs as this evolves. We are a pretty decent group of people here in Edmonds when it comes to looking out for each other.

  9. I’m grateful to Mayor Nelson for being proactive in protecting the lives of his constituents. Better weather is bringing many more pedestrians to Sunset Avenue, making it impossible to keep a proper social distance without stepping into the path of oncoming vehicles. Why wait until someone gets run over? Besides, all those parked vehicles take up space where people could be walking–and keeping a safer distance. No one is preventing people from driving down there and parking around the corner to access the views on Sunset Avenue. It would be reasonable to provide space for disabled parking–let’s just ask nicely. If you just want to sit in your car and enjoy the ocean view, you can drive a few blocks north on 9th Ave., take a left on Water Street onto Ocean Avenue, where there is parking, and you can enjoy the view without blocking heavy foot traffic.

    These are difficult and dangerous times, and I know people who have been brought down and died from this CoVid-19 plague. It’s inconvenient and it’s scary and it’s sad. Accommodations and adjustments must be made to save lives–our own and others’. We all need to get through this, and it would be so much easier for everyone if we could all be a little patient and a little kind, and think just a little bit about the greater good.

  10. The COVID cases in Edmonds are going up not down, so we’re not on the right track yet. Yes we have to get out of our homes, but not in cars. We need to get out into fresh air, whether that means walking down your block or going along the water. No, not everyone get to see the water. We have a lot of fixing to do about equity in a lot of areas and wouldn’t it be nice to all live by the water. People can park on side streets and walk a few blocks to see the water.

    I feel uncomfortable walking by cars with open windows or open doors when there’s someone else on the walkway. And some people continue to walk two or more across. When walking with a partner please walk in single file when someone needs to get by rather than making them go too close to cars or into the street.

    1. Terry: I don’t think 2 days of data is enough to declare that Edmonds is “not on the right track yet.” Given the relatively small sample size of our population, there is some scatter in the numbers. However, graphing the trend since 3/19 and 3/20 (4 and 2 new daily cases, respectively), it looks like we peaked around 3/27 or 3/28 (15 and 9 new daily cases, respectively), and have since trailed off to 4 and 3 new daily cases on 4/13 and 4/14, respectively.

      The “new report” published by MEN a couple days ago shows that even prior to the Governor’s stay home policies taking effect that the retransmission rate had already dropped below the target level of 1.0. So, let not thy heart be troubled!

  11. I don’t understand why “seeing the sunset” is essential travel? Excersize is important, yes. But walk in your own neighborhood. I don’t understand why this is so hard. STAY HOME.

  12. Let me get this straight… the Mayor is afraid that someone might get hit by a car so they are closing the road…?Shouldn’t we close every road based on that logic…. I suggest we close Main ST as well. Freedoms are taken in fear. Living life is a risk. Closing a road is not going to reduce risk.

    1. Drivers do not routinely illegally park on Main St. The risk to the numerous pedestrians will very definetly be reduced.

      1. Ron – Well put. Though we need to pay a bit more attention to those marked parking spaces; I see a fair number of cars spanning two spaces. I wonder if traffic wardens could eave friendly reminders? Most Edmonds people would be happy to pitch in if reminded. We’re that kind of community.

    2. And the markets and events on 5th, near the museum. They close the street to cars then, taking away our freedoms. We should be allowed to drive through those crowds. And let’s get rid of the 25 mph speed limit in town – it’s based on fear and it’s part of the plot to control us! I haven’t worked out yet whether it’s those rich types on Sunset trying to take over, or the poor ones and their liberal agenda, but this is America and we can drive wherever we want at any speed we choose.

      80 years ago Americans pulled together and won the greatest war in history. Our parents and grandparents sacrificed even their lives. And we are asked to stay at home, or allow pedestrians to take over a popular street in the interests of safety. Oh, the sacrifices we face!

      1. The above was in response to several posts about the “takeover” of Sunset, and was NOT in response to Ron’s post. Sometimes clicking on “Reply” seems just to drop a comment at the bottom, and not attach it to the post being commented upon.

  13. Ron,

    For whatever reason this page is not permitting me to reply directly to your last comment re: parking enforcement throughout downtown…

    I seem to recall seeing your comments about parking enforcement numerous times

    This is a “public” forum and rarely do any official city representatives ever respond here


    Teresa has a wonderful program – “Ask the Edmonds Cop”

    Please submit your question to Teresa for that program

    I, and perhaps many other people too would like to hear an official response

  14. Just went DT for some essential business. Drove from Main, north on Sunset to blocked area. Between Main and the blocked section there were 4 open parking places just on Sunset. All those parked were heeding the tick marks for parking that are designed to maximize parking stalls. Checked two streets within 1 block of Sunset, stopped counting open parking spots at 30. I think that exceeds the total number of stalls along Sunset that are now closed. Drove on one other street also within 1 block of Sunset and while not counting it too had numbers of open stalls in the same proportion as the ones I counted elsewhere. Even saw a person with a walker making his way to Sunset.

  15. There you go again Darrol. Doing actual research, counting things and observing what is actually going on in real time. You know that’s not allowed. (I know; I’m being sarcastic again). Fatal flaw obviously.

    You, Ron and Nathanial are a great asset to this publication and town. Just my opinion, of course.

  16. I am a 94 year old with two aging knees and I walk with a cane …so far. My wife and I have been taking walks there on Sunset for at least 8 years to enjoy the view, fresh air, the ships, the mountains, and a less dangerous walking surface. Lately the proliferation of parked vehicles, supposedly by those to enjoy the view and fresh air, has become a burdensome wall of metal. How does one enjoy the view when their black tinted windows are closed and THEIR CARS ENGINES ARE RUNNING! There are several regulars , a dull painted Range Rover SUV and an expensive Lexus. I counted at least 5 yesterday with the occupants reading, eating, listening to music, or sleeping. One, however, had the driver’s window down so he could hang his bare feet out of it. Two kinds of pollution, then, engine exhaust and stinking feet. These people aren’t there to enjoy anything but a selfish and abusive desire to break their boredom. I think that the vehicular restriction should be permanent.

  17. Kudos to you and your wife, Mr. Parks, on your keeping active lifestyle, no matter your age. Great example for all of us to follow as we can.

    As to the suggestion of making the vehicular restriction permanent, I would very respectfully have to disagree with that. On the other hand, I could totally support making it illegal to park on that street for more than 10 minutes at a time in order to keep traffic moving and to share the “view wealth” so to speak. (When I was a teenager, we used to park along that stretch for long periods of time, but it was, often, long after dark when you couldn’t see much of anything out there).

    Also as a reminder to all, there is an ongoing study of parking issues in Edmonds which has been pretty much forgotten while we struggle over all the virus issues attacking us. Hopefully we can discuss this parking issue along Sunset in the process of dealing with that study, should the study ever become relevant again.

    1. Clint – Well, ten minutes may be a bit short, maybe 30? I’m disabled, and in good weather and better times, having lunch in my car down on Sunset is a treat – but 10 minutes might be an invitation to indigestion! (I’ve also found that I can park on, say, Edmonds St., and go for a walk on Sunset without taking a parking place from someone more disabled than I am).

      There should, however, be an exception for the truly immobilized and disabled.

      So much of the objection to the current, temporary situation seems based on selfishness; “If I can’t park my car on Sunset (or wherever I want) for two or three weeks, my freedoms are being stolen by the selfish rich folks who live there.” Never mind the very many who do manage to park elsewhere and can enjoy Sunset in safety and in proper distancing, or the brave souls who somehow find a way to walk a block or so to see the water . This used to be a country where the idea of the Greater Good for the Greater Number, and the notion that a degree of self-sacrifice for the Greater Good were part of our makeup. No longer, it seems. Not even for a few weeks. How we suffer. But there should be some disabled spots kept available.

  18. I appreciate your comments, Mr. Wright and I agree that permanent restriction is too impractical and too severe. I am from the east, moving here in 1950 to work at Boeing. During the war I was in the USAAF from 1943 to 1945 and I was stationed at many places in this country. I can say with fact that there is no place more beautiful or gifted than the Pacific Northwest and the city of Edmonds and surrounding environs is an absolute GEM. If you have ever visited or lived in the big cities on the east coast and in the midwest you can appreciate the clean sweet air, the clear clean sound nearby, the lovely city, and friendly lovely people that one meets every day. No oil refinery smoke, no auto pollution, no snarky people. I have a strong sense that this gift must be guarded and cared for and I was heartened by the decision of the city to do just that. No freedoms or personal rights are being taken away when limits are put in place to protect those rights from the abuse of those who don’t appreciate them or who fail to recognize the value of what they have. Freedom and personal rights must be earned by responsible behavior and the irreplaceable gift of this place must cared for and cherished.

  19. What a wonderful opportunity to increase declining city revenues….parking meters on and around Sunset!

    Just sayin’

  20. Wondering when Sunset Ave is slated to reopen? This is a public street and not owned by the locals who live on the Ave. Tax payers would like to be able to park there and enjoy our road!

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