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Originally published Tuesday, March 3, 2009 at 12:00 AM

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Car-free days returning to six Seattle streets

Six streets in Seattle will be cordoned off on certain days this year for "Seattle Summer Streets," Mayor Greg Nickels' program to open streets to pedestrians, bicyclists and festivals.

Six streets in Seattle will be cordoned off on certain days this year for "Seattle Summer Streets," Mayor Greg Nickels' program to open streets to pedestrians, bicyclists and neighborhood festivals.

Last year's launch of the car-free program had mixed results. An event in Rainier Valley drew 300 to 500 people. The Alki Beach car-free day drew praise for a mellow, family-friendly vibe, compared with normal car traffic, though some merchants complained that they'd lost business.

On Capitol Hill, rain kept people away, and the city ended up waiving 21 parking tickets and reimbursing 13 drivers whose parked cars had been towed.

City and neighborhood groups booked more activities this year, to make use of the streets.

For instance, a fun run at Alki ought to create demand for post-race snacks helping businesses in the area, said Nickels' spokesman Alex Fryer.

Here are this year's sites.

Greenwood, 6-9 p.m., Friday, April 10: The Phinney Avenue North/Greenwood Avenue North arterial from North 65th Street to North 85th Street, for the Art Up/Open Up Artwalk.

Ballard, 4-7 p.m., Friday, May 15: Bergen Place Park and 22nd Avenue Northwest, from Northwest Market Street to Ballard Avenue Northwest for Cascade Bicycle Club's Bike to Work Day.

Alki, 9 a.m.-6 p.m., Sunday, May 31: Alki Avenue Southwest from California Way Southwest to 63rd Avenue Southwest. Includes West Seattle 5K Run/Walk.

U-District, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Saturday, July 11: University Way Northeast from Northeast 45th to Northeast 50th streets.

Downtown, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Sunday, July 26: First Avenue between Pike and Virginia streets, for Pike Place Market's Fresh Fruit Festival.

Rainier Valley, 11 a.m.-3 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 8: Rainier Avenue South from South Alaska to South Orcas streets. Includes Rainier Valley Heritage Parade.

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In addition, roads in Discovery Park close June 7; in Interlaken Park on June 14; in Seward Park on June 21, and in Magnuson Park on June 28.

Bicycle Sundays will be held every weekend from May to September on Lake Washington Boulevard South.

Road closures are planned Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in parts of Seward and Carkeek parks from May to September.

And on Sunday, Sept. 20, the Cascade Spawning Cycle Tour will go through roads at six parks from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Copyright © 2009 The Seattle Times Company

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