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Underway on Lake City Way

Local residents march for safety on LCW

Local residents march for safety on LCW

After months of planning the Lake City Way Traffic Safety Project is officially underway! On March 28th residents and business owners took to our favorite roadway to remind drivers to ‘stop for pedestrians’, to ‘drive like you live here’ and that ‘streets are for people’. Following the attention-getting walk we kicked-off our project with the help of Lake City Greenways superstar Janine Blaeloch, Seattle City Councilmember Sally Clark, the Washington Traffic Safety Commission’s Angie Ward, and our partners at the Seattle Police Department and the Washington State Patrol. It was quite a fun and lively event.

SPD and the Washington State Patrol held their first major patrol on 3/28. Expect to see them on LCW frequently

SPD and the Washington State Patrol held their first major patrol on 3/28. Expect to see them on LCW frequently.

Now that the project has launched here’s what you can expect:

  • Extra enforcement patrols – the Seattle Police Department and the Washington State Patrol will be regular visitors to Lake City Way. Tell your friends and neighbors.
  • Corridor Safety Project signs will be installed to alert drivers to this effort
  • New regulatory and warning signs along the entire corridor – at least 250 new signs are coming to the corridor this spring
  • Signage and beacon improvements coming to the two mid-block crossings near NE 125th Street this spring
  • Substantial sidewalk, signal, and curb ramp construction at several key locations beginning in January 2015 (see the project’s Action Plan for more information)
  • Educational events and outreach – look for our billboards, watch for events, and listen for our ads on Nathan Hale High School radio station C89.5 starting in May

Lake City Way has a lot to offer – from outstanding local businesses to great transit service and from Thornton Creek to the Public Library. Just remember to look out for each other, it’s the Lake City Way!

Los calles son para todos!

Los calles son para todos!

Earth Day is Next Week! Do Your Part, Ride a Bike!

041614 Bike Lane RESIZEDid you know that using a bicycle has virtually no carbon footprint and is the most energy efficient form of transportation ever invented?  Riding a bike instead of driving a car reduces the amount of paved surfaces needed for travel lanes and parking lots; reduces energy consumption; and reduces air pollution. A 4-mile bicycle trip keeps about 15 pounds of pollutants out of the air we breathe.

There are other good reasons to use bicycling as a form of transportation. Since it’s easier and cheaper to park a bike, your commute could be the best part of your day instead of the worst part of your day. You could save on the membership to a health club by getting your exercise bicycling to work, school, shopping, etc. It’s a healthy family and friends activity, and, best of all, it’s just fun.

Did you know May is Bike to Work Month? With all these good reasons to ride a bike, you may want to think about taking the Cascade Commute Challenge. Cascade’s Commute Challenge is a friendly and free competition that is open to anyone who is willing to bike just 4 commute trips during the month of May.

141714 BMP familyRESIZEIf you’re a new bike commuter, Cascade offers free classes and weekly information on safe bicycling practices. Team captains and fellow bike commuters are a fantastic resource as well.

If you’re an experienced rider, sign up to be a captain. You can be that person who introduces someone to the simple joys (and practical benefits) of bike commuting.

If you’re a transit rider or carpooler, you can have the best of both worlds. The commute challenge counts one-way or partial trips. Take the bus to work and bike home – it counts (the bike miles, that is)! Bus or carpool part way and bike the rest – it counts!

If you’re an employer, you can increase bike commuting at your workplace by simply promoting the commute challenge to your employees. The team captains will take it from there. You can do more, though. Check out Cascade’s Employer Toolkit for suggestions on how to make the most of Bike Month.

041714 Sara and Allison RESIZESo, what are you waiting for? Join in the fun and join a Bike to Work Team today!  Visit the Commute Challenge website for more information.

Are you a City of Seattle Employee?  Stop in at the “Getting Started” City Bike Expo on Thursday, April 24, 2014, at the Seattle Municipal Tower and learn about the City Employees’ Bike Commute Program and facilities. You can also sign up for the Commute Challenge, practice loading a bike on a bus rack, learn about good routes and equipment choices from coworkers, take a Bike Commute 101 class, and learn how to fix a flat. For more information about the Bike Expo, Bike to Work Day on May 16 and the Bike to Work Month Challenge, go to your My Trips website or contact Eric Mamroth at (206) 684-5420 or mytrips@seattle.gov.

For references and more benefits of bicycling, visit http://www.ibike.org/encouragement/benefits.htm.

 

A Bike Plan for All Ages and Abilities

bmp_cover_blogPeople who live and work in Seattle want choices about how they get around the city.  They think about safety, convenience and cost when deciding how to travel.  Increasingly, people also look for forms of transportation which improve their health and let them see more, experience more, and appreciate the natural beauty of the city.  Biking is one tool to meet Seattleites’ travel needs.

For the last two years SDOT staff has been working with members of the community to update the City’s Bicycle Master Plan, with the overall theme of increasing the number and types of people who would be willing and interested in riding a bicycle in the city.  SDOT learned throughout the planning process that one of the main factors keeping more people from bicycling is a concern about safety; many people do not feel safe riding a bicycle on busy streets.  With that in mind, the updated plan was developed with a vision that riding a bicycle would be a comfortable and integral part of daily life in Seattle for people of all ages and abilities.  The updated plan focuses on bicycle facility types that would feel safe and comfortable for a larger number of people:  either neighborhood greenways, which are bike lane KevinO'N RESIZEsafer, calmer streets for people walking, biking and driving; and protected bike lanes (also called cycle tracks), which are on busier streets with a buffer between people driving.  Broadway’s Protected Bike Lane in Capitol Hill is opening in May. Be sure to check it out! The plan also includes expanding upon Seattle’s great system of off-street paths (such as the Burke-Gilman Trail).  In addition, the plan also identifies a number of other actions to make bicycling (and all travel) safer, including education on the rules of the road.

Earlier this week, the City Council unanimously adopted the updated Bicycle Master Plan, and indicated their strong support for achieving this vision over time.  The final plan can be found on our web site. SDOT is already taking action to turn lines on a map into projects. Planning, design and construction for several neighborhood greenway projects is underway. And SDOT is kids on bike traffic circle RESIZEpreparing a 3-5 year implementation plan which will be reviewed by City Council this summer.  This effort will inform all community stakeholders about what the priorities for implementation are in the near term.   For more information on bicycle projects that SDOT is working on now, and other actions that the City is doing to promote safe cycling, visit our bike program web page.

Keep up with your New Year’s Resolution and take the stairs!

 

Stairway located on S Lilac Street between Letitia and Rainier Avenue S.

Stairway located on S Lilac Street between Letitia and Rainier Avenue S.

Did you know that the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) is responsible for managing more than 500 stairways that can be found across the city? With the help of the Bridging the Gap (BTG) transportation levy, SDOT has been making it easier to make the decision to use the stairs by keeping the stairways clear and useable!

Stairways are an important connection to Seattle’s neighborhoods, transit, schools, and businesses. Thanks to the BTG levy, SDOT has completed 33 stairway projects to date and hasseven more planned for 2014! Look for SDOT crews this year working on stairways at: N 43rd Street and Palatine Avenue N; S Spokane Street; E McGraw Street and 18th Avenue E; SW Thistle Street; and E Thomas Street and 25th Avenue E. Two more projects are in the planning stage and will be announced soon.

Recently completed stairway at Sixth Avenue W and W Mercer Street.

Recently completed stairway at Sixth Avenue W and W Mercer Street.

Seattle’s stairways not only help increases our pedestrian connections, but it’s also much more fun climbing real stairs than using a stair climber at the gym. As Spring and Summer kick off, be sure to get out there and explore some of the great stairways Seattle has to offer. Who knows, you may even discover a new neighborhood, park, or route to your favorite restaurant!If stairs aren’t your thing, check out the other great projects BTG has planned around Seattle.

Want to see even more parklets in Seattle? You’re in luck!

 

041412 New Parklet Map

 

A few weeks ago we posted our selection of ten new parklets for the 2014 Pilot Parklet Program, and now we’re excited to announce that we’re including three more locations! Equilibrium Fitness in West Seattle (3270 California Ave SW), Harbour Pointe Coffeehouse in Madison Valley (2818 E Madison St), and Chuck’s Hop Shop in the Central District (2001 E Union St) will join the pilot program and work with SDOT to open parklets in their neighborhoods this summer.

Parklets are intended to serve Seattle’s communities by activating streets, providing public gathering spaces, and promoting economic vitality. After learning new information from these three parklet hosts and hearing more community support for the parklets, we decided to reconsider their applications. We were impressed by the ideas that were presented for providing attractive, community-oriented public spaces and are pleased to have them join the program.

Expanding the Pilot Parklet Program to 13 new parklets will give us additional opportunities to evaluate these spaces in a variety of neighborhoods before making a recommendation on a permanent parklet program later this year.

Check out the Pilot Parklet Program website for more information and updates on Seattle’s parklets!

Burke-Gilman Trail Detour and Improvements Open House

Burke Gilman Trail detour map 041114Work has already begun on construction projects to improve the Burke-Gilman Trail and the surrounding areas, and more construction is on the way. This includes the Montlake Triangle and Rainier Vista, Maple and Terry halls, the new Sound Transit Link light rail stations and power upgrades by Seattle City Light.

Beginning this spring, University of Washington will close portions of the Burke-Gilman Trail between Brooklyn Avenue Northeast and Mason Road, just east of the Rainier Vista, to facilitate these projects and the construction of a new, wider Burke-Gilman Trail with separation for people who walk and people who ride bikes, dozens of new lights, more blue emergency phones, better trail intersections and ADA access, and improved sightlines. Construction on phases of these projects will begin at different times, but by Summer 2014 the full detour will be in place.

We want to help keep you safe and informed during this detour! Watching out for each other–whether walking, riding a bike, or driving a vehicle–is a shared responsibility. Take extra care during the construction. Look out for other road users and make eye contact or wave to others – the more awareness motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians have, the more we can better ensure everyone’s safety.

UW Transportation Services will have more information about the detour and improvements to the Burke-Gilman Trail at the Gould Hall Atrium on April 17, 2014 from 4:00pm to 6:00pm. For questions or comments please send them to Brian Ho, brianho@uw.edu.

Once Around the Web: Newsy news time!

Happy Arbor Day Washington State!

city treesRESIZED

One man’s enthusiasm and love of trees literally grew into millions of the tall woody-trunked plants across the nation and to Arbor Day celebrations across our state today!

In the 1850’s J. Sterling Morton, a prominent Nebraska journalist and editor, planted the seeds for Arbor Day by advocating for the planting of trees in his articles and editorials. That effort eventually led to the nationwide celebration of Arbor Day.   Not only did he and his friends miss the trees of their former home of Detroit, but they quickly discovered the necessity of trees. They realized trees could provide much-needed wind breaks to prevent soil erosion, shade in the heat of the day and wood for fuel and building supplies, not to mention a respite from the harsh prairie environment.   Seattle’s City Arborist Nolan Rundquist, formerly a City Arborist from Nebraska, says even today cities throughout Nebraska and other Midwestern prairie states still maintain long rows of trees as wind shelters that were initially  planted during the tree planting movement started by Morton well over a century and a half ago.

In Seattle, Rundquist has led SDOT’s Urban Forestry section in its effort to preserve trees, and to restore the urban tree canopy throughout the city and most recently has spear-headed the adoption of the SDOT Tree Ordinance.  Urban Forestry has planted over 38,000 trees since the mid ‘70’s.  While trees do indeed provide shade and windbreaks and materials for fuel and building, today Seattle particularly values them for their role in purifying the air; absorbing rainfall thus preventing slides in our particularly hilly geography; serving as habitat for birds and small mammals; and equally important to all those benefits – the pleasing aesthetic value, the serenity, they bring to our built environment.

Seattle, in contrast to the State, celebrates Arbor Day in late October because, as Rundquist explains, the optimum time for planting in Seattle is the fall when trees get plenty of moisture during the rainy months allowing their root systems to become well established on through the winter and into Spring before the heat of the summer arrives.  This year, because Urban Forestry is working with a tight budget, all 500 trees to be planted will be in the ground by May 1.  Why now, rather than the fall? Purchasing the trees at this time of the year is far less costly – about a third of the price of trees in the fall.  Why you ask? The trees come bare root and are easy for nurseries to deliver without the bulk and weight of a tree rooted in soil.  In the fall, because trees are shipped in soil wrapped in burlap or planted in pots, they are much more costly to ship and thus cost the City escalates.   Rundquist says the biggest drawback to planting in spring is that the young trees will require a great deal of water to survive the warm summer months.  Nonetheless, our Urban Forestry experts have crunched the numbers for this year and planned to provide the water necessary to give the youngsters a good start in life in their new home ground!

To learn more about trees and all the services our Urban Forestry section provides, please visit our website at: http://www.seattle.gov/transportation/forestry.htm.  And you can also find answers to everything you ever wanted to know about trees on the following website: http://www.seattle.gov/transportation/treelinks.htm .

Seven bridges retrofitted to rock ‘n roll!

The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) operates and maintains more than 149 bridges across the city.  Each bridge provides a key link between our neighborhoods and business districts and helps keep goods and services moving throughout the city.

Seismic work was recently completed on the Ballard Bridge.

Seismic work was recently completed on the Ballard Bridge.

Thanks to the voter approved Transportation Levy – Bridging the Gap (BTG) – SDOT’s Bridge Seismic Retrofit Program has making necessary upgrades to minimize movement of the City’s bridges in the event of an earthquake.  Work on seven bridges in north, central and south Seattle has been completed.  Bridges that have been seismically retrofitted include:

  • South Albro Place over Airport Way South Bridge
  • Fauntleroy Expressway Bridge
  • Ballard Bridge
  • King Street Station Bridge Group (Includes four total bridges)
    • 2nd Ave Extension S from S Jackson St to 4th Ave S
    • 4th Ave S from S Jackson St to Airport Way S
    • S Jackson St from 4th Ave S to 5th Ave S
    • Airport Way S from 4th Ave S to 5th Ave S

      The new jackets pictured  on the Ballard Bridge are steel sheaths that encompasses each column and provide reinforcement in the case of seismic activity.

      The new jackets pictured on the Ballard Bridge are steel sheaths that encompasses each column and provide reinforcement in the case of seismic activity.

The Ballard Bridge and the King Street Station Bridges were most recently completed.  SDOT met and exceeded its BTG goal by finishing these seven projects!  This was accomplished thanks to solid project management.  Keeping Seattle bridges safe and operating properly is crucial and major credit goes to BTG which has made it possible for SDOT to fulfill this top priority.  For information about BTG please visit the web page.

Got a great idea fort a Safe Routes to School project?

We’re now taking applications for Safe Routes to School mini-grant projects

The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) is now accepting applications for mini-grants of up to $1,000 to fund projects that educate students about pedestrian and bicycle safety and encourage walking and biking to school. Making the choice to walk and bike to school reduces pollution and congestion near schools and provides quality time for parents and kids to spend together. Programs funded by the SDOT mini-grant not only increase safety around schools, but also help kids learn earth-friendly ways of getting around their neighborhoods.

In a change from previous years, the mini grant program will now have two funding rounds each year: Fall and Spring. The new Spring funding round will provide funds to grantees in time for Fall school activities, such as the International Walk to School Month in October. Applicants are eligible to receive a grant once per year. Private and public schools, PTAs, neighborhood councils, local advocacy organizations, and other school-related 040714_ SRTS_Walking Bus_Photo4 2 RESIZEnonprofit groups may apply.

Mini-grants can fund a wide range of projects and programs at schools. The activities must support the overall goal of improving safety and encouraging more walking and bicycling to school, but otherwise, we are open to your creative ideas. Examples of past mini-grants have included helping schools and non-profits start student safety patrols; launching anti-idling campaigns; installing pedestrian crossing flags; developing and promoting school traffic circulation plans; hosting walk and bike to school month activities; leading walking school buses and bike trains; and educating kids on bike safety. The possibilities are nearly endless!

If you have an idea for a safety education or encouragement program, please visit our website www.cityofseattle.net/transportation/ped_srts_grant.htm for more information on how to apply for a mini-grant.  In addition to the application, a letter of support from the school principal must be e-mailed, mailed, or faxed by the application due date. For questions, contact Ashley Harris at ashley.harris@seattle.gov. Completed applications are due April 30, 2014 by 5pm and recipients will be announced by June 6, 2014. Funds will be distributed in July 2014.