City Offices are closed for the Memorial Day Holiday

City of Seattle offices will be closed in observance of Memorial Day. On-street parking is free in Seattle on Monday, May 30 for the Memorial Day holiday.

Pvt. Brian Engelhard, 3d U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) places American flags at Arlington National Cemetery during “Flags in,” May 21, 2015. (Courtesy Arlington National Cemetary)

Pvt. Brian Engelhard, 3d Infantry Regiment, places American flags at Arlington National Cemetery May 21, 2015. (Courtesy Arlington National Cemetery)

Monday is a federal holiday in which we honor the those who have died while serving in the United States military. Originally Memorial Day began as an event honoring Union soldiers who had died during the American Civil War.  After World War I, it was extended to include all men and women who died in any war or military action. Initially titled Decoration Day, after World War II the day became known as Memorial Day.

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New Vision Zero Dashboard Coming Soon!

Vision Zero is excited to have worked closely with the University of Washington Information School  to make collision data more interactive and accessible to everyone.  Educating people about what is happening in their neighborhood and citywide streets is one of the key elements to making Vision Zero successful.  Collision data is also one of the driving factors that we use to determine the engineering treatments and level of investments we make towards a safer transportation infrastructure.

Last night at the UW Information School Capstone event, more than 300 students presented on projects where they were presented with a problem and developed a solution to an information challenge for a client in a community.

New Dashboard

Currently, many years’ worth of collision data is publicly available at data.seattle.gov  and the Vision Zero dashboard is currently located in performance.seattle.gov

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The new website will be available soon for everyone to use and learn more about the police reported collisions that have happened in your area.  Here’s a preview of what’s to come:

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Vision Zero Logo

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Welcome to the SDOT Sign Shop!

Our dedicated SDOT sign shop staff invited us in to see all the different things they do to help travelers find their way and keep us all going in the right direction.

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Meet Robin Ford. He has been the Crew Chief for the City of Seattle sign shop for about a year. Ford’s crew (all three of them!) produces all of the signs in our city. The signs they create range from street name and traffic control, to those custom designed “welcome to the neighborhood” signs. His team focuses on providing the city with a fast turn-around on production.

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The old process for manufacturing the signs was to screen print them onto metal or wood. Screen printing was useful for bulk production, but the process took time. Each pigment needed to be laid onto the design one at a time. Once the design was printed onto the material, setting the signs aside to set took about 1-2 hours. Ford hasn’t screen printed in 6 months. IMG_3010IMG_3013

Today, they use digital printers and plotters for a speedier method of production. The digital printers use an adhesive material for easier application. UV coating is then placed over the designs to secure its longevity. These printers also allow printing on reflective material, warranted for 10 years.

Plotters cut designs out of vinyl materials to be placed on the metals.

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Here’s a link to our previous post about sign replacement: http://sdotblog.seattle.gov/2014/11/24/bridging-the-gap-2014-signage-work-nearly-complete/.

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The next time you’re driving, walking, or taking the bus through our streets, stop to admire the work of our sign shop crew. If you want to view other photos that were taken on this tour, check out out Flickr.

Have you ever wondered what SDOT does with those old street names signs? Wonder no more! As noted in previous blog posts, various street name signs – named and numbered – are available through the City of Seattle Fleets and Facilities surplus warehouse.  An updated list of available signs ranging in price from $5 – 15 is posted on the web. Please see details and contact the warehouse directly if you are interested in purchasing a sign. Holiday shopping? The signs are great gifts for the person who has everything in life or is looking for a new creative project!

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Key Repairs Serve South Park’s Industrial Community

South Holden Street is the gateway to the extensive industrial area in the South Park neighborhood. This busy street carries a constant flow of heavy trucks, Metro buses and connects highways SR 509 and SR 99 to South Park’s industrial businesses. Years of wear and tear had naturally taken their toll and filling potholes was no longer effective, so this month SDOT repaved the busiest three blocks of S Holden St.

SDOT crews worked all day on a Saturday to get the job done without impacting the businesses that rely on this street every weekday – with remarkable results.

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Before and after the repairs on S Holden Street show a major improvement.

This project was funded by SDOT’s Arterial Major Maintenance (AMM) program, which maintains our busiest streets through strategic small scale pavement repairs to key locations in greatest need of repair.

SDOT and Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) are planning a much larger project on these same blocks of S Holden St in the next few years which will include drainage infrastructure and permanent street repairs.  SDOT determined that this key freight street should not wait years before being repaired, so this month’s repaving job provided a strategic, relatively low cost interim repair which vastly improved the street condition before the extensive SDOT/SPU project happens in a few years.

See more information on our Street Maintenance Program.

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Find It, Fix It Community Walks

Find It, Fix It Community Walks are opportunities for residents to meet with the Mayor, city officials, police and other neighbors to discuss neighborhood projects and identify areas that need improvement, such as overgrown landscaping, litter, graffiti and street light outages.

The first walk of the year is on Tuesday, May 31, and residents are invited to join Mayor Ed Murray and SDOT Director Scott Kubly in the Aurora-Licton Springs neighborhood in north Seattle.

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Residents will get a chance to ask questions and hear about neighborhood projects including the Greenwood-Licton Springs Safer Streets Project, the Northgate Pedestrian and Bicycle Bridge over I-5 that will connect to the future light rail station, the paving and safety project on Meridian Avenue and other projects funded by the voter-approved Levy to Move Seattle.

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Future Find It, Fix it Community Walks scheduled in 2016:

  • Belltown – Late June
  • Roxhill – July
  • Judkins Park – August
  • Crown Hill – September
  • Georgetown – October
  • Wallingford – Mid-November

On Find It, Fix It Community Walks, you can use the city’s Find It, Fix It app to report concerns. If you can’t make it to any of the scheduled walks, you can download the app and report neighborhood issues that way.

Find it Fix it appFind It, Fix It Community Walks were initiated in 2014 by Seattle Mayor Ed Murray, as a series of Mayor-led walks that help to improve neighborhoods one block at a time.

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Major Signal Retiming Improves Traffic Flow on Key Center City Corridors

SDOT today released the initial results of its recently completed traffic signal retiming project in the downtown core. A comparison of travel times before and after the Next Generation Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) Center City Signal Timing Project was implemented shows notable travel time reductions as well as more consistent travel times on downtown streets. These signal timing improvements, completed and modified over the past several months, join recent transit, walking and biking enhancements to improve travel through Seattle’s Center City.

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Below is a snapshot of weekday travel times from March 2015 (before signal retiming) to March 2016 (after):

  • Central Business District:
    • Fourth Avenue northbound from Jackson Street to Virginia Street:
      • Peak morning times improved 6% or by 25 seconds.
      • Peak afternoon times improved 36% or by 3:09 minutes.
      • Overall improved 19% or by 1:25 minutes.
    • Third Avenue southbound from Stewart St. to Yesler Way (a main commute transit route):
      • Peak morning times improved 4% or by 19 seconds.
      • Peak afternoon times improved 11 % or by 1:14 minutes.
      • Overall improved 5% or by 28 seconds.
  • Denny Way Corridor:
    • Denny Way eastbound from Western Avenue to Dexter Avenue:
      • Peak morning times improved 9% or by 20 seconds.
      • Peak afternoon times improved 24% or by 1:41 minutes.
      • Overall improved 11% or by 33 seconds.
  • Additional travel time reductions during off-peak hours:
    • Northbound Fourth Ave from Jackson St to Virginia St improved by 39 seconds.
    • Southbound Second Ave from Denny Way to Stewart St improved by 3:32 minutes.

SDOT implemented its Next Generation ITS Center City Signal Timing Project in December 2015 and completed work in January 2016. The project divided downtown Seattle into zones and retimed traffic signals in each zone, such as the Central Business District (CBD), Pioneer Square, Belltown, and the Denny Way Corridor.

Highlights of the ITS project:

  • Retimed 260 traffic signals in the downtown core.
  • Divided the existing traffic signal system into a multi-zone network, allowing SDOT greater flexibility to control signal timings for different sections of the network while keeping other zones constant.
  • Adjusted pedestrian crossing times at every downtown intersection to meet current national standards and increase the time pedestrians have to clear intersections before vehicles start moving.

The cost of the signal project was $1.35 million, paid for using REET (Real Estate Excise Tax) funding. Comprehensive signal retiming programs have documented benefits of a 7% to 13% reduction in overall travel time, a 15% to 37% reduction in delay and a 6% to 9% fuel savings (Institute of Transportation Engineers, 2009).

In addition to its major signal timing project, SDOT has made a number of other transportation improvements to keep people moving in downtown Seattle:

The extension and splitting of the RapidRide C Line to South Lake Union and the RapidRide D Line to Pioneer Square was funded by the City of Seattle and began in March of 2016. These changes were designed to improve the reliability of the two lines, which carry more than 21,000 riders each weekday, while connecting riders to growing employment markets.

Thanks to this investment and on-street improvements, C Line on-time performance increased from 80.7% in April 2015 to 84.9% in April 2016. D Line on-time performance increased from 81.4% in April 2015 to 86.7% in April 2016. As a result, for the same time period:

  • C Line ridership increased 27%, about 2,300 new daily rides; and
  • D Line ridership increased 23%, over 2,600 new daily rides. 

The Second Avenue Protected Bike Lane (PBL) was upgraded in April 2016 between Denny Way and Pike Street to improve safety and efficiency for people biking, walking and driving. The project included new traffic signals with dedicated left turns, planter boxes to clarify and buffer the bike lane, and raised driveways to encourage travelers to look out for each other. After the initial PBL installation occurred on Second Avenue the rate of bicycle collisions dropped by 82% and the rate of serious bicycle collisions (involving an injury or fatality) dropped by 79%.

In addition to these transportation improvements, the Director’s Rule for Pedestrian Mobility In and Around Work Zones provides ongoing safety standards for pedestrians around construction zones in Seattle. The Director’s Rule took effect January 1 and makes navigation around construction sites easier and safer for everyone, including those with disabilities. Important standards outlined in the new rule include the requirement that contractors use solid, cane-detectable barriers instead of cones to define the outer edge of pedestrian reroutes, that clear and consistent signage be used, that specifications for meeting ADA sidewalk ramp requirements are met, and that sidewalk and lane closures are only used as a last resort.

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Access Seattle: Keeping the Right of Way Accessible to All

Seattle continues to grow and neighborhoods across the city are being impacted by dense construction. SDOT’s Access Seattle crews conduct reviews, in addition to regularly scheduled inspections, of construction sites to assess their impact on pedestrians, cyclists, and drivers. We work with contractors to maintain right-of-way code, enforce when necessary, and educate about the importance of accessibility for all.

The Access team recently conducted a review of a construction site in Ballard and identified opportunities for improving mobility around the site. Inspectors worked with the contractor to provide cane-detectable surfaces around scaffolding in line with ADA standards, and to restore access to parking and the nearby parking kiosk by realigning the scaffolding on the sidewalk. As you can see in the photos below, these types of improvements make our city more navigable for all.

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Access Seattle’s end goals also received a boost of support this year with the implementation of a new SDOT Director’s Rule (DR). DR 10-2015, better known as the Director’s Rule for Pedestrian Mobility In and Around Work Zones, provides our inspectors with a clear framework with which to coach contractors on approved right-of-way practices. The rule prioritizes pedestrian access and makes sidewalk closures around work zones a last resort. The clear expectations outlined in this new rule allow pedestrians to navigate a more predictable city, and contractors to better understand what is expected of them when using the right of way.

The Access Seattle team is constantly working to identify areas where public mobility and access can be improved. Do you have questions or comments regarding mobility and construction in your neighborhood? Please send the team an email at SDOTConstructionHub@Seattle.gov.

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Ridership Increases for RapidRide and South Lake Union

The city is working to meet the growing demand for transit service in Seattle and improve the reliability of service. The city funded the separation and extension of the RapidRide C and D lines in March 2016. The C Line now travels from West Seattle to South Lake Union, and the D Line travels from Ballard to Pioneer Square. The Westlake Ave transit lanes allow the streetcar and buses to bypass traffic reducing delay and making for a smoother, more predictable ride. These changes should improve the travel time reliability for riders while providing additional connections to our growing city.

How are the routes performing? 

After the first month of operations, ridership increased by more than 20% on the C and D Lines and the Westlake Ave transit lanes are improving travel time reliability throughout South Lake Union.

 

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To better understand the impacts of the changes in the C and D Lines, we compared ridership in April 2015 and April 2016:

  • C Line ridership is up 27%, about 2,300 new daily rides
  • D Line ridership is up 23%, over 2,600 new daily rides
  • Rt 40 ridership is up 23%, over 2,000 new daily rides

Transit 2Travel Times for Route 40 on Westlake Ave N

With the March 26th Metro service change, southbound Route 40 was rerouted from 9th Ave N to Westlake Ave N to take advantage of the new transit lanes, saving each southbound trip about 1 minute.

  • Average morning travel times between Westlake Ave N & 8th Ave N and 3rd Ave & Virginia St dropped by 1.23 minutes (1 minute, 14 seconds); a 10% decrease in travel times.
  • Average afternoon travel times between Westlake Ave N & 8th Ave N and 3rd Ave & Virginia St dropped by 0.83 minutes (50 seconds); a 5% decrease in travel times.

Note that these average travel times were recorded during the Alaskan Way Viaduct closure in April 2016.

RapidRide On-Time Performance

Overall, on-time performance has improved on the C and D Lines as a result of the split. From April 2015 to April 2016: C Line on-time performance increased from 80.7% to 84.9%. D Line on-time performance increased from 81.4% to 86.7%. During the morning commute, on-time performance for both routes is about 85%. In the afternoon, on-time performance is above 80%.

How were these changes funded?

In November 2014, voters approved Proposition 1, which provided funding for the City of Seattle to fund additional transit service, above and beyond what King County Metro could provide. This allows the City to better meet the needs of our riders and address overcrowding, reliability, and frequency needs that affect Seattle riders every day.

For more information on transit, ferries, trains and other modes of travel in the Seattle area, check out SDOT’s Rider Tools, including tips on riding the bus with kids and where to catch the Water Taxi.

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SDOT’s Traffic Incident Management Crews Always Ready to Help

Here’s our latest Blog Video:

SDOT’s Traffic Incident Management Response  Crews  are always prepared and ready to help when they’re needed. SDOT emergency response crews are equipped with tools for almost every situation and are prepared to respond quickly to help clear blocking collisions, disabled cars, downed trees or signs, or cars in need of a jump or gas.

They are strategically placed across the city and are dispatched when needed or assist when patrolling the city. Recently, the Traffic Incident Management crews were part of the city’s plan to help minimize traffic impacts during the state’s Alaskan Way Viaduct closure. Our SDOT crews perform this important work as a part of their routine daily schedule.

Here a list of what they respond to:

  • Collisions, blocking disabled vehicles with dead batteries, blocking vehicles that are out of gas, fallen trees or limbs, oil spills, potholes, downed power lines, damaged guardrails, damaged traffic signs and traffic signals, city bridges that are temporarily out of order.

Our Traffic Incident Management Response Crews are often the first on the scene of emergency services situations and work alongside with our fire and police partners. They assess and take immediate actions to address safety, environmental  and evaluate potential traffic issues that may impact our city streets.  Our Crew’s response trucks are currently being equipped with Red emergency lights and sirens so they can respond to situations and also alert drivers of potential roadway hazards or to be mindful that they and other emergency service responders are working an active incident.

Collisions, road spills, damaged signs and fallen trees  happen anytime, so SDOT Traffic Incident Management Response Crews are staffed for AM and PM commute in addition to evening hours. Thanks to our Crews, they are ready 24/7 – 365 days a year to help keep the our city’s roadways safe.

Here’s a link to our Street Maintenance page: http://www.seattle.gov/transportation/streetmaintenance.htm.

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Bikes and Bagels!

SDOT and Commute Seattle recently teamed up for “Bikes and Bagels,” an event to celebrate biking as part of Bike Everywhere Month. A steady stream of bike riders met up at McGraw Square downtown for coffee, bagels, and an opportunity to chat directly with Seattle transportation staff.

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People shared lots of great feedback with SDOT, including ideas for future projects, best practices to maintain cycle access at construction projects, and general thoughts about biking throughout the city.

Whether you’re a biking newbie or a veteran, SDOT has a host of bike resources for you. Commute Seattle has also been hard at work throughout the month, offering bike tune-ups at Bike Month transportation fairs, and hosting other events, like a free, online Bike Commuting 101 Seminar.

If you missed “Bikes and Bagels,” don’t worry, there’s still plenty of time to participate in Bike Everywhere Day and Bike Everywhere Month! Get started on becoming a regular bike rider or get more bike information here.

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