Happy Thanksgiving from Seattle Department of Transportation

Happy Thanksgiving from SDOT! 558617-tn_thanks1

Please enjoy the holidays wherever they take you.

On-street parking is free in Seattle on Thanksgiving Day, November 26.

Please remember that normal pay for street parking remains in effect on Friday, November 27, so make sure you observe time limits and other posted regulations as you would on any other Friday.

Don’t be a Turkey – Plan Ahead for “Black Wednesday” Festivities


The night before Thanksgiving is known by some as “Black Wednesday” or “Drinksgiving.” And rightly so, it’s one of the most favored drinking nights of the year across the country. A popular time for imbibing is when most college students are home to celebrate with family and very few people have to work the next day. Thanksgiving weekend is also the most traveled holiday period of the year, and DUI arrests are at their highest between Thanksgiving and the end of New Year’s weekend.

To ensure you enjoy your Black Wednesday festivities safe and responsibly, plan ahead if you plan to drink. Here are a few travel tips to keep in mind before you head out for the night.

  • Let someone else get you there, and home. Call a cab or rideshare company, or jump on transit. Let someone else take the wheel so you can take a seat and get home safely.
  • Designate a driver. Make sure you have a sober friend if driving is really necessary. Driving drunk is a dangerous and costly way to start your Thanksgiving holiday.
  • Park it. If you’ve had too much, leave your car parked overnight and sleep it off at a friend’s house – just like you’re back in high school. Pre-paid parking options let you sober up, and your car will still be there in the morning.
  • Walk safe, with a buddy. The more you drink, the harder you fall. Be sure you’re sober enough to get around our busy streets before you start walking. If you’ve had too much to head out on foot, find a friend that hasn’t been drinking to help you home.

And here are a few more helpful tips to get you through Thanksgiving Day – the day after Black Wednesday:

  • Bring something to the table other than your sunglasses and Advil
  • Hydrate. And hydrate some more.
  • Eat turkey. And don’t forget Aunt Martha’s green bean casserole.
  • Watch football
  • Take a nap
  • Once the tryptophan has worn off, help clean up!
  • Most importantly, be safe and grateful

Learn more about Seattle’s vision for safer streets at www.seattle.gov/visionzero.

Apply Now for a Parklet or Streatery!

Since 2013, parklets have been transforming the streets of Seattle, by creating vibrant community amenities and neighborhood gathering spaces for all people to enjoy.  parklet1In early 2015, SDOT expanded the idea of parklets by developing the Streatery Pilot Program, allowing restaurants and bars to build parklets that provide extra café seating space during business hours and public open space when businesses are closed. Last month, Some Random Bar—located at 2604 1st Ave in Belltown—became Seattle’s second business to host a streatery, joining the ranks of one other streatery in Capitol Hill and seven parklets in operation throughout the city. The Some Random Bar streatery features seating, planters, and tables, giving Belltown a new, attractive amenity for the 1st Ave commercial core.

In hopes of including more businesses and community groups in the parklet and streatery programs across the city, SDOT is now accepting applications on a rolling basis, rather than restricting them to designated application windows. Interested groups are encouraged to submit applications during the fall and early winter to allow enough time to design, permit, and construct their spaces by the spring to take advantage of Seattle’s scarce sunny weather.  Interested in building a parklet or streatery for your neighborhood? All the information you need on how to apply can be found on our website.

parklet2Recognizing that the cost of designing and building a parklet might be out of reach for some businesses and community groups, we’re is working to connect prospective parklet and streatery hosts with funding opportunities and volunteer partnerships. As part of this effort, we’ve compiled a roster of local design firms that are eager to provide pro bono or reduced cost services to help bring parklet and streatery ideas to life. SDOT’s parklet web page has more information on these firms and their services.

If you have any questions or comments about starting a parklet or streatery, feel free to contact us at parklets@seattle.gov or 206-615-1028.

Blocking the Box Enforcement on Mercer St and Dexter Ave to Keep Travelers Safe

The City of Seattle conducted blocking the box enforcement on Mercer Street at Dexter Avenue N in coordination with transit lane enforcement at other locations in downtown. Seattle Police Officers enforced the posted blocking the box restrictions which help address vehicles that illegally stop in the intersection impeding traffic and pedestrian safety. More of these enforcements are planned for the weeks ahead, and will occur throughout the city.

On February 12th, 2015, Mayor Murray announced Vision Zero – Seattle’s plan to eliminate traffic fatalities and serious injuries by 2030. The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) and the Seattle Police Department (SPD) have partnered to achieve our safety goals by following the basic principles of this approach which include:

  • Roadway design that takes human error into account and creates a safer, more predictable environment for all travelers
  • Targeted education and public engagement that empowers people to make better decisions
  • Data-driven enforcement that targets high crash areas and key behaviors

Seattle is consistently recognized as one of the safest cities in the country. Over the past decade we’ve seen a 30 percent decline in traffic fatalities, even as our population grows. Despite this fact, traffic collisions are a leading cause of death for Seattle residents aged 5-24. Older adults are also disproportionately affected, and as our population ages, this trend could grow. In 2014, there were 10,815 police-reported collisions in Seattle and 15 fatalities occurred. This is unacceptable.

We can do better. At the core of the worldwide Vision Zero movement is the belief that death and injury on city streets is preventable. For the most part, these aren’t “accidents”. Collisions are often the result of poor behaviors and unforgiving roadway designs. So we must approach the problem from multiple angles — street designs that emphasize safety, predictability, and the potential for human error, coupled with targeted education and data-driven enforcement.

Thank you to drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians for practicing safe travel habits, and to the Seattle Police Traffic Officers for the work they do to keep us safe.


Calling all Artists! – Seattle Bridge Residencies for 2016

Art commissioned by the City for the 2009 Bridge Talks Back event.

Art commissioned by the City for the 2009 Bridge Talks Back event.

The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT), in partnership with the Office of Arts & Culture (Arts), is excited to announce two unique opportunities for artist residencies in 2016. Using the towers of two movable bridges as a canvas, the City is seeking an individual or team of artists for the following residencies:

Fremont Bridge writer/poet-in-residence

Summer 2016

This artist will produce a written piece and make a public presentation as homage to the 100th birthday of the Fremont Bridge, which opened on July 4, 1917. The Fremont Bridge crosses the Lake Washington Ship Canal, connecting the Fremont and Queen Anne neighborhoods in North Seattle. Opening an average of 35 times a day, it is one of the most frequently opened drawbridges in the United States, and also one of Seattle’s most colorful and beloved.

University Bridge lighting artist-in-residence

Summer 2016

The lighting artist(s) will work closely with SDOT staff and engineers to create a concept sketch and budget for future lighting on three of Seattle’s draw, or bascule, bridges: University, Fremont, and Ballard. The University Bridge spans Portage Bay, linking the University District with Eastlake neighborhood. The Ballard Bridge is located in Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood, and crosses the Lake Washington Ship Canal just before it opens to the Puget Sound.

More information will be available in early 2016 and will be commissioned with 1% for Art funds. In the meantime, you can read the blog of the Fremont Bridge last artist-in-residence (2009) at this link: http://thebridgereport.blogspot.com/.

First Hill Streetcar Line Wayfinding Maps Installed

Soon, the First Hill Streetcar will provide 10 stops between Capitol Hill and Pioneer Square. Crews have been out over the past couple of weeks installing station wayfinding maps to help you plan your trip—whether it’s making a connection in the downtown tunnel or dim sum in Chinatown.

Streetcar 11-15

The First Hill Streetcar will be an important link in the regional transit system, with connections to Link Light Rail at the Capitol Hill Station and International District Station, as well as Sounder Commuter Rail and Amtrak intercity rail at King Street Station.

There are 10 stops on the First Hill Streetcar line, connecting the diverse and vibrant residential neighborhoods and business districts of Capitol Hill, First Hill, Yesler Terrace, Central Area, Chinatown-International District and Pioneer Square, while also serving major medical centers (Swedish Medical Center and Harborview Medical Center), institutions of higher learning (Seattle Central College and Seattle University) and major sporting event venues (CenturyLink & Safeco Field).

Whether you’re using the Seattle Streetcar for the first time, living near it or coming across it during your daily life, we have some helpful advice about the safety issues you need to be aware of and the signs and symbols to look out for.

Streetcar on Jackson St 11-5-15

To learn more about safety for pedestrians, bicyclists, vehicles, and streetcar passengers please take a look at this presentation:

Seattle Streetcar – Looking Out for Your Safety

GC_SafetyPoster_All Languages_091415_Page_1

Visit the Broadway Extension and Center City Connector pages on this site to learn more about how the First Hill Streetcar will be connected to other Seattle Streetcar segments.

Accessible Temporary Routes Provide Safe Pathways

Seattle is one of the fastest growing cities in the country, and there seems to be no shortage of construction projects as we continue to grow. It’s important for us all to remember to keep our pedestrian network accessible to everyone, including people with disabilities. Even temporary routes around construction zones, in cases where a portion of the sidewalk may be occupied by construction equipment or materials, need to be usable by all.

peds gif 11-17-15Bull Dozer








SDOT requires that these temporary routes be accessible and usable to all, including people with mobility or visual disabilities. A few of the key components to consider when providing an accessible temporary route are:

  • The route must be at least 4’ wide to provide adequate width for mobility devices (wheelchairs, scooters, etc.).
  • If the detoured route crosses a curb down to the street or if there is a similar level change, a ramp needs to be provided to allow mobility devices to get up or down and around the obstacle.
  • There should be a consistent and stable detectable edge at the base of the route to provide people with visual impairments the ability to find their way while sweeping with a cane.
  • There should be a solid barrier between the pedestrian route and the construction zone.
  • There must be adequate headroom above, so that tall pedestrians with visual impairments are not in danger of hitting their head on any low hanging obstructions.


These are not the only concerns, but key topics when considering accessibility. There are, of course, other considerations as well, for example – the need to keep pedestrians visible and safe from vehicular traffic and any construction activity. Closing a sidewalk or a street crossing is never ideal, but sometimes it may be necessary.  If this is necessary, proper signage is a must.

Closing the Sidewalk is the last resort

Closing sidewalks is a last resort

Examples of Accessible Temporary Routes

SDOT is currently proposing a revised Director’s Rule for Pedestrian Mobility in and Around Work Zones (DR 10-2015) and accessibility will certainly be a significant component of that rule. Below are examples of temporary routes around construction zones that have addressed accessibility concerns.

Sturdy barricades positioned to provide adequate width for mobility devices

Sturdy barricades positioned to provide adequate width for mobility devices

Temporary Asphalt Ramps provide Access around New Curb Ramp construction

Temporary asphalt ramps provide access around new curb ramp construction

Low Wood Boards can provide detection for Visually Impaired Pedestrians

Low wood boards can provide detection for visually impaired pedestrians

Scaffolding constructed to provide adequate headroom

Scaffolding constructed to provide adequate headroom

If you have any questions about accessibility within the Seattle public right-of-way, we encourage you contact SDOT’s ADA Coordinator, Michael Shaw at (206) 615-1974 or by email at Michael.Shaw@seattle.gov.

SDOT’s 2015-16 Winter Weather Brochures are Available Online Now


SDOT’s annual Winter Weather brochure is now available for download online! The brochures offers a large map of Seattle’s snow and ice routes, and provides valuable travel and contact information for all who use city streets during the winter season.

These brochures will be free at Seattle Public Library branches and Neighborhood Service Centers soon. We are also distributing to Seattle Public elementary schools for students to bring home to their families.

You can access the brochure in several languages here, including:

  • English
  • Spanish
  • Chinese
  • Vietnamese
  • Tagalog
  • Somali
  • Korean
  • Oromo
  • Tigrinya
  • Amharic


For just the map of snow and ice routes, click here.

For more information on winter storm preparedness and contact information, check out our Winter Weather page.

We hope you have a safe (and warm!) winter weather season!

SDOT Crews Make Getting around North Green Lake Easier and Safer

Here’s an update on safety improvements in the Green Lake neighborhood. This summer SDOT crews repaved two blocks of E Green Lake Dr N and improved curb ramps at three intersections in the heart of the business district on the north side of Green Lake Park.  By focusing improvements on this important location, SDOT improved safety and mobility for people walking, biking, driving, riding the bus or simply passing through the park.  SDOT made extra efforts to minimize impacts to the community during this project.

SDOT crews repaved E Green Lake Dr N from Wallingford Ave N to N 78th St.  The asphalt pavement at the bus stop was quite damaged from the usual wear and tear of buses. Instead of paving the bus stop with asphalt again, SDOT invested additional funds to build a concrete “bus pad,” which holds up to the weight of buses much better.

Green Lake PavingWhen SDOT repaves a street, federal law requires us to have curb ramps which are up to current standards.  Therefore, we rebuilt old curb ramps and created two curb ramps where none previously existed at Wallingford Ave N, Stroud Ave N and N 78th St.  As a bonus, the design of the new curb ramp at Wallingford Ave N keeps polluted water runoff on the street and directs it toward storm drains.  The previous curb ramp allowed water runoff to flow into the park and toward the children’s wading pool.  (see pictures)

Green Lake Curb Ramp

SDOT was keenly aware of the many shoppers, walkers, joggers, and everyone else who uses this popular business district and the well-used paths around the Green Lake.  We built the curb ramps in phases to minimize disruptions and we worked with our friends at the Parks Dept. to schedule the project to avoid the big summer events at Green Lake Park.  We also posted signs at key locations in the park to inform folks using the Green Lake Path how to keep moving while avoiding construction areas.  outreach sign

This project was funded by SDOT’s Arterial Major Maintenance program, where SDOT crews repave sections of arterials up to two blocks long which are in the greatest need of repair.

Seattle School Traffic Safety Committee Seeks New Members

The Seattle School Traffic Safety Committee is looking for new members to help make walking and biking to school in Seattle safer and easier. The volunteer board, which was created by the Seattle City Council in 1975 to improve traffic safety for all of Seattle’s school children, advises the Mayor and City Council with respect to school traffic safety, including adult crossing guard locations, school traffic signs and signals, school safety patrols, bicycle facilities, sidewalks and student traffic safety education.


Board members serve a three-year term, with an opportunity to serve a second term. Members must be Seattle residents and may not be City employees. The board meets the fourth Friday of each month from 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. typically at Seattle Public Schools headquarters with occasional field meetings at school sites or school crossings. Ideal committee members may include parents of school children, frequent walkers and bikers, people interested in pedestrian or bicycle encouragement and those with expertise in public health or child injury prevention.

The City of Seattle is committed to promoting diversity in the City’s boards and commissions. Women, young persons, seniors, persons with disabilities, sexual and gender minorities, persons of color and immigrants are encouraged to apply.

Interested Seattleites should submit a resume and cover letter explaining their interest via email by 5 p.m. on November 30, 2015, to Ashley Rhead at ashley.rhead@seattle.gov. For more information or questions, call Ashley Rhead at (206) 684-7577 or send an e-mail to the address above.