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Greenways, Transit and updates galore!

 

BTG20logo RESIZE

 

Would you like to know more about progress made by the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) on Bridging the Gap (BTG) – funded Greenways and transit corridor improvements?  Or get updated on what your BTG levy dollars promised and how close we are to reaching those goals? Like to meet new folks and find out how you can get engaged?   If so, you are in luck!

The BTG Levy Oversight Committee has a meeting scheduled for April, 29, 2014, 6 – 8 p.m., Seattle City Hall Room 370.    The committee is a dedicated group of 15 community members who meet quarterly to review and track the progress of the BTG transportation initiative that was passed by Seattle voters in 2006.  They are charged with ensuring SDOT is delivering on the promises made to voters.

Committee members come from all across the city and from all walks of life.  They take their oversight and accountability role seriously and they work closely with SDOT to ensure that BTG is not only meeting its goals, but that it is being integrated into the overall goals of the department and the City.

The committee members include:

  • Ann Martin, Co-chair
  • Kristen Lohse, Co-chair
  • Ref Lindmark
  • Betty Seith-Croll
  • Allegra Calder
  • John Coney
  • Jeremy
    Valenta
  • Barbara Wright
  • Chisula Chambers
  • Jessica Szelag, Bicycle Advisory Board member
  • Lydia Heard, Pedestrian Advisory Board member
  • David Mendoza, Freight Advisory Board member
  • Ben Noble, City Budget Director
  • Councilmember Tom Rasmussen, Transportation Committee Chair

All committee meetings are open to the public and residents are encouraged to attend and share their views on BTG during public comment. If you are interested in how your tax dollars are allocated, why not mark your calendar and join us April 29th.

For more information, please visit BTG Levy Oversight Committee website.

 

 

 

Tap your card and hop on board!

What is this? This is the post that will eventually support an ORCA card reader - one of nine being installed at SLU Streetcar stations.

What is this? This is the post that will eventually support an ORCA card reader – one of nine being installed at SLU Streetcar stations.

Wondering about the crews you’ve seen installing equipment at the South Lake Union (SLU) streetcar stations?  The Seattle Department of Transportation and King County Metro Transit are working together to install and commission equipment for ORCA fare collection at the SLU station platforms. The ORCA card is all you need to pay your fare on buses and trains in the Puget Sound region. After you load E-purse electronic purse) value or a monthly pass on it, your ORCA card works like cash or a pass, automatically tracking the value of different fares and transfers so you don’t have to.

ORCA cards will be easy to use for the streetcar.  Before you board the streetcar, tap your card at the yellow ORCA fare transaction processors found near the streetcar shelters. These are the same yellow devices found at Link Light Rail stations and Metro Rapid Ride stations.  If you are asked to show proof of payment while riding the streetcar and you used your ORCA card, you will be asked to swipe it against a mobile fare transaction reader on board the streetcar to verify your payment.

The crews are setting up a total of nine ORCA readers at the SLU stations.  Once installed, Metro will begin testing the equipment, with the goal of having it ready for service by the end of May. However, there could be some “bugs” to work out, so the schedule will be updated as we get closer to launching the system.

For all the details on the ORCA card please visit the King County Metro website.

We Like the Nightlife… and Evening Paid Parking Is Helping

In eight Seattle neighborhoods, parking pay stations operate until 8 PM. Ever wonder why? Just as paid parking during the day improves access to business districts, extending paid parking in busy neighborhoods helps open additional parking spaces so that people can get to their evening attractions easily.Evening Paid Parking

The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) recently released our evaluation report of evening paid parking based on annual studies of on-street parking across Seattle. Owing to the vitality of our City’s neighborhoods, we find that evening is frequently the most challenging time to find a place to park. From 2011 to 2012, changes were made in eight neighborhoods (representing around 45 percent of total on-street paid spaces citywide) to extend paid parking hours from 6 PM to 8 PM. What have we learned?

Before evening paid parking, occupancy in many neighborhoods at 6 PM and 7 PM exceeded 100 percent. That means that people were driving around, getting frustrated and likely squeezing in to the last small space or risking a ticket by parking illegally. After implementing evening paid parking, occupancies at 6 PM generally moved to within the 70 to 85 percent range. That’s good news.

In 2010, the City Council wrote into the Seattle Municipal Code that we set rates to achieve this desired level of parking occupancy, which results typically in one to two available spaces per block. This means that while the parking is still well-used, visitors have a chance to find paid parking on most blocks. At 7 PM in these neighborhoods, parking becomes scarcer, but it is still easier to find than before evening paid parking was installed.

Extending pay station operations beyond daytime hours encourages people parking overnight to park off-street or out of the heart of a business district during the evening peak. This means that street parking in key locations is more likely available for local business and restaurant customers.

In most neighborhoods with evening paid parking, drivers can purchase up to three hours of parking after 5 PM. Signs indicate neighborhoods where paid parking hours extend to 8 PM and have a three hour max after 5 PM. Check out this entertaining video explaining how it works.

In May, SDOT will present adjustments to paid parking rates, hours of operation and maximum time limits to the City Council. Check back to the SDOT Blog soon for more information!

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!