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Neighborhood Greenways Seeing High Ridership

The City of Seattle is continuing to expand its bicycle network to make cycling more comfortable for people of all ages and abilities, and neighborhood greenways play a key role in helping us get there. Over the past year, we have seen some very positive increases in ridership on a number of our recently built greenways.

58th Street NW Bicycle Counts

Along the 58th Street NW Greenway in Ballard, the average weekday volume in 2013 was 64 cyclists. In 2014, that number increased to 579 per weekday, with an average peak ridership of 49 cyclists per hour at 6 p.m. These counts were taken in March and April of both years.

Bikes Counts from 58th Street NW

Bikes Counts from 58th Street NW

26th Avenue SW Bicycle Counts

Along the 26th Ave SW Greenway in Delridge, the average weekday volume in 2013 was 86 cyclists. In 2014, that number increased to 632 per weekday, with an average peak ridership of 90 cyclists per hour at 5 p.m. These counts were taken in May of both years.

Bike Counts from 26th Avenue SW

Bike Counts from 26th Avenue SW

This increase in cyclists using greenways is significant and shows that people are using these safer, calm residential streets as an alternative to busier arterials with high automobile volumes. In addition to being a great place for cyclists, neighborhood greenways are designed for pedestrians too!

If you haven’t used a neighborhood greenway to walk or bike to restaurants, cafes, and other spots in your neighborhood, give it a try and let us know what your experience is like.

To learn more about greenways, where we’ve built them, and where we’re planning to build more, check out our neighborhood greenways page.

Summer Work to Make the Boren School Building Safer this Fall

It may be summer but SDOT’s Safe Routes to School program doesn’t take a break! On July 8, SDOT hosted a meeting to discuss school traffic safety at the Boren School building in the Delridge neighborhood. The goal of the meeting was to develop a traffic circulation plan to be used by two school programs that will share the building this September – K-5 STEM and Arbor Heights, which is using the building as an interim site while a new Arbor Heights School is being built.

Louisa Boren Junior High School opened in September 1963, serving West Seattle families until 1981 when the school was closed due to the shrinking school population. The building has recently reopened to serve elementary students and there are some challenges using an old middle school to serve a younger population. For one, the school is located on Delridge Way SW, a principal arterial with nearly 20,000 vehicles per day passing by.

The new flashing school beacon installed by SDOT this year near the Boren School.

A flashing school beacon installed by SDOT this year near the Boren School building.

To improve safety, earlier this year SDOT installed 20 m.p.h. flashing lights to emphasize slow driving while kids are arriving and departing. Still, traffic concerns persisted so SDOT brought together representatives of Seattle Public Schools, the school principals, parents and Feet First to adopt a traffic plan to be used by both schools and communicated to families before the first day of school this September.

The group agreed on a plan that will reduce the number of kids crossing busy Delridge Way SW, share the school parking lot between the two schools, provide more space for short-term parking near the school, and encourage park-and-walk at afternoon dismissal. Parents and school communities also expressed strong desires for more crosswalks, enforcement of the school speed zone, and additional traffic calming measures on the streets around the school.

SDOT will continue to work with the schools to communicate the new traffic plan to parents, evaluate how the plan is working, and make adjustments if needed. If you have concerns about school traffic safety in your neighborhood, we would like to work with you to make it safer. Contact SDOT’s Safe Routes to School coordinator, Brian Dougherty at brian.dougherty@seattle.gov or call 206-684-5124.

When emergencies strike, help is on the way

Lawrence Eichhorn, SDOT's Emergency Management Manager and Rodney Maxie, SDOT's Safety Manager, were two SDOT employees who volunteered to help at the OSO landslide this spring.

Lawrence Eichhorn, SDOT’s Emergency Management Manager and Rodney Maxie, SDOT’s Safety Manager, were two SDOT employees who volunteered to help at the OSO landslide this spring.

Our hearts go out to the many people around the nation who have lost their loved ones or their homes as a result of a natural disaster or other major emergency–whether by fire, flood, winter storm, landslide, or some other event. These tremendous losses are a reminder that we need to plan ahead and do all we can to prepare for when an emergency strikes our city.

When there is an emergency in Seattle, the Seattle Department of Transportation responds to keep key arterial routes open. SDOT inspects streets and bridges, clears away debris, and works to remove hazards from streets. The department also issues permits authorizing others to work in street areas, and sends out critical transportation information to the public.

Agencies from around the region sent volunteers to help with the Oso landslide.

Agencies from around the region sent volunteers to help with the Oso landslide.

When other communities call on Seattle for assistance, City of Seattle employees volunteer to help. Employees from many different city departments volunteered for the Oso landfill response in Arlington, Washington this spring, including nine SDOT employees. In addition to the satisfaction of helping others, this work provides hands-on practice making us more prepared for responding to a disaster in our own city. Also, it is a comfort to know that if Seattle experiences a major disaster, other communities will come to our aid.

Meetings Set for SW Roxbury Street Road Safety Project

ScreenHunter_21 Jul. 18 10.34Residents living in the vicinty of SW Roxbury Street will receive the postcard pictured above next week inviting them to Design Alternatives Review meeting for this road safety corridor project. Launched in response to community concerns, SDOT has conducted extensive public outreach and we’ve developed several different engineering options to improve safety for all modes on Roxbury. Join us to review and to provide feedback into these options.

Here are the details:

Thursday, July 31, 6 PM to 7:45 PM, Southwest Library Second Floor Meeting Room, 9010 35th Avenue SW

Monday, August 4, 6 PM to 7:45 PM, YWCA Greenbridge Center, 9720 8th Avenue SW

The input you provide will help shape the direction of our engineering work. Be sure to check out the excellent data about the corridor on our website prior to the meetings to familiarize yourself with the issues.

And to see what we’ve done on other road safety corridors, follow these links:

NE 75th Street Road Safety Corridor

Lake City Way Traffic Safety Corridor

SDOT Safety Programs

 

More Cyclists Using the Broadway Protected Bike Lane Each Day

071714_girl on bike_2013-10-27-21.00.22

Whether it is the summer weather, bike riders becoming familiar with its presence, or a combination of the two, ridership on the two-way Broadway Protected Bike Lane (PBL) is growing at an encouraging pace.

The first protected bike lane in the central city seeks to separate bicycle traffic from vehicular traffic and runs for 1.2 miles along the east side of Broadway from Denny Way to Yesler. A new road surface, bike friendly drainage grates, and painted green bike lanes enhance bicycle safety and mobility. The PBL opened to bicyclists in early May, although a short four-block section (Denny to Union) opened last October.

SDOT started counting the number of cyclists using the PBL in January, when its weekday average use was only 270 bicycles, no doubt a reflection of winter weather and that only a short segment had been opened at that point. By May, when its full length was open, the weekday average had grown to 464 bicycles, and then in June the figure shot up to 562. (The highest single day count was 660 bicycles on Monday, June 30.) The count, tabulated by the hour, shows that the heaviest use occurs during the afternoon commute (5PM-6PM), which is also seen at the other bike counters around the city.  The Fremont Bridge is a long established and heavily used bike route, which is demonstrated by its count of an astounding 4,000 daily bicycle trips on an average summer weekday.

The City has not established any ridership targets for the Broadway PBL, although the count will help to evaluate the biking goals listed in the Seattle Master Bike Plan.

The PBL was included with the construction of the First Hill Streetcar at the request of the Capitol Hill community. When opened for passenger service this coming fall, it will operate along a 2.5 route from Pioneer Square to Capitol Hill, with ten stations and six streetcars. Service will run at 10 minutes intervals during peak hours (Monday through Friday, 6-9 AM and 3-6 PM), 12 minutes midday and on Saturdays, and approximately 15 minutes at other times.

How to replace a bridge in four days

Eric O'B PANO-SR99 at Broad St-2014_07_09_FULL-SIZE

(Click photo for larger version)

In August, crews working on the North Access contract near the SR 99 tunnel’s north portal will replace the bridge on SR 99 over Broad Street. Not sure what bridge we’re talking about? Don’t worry. Even the most seasoned SR 99 commuter may not realize they are crossing a bridge at Broad Street.

That bridge, and Broad Street itself, must be completely transformed to make room for the future connection to the tunnel’s north portal and on- and off-ramps at Harrison and Republican streets.

Crews have already begun to fill in Broad Street with recycled concrete from the former roadway. Once we close this section of SR 99 to traffic, crews will bring in heavy equipment and demolish the old bridge in about 12 hours. They’ll then spend the next two days adding more fill material to make the new roadway level with the existing lanes of SR 99. After paving the new SR 99 roadway, crews will stripe the lanes and reinstall barriers. Once all of this is completed, SR 99 will reopen.

Closure information
Demolishing a bridge and building a new road in its place isn’t easy work. It is especially challenging on a major highway through Seattle. To minimize disruptions to drivers, crews will replace this portion of SR 99 in a mere four days. Drivers should plan ahead for SR 99 closures from Friday night, August 22 to Wednesday morning, August 27. Closure details can be found here.

There’s a lot of other WSDOT work that will happen on SR 99 during this closure as well, including utility work at Harrison Street, concrete panel replacement in SODO, expansion joint repairs on the viaduct near the Seneca Street off-ramp and removal of ivy from the viaduct in downtown Seattle.

We will continue to share information to help drivers plan ahead and get around during the closure.

Freight Master Plan, BTG Financial Review and more

BTG20logo RESIZE

Would you like to know more about progress made by the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) on developing a Freight Master Plan? How about a review of the Bridging the Gap (BTG) finances and an update on the 2014 BTG work plan implementation? Would you like to meet new folks and find out how you can get engaged?   If you answered yes to any of the above questions, you are in luck!

The BTG Levy Oversight Committee has a meeting scheduled for July 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 July 29th.

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

 

 

Warehouse Site Transformed into a Neighborhood Oasis of Tranquility

Midvale before photo strip__pegThis past year, with assistance from SDOT’s Urban Forestry Landscape Architect, the Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) department constructed a project which demonstrates how storm water management can be a beautiful success!

The Midvale Pond project provides a unique example of site design to manage storm water while enhancing the surrounding neighborhood with an attractive and accessible open space. The project transformed a 1.8 acre commercial site, which was previously occupied by warehouses, into a neighborhood amenity. The facility, located at 10735 Stone Avenue North, is designed to substantially reduce localized flooding; and reduce pollutants from the storm sewer system that conveys flows from the 1,120 acre Densmore Creek Basin to Lake Union.

The design layout includes sidewalks and a pathway for safe public access to walk, bird watch, and enjoy the seasonal changes provided by a diverse collection of trees and understory plants selected for fall color, flower display and wildlife habitat.   Over the course of six months, SPU demolished structures and pavement from the light industrial site, and created a serene stormwater detention pond with emphasis on the use of native plant and tree species including more than 10,000 upland plants in addition to 12,000 emergent /wetland plants and 75 trees.

To the passerby, the alluring tranquility and beauty of the park-like site certainly disguises the fact that critical stormwater detention and pollution reduction is actively taking place in full view!

Midvale Pond ooh la la RESIZE

 

Once Around the Web: Crazy/Cool

Neighborhood Street Fund Update

nsf_mapRESIZE

Here we are – halfway between the start of 2013 and the end of 2015, the three-year cycle for the Neighborhood Street Fund (NSF) program. So, just how is the program doing? Pretty darn well it turns out!

By December 2012, 87 applications were received from groups and individuals for a portion of the $4.5M reserved by the Bridging the Gap levy for NSF projects. These projects had to be reasonably big transportation projects located entirely on SDOT right-of-way, but could address any sort of problem. Safety was nearly always the driving force behind these proposed projects and was one of the key criteria used to determine which would be funded.

2013 is the year when the projects were planned and prioritized. By mid-February Seattle’s 13 District Councils had each selected 3 projects for further consideration. By the end of May SDOT had studied the proposal, developed a preliminary design and an initial cost estimate. The District Councils then ranked their choices (1st, 2nd and 3rd) in June and the Bridging the Gap Oversight Committee selected a dozen projects for funding from the full list by August. By October of last year the recommendations were included in the City’s budget. Nearly all of the selected projects will improve pedestrian safety.

This year, 2014, is when most of the projects are designed, and the plans and specifications are prepared. In most cases this involves coordination with other agencies or utilities and in some cases there are details to be worked out with the project sponsors or nearby stakeholders.

One of the twelve projects that was funded– a 2 block long extension to SDOT’s West Duwamish Trail Project which was already in design – was fast-tracked and started construction this week.

Five other projects were bundled together for design (by SDOT staff) and construction (by a single contractor to be selected next year). These mostly feature new curb bulb or sidewalks for pedestrian safety:

  • Waterway 22, along Northlake Boulevard and N Stone Way south of North 34th Street
  • West Woodlawn, modifications to Third Avenue NW at NW 56th Street
  • 19th Avenue at East Union and Pike Streets
  • 12th Avenue at East Howell and Olive Streets
  • Lake-to-Bay route improvements on West Harrison Street

The Pioneer Square ADA access project has three locations; one on South Jackson Street which will be done later this summer and three others on Yesler Avenue which will be done next year. (As a bonus, SDOT received a grant which will allow the Neighborhood Street Fund to address additional locations next year.)

The Georgetown Festival Street project proposed for 12th Ave South and South Vale Street is 50 percent designed, thanks to the able assistance of a Citizen Advisory Group who has been working with the design team. This will also be built in 2015.

Three locations on Rainier Ave South are being designed to improve pedestrian movements: One at Rainier and Dearborn, one in the historic district of Columbia City, and one in Rainier Beach. These are in various stages of design (10 to 60 percent), but all are planned for construction next year.

Greenwood Ave N has NSF-funded sidewalks at 90 percent design, located at key locations between N 92nd and N 105th Streets. Construction is scheduled to start by March 2015.

Overall, the Neighborhood Street Fund program is doing just what was intended when it was included in the Bridging the Gap levy; directing scarce resources at the neighborhood transportation projects deemed most important to address. For more information about the program, please visit http://www.seattle.gov/transportation/btg_nsf_large.htm .