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Forecast Calls for Rain and Long Nights – Fall Safety Preparedness

Seattle had one of the nicest summers in recent memory which seemed to last into early October. But after this week’s heavy downpours, windy conditions and pertually gray skies, it’s clear that summer’s over.

Those long summer days are turning into long fall nights and that trend will accelerate in just a little more than a week. The sun will set at 6:05 PM today allowing most of our afternoon peak hour commute to occur with the support of daylight. Seattle, you have one more work week to enjoy these conditions. Daylight savings time ends next Sunday when we ‘fall back’. Starting November 2nd, the sun will start setting before 5 PM.

Our collision data indicates that we have a tough time adjusting to these changing conditions. October is our worst month for crashes in Seattle and November’s not great either. By December we seem to modify our behaviors and collisions drop accordingly despite even longer nights and plenty of that wet stuff that falls from the sky that Seattle is known for.

Serious collisions by month

Serious collisions by month

A 2007 study by professors Paul Fischbeck and David Gerard of Carnegie Mellon University found that pedestrians walking during the evening are nearly three times more likely to be stuck and killed by cars in the weeks after the time change. The study found that it is not the darkness itself that leads to the increase in incidents but the adjustment to earlier nighttime. Pedestrian fatalities decline with each passing month as we adapt to the darker conditions.

With the time change right around the corner and Halloween just a week away (watch for kids!), here are a few tips to help everyone get from Point A to Point B safely:

1. Be visible. Take extra measures to ensure you can be seen when you walk and bike on our streets. Wear light-colored clothing and/or reflective gear so drivers can spot you.

2. Make good decisions when you walk, bike, or drive. Don’t drive distracted (anything from talking on your cell phone to adjusting your costume) and make sure you have a safe way to get home if you plan to party.

3. Take it slow. Give yourself plenty of time to reach your destination. With speed, the frequency and severity of collisions increases.

4. Follow the rules. Drivers should know that every intersection is a legal crosswalk – whether there are pavement markings or not – so drivers should almost always stop for pedestrians. Pedestrians should cross the street at intersections or crosswalks where drivers expect to see you.

5. Always be alert on our streets. A crosswalk is not a suitable location to check your phone and it’s not a good idea to listen to music while bike commuting. Take an active role in safety by keeping your eyes and ears on the road.

 

Future Northgate Connection for Bikes & Peds

Interstate 5 is a critical transportation corridor for Seattle. It helps move people and goods north and south through the center of our city, often at high speeds, unhindered by pedestrians crossing at intersections or bicyclists of various abilities in – or even alongside – the roadway.

Interstate 5 is also an immense obstacle to transportation in the east-west direction wherever the freeway is not lidded or elevated. Where a major arterial does cross, it often has both on- and off-ramps well suited to vehicles, but not particularly friendly for bicyclists or pedestrians.

A new Sound Transit light rail station will soon be built next to the existing King County Metro transit station at 1st Avenue NE and NE 100th Street. The need to connect this transportation hub to the west side of I-5 has become paramount, expressed in planning documents, by public feedback and via support for funding.

Caption:  Artist’s depiction of planned bridge looking west along NE 100th Street

Caption: Artist’s depiction of planned bridge looking west along NE 100th Street

SDOT has responded by planning a new 15-20 wide bridge for bicyclists and pedestrians across I-5 at 100th Street. It would include a ramp on either side to return users to ground level at a less than 5% incline and at least one stairwell on the east side. The bridge would make a direct connection to the mezzanine level of the new light rail station, and would also connect to a new cycle track along 1st Avenue NE.The basic alignment is now being established in consultation with WSDOT, Sound Transit, King County Metro and the North Seattle College (where the landing on the west side will be). The bridge type is also being determined, after which design will begin in earnest.

The planning level estimate for this project is $25M; the City of Seattle and Sound Transit have each agreed to provide $5M towards the cost if the remaining funding is identified by July 2015.

For more information about this project, please visit our project website:

www.seattle.gov/transportation/northgatepedbridge.htm

If you have questions or comments about the project, please contact: Art Brochet, Communications Lead (206) 615-0786 • art.brochet@seattle.gov

2014 Street Tree watering reaches 2,768 trees

2768.trees.wateredUrban Forestry crews are wrapping up this year’s street tree watering program that started in March.

Crews completed street tree inventory and watering route updates to make sure all the newly planted trees would be properly cared for through the summer months. They then placed irrigation bags at the base of all 2,768 trees SDOT planted these last three years.

Two crews were hired from Seattle Conservation Corps to water the trees in North Seattle and two SDOT crews watered the remaining trees.

As in previous years, Urban Forestry collaborated with Street Maintenance to utilize two 3000-gallon flusher trucks primarily used for applying deicer during the winter months. The capacity of these trucks allows each crew to water upwards of 200 trees per day.

UFwateringDaily watering started in June and continued through the end of September. In all, 37,492 bags were filled with over 749,000 gallons of water  to help get our newly planted trees established!

Crews are now in the process of retrieving all the bags, making repairs and packing them for storage to be used again next year. This work is expected to be completed in the next week or so.

Sound Transit’s Northgate Link Extension project: Moving dirt

If you dumped the soil that will be removed to build Sound Transit’s Northgate Link Extension on the football field at CenturyLink, it would stand about 350 feet high. That’s nearly 100 feet taller than the stadium’s roof. Fortunately for football and soccer fans, the 756,000 cubic yards of dirt will head truck by truck to reclaim old gravel quarries in Snohomish and Yakima counties. And while crews are making good progress on tunneling and excavation, it will take about two more years before crews have all that dirt removed.

northagtelink

Above: Miners wait for an approaching delivery of concrete tunnel segments. The crew is standing in the tunnel boring machine which removes the dirt and builds the tunnel walls.

Meanwhile excavators have dug about 40 feet down at the Roosevelt Station site. Crews need to finish excavation before the tunnel boring machines arrive. At U District Station, crews are currently building a temporary bridge that will carry eastbound traffic on NE 43rd Street until 2017 while excavation and tunneling is under way.

northgatelink2

Excavators have removed more than 40 feet worth of dirt from the Roosevelt Station site

A crew puts finishing touches on the installation of an underground electrical distribution line on Weedin Place NE.

A crew puts finishing touches on the installation of an underground electrical distribution line on Weedin Place NE.

After tunneling and excavation, another contractor will have a lot of work to do to build the new stations at U District, Roosevelt and Northgate. Riders will be able to use the extension by 2021.If you would like more information on Sound Transit’s Northgate Link construction, Sound Transit is hosting drop in sessions today and tomorrow. You can also visit the project website for more information or call the 24-hour construction hotline (888) 298-2395 with more immediate issues.

Wednesday, October 22

5-7 pm

Whole Foods front kitchen

1024 NE 64th St

Thursday, October 23

5-7 pm

Northgate Transit Center Bus Platform

10200 1st Ave NE

SDOT budget review, third quarter BTG update and more.

 

BTG20logo-RESIZE

Would you like to know about the Seattle Department of Transportation’s (SDOT) 2015-2016 budget?   How about an update of the third quarter Bridging the Gap (BTG) finances and an update on the 2014 BTG work plan deliverables?  Do 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 October 30, 2014, 6 – 8 p.m., Seattle Hall, Boards and Commissions Room (L-280).  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 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
• Ben Noble, City Budget Director
• Councilmember Tom Rasmussen, Transportation Committee Chair

All committee meeting s 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 October 30th.

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

City Delivers Bicycle Master Plan Implementation Plan

Setting vigorous project and program goals for enhancing cycling citywide, today the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) delivered to the Seattle City Council the Bicycle Master Plan (BMP) Implementation Plan. Covering work to be completed from 2015 to 2019, the five-year plan includes building nearly 33 miles of protected bike lanes and more than 52 miles of neighborhood greenways across Seattle.

Adopted in April 2014, the new Bicycle Master Plan envisions that, “riding a bicycle is a comfortable and integral part of daily life in Seattle for people of all ages and abilities.” SDOT’s implementation plan describes an ambitious set of projects and programs that will help create a connected network, improving safety for all roadway users and encouraging more people to enjoy the city on two wheels. The projects in the implementation plan were identified using the recommendations and priorities in the BMP, which emphasize safety, connectivity, equity, ridership and livability.

2015 Implementation Plan MapAmong the projects planned for 2015, at a cost of $18.2 million, are:

  • Creating approximately seven miles of protected bike lanes, to include a facility on Roosevelt Way NE (NE 45th Street to the University Bridge) to improve safety;
  • Building more than 12 miles of neighborhood greenways in Ballard, West Seattle, the Central Area and Southeast Seattle;
  • Beginning construction on the Westlake Cycle Track to create a safer, more comfortable and more predictable corridor for drivers, walkers and bicyclists;
  • Installing 225 bike racks and 15 on-street bike corrals; and
  • Creating 25 miles of bike route wayfinding signs throughout the city.

The projects will be funded using several sources, including Bridging the Gap supported BMP implementation and corridor projects, and state and federal grants. The Seattle Bicycle Advisory Board provided valuable feedback during the development of the implementation plan and SDOT will be providing regular progress reports to the board and to the Seattle City Council.

Additional information about the projects, to include maps of project locations, can be found here: BMP Implementation Plan.

Generation Y: Drive less, use alternative transportation more.

US-youth-2Generation Y, (age 16-34) is now driving significantly less than young generations have in prior decades. According to the National Household Travel Survey (NHTS), between 2001 and 2009, the average number of vehicle-miles traveled by young people (16 to 34-year-olds) decreased from 10,300 miles to 7,900 miles per capita-a 23 percent drop from the previous year. Another interesting trend about generation x is that they are taking a while to get a drivers’ license. According to the Federal Highway Administration, from 2000 to 2010, the percentage of 14 to 34-year-olds without licenses increased from 21 percent to 26 percent. In addition, a recent survey by Zipcar and KRC Research found that many young people substitute social networking for driving and prefer living in a place that is walkable and transit-oriented.

As many more Americans, including young people, seek to move to places that have alternative transportation options we find Seattle at the center of an incredible transformation. As a technology hub with companies like Google, Microsoft, Adobe, Getty Images, Amazon and companies offering transportation alternatives like Tesla, Car to Go, Pronto Bike Share, and Uber we are geared to meet the transportation needs and preferences of the future.

SDOT will play a key role in shaping the future of transportation in Seattle. In the next ten years, we are looking forward to set policies and provide services that not only meet the demands of our future citizens but create equity in access to all that makes life in Seattle great.

For more information about the NHTS report visit: http://www.copirgfoundation.org/reports/cof/transportation-and-new-generation

Once Around the Web: Here’s Why

Access Seattle Clears the Air

A salon and spa experience is commonly meant to be a pampering and relaxing one—sometimes even with aromatherapy. Yet for a salon in the Pike-Pine corridor the aroma nearby was anything but therapeutic, and the salon owner called on the City to clear the air. The Access Seattle team which works to reduce construction impacts and keep communities thriving during considerable development, jumped in to help.Bowie Spa-Belmont (3)

Seems a construction project directly across the street from Bowie Salon & Spa on Capitol Hill was having its crew’s porta potties cleaned twice weekly and the odor was wafting toward the nearby businesses. The salon specifically noted that the intense odor was detracting from the pleasant experience they strive to create for customers.

Bowie Spa-Belmont (4)The Access Seattle team works with contractors, residents and businesses to find solutions, and in this situation suggested a porta potty cleaning scheduling change. The cleaning was apparently happening right in the middle of spa hours…so a few coordination discussions later, the twice weekly cleanings were moved to a day when the salon is closed and to a time before the salon is open. With the air now “clear,” Bowie Salon & Spa is enjoying the aroma of success.

 

 

Curb Ramps Increase Mobility for Many

 

blindperson adn curbrampwheelchair and curbrampThose who travel in wheelchairs or motorized scooters, the sight impaired who use canes, or people pushing strollers or walking a bike, depend on curb ramps to easily move between the sidewalk and the street level. The sloped ramps, generally located at intersection corners, have become commonplace throughout Seattle and the rest of the nation.

All SDOT construction projects that touch intersection sidewalks require the installation of curb ramps meet ADA Accessibility Guidelines. Naturally, these standards have changed and improved since the ADA was first enacted in 1996, meaning that many of the city’s existing ramps fall short of the guidelines. For example, current standards require that curb ramps be wholly contained within a marked crosswalk and include detectible warnings so that pedestrians can easily determine the boundary between the sidewalk and the street, both intended to make them safer for their users. The required tactile warning surfaces provide a surface that is distinguishable underfoot and by cane. Also, they are generally bright yellow in color to contrast with the surrounding area, such that they provide a visual cue for low-vision pedestrians.Curb Ramp Photo Callout

While many curb ramps are replaced when adjacent sidewalks and/or streets are rebuilt or resurfaced, SDOT also works to replace other substandard ramps as funding becomes available, as mandated by the federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA),. Each year, SDOT conducts a curb ramp inventory, prioritizing replacement on the basis of such factors as neighborhood demographics, proximity to transit connections, and the proximity to places with significant numbers of pedestrians, such as commercial districts, schools, parks, and hospitals.

The latest SDOT curb ramp replacement project (unrelated to adjacent road construction) is currently scheduled to begin construction in December, and will replace 163 curb ramps at 29 locations throughout the city. Many of these locations are at residential intersections that currently lack any curb ramps at all, while others are replacements in more commercial areas. Construction will generally have a limited impact on those living or working nearby, with work at each intersection taking two to three weeks, but with the temporary closure of some nearby on-street parking.

In addition, citizens with disabilities can request curb ramp installations at locations otherwise not scheduled for construction, which SDOT will install as funding becomes available. Under current conditions, it may take up to three years from approval to installation. To request a curb ramp, contact Brian Dougherty at 206/684-5124 or complete this online form.

Installing and maintaining curb ramps is one critical element in SDOT’s commitment to deliver a safe and reliable transportation system that serves all of Seattle’s citizens.curbrampblog