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Madison Corridor Bus Rapid Transit Kick-Off

Come join us as we kick-off a study to improve transit service, pedestrian and bike connections, and public space along Madison St. Learn more about the study and bus rapid transit, and share your knowledge and ideas with the project team.  The ultimate goal of the project is to give people along the corridor a more reliable, convenient, and enjoyable way to get around.

 When: Tuesday, September 30, 2014

                 5 – 7 p.m., with a brief presentation at 5:30 p.m.

Where: Silver Cloud Hotel

1100 Broadway (at Madison)

Seattle, WA 98122

This open house will launch a year-long study of bus rapid transit along Madison St from Colman Dock to 23rd Ave E.  What is bus rapid transit (BRT), you might be asking yourself? It’s the cream of the crop in bus service. It features things like dedicated transit lanes, frequent service, level boarding, and off-board fare payment.

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Since June, we’ve been collecting information about existing conditions and talking with community members, businesses, and other organizations to help inform the scope and approach to the study.  At the open house, we’ll have information to share about the project timeline, existing conditions, and the basis for the project. Hint: it was a priority corridor identified in our Transit Master Plan.

We hope to engage a broad cross section of the community in a conversation at the open house to ensure we’ve captured the range of issues and opportunities for the study as we move forward.

You can learn more about the project at http://www.seattle.gov/transportation/madisonBRT.htm. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to get in touch with the project manager, Maria Koengeter at maria.koengeter@seattle.gov or (206) 733-9865.

 

Greenways! Tell Us What You Think

Neighborhood greenways are safer, calm residential streets prioritized for people walking and biking of all ages and abilities. Common neighborhood greenway elements include signs, pavement markings, pavement and minor sidewalk repair, traffic calming, and safer crossings at busy streets: small things that can add up to a big difference. 9.29.14 blogGreenwaysThe city of Seattle has an ambitious plan to build a network of 250 miles of neighborhood greenways in 20 years. To make sure we build the best projects in the coming years, we’re evaluating how our current neighborhood greenways serve you, your family, your visitors and customers. The purpose of this evaluation is to better inform current design standards and to identify potential improvements to existing neighborhood greenways. We want to know what you think!

Follow the survey link below and give us your input by October 10 and share this link with others so we can get even more feedback.

The neighborhood greenways in Ballard, Beacon Hill, Delridge, PhinneyWood, Wallingford, and Wedgwood are just the start of what will continue to grow into a full network of streets on which people of all ages and all abilities feel comfortable biking and walking!

Neighborhood Greenway Evaluation survey link:

http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/greenwaysevaluation

To learn more about our Neighborhood Greenways, head here:

http://www.seattle.gov/transportation/greenways.htm

Play Streets at Schools: More Room to Have Fun Safely

Schools and play streets are a perfect pair…just like peanut butter and jelly! Our Pilot Play Streets program launched at St. Therese Academy in Madrona back in May, and the start of the school year is a great time to think about a play street at your child’s school.

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Relay game and hula hoop fun during play street at St. Therese Academy in Madrona in May


The program has been a big hit so far, with 24 recurring play streets and 12 one-time play streets. Neighborhoods all over the city are part of the fun, and now there’s an opportunity for more schools to jump on the play streets bandwagon. Street closures for school play streets integrate well with Safe Routes to School, signaling to motorists that kids are around and are are using the street in their own creative ways.
Even if your school already has a good deal of playground space, a play street allows you to close the street that connects two spaces (say, the school building and the play field) to create a safe space for students. This new space can provide a great surface for kids to learn and improve their safe biking and rollerblading skills, can be used to create temporary art installations and student-led chalk “messages of the day,” can provide space for special events with messy programming, or can host festivals or races during field day events. School play streets don’t have to be organized by school staff—they’re a great way for parent-teacher associations and other school-related groups to support regular classroom activities.

 

The free pilot program runs thru May 31, 2015, so there’s still plenty of time to get involved, either in your own neighborhood or through a school. More information is available on our website: www.seattle.gov/transportation/playstreets.htm.

 

 

Safely (but loudly) breaking eggs to make an omelet

West Emerson Overpass Repair Project

The U-shaped loop of roadway just south of the Ballard Bridge that connects North Queen Ann with Fisherman’s Terminal and Magnolia is about to be closed through the end of year. The bottom of this bridge structure is just 15’6” above 15th Ave West and it has been repeatedly struck by over-height vehicles or their loads since it was built 55 years ago. As a result, the northern girder above the southbound lanes (the low spot) has chunks of concrete missing and its tensioning cables are broken in places and rusting away.

West Emerson Overpass Repair Projectpic2West Emerson Overpass Repair Projectpic1

Although the bridge is not in immediate danger of collapse, the girder and the structures above it have to be removed and replaced. Carefully cutting the overpass lengthwise and removing the 100 foot long northern edge of the girder in one piece would require closing 15th Avenue West for long periods, so instead:

West Emerson Overpass Repair Projectpic3

               We’re going to smash it apart where it sits and haul the rubble away!

This is probably a good time to apologize in advance for the UNAVOIDABLY LOUD racket caused by busting up and hauling off a concrete bridge, or even a part of it.

Work will begin at 8PM on Friday October 10 and demolition will proceed quickly (but safely). However but some folks are bound to lose some sleep before 15th Ave West reopens to traffic the next morning. The next night, Saturday, October 11, we will close 15th Ave West at 8PM again for a comparatively quieter job – hoisting a replacement girder into place. During these two nights traffic on 15th Avenue West will be reduced to 1 lane in each direction and detoured around the demolition.

Of course we have to close the Nickerson-Emerson Overpass before we demolish even a part of it, so that will begin on Thursday October 9th. The overpass will not reopen until the end of the year, after the girder, curb, guard rail and driving surface have all been replaced.   (While we have the bridge under the knife, so to speak, we will resurface the other worn bits, including pavement and expansion joints.)

This long term closure will require a detour that uses 15th Avenue West to reach a point where you can make a U-turn to get back to Nickerson/Emerson from the other side. This will be either down to Dravus (for east bound traffic) or up to NW Leary – on the other side of the Ballard Bridge (for west bound traffic). The project website http://www.seattle.gov/transportation/bridgeprojects.htm has maps for the signed detour routes and even a few alternates, as well as bike/ped detour routes.

The project is for the safety of the travelling public now, and for the next 50 years or more. Balanced against a three month closure and one night’s sleep is doesn’t seem too bad…

SDOT Partners in IWALK Challenge; Raises Awareness of School Traffic Safety

To celebrate International Walk to School Month SDOT has launched a Safe Routes to School Campaign.

Celebrate International Walk to School Month. SDOT has launched a Safe Routes to School campaign.

 

October is International Walk to School Month (IWALK) and SDOT is a proud partner in the Feet First IWALKChallenge, which offers incentives for schools to participate in the walk to school campaign. The Mariner Moose has also joined the IWALKChallenge, and is at the ready to help one lucky school promote pedestrian safety and safe walking in October.  Picture the Moose at your school greeting walkers in the morning, walking with a Walking School Bus, and/or promoting safety at a school assembly! Thanks to Safe Kids Washington, any Puget Sound Area school planning an International Walk to School event is eligible to win a visit from the Mariner Moose.SRTSkeepkidssafe

Sign up by this Sunday, September 28th to have your school name placed in a drawing.  The winner will be announced on September 30th, and will receive planning assistance from Safe Kids Washington.

To coincide with International Walk to School Month, SDOT has launched a Safe Routes to School (SRTS) outreach campaign to remind everyone to look out for each other and keep kids safe in school zones. By making our streets safer near schools, SDOT aims to encourage more families to start walking and biking to school, reduce congestion near schools, and keep kids safe and fit. Some teachers even say that kids who walk or bike to school arrive more alert and ready to learn, making for a successful school day for everyone.

The outreach campaign provides yard signs along busy streets where children must cross on their way to and from school. They were installed in the school zones at 40 schools throughout the city. The signs are primarily aimed at drivers; to remind them that school is in session; to drive 20 mph; and to keep kids safe. They ask everyone to look out for each other, whether driving, walking or biking.

This is the second year SDOT has undertaken this SRTS awareness campaign and the response to the signs has again been overwhelmingly positive. This year the signs were revised and updated to reflect feedback we heard from the public about last year’s signs; this year they are even more eye-catching and the messages clearer.

SRTSlookoutforeachotherSRTS20plenty

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For more information about SDOT’s Safe Routes to School program, contact SDOT’s SRTS Coordinator Brian Dougherty email brian.dougherty@seattle.gov.

Waterfront Program: Fostering civically-minded youth through community partnerships!

Students from The Northwest School learn all about the future of Seattle's waterfront on a fun, educational tour offered through the Waterfront Program’s partnership with the Seattle Architecture Foundation

Students from The Northwest School learn all about the future of Seattle’s waterfront on a fun, educational tour offered through the Waterfront Program’s partnership with the Seattle Architecture Foundation

The City of Seattle’s Waterfront Program team has received thousands of comments and suggestions for the design of Seattle’s future waterfront. Incorporating childhood memories of the waterfront, featuring the heritage of tribal communities, and the idea that downtown Seattle could reorient itself to face the Salish Sea are just a few ideas that people across the region use as fuel to ask great questions and give constructive feedback. The majority of the comments we receive are from adults, but they’re certainly not the only ones passionate about the future of Seattle’s waterfront.

As part of the Seattle Architecture Foundation's Art Generation group, teens brainstormed and designed destinations that could attract people to the waterfront during construction

As part of the Seattle Architecture Foundation’s Art Generation group, teens brainstormed and designed destinations that could attract people to the waterfront during construction

One neat aspect of pubic engagement on public projects, including the Waterfront Program, is that it’s not restricted to the 18 years-and-older crowd. The Waterfront Seattle design team values civic-mindedness across all age groups, including those who will live, work, and play on the future waterfront for many years to come. Youth and family programming gets the wheels of public involvement turning and helps develop skill sets that will be used throughout adulthood. Plus, it’s rewarding to dive into the perspective of young people living in the Seattle area, whose fresh eyes and creativity bring vibrancy into any conversation, and certainly into the conversation about Seattle’s waterfront. The Waterfront Program’s commitment to create a “waterfront for all” definitely includes young people. We’ve partnered with several organizations in the community to help kids and teens understand what’s going on at the water’s edge and have the chance to weigh in with their voices. We’ve worked with the Seattle Architecture Foundation, The Northwest School, the Seattle Youth Commission, Mercer Island High School, University of Washington and Western Washington University to engage kids and teens in our region through innovative learning opportunities.

Notably, as part of a weeklong series of events held earlier this year to highlight Waterfront Seattle’s design progress, the Waterfront Program hosted an interactive, kid-focused event called “Field Day.” From learning about jet grouting with Seawall engineers to discovering the importance of healthy marine habitats and the threat posed by gribbles (tiny marine isopods), it was a fun-filled day that doubled as a great educational opportunity. More than 600 people – mainly kids and families – participated in the Field Day event!

Learning about the importance of healthy marine habitats at the Waterfront Program's Field Day event in 2014

Learning about the importance of healthy marine habitats at the Waterfront Program’s Field Day event in 2014

Delivery of Streetcars for First Hill Line Delayed by Manufacturer

If you have visited Capitol Hill or the International District lately, you have likely seen the finished construction work for the new First Hill Streetcar line. New track, electrical lines, traffic signals and sidewalk abound thanks to the project. But one critical component is missing: the streetcar manufacturer is behind schedule in delivering the line’s streetcars.

When the First Hill Streetcar Line is operational, a fleet of six streetcars will support the line, with three to five streetcars in operation during the service day. The streetcars are being supplied by Inekon, the Czech company that built the streetcars that have operated on Seattle’s South Lake Union Line since 2007.

Three of the cars are being assembled in the Czech Republic and three are being assembled by a local labor force at Seattle’s First Hill Streetcar Operations and Maintenance Facility. However, delivery of the vehicles is behind schedule. Several vehicles are now nearing completion, with initial deliveries expected in December and the entire fleet expected to be ready for operation in early 2015.

The schedule for streetcar delivery and service will continue to have some uncertainty until mid-November when more is known about testing results, supply chain issues and the pace of local production. The streetcar vehicles are comprised of components from numerous suppliers to the global transit vehicle market and demand for streetcar parts has been exceptionally strong. As of September 2014, the brake system supplier has delivered the brakes for two of the streetcars and this supply chain issue could affect the overall schedule.

The First Hill Streetcar Line, a new urban mobility option funded through Sound Transit’s “ST2” mass transit expansion plan, will support economic growth and strengthen connections among the places where people live, work and socialize. It will be an important link in the regional transit system, and will connect the diverse and vibrant residential neighborhoods and business districts of Capitol Hill, First Hill, Yesler Terrace, Central Area, Chinatown ID and Pioneer Square. Service will operate 5 AM to 1 AM Monday through Saturday. On Sundays and holidays, service will operate 10 AM to 8 PM.

Think of our future: Do not drive alone.

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The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) partners with Commute Seattleto provide services to employers that help reduce drive alone trips. This summer, SDOT and Commute Seattle worked together to bring out the creative side of commuters hoping to encourage use of every mode of transportation that does not involve driving alone to work. The two organizations partnered to conduct a two month long contest: Creative Commute. The contest encouraged commuters to share the stories of what they love about their commute to work, as long as they were not alone in a car.

Commute Seattle designed and created the contest and while SDOT help promote the contest in the city-wide with employers through the Commute Trip Reduction (CTR) program. The contests was a resounding success, hundreds of submissions were received. Commuters showed their creativity and made beautiful art to tell their travel journeys’ by bike, bus, train, feet and ferry. Amongst the Haiku, poems, essays, short videos, cartoons and even the one act play submitted; there was one entry that caught everyone’s attention: Lester Tran’s: “Think of our Future.”

In less than two minutes; “Think of our Future” goes to the heart the issue. Why it is important to reduce drive alone commutes. You can see Tran’s whimsical submission here:

Think of our future

To view all of the entries, visit the event’s Flickr page.

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Access Seattle leads efforts to help West Seattle businesses

Construction is booming all over the city, with Seattle currently the fastest growing large city in America. All that development can create mobility impacts, especially when multiple projects happen simultaneously and in close proximity. Access Seattle calls such areas construction hubs. West Seattle is one of those hubs and right now it’s experiencing concentrated construction taking up more than half of the 4700 block of California Avenue SW/42nd Avenue SW. The Access Seattle team stepped in to help, bringing public and private entities to the table.

A major goal of Access Seattle is to maintain mobility, for thriving communities. This is done with business and community support; traveler engagement; and construction coordination. Much of the coordination work takes place behind the scenes, proactively bringing community concerns to the early phase planning of area contractors. The result often reduces what might otherwise be more significant cumulative construction impacts. Other Access Seattle work is more visible, as with a free parking program in the West Seattle Junction, and 3.5-feet by 7-feet signs guiding pedestrians to area businesses.

ParkingMapThe new free parking program launching today in West Seattle is the result of many weeks of discussion and coordination. The Access team brought contractors; area businesses; and the West Seattle Junction Association to the table to come up with a solution. Projects at 4203 SW Alaska St (Andersen Construction) and 4724 California Ave SW (Compass General Construction) were taking up more than 20 parking spaces in one block with construction expected to last until early 2015. In the brokered agreement Andersen and Compass agreed to help fund free parking for people visiting area businesses. Here’s how it works:

Customers get up to two hours of free parking in Jefferson Square’s underground parking garage, at SW Edmunds St. and 42nd Ave. SW. The only requirements are that customers:

  1. Use Diamond Parking’s Call to Park service (www.calltopark.com)
  2. Go directly to a participating business to provide their license plate number (Wallflower Custom Framing, Elliott Bay Brewery and Talarico’s Pizzeria)

The brokered mitigation effort is in effect until January of 2015.

WSJpedMapTo further assist the businesses struggling with the concentrated cumulative construction impacts in this city block, the Access Seattle team created a pedestrian detour map, complete with the names of area businesses and walking paths to reach them. The Seattle Department of Transportation created several of the 3.5-feet by 7-feet signs and attached them to construction fencing in the area (and posted smaller versions in public places). Again, Andersen Construction Company and Compass Construction shared the cost, showing commitment to maintaining access in our fast-growing city.

Access Seattle is an initiative seeks to keep businesses thriving; travelers moving safely; and construction coordinated during peak construction periods—working specifically in areas identified as construction hubs. At present these hubs are West Seattle, Ballard, Capitol Hill, South Lake Union, North Westlake, the Central Waterfront and Alaskan Way Viaduct North.

 

To learn more visit: http://www.seattle.gov/transportation/hub.htm

Be safe every time you cross a street.

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I grew up in one of the largest and most traffic congested cities in the world: el D.F.

Mexico City taught me at an early age to take safety precautions before putting myself in front of a moving vehicle. I learned that my crossing safety is only as safe as I am and that sometimes I compromised my safety by putting it in the hands of drivers. When I moved to Seattle I was impressed every time a car stopped to let me cross the street. I began to expect drivers to always follow the rules of the” right of way” — slow down or stop to let me cross. Needless to say, a car hit me one day when I tried to cross a street. The driver never slowed down to let me cross to the other side. That day, I learned not to compromise my safety, even if I have the right of way.

Unfortunately, when a driver ignores a pedestrian right-of-way, the pedestrian will ultimately lose with injury or death. In my case, as a result of the accident, I had to wear a cast and I had to use crutches to walk for a year. That year in crutches gave me a perspective I had not considered before. I realized that many — children, frail adults, people with disabilities and elderly adults —face daily challenges when crossing the street. Some move slowly, others too fast, and some cannot hear or see.

Adults, teens, and children with different levels of ability use pedestrian crossings throughout Seattle neighborhoods on a daily basis. As a driver I see them every day. They are waiting at a corner in front of a school, a park, at downtown business, or on residential streets. Some have enviable street crossing skills; others, not so much. Here are some tips about crossing street safely. Keep them in mind as you walk about in Seattle.

As a pedestrian you are more likely to see a vehicle approaching sooner than a driver might see you, so:

  • Stop at the curb so drivers will recognize you are intending to cross and will slow or may even stop for you.
  • Look both ways.
  • As you cross, look left, right, and left again for traffic.
  • Cross within the marked crossing area.
  • Make eye contact with drivers before crossing to be sure that they see you, especially if the crossing is not marked.
  • Be predictable. Cross or enter streets where it is legal to do so.
  • Use extra caution when crossing at night and wear something that makes you visible to drivers.

If crossing outside the marked area, recognize that drivers do not expect to see you there. You will need to wait for natural, safe gaps in traffic to cross. You might have to wait up to sixty seconds or more. Save yourself some time; walk to the intersection and cross there. It will save you time and who knows, it may even save you a visit to the emergency room.

Be safe every time you cross a street!