As you start your holiday shopping…

downtowndelightfulslow-rsA reminder on this busy shopping day to look out for pedestrians.  There is even a fun video of the “safety dance” on the SeattlePI’s blog to remind you. 

The holiday months typically see the most car-vs.-pedestrian collisions and most of them happen downtown, where people are shopping, going out or working. There were 468 collisions in Seattle involving pedestrians in 2008. A majority happened downtown and were caused by drivers failing to yield the right-of-way.

And, don’t forget to bring your own bag.  Maybe have a contest with your family or friend about who can get the least number of plastic or paper shopping bags during the holiday season?  Or count the number of times you can wave thanks to a car that yields to you in the crosswalk ?

Holiday Construction Moratorium in Seattle Starts Today

The Seattle Department of Transportation generally does not allow construction work during the winter holidays in streets or sidewalks located in the Downtown Retail Core and in Pioneer Square. This ban on construction helps Seattle businesses during the peak shopping season and reduces traffic congestion during this busy time of year. The moratorium period is from Thanksgiving Day through January 1. Exceptions are allowed for emergencies and for special conditions authorized by the Director of the Seattle Department of Transportation. The boundaries of the two areas are:

Photo Courtesy of AP/Jeff Chiu

Photo Courtesy of AP/Jeff Chiu

Central Retail Shopping District: Seneca Street, 1-5 Freeway, Denny Way, Virginia Street and 1st Avenue;

Pioneer Square District: Columbia Street, 2nd Avenue, 2nd Avenue South, South King Street and Elliott Bay.

For more information, call 684-ROAD (7623).

Westlake Square “Triangle” Comes Full Circle

The project to improve Westlake Square – the triangular section of property bordered by Stewart Street, Sixth Avenue and Westlake Avenue – both began and finished this month.  Take a gander at these before and after shots.  We suggest visiting the refurbished area in person over the holiday weekend, at night when you can enjoy the blue glow of the new inlaid solar-powered pedestrian lighting.

Stewart St/Westlake Ave BEFORE Construction

Stewart St/Westlake Ave BEFORE Construction

Stewart St/Westlake Ave AFTER Construction

Stewart St/Westlake Ave AFTER Construction


Sixth Ave/Westlake Ave BEFORE Construction

Sixth Ave/Westlake Ave BEFORE Construction

Sixth Ave/Westlake Ave AFTER Construction

Sixth Ave/Westlake Ave AFTER Construction

Coming Soon to Aurora

Existing Southbound Bus Stop at N 84th St & Aurora Ave N

Existing southbound bus stop at N 84th St & Aurora Ave N

New configuration using former street space

New configuration using former street space

How do you improve a major transit stop with narrow sidewalks and limited space for facilities?  Answer: use the street.  That’s exactly what the Aurora Ave Bus Stop Pilot Project intends to do in an effort to improve the busy southbound transit stop at N 84th St and Aurora Avenue North.

Born from the Aurora Action Agenda, which aims to improve the neighborhood along Aurora, this project will partially close N 84th St and use the former street space to build a new and improved transit stop.  The new facility will expand the rider waiting area, boost bus stop capacity, and provide landscaping and lighting at this major transit transfer point and future Rapid Ride Station.   Pedestrian access will be improved by placing the new bus shelter outside of walking areas and by installing new curb ramps and repairing sidewalks.  The partial closure configuration will minimize impacts on local businesses and potentially calm traffic on the residential side street.

After extensive outreach efforts to business owners and residents, SDOT will break ground on this project the week of November 30th.   Construction is expected to last approximately two weeks.

For more information, please contact SDOT Project Manager Casey Hildreth by phone at 206-233-3780 or via email at

Aurora Ave. Bus Stop Pilot Project - click to view larger version

Aurora Ave Bus Stop Pilot Project - click image to view larger version


One More Reason for One Less Car

20051111_leanna_2ndave07 (rs)Getting residents to use multiple modes of transportation is important to SDOT. Way to Go is our program to help Seattle residents drive less and incorporate transit, biking, and walking into their daily lives. We currently have a few ways you can drive less and get rewarded as you do!

Free Zipcar incentives for Way to Go participants

zipcarlogo_Zonly (rs)SDOT’s Way to Go program is pleased to announce that Zipcar now provides car sharing incentives to people who join SDOT’s One Less Car Challenge or Commuter Cash programs.   Zipcar has hundreds of vehicles around Seattle which members can rent by the hour. 

One Less Car Challenge

olc_small75Sell (or donate) your extra car and earn $200 of bus passes or REI gear, a free Cascade Bike Club membership (a $25 value), a free Bike Alliance membership ($35 value), and $100 off a subscription to Tiny’s Organic produce.

Plus, once your application for One Less Car is approved, you can join Zipcar for the first year for FREE (a $75 savings) and receive $100 of free Zipcar use!

Commuter Cash

cc_small75Cut your drive alone commuting for two months and earn up to $60. Plus, once your Commuter Cash application is approved, you can join Zipcar for the first year for just $25 – that’s a savings of $50!

  [Read more…]

See You in the Crosswalk!

Night PedsOn Saturday, November 21, at 2:30 p.m., SDOT will launch the 2009 Holiday Pedestrian Safety Campaign at Pacific Place Mall in downtown Seattle. Following a “safety fair” with bags and stencils for the kids (beginning at 1:30 p.m.), Emcee Penny LeGate of KIRO-TV will introduce the campaign. Speakers at the event will include Deputy Mayor Tim Ceis, Councilmembers Jan Drago and Nick Licata, SDOT Director Grace Crunican, and SPD Assistant Chief Mike Sanford.

The goal of the campaign is to reduce collisions between vehicles and pedestrians in downtown Seattle this holiday season. The campaign reminds people that they are both drivers and pedestrians and encourages everyone to “take it slow” at this busy time of year. A sample of the artwork and messaging for the campaign is below. In addition to posters and postcards around downtown, you’ll see this campaign on the sides of buses, inside buses, on parking pay stations, on coffee sleeves, and on coasters in downtown restaurants.  

drivewalkslow(rs)downtowndelightfulslow (rs)

Meet the Talent

This fall the American Public Works Association (APWA) honored two SDOT Capital Projects and Roadway Structures Division (CPRS) staffers.  CPRS Director Mike Terrell was selected as the recipient for the 2009 APWA Presidential Award for Chapter Excellence (PACE). Terrell, president of the APWA Washington Chapter in 2008 and 2009 executive board member, was recognized for his chapter’s excellent service to members; advancement of public works; and, among other things, service to the community during his tenure.


Michael Terrell 2008-2009 APWA Presidential Award Recipient

Michael Terrell 2008-2009 APWA Presidential Award Recipient

Meanwhile, the American Public Works Association Washington State Chapter honored CPRS Project Management Manager Lorelei Williams with its Young Leader Award for 2009. Her nomination is now forwarded to APWA National for the chance in 2010 to win at the national level.  The Young Leader Award recognizes commitment and significant contributions to the public works profession, as well as dedication to ongoing growth, by APWA members age 35 or less.

Lorelei Williams 2009 APWA Young Leader Award Recipient

Lorelei Williams 2009 APWA Young Leader Award Recipient

Improvements are coming to S. Columbian Way

DSCN0205(rs2)A new paving project is planned for South Columbian Way between Beacon Ave S and 15th Ave S in 2010. The project will benefit the multiple users of the street by:

  • Repaving the street
  • Installing new curbs
  • Improving drainage
  • Constructing new curb ramps at intersections to improve pedestrian access

In addition to the above, this portion of Columbian Way S will be restriped as part of this project. Restriping would help improve motor vehicle safety and access, pedestrian access, and bicycle usage. Proposed changes include:

  • one lane of motor vehicle traffic in each direction
  • a new two-way center turn lane
  • new bike lanes
  • a new dedicated right-turn lane at VA Hospital Drive to improve access to the medical center

DSCN0196 (rs2)This project is a part of the voter approved “Bridging the Gap” transportation levy. Click here for more information on the project.

Bus-Bike Commuting in the Ride Free Area

bus-bike (rs)

If you are one of the many Seattleites biking AND busing to work downtown in the same trip, you are probably already familiar with bike loading rules in the Ride Free Area. For those who aren’t as familiar, or may not have realized it, there are rules in place to help with efficient travel during peak hours. We want to make sure you have the info you need if you’re planning your multimodal morning commute, so please read on.

Bus stops on surface streets

During off peak hours: Metro King County allows bikes to be loaded or unloaded anywhere in the Ride Free Area, including on weekends and major holidays.

During the peak hours of 6am – 9am and 3pm – 7pm Monday through Friday: Bikes can only be loaded or unloaded on surface streets at each bus route’s first and last stops in the Ride Free Area.

Bus stops in the Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel

Bikes can be loaded or unloaded at any tunnel station during all hours the tunnel is open.

If you have questions, or want more information, about traveling with your bike on Metro click here.