Connecting the DOTs

While many of the new President’s cabinet nominees have garnered days of media coverage, a few have flown under the radar. This includes the newly confirmed Secretary of Transportation, Elaine Chao, who could impact SDOT’s work.

Secretary Elaine Chao

The new administration is also proposing a $1 trillion infrastructure package, which if passed, could support needed repairs to roads, bridges, ports, and airports around the country including Seattle. However, no specific legislation has been introduced to date.

Some of the SDOT projects that benefit from federal money include:

westlake pbl best

Westlake Protected Bike Lane opened in fall 2016.

Secretary Chao is the first Asian American woman to be appointed to a cabinet position and has been in public service for many years, including Deputy Secretary of Transportation under George H.W. Bush.

We will continue to provide updates on transportation news in the other Washington that may affect our Washington.

Share Button

Is the new ROWORR important? You bet your assets

How long do contractors have to wait before digging into new pavement? If crews are working on a brick street, must they restore the work area with bricks when they’re done, or can they use another street material?

These questions and more, were answered in a series of public workshops on SDOT’s new Right-of-Way Opening and Restoration Rule, or ROWORR. The new rule is already doing its job to help protect shared public assets. How? We’re glad you asked.

IMG_20170124_092639 (002)

The ROWORR, adopted on January 1, updates the requirements that construction-related permit holders must meet when restoring openings on public property. Nearly 200 people attended three workshops aimed at helping contractors, utilities, construction firms, women and minority businesses, partner agencies and others, to better understand and meet the requirements of the new rule.

At each workshop, our staff answered questions about everything from temporary patches to full sidewalk restoration. Many more people who could not attend the workshops received direct on-site presentations for their employees.

16546486901_59b107e38f_z

No, not that kind of roar – it’s ROWORR! Photo courtesy bhavik Thaker.

Updates include new requirements for pavement restoration timing and methods, as well as improved outlining of ADA accessibility requirements. With proper coordination and planning, these updates can help contractors, utilities, developers, and the public all save time and money.

Questions about the ROWORR? Check out our workshop presentation, email us at SDOTpermits@seattle.gov or give us a call at 206-684-5253.

We’re here to protect your public assets!

Share Button

Seattle Transit Riders will get more Late Night Bus Service this Fall

In September 2017, Seattle will more than double its service investment between 2 and 5 a.m., establishing new late-night connections throughout Seattle, and providing late night cross-town transit options for the first time ever.  Currently, Seattle fully funds the Night Owl Network (routes 82, 83, and 84) after a Metro service reduction in fall 2014.

These investments are possible through the Seattle Transportation Benefit District (STBD) and the passage of Prop. 1 in November 2014 by Seattle voters.

NightOwl1 2-13-17Seattle will provide a simple, easy-to-use late-night network, balancing the needs for service on high-ridership routes while providing coverage across the city.  To do this, SDOT proposes the following investments:

  • Replace current Night Owl routes 82, 83, and 84 (funded by the City of Seattle) with two late-night round trips on the following routes: 3, 5, 11, 70 – serving neighborhoods such as Capitol Hill, Central Area, Eastlake, Fremont, Green Lake, Phinney Ridge, Queen Anne, and University District. Other routes already provide late-night service to areas such as South Seattle and West Seattle.
  • Seattle-funded late-night service on routes 65 and 67 serving Northeast Seattle areas including Lake City, Children’s Hospital, and Northgate for the first time.
  • Seattle-funded cross-town connections from Ballard to the University District on route 44 and from Mount Baker to the University District on route 48. These investments expand late-night bus travel options for riders without having to go through downtown and diversifying travel options to, from, and through the University District.

nightowl2 2-13-17

To compliment this network, Metro will fund the following:

  • Add two late-night round trips – at about 2 a.m. and 3 a.m. on route 120 serving Delridge.
  • Provide hourly all-night service on the RapidRide C, D, and E Lines, which currently operate all night but with less than hourly frequencies.
  • Extend Route 124 from Tukwila to Sea-Tac Airport after 1 a.m., increasing options for travelers and workers.

As with all STBD investments, SDOT will monitor the performance of these service investments to ensure we are providing the best system for our riders.  The map shows the Night Owl investments that will be implemented in September 2017.

nightowl3 2-13-17

These service investments are included in the September 2017 Service Change Package Ordinance that has been transmitted to the King County Council.

Share Button

What is a “crossbike”?

We use bright green paint to make crosswalk-like stripes at intersections where bicyclists and drivers have come into conflict. Some people call these striped lanes a “crossbike.” Think of it as a crosswalk for people biking.

One such intersection was E Pine St and Nagle Pl, a block east of Broadway on Capitol Hill. We painted green crosswalk-like stripes in the westbound bike lane of this intersection.

FotorCreated

Before and after installing the crossbike on E Pine St and Nagle Pl

Crossbikes are just one tool in our transportation safety toolkit that can bring us closer to our Vision Zero safety goals. The National Association of City Transportation Officials outlines several reasons for intersection crossing markings in their Urban Bikeway Design Guide:

  • Raises awareness for both bicyclists and motorists to potential conflict areas.
  • Reinforces that through bicyclists have priority over turning vehicles or vehicles entering the roadway (from driveways or cross streets).
  • Guides bicyclists through the intersection in a straight and direct path.
  • Reduces bicyclist stress by delineating the bicycling zone.
  • Makes bicycle movements more predictable.
  • Increases the visibility of bicyclists.
  • Reduces conflicts between bicyclists and turning motorists.

We’ve done crossbike intersection markings at other locations around Seattle.

crossbike2

Crossbike on 2nd Ave in Pioneer Square.

We want to thank the businesses and people working and traveling in this area for their support. The goal of our Vision Zero program is to end traffic deaths and serious injuries by 2030.

Share Button

Lending a Hand to Portland

On January 11, 2017, Portland was hit with a massive snowstorm, making national headlines. So we sent crews to help out the Portland Bureau of Transportation. It was hard work, but our crews say they’ll never forget the trip to help our friends to the south.

Our Maintenance Operations Division sent more than a dozen crew members and several pieces of equipment.

truck

Over two days, our crews helped to clear ice and snow from roadways, as well as fallen trees, some of which landed on top of cars, throughout the entire city of Portland.

Our crew takes a break on the way home from Portland.

Our crew takes a break on the way home from Portland.

When our crews came back home to Seattle, they received this thank you letter from the City of Portland to the City of Seattle.

Portland Thank You letter

We are happy to have assisted the City of Portland and its residents and we look forward to our continued collaboration throughout all weather conditions.

Our crews prepare for wintry weather all year round. Check out our Winter Weather page to see our readiness plan, tips on preparing for cold weather, and the always useful winter weather map.

Share Button

More than 70% of Downtown Seattle Commuters Choosing Not to Drive Alone

A new Commute Seattle survey shows that more than 70 percent of downtown’s estimated 247,000 daily commuters opt for transit, ridesharing, biking, walking and teleworking – leaving less than 30 percent of commuters to drive alone to work. CS survey graphic 2-9-17

That continues a strong downward trend in solo driving from 35% in 2010 to 31% in 2014.

Commute Seattle 1Employers see the value of a good transportation system. Downtown employers have invested over $100 million in infrastructure and transportation benefits. Downtown Seattle added 45,000 jobs from 2010 to 2016, and an impressive 95% of the increase in daily commute trips have been absorbed by transit, rideshare, biking and walking.
Commute Seattle 4
In addition to private sector investment, voter-approved initiatives TransitNow, Seattle Transportation Benefit District (STBD), and the Levy to Move Seattle have provided funding for new transportation options for downtown commuters. These include City of Seattle and Metro coordinated service expansion of the RapidRide C and D lines, and implementing the 2nd Avenue and Westlake protected bike lanes, which enhance safety and bike capacity to and through downtown.

These results fulfill a 10-year goal to reduce the downtown Seattle peak commute drive-alone rate to 30%, accomplished by Commute Seattle at the direction of the Downtown Transportation Alliance (DTA)—a public-private partnership comprised of the Downtown Seattle Association, the City of Seattle (SDOT & OPCD), King County Metro and Sound Transit.

 

Share Button

From Signals to Signs

Red, yellow, and green.  Did you know that Seattle has over 1,000 traffic signals?

Under the right conditions, a traffic signal can reduce crashes and keep people and goods moving throughout our city. But, as community needs and traffic patterns change, signals that were useful in the past could now potentially create problems.

To address the changing needs of our growing city, this year SDOT traffic engineers will be studying up to ten signaled intersections to evaluate their impact, and potentially replace with all way stops.

This intersection in Queen Anne was converted from a normal signal.

This intersection in Queen Anne was converted from a normal signal to all way stop.

Using Federal Highway Administration guidelines, we’ve compiled an initial list of potential locations. Now, we need your help to identify more intersections that could work better as an all way stop.

Example intersections currently being considered:

  • 11th Ave NW and NW 46th St
  • SW Admiral Way and 59th Avenue SW
  • Renton Avenue and S. Kenyon St

For an intersection to be considered, it should meet the following criteria:

  • low traffic volumes
  • good visibility to the stop sign for all approaches to the intersection
  • an intersection nearby that the arterial street is controlled by stop signs

Please send your location ideas to traffic.signals@seattle.gov

Share Button

We got snow! Here’s what we did

In preparation for the Snow event on Monday February 6, we put our response crews on 12-hour shifts, that began on Sunday evening. Our trucks started treating streets and elevated structures. By the time you woke up on Monday to find out kids had a snow day, here’s what SDOT crews had already done.

Snow 2-7-17

Early morning Monday:

Snow 3

Pine Street

  • Mayor Murray visited SDOT Charles Street Maintenance facility to chat with local media and Maintenance Division Director Rodney Maxie about our Winter response.
snow 4

Mayor Ed Murray and SDOT Maintenance Operations Division Director Rodney Maxie with media.

  • Crews treated elevated structures and overpasses with salt.
  • SDOT hand crews treated pedestrian routes.
  • Our Incident Response Teams responded to traffic incidents.
  • SDOT tree crews cleared downed trees and branches obstructing streets, such as W Mercer Place.
Tree down

Tree down at W Mercer Place east of Elliot Ave

By Midday:

  • SDOT crews continued to patrolling snow and ice routes, plowing and treating as needed.
  • SDOT tree crews continue to respond to downed trees in the right of way.
  • We replenished our materials in preparation for the evening.

Evening:

  • Gold & Emerald routes were mostly bare and wet going into the PM commute.
  • Protected Bike Lanes were also clear.

Monday overnight into Tuesday:

  • 30 trucks worked overnight treating the Gold and Emerald priority routes for the Tuesday morning commute.

Good job team! Safe Travels Everyone!

Check out our Winter Weather Home page that has lots of useful information that can help you prepare before snow falls next time.

Share Button

City Reminds Travelers to use Extra Caution in Cold Weather

SDOT reminds residents to take great care when outside during winter weather conditions.

In addition to challenging travel conditions, trees can be significantly weakened by heavy snow and/or ice and can fall, putting those below at risk. Bent and broken tree limbs weighed down by snow or ice can fall unexpectedly, so take time to be aware of your surroundings. Particular caution should be taken when in parks and heavily wooded areas.

To report a downed tree that is blocking a city street or sidewalk, please call SDOT’s 24/7 Dispatch Center at 206-386-1218.

Share Button

Driver’s Ed 101: Crosswalks

Been a while since you took your driver’s license test? Us, too.

We thought we’d take a moment to refresh everyone on a key rule of the road – ‘granting pedestrians the right of way’ – which, in plain language, means stopping for people when they’re crossing the street. Over the past 5 years, failing to yield has contributed to 12% of Seattle’s serious and fatal crashes.

Crosswalks of all kinds in Capitol Hill.

Crosswalks of all kinds in Capitol Hill.

Most people know they should stop for people when they’re in a crosswalk. But, what exactly is a crosswalk? They come in unmarked and marked versions, though you’re probably more familiar with the latter. Last year, we made this little video highlighting that every intersection is a legal crossing, whether it’s marked or not. (Don’t just take our word for it, check out state and city laws.)

So, if you’re behind the wheel, make sure to stop for people walking. Not just at marked crossings, but at all intersections. Following the rules of the road is one way each of us can help reach Seattle’s Vision Zero goal of ending traffic deaths and serious injuries on city streets by 2030.

Share Button