Ramp Up Seattle

Every year, SDOT builds or replaces 500-1,000 curb ramps to increase access for people using our sidewalks and crosswalks, especially those with wheelchairs or other mobility devices. In late 2016, we held a public meeting and online survey to gather feedback on where ramps are needed most and how they could be improved.

Curb ramp construction in 2016

Curb ramp construction in 2016

Hundreds of Seattle residents gave input on curb ramps, including many living with disabilities, and we are working to incorporate their feedback into future curb ramp construction plans.

  • Participants felt that prioritizing curb ramp improvements serving transit facilities, medical facilities, and public buildings (schools, libraries, community centers, etc.) are most important.
  • The alignment of the curb ramps and the crosswalk is very important to most participants.
  • The collection of water and debris at the bottom of curb ramps is a concern to many.
  • Most participants were not aware that specific curb ramp improvement requests can be made on the SDOT website.
  • Exclusive of curb ramps, many of the participants feel that addressing areas in Seattle where sidewalks are missing should be the highest priority for improvement.
Public meeting at the Center Park Community Room

Public meeting at the Center Park Community Room

Thanks to everyone who shared their experiences online or at joined our November 1 meeting at the Center Park Community Room!

Check out the current map of traffic safety features, including curb ramp locations and conditions, here.

If you have any questions about accessibility within the Seattle public right-of-way, we encourage you contact SDOT’s ADA Coordinator, Michael Shaw. He can be reached at (206) 615-1974 or by email at Michael.Shaw@seattle.gov.

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Street Use Permits Permit Changes

SDOT’s Street Use team reviews, issues, and inspects up to 35,000 permitted right-of-way uses each year, and continues to improve services with updates to regulations, fees, and hours.

PORR to ROWORR and More 2017 Street Use Changes

The Pavement Opening and Restoration Rule (PORR), is now the Right-Of-Way Opening and Restoration Rule (ROWORR). The change expands the scope of the rule beyond street pavement to public right-of-way areas. The updated regulations and requirements include:utilsblocksidewalk

  • Increasing the pavement opening moratorium from 3 to 5 years
  • A sliding scale for restoration requirements, based around the street’s condition
  • More guidance on ADA accessibility ROW requirements, including ADA-compliant curb ramps
  • A wider scope that better includes Green Storm Infrastructure
  • Shorter timeframes for permanent restoration projects
  • Making it more cost-effective for groups to coordinate projects, while increasing costs for groups that fail to coordinate

For additional details on the upcoming changes for ROWORR, please reference the Right-of-Way Opening and Restoration Manual, available in PDF form at: www.seattle.gov/transportation/docs/ROWORR_Manual.pdf

New Fee Structure

Our hourly review and inspection rate fee is now $209, up from $196.  However, some fee decreases are also now in effect, for 2017. feeschedulefactsheetFor example, occupancy fees for installing or removing public art are now $138, down from $146. Miscellaneous private temporary right-of-way use is decreasing to $146, from $305. And, for street and alley paving under 750 sq. ft. we are eliminating use fees including transit-related infrastructure, but not utility installation.

For more details on these changes, please contact Street Use Operations Manager Liz Sheldon at elizabeth.sheldon@seattle.gov or read our 2017 Fee Schedule Fact Sheet.


New Counter Hours


Starting in 2017, permit services hours are:

  • Monday, Wednesday, and Friday: 8 AM to 5 PM
  • Tuesday and Thursday: 10:30 AM to 5 PM

The change comes after reviewing our customers’ needs and priorities. An increasingly high number of permit applicants submit their applications electronically, which requires a higher number of our permit reviewers to be behind a computer. By adjusting our hours, we can expand our team’s capacity to process permits.

The new hours also align with Seattle Department of Construction and Inspections’ (SDCI) permit counter service hours; the change helps streamline permit processing for larger projects involving both departments.

Happy New Year!



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A Little Help From Our Friends

Winter weather is on everyone’s mind as we prepare for possible snow and freezing temperatures in Seattle. At SDOT, we’re focused on getting everyone information on what to expect on the roads and how to commute safely, but that means more than just tweets with “Winter is Coming” GIFs (although we have plenty of those too.)

As Seattle grows and diversifies so too has our outreach, and our Winter Weather Brochure is available in 10 different languages to reflect our booming immigrant and refugee populations. But, when it comes to distributing these materials to immigrant populations who need them, we needed a little help from our friends at Seattle’s Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs (OIRA).


The Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs works directly with families to find jobs, access government resources, and achieve citizenship, so they were the perfect partner to help us with winter weather outreach to our city’s diverse immigrant communities.

Although there is uncertainty over future changes in federal immigration policies, this winter Seattle Mayor Ed Murray signed an Executive Order reaffirming Seattle as a Welcoming City. This means departments throughout our city will focus on inclusion and remaining accessible to all residents, and OIRA is leading the charge.

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray signs executive order affirming Seattle's Welcoming City policies 11/24.

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray signs executive order affirming Seattle’s Welcoming City policies 11/24.

We will continue to provide the most up to date information on winter impacts to your commute (take a look at our live map), and thanks to help from OIRA we can ensure that information reaches all Seattle residents, regardless of citizenship status.

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Remembering Those We’ve Lost

This week, Seattle is observing World Remembrance Day and commemorating the 240 people who died in traffic incidents over the past 10 years. On Thursday, families who have lost loved ones, city employees, and first responders gathered at City Hall at an event organized by Seattle Neighborhood Greenways for a public memorial with silhouette cut-outs to represent those we’ve lost.


SDOT Traffic Safety Coordinator Jim Curtin speaking at City Hall memorial 11/17

This Sunday, November 20, local Greenways coalition member groups will hold events throughout the city to install the silhouettes as a public reminder, and come together as a community to commit to doing better:

  • Ballard/Aurora/Fremont noon Peddler Brewing Company 1514 NW Leary Way
  • Beacon Hill/Mt. Baker 10AM The Station 2533 16th Ave S
  • Central/Capitol Hill noon Victrola Coffee Roasters 310 E. Pike St.
  • Crown Hill/Broadview noon Holy Grounds 9000 Holman Way NW
  • Downtown/Belltown 10AM Uptown Espresso 2504 4th Ave
  • Lake City/Northgate 10AM Kaffeeklatsch 12513 Lake City Way NE
  • Queen Anne/Magnolia 10AM Starbucks 2135 Queen Anne Ave N
  • Ravenna/Roosevelt 10AM Third Place Cafe 6504 20th Ave NE
  • West Seattle 10AM Ampersand Café 2536 Alki Ave SW
  • Rainier Valley 10:15AM Bike Works 3711 S Hudson St. (back entrance to warehouse)
  • Duwamish Valley noon Oxbow Park (Hat & Boots) 6430 Corson Ave S


As a city, we’ve committed to end traffic deaths and serious injuries by 2030 through our Vision Zero initiative. These tragedies mostly aren’t “accidents,” but preventable incidents caused by poor behaviors and unforgiving roadway designs.

Earlier this month, we instituted lower speed limits – arterials in central Seattle were reduced from 30mph to 25, residential streets throughout the city from 25mph to 20 – an adjustment proven to increase crash survival rates. And over the last year, we’ve made significant investments in our Safe Routes to School program to make it easier and safer for students to walk and bike. These efforts were funded through the 2015 voter approved Levy to Move Seattle, which has supported safety and infrastructure improvements throughout the city.

By working with community groups, health-care professionals, university researchers, and local corporate partners, we can eliminate death and serious injuries on our streets.


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Creating Safe, Sustainable, and People-friendly alleys

Alleys are an important part of Seattle history, from the narrow walkways weaving through Pioneer Square to the public stairways climbing our many hills.


View along Post Alley in the Market

Far more than just shortcuts, these paths have potential to become storefronts, celebrations, or play areas, and our Public Space Management team is here to help!

This U-District proposal called for adding lights, a bike rack, and other improvements to turn this alley off 42nd into a common space for the community.

This U-District proposal called for adding lights, a bike rack, and other improvements to turn this alley off 42nd into a common space for the community.

We’re supporting community led efforts throughout the city to re-claim, re-purpose, and beautify our alleys. This means improvements to lighting, creative art installations, shared seating, re-paving to better handle rainwater, and more.

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Have a Happy and Safe Halloween!

Fall has arrived in the northwest with rainy weather and shorter days. The darker and wetter season leads to more collisions on our our streets, so please be extra aware no matter how you get around.

Tonight, be extra mindful that Trick-or-Treaters will be out and about, and that the drizzly weather can affect visibility. Children-involved car/pedestrian collisions are nearly twice as likely to happen on Halloween than other days of the year, so it’s important that kids (and their parents) stay visible.

halloween night with pumpkin in grass tree bat and hunting house in background

The clock also turns back on Sunday, so the sun will start setting before 5 o’clock next week and it will be dark during the busiest hours of our commutes.

As part of our Vision Zero effort to improve safety and raise awareness, here are some important tips for traveling safely on Halloween and beyond:
• 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 drink.
• Take it slow on our streets. Give yourself plenty of time to reach your destination. With speed, the frequency and severity of collisions increases.
• Pay attention. Every intersection is a legal crosswalk – whether there are pavement markings or not – so drivers should stop for pedestrians. Pedestrians should cross the street at intersections or crosswalks where drivers expect to see you.
• 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.


Remember that we all just want to get to get to the candy safely. Have a Happy and Safe Halloween!

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Move Seattle Trees: Coming to a Neighborhood Near You!

You may remember that back in July we told you that SDOT would be doing a large majority of our tree planting this fall. The darker mornings and rain on our windshields can only mean one thing: it’s time to plant some trees.


SDOT crews were in West Seattle last week in the 9000-9200 blocks of 13th Ave SW, 14th Ave SW, 15th Ave SW planting about 25 new trees in the neighborhood. Once in the ground and supported with stakes, trees are good for the entire winter. Our crews will visit the trees next spring and put bags at the base of the tree to make sure they stay well-hydrated throughout the summer.


Approved by voters in 2015, the 9-year Levy to Move Seattle also requires SDOT to replace every tree removed with two new trees. So far, SDOT has already planted 84 new trees like this one above – a dawn redwood. Residents can look forward to greener streetscapes and anyone traveling through Seattle will be able to breathe a little easier thanks to the many benefits our urban canopy provides.


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Construction Hub Coordination in Action

When multiple construction projects are working close to one another, our Construction Hub Coordination Team steps in to minimize their collective impact on mobility. Just this week, we brought contractors together to keep pedestrian access open along Dexter Ave.


Looking southwest along Dexter

While completing work that makes the sidewalk next to their site too dangerous for pedestrians, Mill Creek Residential has temporarily closed the sidewalk on the west side of Dexter. During this closure, a pedestrian detour has been provided on the opposite side of the street. But when BNBuilders, working on the east side of the street, also reached a point in their project where they needed to close the sidewalk, our Hub team stepped in to help the two projects coordinate. Recognizing that closing the sidewalk on both sides of the street was not an option, the project teams met onsite with our Hub coordinator to find an agreeable solution. In the end, Mill Creek agreed to adapt the right of way on their side of the street to accommodate a pedestrian path, while BNBuilders funded the installation of barriers to protect pedestrians walking the new route.

By working together, SDOT and the construction project teams were able to maintain uninterrupted pedestrian access on Dexter, while also keeping both projects on schedule. This is just one example of how our Hub Coordination Team works to keep the public moving, makes it easy for contractors to be good neighbors, and provides for public safety.

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Be Prepared for Stormy Weekend

A storm is sweeping through Seattle this weekend. Although we don’t know exactly how strong it’ll be, we are recommending that everyone be extra cautious, and if possible avoid commuting, during this inclement weather.


If you notice a downed powerline, DO NOT touch or approach it. Please report downed wires or outages to Seattle City Light at 206-684-7400.

If you notice blocked gutters, we could use your help in clearing them of leaves and debris to keep the 80,000 storm drains throughout our city flowing smoothly. Please report flooding issues to Seattle Public Utilities at 206-386-1800.

If you are planning to go to one of our city’s many parks, you may want to make new plans. All green athletic fields in Seattle will be closed, and additional parks programs/facilities may be impacted throughout the weekend.

If you notice fallen trees or other debris blocking streets or sidewalks, contact SDOT at 206-386-1218

If you can’t avoid traveling this weekend, a few pieces of advice:

Rainy DayFirst, as wind gusts get stronger there is a strong possibility of rolling power outages including traffic signals. Please treat dark signals as all-way stops.

Second, if you’re getting around by foot or by bike, wear high visibility clothing/lights or if you’re driving, be sure to turn your headlights on.

Third, and this goes for everyone, expect traffic to move a bit slower, and don’t try to rush in the rain!

For information on planning for the winter storm season, like what you should include in your emergency preparedness kit, check out Take Winter By Storm, our multi-agency preparedness site. For the latest emergency notifications, sign up for Alert Seattle to get alerts via text, tweet, and more.


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New Curb Bulbs at Burke-Gilman Trail Pop with Colorful Design

The Burke-Gilman Trail is getting a burst of color at the once grey intersection with 40th Ave NE.

With just a bit of paint, street markings, and posts, we can create low-cost curb bulbs where data and community members tell us traffic safety is a concern. Curb bulbs are effective at reducing the number and severity of traffic collisions by increasing the visibility of vulnerable users – people walking and biking – and decreasing the distance they have to travel to get across the street.


New curb bulb at 40th Ave NE and the Burke-Gilman Trail.

Northeast Seattle Greenways and Seattle Children’s Hospital teamed up and were winners of Seattle Neighborhood Greenways PARK(ing) Day Plus design competition in 2015 for their original design of painted curb bulbs at this location.

We then went to work to make the design permanent.

How do we decide what colors to use to really make them stand out? For this crossing, we wanted to let people in the neighborhood help decide colors and design.


We used this ballot to ask residents and trail users which design they preferred. The option with blue circles won the informal contest.


The installation started with laying down colorful thermoplastic, which we blasted with propane torches to make it stick to the concrete. Then we added new posts and signs.


Laying out and trimming the new street marking material at 40th Ave NE and the Burke-Gilman Trail.

“Bringing color and pattern to the ground plane elevates and enlivens an ordinary bit of city infrastructure,” says Kristen Ramirez, who manages public art projects for SDOT and Seattle’s Office of Arts and Culture. One result of the new curb bulbs design, she said, is to “bring pause or wonder to people passing by. The circle pattern could evoke many ideas: ripples on water, constellations, textile patterns, and more.”

It isn’t just an artistic statement though.

Traffic engineering and safety work uses bright colors and patterns, which this project has in spades, to grab driver’s attention and communicate that there are people walking and biking. Extending the curb into the street reduces the width of the travel lanes, which causes people to slow down.

Supported by traffic studies showing that curb bulbs increase yielding to pedestrians, these improvements are one of the many tools in our Vision Zero plan to end traffic deaths and serious injuries in Seattle by 2030.

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