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Archive for 'Bikes'

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

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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.

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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

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Access Seattle: Working for South Lake Union Mobility

SLU

Map of SLU construction – click to enlarge

If you’ve visited Seattle’s unique South Lake Union neighborhood lately, you’ve likely seen not only the many attractions in this booming community but also the significant construction. In fact, South Lake Union is one of the neighborhoods identified by SDOT as a construction hub, or area experiencing multiple, simultaneous construction projects in close proximity and with considerable cumulative impacts. Those impacts often hamper mobility. That’s one of the reasons the Access Seattle Initiative came to be, to better serve the city through its growth and development surge.

Access Seattle is an initiative launched in 2013 to keep Seattle moving during unprecedented pressure on our transportation system: from increasing population density; new employment centers; and, a significant construction surge. In the South Lake Union area, all three of these factors come into play, creating daily travel challenges for residents and businesses.

A major Access Seattle goal is to proactively plan and manage the city’s transportation system to move people and goods more effectively. The South Lake Union community has a similar goal, of sorts, as part of the South Lake Union/Uptown Triangle Mobility Plan. That plan lays out the community’s vision for all travel modes, to accommodate growth that, “…demands a paradigm shift in how people travel…” The integrated and interconnected neighborhood vision calls for partnerships; the Access Seattle team is working to be one of those partners.

At a recent South Lake Union Community Council meeting, the Access Seattle team talked about progress coordinating multiple construction projects in the neighborhood. Very specific concerns of area residents and business owners were addressed, with results from direct coordination. Some of these concerns, with information the team identified and coordinated steps moving forward, are:

Harrison Street is blocked funneling all traffic to Republican Street and impacts public safety (by restricting access by emergency vehicles). 

The Harrison Street closure and limited emergency vehicle access are related. Off duty Seattle Police Department (SPD) officers were hired by Amazon to restrict street access in order to empty out the garages.

Moving Forward:   SPD will no longer close streets to address garage exiting.  Any such closures must be coordinated with SDOT’s Traffic Management Center in advance.

People avoid the neighborhood because of the traffic gridlock, which hurts local businesses

According to our community contacts, one of the biggest problems is the eastbound flow of traffic on Mercer East, which apparently backs up outside of peak hours.

Moving Forward:  In less than a week, another eastbound lane of Mercer is expected to open up, which will require retiming all the signals and should provide some relief for eastbound flow. Our signal timing engineers will be monitoring the changes and are happy to meet with any members of the community to see how we can make improvements after these changes are complete.

Efforts on the City’s part to coordinate construction to alleviate impacts to parking, and on residents, are not adequate.

SDOT and OED have heard from many community members in construction hub neighborhoods that our efforts through Access Seattle are helping, but more is needed given the scale of the impacts.

Moving Forward:  The Mayor’s Proposed Budget includes additional staffing in 2015 to increase our inspection presence in the field.  We also plan to release more regular traveler information in multiple formats so people can be aware of known impacts.

Residential developments are being constructed without adequate parking.  The community is still experiencing parking impacts, in part due to contractors getting to the neighborhood early and taking up all the available parking all day.

The larger South Lake Union projects all have the amount of parking required by code. There is also an existing Residential Parking Zone.

Moving Forward: Parking enforcement officers have agreed to increase patrols in the area.  Additionally, DPD and SDOT will ramp up the requirements that the builders find off-street parking for their workers.  This is a practice some developers do voluntarily, others are required to due to permit conditions; in the future, we will look at making this a requirement for all large developments

Pedestrian Safety Issues. 

Ninth Ave is not a great situation for pedestrians given the projects along the corridor and many heavy trucks are coming through other parts of Cascade and South Lake Union.

Moving Forward: The builders will pay for SDOT traffic crews to change the signal timing so that we will have all-way walks at the intersections of 9th and Republican, 9th and Harrison, and 9th and Thomas. Additionally, SDOT will be installing all-way walk signals at John and Minor, Yale and Minor, and Yale and Thomas.

Concern about the upcoming Denny Substation construction and increased gridlock. 

The Denny Substation will move into the next phase of construction including running new distribution lines to the substation.  The scale of this construction is significant and there will be neighborhood impacts.

Moving Forward:  We are working closely with Seattle City Light (SCL) to coordinate this massive project.  We continue our efforts to coordinate impacts, keep lines of communication flowing, and resolve issues quickly to minimize the impacts to the neighborhood.

Construction noise regulations are based on a commercial zone, despite the fact that Cascade residents are numerous, including a significant number of low income housing developments. 

Moving Forward:  There is not currently a plan to amend the Noise Ordinance to include more restrictive construction hours in neighborhoods not currently covered by the code (such as Cascade).

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The work listed above is the result of the new Access Seattle Construction Coordination Program, looking at all permitted public and private construction schedules and impacts holistically. It builds on the SDOT Street Use permit process, taking it to new levels while building relationships and systems to better communicate. It also joins multiple City of Seattle Departments–Transportation, Planning & Development, Neighborhoods, and Economic Development–toward the common goal of keeping communities thriving.

For more information on the new program, visit: http://www.seattle.gov/transportation/hub.htm

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I’m just biking in the rain…fall weather has finally arrived!

bikeandrain

Normally this time of year we would all be breaking out our rain gear for any outdoor activity. It has been an amazing summer and early fall, but we knew it couldn’t last and the rains have returned. This may relegate many folks across the county indoors; in Seattle, rain doesn’t keep us from riding to work or for play. Thanks to the Bridging the Gap (BTG) transportation initiative passed by voters in 2006, biking is becoming easier and more accessible in the City.

2014 has been a solid year for BTG cycling projects across the city and Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) crews are working to wrap up their work, making it easier to ride a bike in a rainy Seattle. So far, SDOT is working hard to meet its promise of installing four miles of neighborhood greenways and restriping 60 miles of bike lanes and sharrows.

the wide shape of the arrow, combined with the bike symbol, gave rise to unofficial names such as "bike in a house" or "sharrow

the wide shape of the arrow, combined with the bike symbol, gave rise to unofficial names such as “bike in a house” or “sharrow

 

In addition, SDOT crews inspected 40 miles of trail across the city, made improvements to 10 key locations, are working to install 25 miles of bicycle route signage and complete the installation of 500 bicycle parking spaces at key locations across the city. All this work will be completed by the end of the year.

bicirain

Over the first seven years of the BTG program, SDOT has worked hard to implement the Bicycle Master Plan which calls for key improvements across Seattle to make bicycling easier and more accessible to everyone. SDOT is working hard to keep the promises made as part of the BTG program and is working to keep Seattle moving.

BTG

 For more information on BTG and work it is doing please visit the web site.

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SDOT wants you to be happy

Eric Morris from Clemson University and Erick Guerra from the University of Pennsylvania published a study in the journal Transportation entitled “Mood and Mode: Does how we travel affect how we feel?” The study looks at how levels of stress, fatigue, pain, and happiness vary across users of different transport types. Morris and Guerra used data collected by the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics as part of the American Time Use Survey, pulling from 13,000 respondents. The transport modes included in the survey were bicycling, walking, driving in a car as a passenger, driving in a car as a driver, and using bus and rail transport.

The researchers found that those who bike are by far the happiest, with passengers in cars second, followed by drivers in cars. Passengers on buses and trains ranked as the least happy. But why are they happier? Well, our bodies respond to physical activity releasing serotonin, the “happiness hormone.” If you walk or bike, you have more chances of being happy than if you ride alone in your car, a bus or a train.

The exciting thing about this reaserch is that it encourages trasnportation leaders to ask bold new questions about the relationship between the built environment and quality of life.  We asked ourselves, what role can SDOT play in supporting your efforts to find happiness? We have a lot to offer to the cause.

Just check these resources:

The other exciting thing is that we will continue to ask questions about how we can make Seattle a city that offers transportation choices for everyone. Choose what works best for you; what makes you happy.

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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.

 

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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

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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.

St_T_relayst_t_hula3

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

 

 

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Think of our future: Do not drive alone.

creativecommuteheader

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.

creativecommute3creative commute4commuteseattle

 

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