Westlake Cycle Track is Nearly Halfway Done

SDOT’s Westlake Cycle Track Project is reaching the halfway point! The protected bike lane along Westlake Avenue North will provide a safer place for people riding bikes, walking and driving, while improving connectivity and accessibility for all travelers in the Westlake area.

Construction recap – from January to May

Westlake before cycle track construction

An early photo of the Westlake corridor before construction began in January.

Construction of the protected bike lane began in January this year and is separated into four phases. Phase 1 and Phase 2 are on the north end of the corridor and are nearly complete.

Westlake completed section

Completed section of the protected bike lane in Phase 1 in the north end of the corridor.

Our construction team is coordinating with Westlake businesses and residents to minimize construction impacts as they work to finish the project as safely and efficiently as possible.

Westlake work near Railroad Park

Work on the protected bike lane continues near Railroad Park in Phase 2.

Our crews are making progress on Phase 3 in the south end.

Westlake Phase 3

Forming for the protected bike lane in Phase 3 in the south end of the corridor.

This Friday, May 6, from 7 – 9 a.m., keep an eye out for volunteers from Cascade Bicycle Club and the outreach team on the north end of the corridor. We’ll help guide people riding bikes to enter the first half of the protected bike lane. We will also be promoting safety education for all users.

The Westlake Cycle Track is scheduled to be complete in summer 2016, so get those bikes ready and sign up for email updates to stay up-to-date on construction progress!

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Behind the Scenes with a SDOT Bridge Operator

Recently, a SDOT Bridge Operator, Barbara Abelhauser was featured on NPR in a segment of StoryCorps on Morning Edition. In the story, Barbara says when she first took first bridge operator job, she thought she’d only stay for a year – but ended up staying for 8 years on the job in Jacksonville, Florida. Then in 2014, Barbara moved to Seattle and joined SDOT – and has been operating the University Bridge ever since.

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Barbara Abelhauser

When asked what her favorite part about being a bridge operator is, Barbara said, “I love this job now more than ever. All the Bridge Operators in SDOT are very professional and a delight to work with. I was very honored to be featured on Morning Edition. I’m also excited to be in the upcoming anthology, because I really do love my job and I’m proud of what I do.”

University Bridge

The new anthology is Callingsa StoryCorps book that explores the lives of those who love what they do.

SDOT operates and maintains over 149 bridges throughout Seattle, including four movable bridges. Three of SDOT’s movable bridges are draw bridges, known as bascule bridges. These are the Ballard Bridge, Fremont Bridge and University Bridge. The fourth movable bridge is the Spokane Street Bridge, which is a swing bridge. Here’s our Bridges and Roadway Structures main page.

Here are some cool facts about the University Bridge:

The University Bridge spans Portage Bay, linking the University District with the Eastlake and Capitol Hill communities. It is the second of the four Lake Washington Ship Canal Bridges. The University Bridge was originally built in 1919 and remodeled in 1933. President Franklin D. Roosevelt dedicated the bridge on April 7, 1933. On that opening day, 37,794 automobiles crossed the bridge. The addition of the I-5 bridge has decreased traffic over the University Bridge in recent years. A 1983 traffic count recorded 27,735 vehicles using the bridge daily.

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New Safe Routes to School Beacon Hill Trail is Finished

After breaking ground in January with SDOT Director Scott Kubly and Mayor Ed Murray, SDOT crews have completed a new 2000-foot paved trail on Beacon Hill that gives schoolchildren a safer place to walk and bike, while traveling to and from Mercer Middle School.

The new trail is part of the Safe Routes to School (SRTS) project, a national movement to make it easier and safer for students to walk and bike to school. This the first 2016 Safe Routes to Schools project in the Beacon Hill neighborhood.

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The new paved trail runs parallel to Jefferson Park and connects 16th Ave South at South Spokane Street to the north and South Dakota Street.

Benefits of the new trail:

  • Improves safety on walking and biking route to school
  • Offers a more comfortable, off-street option for people biking and walking to school
  • Provides safety education so kids have the skills they need to safely walk and bike to school
  • Encourages more kids to walk and bike to school, which will reduce congestion at the school
Beacon Hill trail 1

Trail improvements included replacing the existing gravel path and planting vegetation.

Locally, the Mercer Middle School Safe Routes to School Program is a partnership between SDOT, Seattle Public Utilities and Seattle Parks Department. The project also includes education and encouragement programs to get more kids walking and biking safely to school.

The Mercer Middle School program is one of four SRTS projects in Seattle Public Schools this year that also include: Greenwood Elementary, Wedgwood Elementary, and South Shore PK-8.

 

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April is Earth Month: Transportation Choices to Help You Do Your Part

April is Earth Month. 

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Courtesy NASA

Using transit is one of the best ways to move around an urban environment and proclaim your environmental stewardship. Coupling a bike trip with your choice of transit turns a smart commute into an unbeatable combination.

orcacards

ORCA cards work on regional transit including Community Transit, King County Metro and Sound Transit.

The City of Seattle is now experiencing unprecedented growth, and transit agencies and planners are working hard to meet the demand with expanded bus and light rail service, additional miles of bike lanes, new car sharing services, and a host of infrastructure and technology improvements Citywide.

It is this quantity of mobility that will be key to helping us maintain the quality of life – the clean air and majestic views from mountains to Sound – that originally attracted all us to live here.

Choose rail, bus, bike or walk, and know you are doing your part to make Seattle one of the most progressive cities in the nation.

Seattle Streetcar

Seattle Streetcar First Hill line.

For more information about ORCA cards, go here.

To see other ways the City of Seattle celebrates Earth Month, go here.

 

 

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SDOT Hosts North Seattle Walking Tour With Newly-Elected Councilmember Debora Juarez

SDOT recently led a tour of several Council District 5 transportation projects with newly-elected Councilmember Debora Juarez. The purpose of the trip was to familiarize Councilmember Juarez with a selection of SDOT projects and to learn about her priorities for the district.

The tour started along the recently-completed Olympic Hills / 27th Ave NE Neighborhood Greenway. Greenways improve safety for all ages and abilities by reducing speeds on neighborhood streets to make it more comfortable for people walking to share the street with people driving. The tour continued to the Olympic Hills Safe Routes to School project. In 2015, the program installed a new sidewalk on NE 130th St on the walking route to Olympic Hills Elementary. The voter-approved Levy to Move Seattle allows us to build 9 -12 Safe Routes to School projects every year, helping more kids and families safely walk and bike to school.

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Councilmember Juarez discusses sidewalk options with SDOT’s Safe Routes to Schools coordinator, Brian Dougherty.

Next, the SDOT tour took Councilmember Juarez to a site near John Rogers Elementary, where a new sidewalk was built using stamped asphalt instead of concrete – resulting in significant cost savings that allow us to build more sidewalks where they’re needed most. With funds from the Levy to Move Seattle, SDOT plans to build 250 blocks of new sidewalks over the next 9 years – both lower-cost and traditional – for the same price as 150 blocks of concrete sidewalks.

After walking the sidewalk and discussing drainage issues in many North Seattle neighborhoods, the tour stopped at the site of the future Link light rail station at Northgate. SDOT plans to build a new pedestrian and bicycle bridge over I-5 to improve connections within the Northgate community. The stop was near Councilmember Juarez’s district office at North Seattle College.

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Councilmember Juarez with SDOT’s Amanda Tse and Bill LeBorde, point to the future site of the Northgate pedestrian bridge over I-5

The tour wrapped with several stops along Linden Ave N to look at and discuss the Complete Street project completed in 2014. The project makes this neighborhood street easier and safer for everyone to get around, whether they are driving, walking, or riding a bike. The project also built a safe connection to the popular Interurban Trail making it more accessible for everyone, especially residents in the many senior retirement homes nearby.

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Councilmember Juarez going over a Complete Streets plan with Deputy Director Mike Terrell and Connie Zimmerman.

The morning tour offered SDOT staff and Councilmember Juarez a chance to talk about emerging transportation issues facing District 5 and the unique needs of neighborhoods in North Seattle.

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Planting a PBL

Our 2nd Ave protected bike lane (PBL) is a work in progress, and tonight we’ll be adding a new feature – 158 new planter boxes! They’ll help further separate the bike lanes and the travel/parking lanes. And they look a lot nicer than the plastic delineators.

Check out these photos and many more on our Flickr page:

Empty Planters

Empty planters lined up and ready to be filled

 

Filling the Planters

It takes 33 cubic yards (at 2,000 lbs. per cubic yard!) of dirt to fill these up

 

Planters

More Plants for the Planters

Plants on the SDOT truck

Installation will be phased in over April with the goal of being done in time for May (bike month!). After we install these planters we’ll continue to monitor the health of the plants and replace them as needed. The planters are self-watering and our alley-flushing truck will fill the planters May through September.

Plants on Truck

In addition to adding these awesome planters, we’re extending the project north into Belltown. Learn more at www.seattle.gov/transportation/2ndavepbl.htm.

Planters

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2nd Ave Safety Project Update

Later this year, the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) plans to make several upgrades to 2nd Ave between Pike St and Denny Way. To improve the safety and efficiency of travel and bike connections in downtown, SDOT will make traffic signal improvements, pedestrian improvements, and extend the existing 2nd protected bike lane through Seattle’s dense and vibrant Belltown neighborhood.

The project will include several features aimed at increasing safety for all modes of transportation:

  • All traffic signals will be updated with new poles and signal heads. Timing improvements will increase efficiency for people walking, biking and driving through and around Belltown
  • At the left turn intersections, signals will have a designated arrow for drivers to turn left which separates drivers from people walking and biking
  • Three new traffic signals at Cedar, Clay and Vine streets will create safer turns and easier pedestrian crossings
  • A two-way protected bike lane will be added on the east side of the street, including a 3-foot buffer with planters
  • Parking will be relocated to the outside lane of the protected bike lane, similar to the existing bike lane on 2nd Ave
  • Curb bulbs on the east side of 2nd Ave will be removed to create space for the protected bike lane and buffer, with landscaping improvements and sidewalk spot repairs throughout the corridor

2nd Ave Safety Project Update 3-30-16The project is currently in design and is scheduled to begin construction in fall 2017. The protected bike lane extension is part of SDOT’s Center City Bike Network project and Vision Zero plan to end traffic deaths and serious injuries by 2030.

In the meantime, the existing 2nd Ave Protected Bike Lane is getting upgrades, including planter boxes, new traffic signals and raised passenger load zones and driveways. For more information, visit: http://www.seattle.gov/transportation/2ndavepbl.htm

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Seattle Bicycle Advisory Board seeks 2 new members

Do you love biking? Want to make it easier and safer for people of all ages and abilities to get around Seattle by bike?

Bicycle Sundays are for everyone!

Then this may be the opportunity for you! The Seattle Bicycle Advisory Board (SBAB) is now accepting applications for two new members to help advise the City on the concerns and needs of our growing bicycling community.

Who is SBAB?

The volunteer board was created in 1977 by our City Council and they help carry out Seattle’s Bicycle Master Plan – our 20 year blueprint to make it easier to decide to ride a bike. Here are a few other tasks that members do:

  • Advise the Mayor and the City Council
  • Participate in planning and project development
  • Evaluate policies
  • Make recommendations to all city departments
  • Meet every first Wednesday from 6 – 8 PM at Seattle City Hall

 

How do I qualify for this position?

Mayor Murray and the City Council are committed to promoting diversity in all of our boards and commissions. All persons are encouraged to apply. Board members serve a two-year term, with an opportunity to serve a second term. The current board consists of a variety of people who ride bikes, from casual weekend riders to year-round commuters.  Seattle City employees are exempt from being SBAB members .

Where do I sign up?

Follow these steps, and you might be chosen to be one of the new SBAB members:

  • Submit your resume and cover letter (explain your interest) to nicole.freedman@seattle.gov.
  • Use “SBAB” in the subject line
  • No internet access? No problem. Just call Nicole Freedman at (206)684-4690

Thank you for your interest in our bicycling community!

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SDOT Crews Help Improve Bus Service to UW Light Rail Station

This past weekend brought some welcome regional transportation options with the launch of the two new LINK Light Rail stations at Capitol Hill and University of Washington in Seattle.

Now you can take LINK light rail from the airport, Rainier Valley or downtown to Capitol Hill and to UW, the state’s biggest university and Seattle’s largest employer.

In just eight minutes, the LINK takes you from Westlake Station to UW station.  This is also a major enhancement for people riding the bus.

Starting next Saturday, you’ll be able to take over a dozen bus routes to the UW light rail station.  By redesigning bus routes to connect with light rail, King County Metro tripled the number of households in northeast Seattle that are near 15-minute transit service.

To keep all these additional buses moving and to improve the experience of people riding transit, crews from SDOT and Metro improved three bus stops near the UW station. They relocated bus stops to shorten the walk to the station and made the stops longer to handle more buses. They also added more bus shelters to increase waiting area for riders and installed real-time information signs.

SDOT Paving Crews, SDOT Traffic Signal Crews and contractors worked as a team to remove existing sections of sidewalk, excavate, install and bury underground conduit lines, and then repave the sidewalk to create improved transit stops. Metro then installed new bus shelters.

Building Sidewalk

Building the new sidewalk

Installing conduit

Installing conduit for traffic signals

Improved Sidewalk

Improved sidewalk for the expanded bus stop

Installing Bus shelters

Installing bus shelters at the improved bus stop

Improved bus stop with large shelter near Husky Stadium

Improved bus stop with large shelter near Husky Stadium

This work was notable for several reasons. It required unprecedented coordination between Metro, different SDOT divisions and the adjacent UW Medical Center. Also, work was completed in phases so bus stops and pedestrian walkways remained open throughout the project. Finally, crews used innovative methods and worked seven days a week to complete this large crew project on time, while simultaneously working to complete transit improvements in South Lake Union.

For more details on these bus stop improvements, see our previous blog story

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Transit Improvement Installation to begin on Westlake Ave N between Stewart and Mercer Street this Weekend

On Saturday, March 19 and Sunday, March 20, SDOT will begin installation of new bus lane improvements on Westlake Ave / Westlake Ave N between Stewart St and Mercer St.

Beginning Monday, March 21, the new bus lanes can only be used by buses 24/7. These changes are in preparation for new service from the RapidRide C Line to South Lake Union that will begin the following Saturday, March 26. Implementing the bus only lanes a week in advanced of the March 26 service change provides opportunity for drivers to adjust to the new bus lanes and also takes advantage of dry weather, producing higher quality markings.

The new northbound center BUS ONLY lane (between Harrison St and Mercer St) replaces the left turn lane from Harrison to Mercer. Additionally, people driving will be restricted from:

  • Making northbound left turn Westlake to Mercer. (click to view map)
  • Making southbound right turns from Westlake to Mercer.
  • Making northbound and southbound left turns from Westlake to Republican.
  • Making southbound right turns from Westlake to Republican.
  • Making northbound right turns from Westlake to Harrison.
  • Making southbound right and left turns from Westlake to Thomas.
  • Making northbound right turns from Westlake to Thomas.
  • Making northbound left turns from Westlake to Denny (during the middle of the day)

Westlake Map v2

Please plan your new route in advance to allow for adjustments to the changes. SDOT would like to thank the public for its patience while this work is completed.

New RapidRide C Line service and the SLU Streetcar will start using the BUS ONLY lanes. The changes make it possible to double the number of people using transit along Westlake Avenue during the afternoon peak commute between 5p.m. and 6 p.m. on weekdays, which is the equivalent of adding another travel lane.

Ready for more bus service? Learn about the New RapidRide C Line service coming to SLU starting March 26.

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