Staff ‘Walk and Talk’ with Neighbors about the 2nd Ave Safety Project

Staff with the 2nd Ave Safety Project recently invited neighbors in Belltown to walk along 2nd Ave to learn about the final project design. The walk led them to several locations along 2nd Ave between Bell St and Broad St, sparking discussions about the safety improvements coming to 2nd Ave when construction starts later this year.

2nd Ave walk and talk

SDOT staff walk along 2nd Ave with neighbors (and their dogs!) to discuss the project’s final design.

Discussion on the walk included new traffic signals, new street trees and the design of the new protected bike lane (PBL) that will be added from Pike Street to Denny Way. Neighbors also learned about how some curb bulbs will need to be removed and how the design uses special features – such as raised or colored pavement – to indicate areas where cars are pulling out of driveways or pedestrians are loading and unloading. These features are designed to improve safety for everyone.

2nd Ave load zone

Example of a passenger load zone that will be built in several locations on 2nd Ave in Belltown.

Construction of the 2nd Ave Safety Project will begin this fall and the new protected bike lane is scheduled to open in mid-2017.

Thank you to everyone who participated in the 2nd Ave walk and talk event!

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Columbia City Tells Us How They Get Around the Neighborhood

SDOT recently completed neighborhood surveys along Rainier Ave S in Columbia City to find out more about how people get around. Here’s what we learned:

  • People come by many modes. While using a personal car is the single most popular way people come to Columbia City, 65% of all customers and visitors reported arriving by walking, transit, biking, or other means besides a personal vehicle. That’s a big change from a similar study in the same area in 2011 when only 43% of customers and visitors reported arriving by means other than a personal car.Columbia City 1
  • Locals are regulars. Nearly all residents reported coming to the business district two or more times a week and the most frequent visitors do so by walking or biking.
  • Drivers are finding parking, but it might require circling around the neighborhood first. Most drivers (65%) park on-street, and most (89%) reported that it took about the length of time they expected or less to find parking. However, 11% of drivers reported spending more than 5 minutes looking for parking.

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How do these surveys work?  SDOT consults with professional survey companies to gather information from visitors to the business district using a short questionnaire.  Once the data is analyzed, we summarize the findings and share them with the neighborhood, often through our Community Access and Parking Program – SDOT’s effort to improve on-street parking management in Seattle’s neighborhood business districts and nearby residential areas.

For full results from this survey and others, go here. We are planning to conduct surveys in more neighborhoods this fall!

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Seattle Summer Parkways to transform City Streets into “Park” Ways

Seattle Summer Parkways returns this summer in August and September, and features three separate days of special events in three iconic neighborhoods: Rainier Valley, West Seattle and Ballard.

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Hosted by the Seattle Department of Transportation, Seattle Summer Parkways will transform streets into open-street “parkways” where people can bike, play, walk, run and experience neighborhoods in unique and inviting ways. Based on the success of last year’s inaugural event, thousands of neighbors, families and kids are expected to participate in this summer’s community-based activities, live music and recreation.

The 2016 Summer Parkways lineup includes:

  • Saturday, August 13: Rainier Valley, 12:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Kick-off festivities will celebrate with existing events including the Big Day of Play, Rainier Valley Heritage Festival, Hillman City Car Show, South Seattle Community Picnic and dozens of community partners, to bring safe streets and sunny fun to the south end. This route will highlight some of the Valley’s beautiful and vibrant areas including Rainier Valley Playfields, Columbia City, Columbia Park, Hillman City, Brighton Playfields and Othello Park.

  • Saturday, August 27: Ballard, 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

The second event in the series will bring the fun back to Ballard! In partnership with the Sustainable Ballard Festival, Seattle Parks and Recreation and dozens of community partners, a variety of activities will take place along the route of Ballard Commons Park, Ballard Corners Park, Salmon Bay Park, Loyal Heights Community Center, Sunset Hill Park, Bergen Place Park, and the myriad shops and businesses along Ballard Avenue NW.

  • Sunday, September 25: West Seattle, 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

The final event will celebrate the conclusion of summer with a community party on Alki Beach! In partnership with Orca Running, Seattle Parks and Recreation, the Beach Creeps Bicycle Club and dozens of community partners, the route will highlight activities throughout Alki Beach Park, the Alki Trail, Don Armeni Park, Alki Community Center, and the myriad shops and businesses along Alki Avenue SW.

Summer Parkways Returns

Participation is free, and those who want to host an activity in their neighborhood can fill out an online application. Volunteer positions are also available, ranging from intersection management and community ambassadors, to route patrols and mobile bike mechanics.

For sign-ups, route maps and more information, please visit: www.seattle.gov/summerparkways and follow Seattle Parkways on Facebook and Twitter @SeattleParkways #SeattleSummerParkways.

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New Vision Zero Dashboard Coming Soon!

Vision Zero is excited to have worked closely with the University of Washington Information School  to make collision data more interactive and accessible to everyone.  Educating people about what is happening in their neighborhood and citywide streets is one of the key elements to making Vision Zero successful.  Collision data is also one of the driving factors that we use to determine the engineering treatments and level of investments we make towards a safer transportation infrastructure.

Last night at the UW Information School Capstone event, more than 300 students presented on projects where they were presented with a problem and developed a solution to an information challenge for a client in a community.

New Dashboard

Currently, many years’ worth of collision data is publicly available at data.seattle.gov  and the Vision Zero dashboard is currently located in performance.seattle.gov

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The new website will be available soon for everyone to use and learn more about the police reported collisions that have happened in your area.  Here’s a preview of what’s to come:

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Vision Zero Logo

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Bikes and Bagels!

SDOT and Commute Seattle recently teamed up for “Bikes and Bagels,” an event to celebrate biking as part of Bike Everywhere Month. A steady stream of bike riders met up at McGraw Square downtown for coffee, bagels, and an opportunity to chat directly with Seattle transportation staff.

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People shared lots of great feedback with SDOT, including ideas for future projects, best practices to maintain cycle access at construction projects, and general thoughts about biking throughout the city.

Whether you’re a biking newbie or a veteran, SDOT has a host of bike resources for you. Commute Seattle has also been hard at work throughout the month, offering bike tune-ups at Bike Month transportation fairs, and hosting other events, like a free, online Bike Commuting 101 Seminar.

If you missed “Bikes and Bagels,” don’t worry, there’s still plenty of time to participate in Bike Everywhere Day and Bike Everywhere Month! Get started on becoming a regular bike rider or get more bike information here.

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May 20 is Bike Everywhere Day!

Have you taken your bike out for a spin during Bike Month? If not, now is a good time to start! This Friday, May 20, is Bike Everywhere Day! Whether you’re just starting out on a bike or you’re a seasoned rider, SDOT’s Bike Program can help. You’ll find helpful Bike Maps, including a cool Interactive Bicycle Map.

Join bicyclists everywhere for street side celebrations all throughout the city.

People biking on Rainier Ave

What to expect at celebration stations:

  • Free souvenirs
  • Free food and drinks
  • Drawings for fabulous prizes
  • Once-a-year discounted Cascade Bicycle Club membership (select stations only)
  • Bike maintenance

People riding bikes on Rainier

Bike Everywhere Day isn’t just for experienced riders. Thousands of people will be pedaling on our streets to offer encouragement and support to experienced and first time riders alike.

The celebration doesn’t stop there. Join Velo Bike Shop for their Bike Everywhere Day After Party! The fun continues with bites, beverages, and raffle prizes.

Pronto Bikes

If you don’t own a bike, consider trying out Pronto Cycle Share (free rides on May 20!). If a bike ride isn’t in your Friday forecast, no problem. Bike Month continues until the end of May. If distance is an issue, consider a “hybrid commute” where public transit is taken for a portion of the commute and you ride your bike the rest of the way.

Seattle is using our streets to provide safe, affordable travel choices and create great places that encourage people to get out and enjoy streets on foot or by bike. In doing so, we reduce greenhouse gas emissions, improve the health of or residents and make it comfortable for people of all abilities from our 5-year old kids to our 80-year old grandparents to move around.

Let’s keep this two-wheeled momentum going! Happy biking!

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May is Bike Everywhere Month!

There’s plenty of time to participate in Bike Everywhere Month!

Whether you ride 20 miles one way or 2 miles total in combination with a bus ride, you are still a bike commuter. The beauty of the bike is that it complements every rider and every commute, from a calorie-burning training ride to a quick jaunt down the 2nd Ave bike lane on your way in to work.

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Some basic guidelines for riding your bike include:

  • Is your bike in good working order? Make sure you have air in the tires, grease on the chain and some STOP in the brakes.
  • Always ride with a helmet, and use lights front and rear when riding after dark.
  • Get a Bike Buddy, someone to help you prepare for that first bike commute to work and help with choosing clothing and gear.
  • Know your route. Pick up or download a Seattle Bike Map, or check out our Interactive Bicycle Map, for all of the routes, safety suggestions, bike repair shops and much more.
  • Bus in on Monday and bring some clothes for the week. An extra pair of shoes under your desk is a great idea too.
  • Carry your ORCA card with you always. It’s the most reliable Plan B!

Program yourself for success: keep your first ride short and simple, and grow into longer commutes.

Fun fact: last year for Bike to Work Month, Mayor Ed Murray was joined by Seahawks player Michael Bennett for a group ride along the Fremont canal.

Mayor-and-Michael-Bennett-BTWD-5-15-15You can check out video of the ride here.

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Free-Ride Thursdays in May on First Hill Streetcar!

24131130634_f16fe88dd7_oRide the First Hill Streetcar free to re-discover, celebrate and explore some of Seattle’s most vibrant urban neighborhoods.  Join these neighborhoods in celebrating their streetcar stops Thursdays this May:

  • Thursday, May 12th:  Check out the Capitol Hill ArtWalk and celebrate the streetcar on Capitol Hill with interactive performances and visual art installations, 6-9pm – Broadway & Pike and Broadway & Denny streetcar stops
  • Thursday, May 19th:  Explore Chinatown-International District through its first Happy Hour Food Walk with $2, $4 or $6 bites at participating restaurants, 6-9pm – streetcar stops at Jackson St & 5th, 7th and 12th Avenues S
  • Thursday, May 26th:  Join Swedish Medical and Seattle University’s plaza celebration of the streetcar with hotdogs, popsicles, live performances and more, 11:30am-1pm – Broadway & Marion streetcar stop

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For more on the First Hill Streetcar Line and South Lake Union Street Car Line.

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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.

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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.”

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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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