Blocking the Box Enforcement on Mercer St and Dexter Ave to Keep Travelers Safe

The City of Seattle conducted blocking the box enforcement on Mercer Street at Dexter Avenue N in coordination with transit lane enforcement at other locations in downtown. Seattle Police Officers enforced the posted blocking the box restrictions which help address vehicles that illegally stop in the intersection impeding traffic and pedestrian safety. More of these enforcements are planned for the weeks ahead, and will occur throughout the city.

On February 12th, 2015, Mayor Murray announced Vision Zero – Seattle’s plan to eliminate traffic fatalities and serious injuries by 2030. The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) and the Seattle Police Department (SPD) have partnered to achieve our safety goals by following the basic principles of this approach which include:

  • Roadway design that takes human error into account and creates a safer, more predictable environment for all travelers
  • Targeted education and public engagement that empowers people to make better decisions
  • Data-driven enforcement that targets high crash areas and key behaviors

Seattle is consistently recognized as one of the safest cities in the country. Over the past decade we’ve seen a 30 percent decline in traffic fatalities, even as our population grows. Despite this fact, traffic collisions are a leading cause of death for Seattle residents aged 5-24. Older adults are also disproportionately affected, and as our population ages, this trend could grow. In 2014, there were 10,815 police-reported collisions in Seattle and 15 fatalities occurred. This is unacceptable.

We can do better. At the core of the worldwide Vision Zero movement is the belief that death and injury on city streets is preventable. For the most part, these aren’t “accidents”. Collisions are often the result of poor behaviors and unforgiving roadway designs. So we must approach the problem from multiple angles — street designs that emphasize safety, predictability, and the potential for human error, coupled with targeted education and data-driven enforcement.

Thank you to drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians for practicing safe travel habits, and to the Seattle Police Traffic Officers for the work they do to keep us safe.


Calling all Artists! – Seattle Bridge Residencies for 2016

Art commissioned by the City for the 2009 Bridge Talks Back event.

Art commissioned by the City for the 2009 Bridge Talks Back event.

The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT), in partnership with the Office of Arts & Culture (Arts), is excited to announce two unique opportunities for artist residencies in 2016. Using the towers of two movable bridges as a canvas, the City is seeking an individual or team of artists for the following residencies:

Fremont Bridge writer/poet-in-residence

Summer 2016

This artist will produce a written piece and make a public presentation as homage to the 100th birthday of the Fremont Bridge, which opened on July 4, 1917. The Fremont Bridge crosses the Lake Washington Ship Canal, connecting the Fremont and Queen Anne neighborhoods in North Seattle. Opening an average of 35 times a day, it is one of the most frequently opened drawbridges in the United States, and also one of Seattle’s most colorful and beloved.

University Bridge lighting artist-in-residence

Summer 2016

The lighting artist(s) will work closely with SDOT staff and engineers to create a concept sketch and budget for future lighting on three of Seattle’s draw, or bascule, bridges: University, Fremont, and Ballard. The University Bridge spans Portage Bay, linking the University District with Eastlake neighborhood. The Ballard Bridge is located in Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood, and crosses the Lake Washington Ship Canal just before it opens to the Puget Sound.

More information will be available in early 2016 and will be commissioned with 1% for Art funds. In the meantime, you can read the blog of the Fremont Bridge last artist-in-residence (2009) at this link:

Accessible Temporary Routes Provide Safe Pathways

Seattle is one of the fastest growing cities in the country, and there seems to be no shortage of construction projects as we continue to grow. It’s important for us all to remember to keep our pedestrian network accessible to everyone, including people with disabilities. Even temporary routes around construction zones, in cases where a portion of the sidewalk may be occupied by construction equipment or materials, need to be usable by all.

peds gif 11-17-15Bull Dozer








SDOT requires that these temporary routes be accessible and usable to all, including people with mobility or visual disabilities. A few of the key components to consider when providing an accessible temporary route are:

  • The route must be at least 4’ wide to provide adequate width for mobility devices (wheelchairs, scooters, etc.).
  • If the detoured route crosses a curb down to the street or if there is a similar level change, a ramp needs to be provided to allow mobility devices to get up or down and around the obstacle.
  • There should be a consistent and stable detectable edge at the base of the route to provide people with visual impairments the ability to find their way while sweeping with a cane.
  • There should be a solid barrier between the pedestrian route and the construction zone.
  • There must be adequate headroom above, so that tall pedestrians with visual impairments are not in danger of hitting their head on any low hanging obstructions.


These are not the only concerns, but key topics when considering accessibility. There are, of course, other considerations as well, for example – the need to keep pedestrians visible and safe from vehicular traffic and any construction activity. Closing a sidewalk or a street crossing is never ideal, but sometimes it may be necessary.  If this is necessary, proper signage is a must.

Closing the Sidewalk is the last resort

Closing sidewalks is a last resort

Examples of Accessible Temporary Routes

SDOT is currently proposing a revised Director’s Rule for Pedestrian Mobility in and Around Work Zones (DR 10-2015) and accessibility will certainly be a significant component of that rule. Below are examples of temporary routes around construction zones that have addressed accessibility concerns.

Sturdy barricades positioned to provide adequate width for mobility devices

Sturdy barricades positioned to provide adequate width for mobility devices

Temporary Asphalt Ramps provide Access around New Curb Ramp construction

Temporary asphalt ramps provide access around new curb ramp construction

Low Wood Boards can provide detection for Visually Impaired Pedestrians

Low wood boards can provide detection for visually impaired pedestrians

Scaffolding constructed to provide adequate headroom

Scaffolding constructed to provide adequate headroom

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

SDOT’s 2015-16 Winter Weather Brochures are Available Online Now


SDOT’s annual Winter Weather brochure is now available for download online! The brochures offers a large map of Seattle’s snow and ice routes, and provides valuable travel and contact information for all who use city streets during the winter season.

These brochures will be free at Seattle Public Library branches and Neighborhood Service Centers soon. We are also distributing to Seattle Public elementary schools for students to bring home to their families.

You can access the brochure in several languages here, including:

  • English
  • Spanish
  • Chinese
  • Vietnamese
  • Tagalog
  • Somali
  • Korean
  • Oromo
  • Tigrinya
  • Amharic


For just the map of snow and ice routes, click here.

For more information on winter storm preparedness and contact information, check out our Winter Weather page.

We hope you have a safe (and warm!) winter weather season!

SDOT Crews Make Getting around North Green Lake Easier and Safer

Here’s an update on safety improvements in the Green Lake neighborhood. This summer SDOT crews repaved two blocks of E Green Lake Dr N and improved curb ramps at three intersections in the heart of the business district on the north side of Green Lake Park.  By focusing improvements on this important location, SDOT improved safety and mobility for people walking, biking, driving, riding the bus or simply passing through the park.  SDOT made extra efforts to minimize impacts to the community during this project.

SDOT crews repaved E Green Lake Dr N from Wallingford Ave N to N 78th St.  The asphalt pavement at the bus stop was quite damaged from the usual wear and tear of buses. Instead of paving the bus stop with asphalt again, SDOT invested additional funds to build a concrete “bus pad,” which holds up to the weight of buses much better.

Green Lake PavingWhen SDOT repaves a street, federal law requires us to have curb ramps which are up to current standards.  Therefore, we rebuilt old curb ramps and created two curb ramps where none previously existed at Wallingford Ave N, Stroud Ave N and N 78th St.  As a bonus, the design of the new curb ramp at Wallingford Ave N keeps polluted water runoff on the street and directs it toward storm drains.  The previous curb ramp allowed water runoff to flow into the park and toward the children’s wading pool.  (see pictures)

Green Lake Curb Ramp

SDOT was keenly aware of the many shoppers, walkers, joggers, and everyone else who uses this popular business district and the well-used paths around the Green Lake.  We built the curb ramps in phases to minimize disruptions and we worked with our friends at the Parks Dept. to schedule the project to avoid the big summer events at Green Lake Park.  We also posted signs at key locations in the park to inform folks using the Green Lake Path how to keep moving while avoiding construction areas.  outreach sign

This project was funded by SDOT’s Arterial Major Maintenance program, where SDOT crews repave sections of arterials up to two blocks long which are in the greatest need of repair.

Seattle School Traffic Safety Committee Seeks New Members

The Seattle School Traffic Safety Committee is looking for new members to help make walking and biking to school in Seattle safer and easier. The volunteer board, which was created by the Seattle City Council in 1975 to improve traffic safety for all of Seattle’s school children, advises the Mayor and City Council with respect to school traffic safety, including adult crossing guard locations, school traffic signs and signals, school safety patrols, bicycle facilities, sidewalks and student traffic safety education.


Board members serve a three-year term, with an opportunity to serve a second term. Members must be Seattle residents and may not be City employees. The board meets the fourth Friday of each month from 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. typically at Seattle Public Schools headquarters with occasional field meetings at school sites or school crossings. Ideal committee members may include parents of school children, frequent walkers and bikers, people interested in pedestrian or bicycle encouragement and those with expertise in public health or child injury prevention.

The City of Seattle is committed to promoting diversity in the City’s boards and commissions. Women, young persons, seniors, persons with disabilities, sexual and gender minorities, persons of color and immigrants are encouraged to apply.

Interested Seattleites should submit a resume and cover letter explaining their interest via email by 5 p.m. on November 30, 2015, to Ashley Rhead at For more information or questions, call Ashley Rhead at (206) 684-7577 or send an e-mail to the address above.

Madison Corridor Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) Latest Design Options Open House Monday 11/16 @ 5:30 p.m.

The Madison Corridor BRT is hosting an Open House on November 16th from 5 -7 p.m. at the Seattle Public Library, 1000 4th Avenue (Level 4, Room 1).  There will be a brief presentation at 5:30 p.m.

12th Avenue Concept

12th Avenue at East Madison Street Design Concept

For over a year, SDOT has been working with communities along the Madison Corridor to develop and assess bus rapid transit (BRT) design concepts from the waterfront to Madison Valley.

Please join your neighbors to review the latest Madison Corridor BRT design concept and see how we are responding to community input. Discussions will focus on the latest design opportunities, including a new Madison Valley routing option and a potential future extension of BRT service to Madison Park.

The meeting is accessible via Metro routes 2 and 12, along with Metro routes serving 3rd Ave. There is bicycle parking near the 4th and 5th Avenue entrances.  There are also covered bike racks in the parking garage reached from Spring Street.

Seeking Feedback on Ballard’s Urban Design and Transportation Study at Our Open House on 11/18!


The City of Seattle is seeking community input in response to ongoing development, and Sound Transit’s planning for light rail to Ballard. The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) and Seattle’s Department of Planning and Development (DPD) are working with neighborhood groups and non-profits, organized as the Ballard Partnership for Smart Growth, to develop an integrated Urban Design and Transportation Framework (UDTF).

SDOT’s transportation element of this coordinated study Move Ballard, will recommend near-term multimodal transportation improvements for the Ballard Hub Urban Village in response to the area’s recent growth. The plan will also evaluate potential future high capacity (e.g. light rail, bus rapid transit) transit station areas in anticipation of possible Metro and Sound Transit investments in the neighborhood. This meeting is an opportunity to comment on Move Ballard’s draft recommendations.

Over the summer, SDOT gathered feedback on the community’s priorities for transportation improvements and location preferences for a future high capacity transit station. Based on community input, traffic analysis, adopted modal plans, and ongoing projects; SDOT prioritized and evaluated local transportation improvements and future high capacity transit station locations.
The City, and Ballard Partnership for Smart Growth are hosting an open house on Wednesday, November 18 from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Leif Erikson Lodge. This meeting is your opportunity to:

• Learn what we heard at the last open house and various stakeholder meetings
• Comment on the draft priorities and recommended design concepts for local transportation improvements
• Comment on draft evaluation of potential high capacity transit station locations (e.g. light rail)
• Comment on draft streetscape designs

While the main focus of this open house will be on transportation, this is also an opportunity to comment on land use and urban design draft recommendations.
Here are ways you can share your input:

• Attend the Community Meeting:
November 18, 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Leif Erikson Lodge, Large Hall (2nd floor)
2245 NW 57th St
Light snacks will be provided.

• Review information online and contact the project planners:
Move Ballard and Ballard Urban Design and Transportation Framework.


At the first meeting held a year ago, the community shared its affection of Ballard’s historic qualities and its tradition of industry. Residents conveyed their appreciation of the growth and variety of shops and restaurants in their walkable neighborhood. However, community members also expressed concerns that a number of recent high-density projects being built in the area do not contribute to Ballard’s character. There were also concerns about affordability and transportation improvements that haven’t kept pace with the growth.

The City then worked with the Ballard Partnership to define responses to the community input on the character of growth in Ballard core business areas. At the second project public meeting last November, the City received strong support for preliminary recommendations to shape new development, streetscape and open space in downtown Ballard. At the third project meeting in May, we heard the community’s priorities for transportation improvements for all travel modes and preferences for potential future high capacity transit station locations. At the upcoming meeting, you will have the chance to comment on the draft prioritization of local transportation improvements and assessment of potential future high capacity station locations. Tell us what you think about the future of all modes of transportation in Ballard.

If you have questions or comments, here are the project contacts: Chris Yake with SDOT at or 206-727-8719. Aditi Kambuj with DPD at
or 206-615-1739.

How is Vision Zero doing in Seattle?

On February 12th, 2015, Mayor Murray announced Vision Zero – Seattle’s plan to eliminate traffic fatalities and serious injuries by 2030. The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) and the Seattle Police Department (SPD) have partnered to achieve our safety goals by following the basic principles of this approach which include:

  • Roadway design that takes human error into account and creates a safer, more predictable environment for all travelers
  • Targeted education and public engagement that empowers people to make better decisions
  • Data-driven enforcement that targets high crash areas and key behaviors


How does someone find out how well is Seattle doing with their Vision Zero goal?

The City publishes our Vision Zero progress online through the Performance Seattle portal . This information can be found under the “Transportation” section, and then navigate to the “Achieve zero traffic fatalities by 2030” under “Safety”.

Performance SeattleOur trending progress is measured using a 5-year rolling average. The rolling average is commonly used by federal agencies to smooth out the short-term variations and fluctuations in crashes and severity each year. This develops a trend line that we can track to see how we are doing with our safety goals.

How do I find out what causes these fatal and serious injury collisions in Seattle?

Each year, SDOT publishes the Traffic Report online. This report contains a wide range of traffic data unique to Seattle, and also includes detailed information about the collision patterns, such as:

  • Contributing circumstances to these fatal and serious injury collisions
  • General information about the fatal collisions which occurred that year
  • Breakdowns on the pedestrian and bicycle collisions


What can I do to help promote Vision Zero?

You can help by creating a culture of safety in your workplace, around your family and friends, and your neighborhood. Tell them about what it means to you if they put themselves and everyone on the road at risk if they pick up that phone while driving. Ask them about how many traffic deaths they would want to have amongst their family, friends, and neighbors with the decisions and choices they make when they are behind the wheel.

Everyone has the right to safety and the area you live in should not determine your quality of life. Our shared goal and collective responsibility is ZERO deaths and ZERO serious injuries .

Here is a link to our safety education resources:


Traveler Safety Tips for Darker, Rainy Months

Fall has arrived in the northwest bringing rainy weather and shorter days. Statistically, there are more collisions during the darker and wetter months of the year. Seattle is actively working to raise safety awareness and improve safety on our streets through Vision Zero, the citywide plan to end traffic deaths and serious injuries by 2030. The Seattle Department of Transportation is sharing some important safety tips for everyone as they travel the streets of Seattle this fall and winter.

Fall Collage


Focus on the Road

Distracted driving incidents have more than tripled since 2011. People driving need to pay attention and put the phone away when they get in the car. That call or text can wait.

Make Smart Choices

Taking personal responsibility on our streets means not driving impaired—which remains the single biggest contributing factor to fatalities. If you’ve had too much to drink, park it, cab it, take transit or use a rideshare service such as Uber or Lyft.

Slow Down

  • The laws of physics tell us that higher speeds result in more crashes, injuries, and deaths: When a person who is walking is hit by a car traveling 40 miles per hour, that person has a 10 percent chance of survival. Those are not good odds.
  • The good news is that, if we slow traffic down a little, something remarkable happens: When a person who is walking is hit by a car travelling 20 miles per hour, the survival rate jumps to 90 percent.

See and Be Seen

People driving need to pay extra attention. People walking and biking need to make sure they are visible. The best way to do this is to wear reflectors or bright colored clothing. If you’re riding a bike, use lights and reflective stickers. And remember, drivers are required to stop for pedestrians in the crosswalk, whether it is marked or unmarked.

Please be aware of each other as you’re getting around and travel safely. For more information on Vision Zero, visit #VisionZeroSEA