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Archive for 'Bikes'

More Cyclists Using the Broadway Protected Bike Lane Each Day

071714_girl on bike_2013-10-27-21.00.22

Whether it is the summer weather, bike riders becoming familiar with its presence, or a combination of the two, ridership on the two-way Broadway Protected Bike Lane (PBL) is growing at an encouraging pace.

The first protected bike lane in the central city seeks to separate bicycle traffic from vehicular traffic and runs for 1.2 miles along the east side of Broadway from Denny Way to Yesler. A new road surface, bike friendly drainage grates, and painted green bike lanes enhance bicycle safety and mobility. The PBL opened to bicyclists in early May, although a short four-block section (Denny to Union) opened last October.

SDOT started counting the number of cyclists using the PBL in January, when its weekday average use was only 270 bicycles, no doubt a reflection of winter weather and that only a short segment had been opened at that point. By May, when its full length was open, the weekday average had grown to 464 bicycles, and then in June the figure shot up to 562. (The highest single day count was 660 bicycles on Monday, June 30.) The count, tabulated by the hour, shows that the heaviest use occurs during the afternoon commute (5PM-6PM), which is also seen at the other bike counters around the city.  The Fremont Bridge is a long established and heavily used bike route, which is demonstrated by its count of an astounding 4,000 daily bicycle trips on an average summer weekday.

The City has not established any ridership targets for the Broadway PBL, although the count will help to evaluate the biking goals listed in the Seattle Master Bike Plan.

The PBL was included with the construction of the First Hill Streetcar at the request of the Capitol Hill community. When opened for passenger service this coming fall, it will operate along a 2.5 route from Pioneer Square to Capitol Hill, with ten stations and six streetcars. Service will run at 10 minutes intervals during peak hours (Monday through Friday, 6-9 AM and 3-6 PM), 12 minutes midday and on Saturdays, and approximately 15 minutes at other times.

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Freight Master Plan, BTG Financial Review and more

BTG20logo RESIZE

Would you like to know more about progress made by the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) on developing a Freight Master Plan? How about a review of the Bridging the Gap (BTG) finances and an update on the 2014 BTG work plan implementation? Would you like to meet new folks and find out how you can get engaged?   If you answered yes to any of the above questions, you are in luck!

The BTG Levy Oversight Committee has a meeting scheduled for July 29, 2014, 6 – 8 p.m., Seattle City Hall Room 370. The committee is a dedicated group of 15 community members who meet quarterly to review and track the progress of the BTG transportation initiative that was passed by Seattle voters in 2006. They are charged with ensuring SDOT is delivering on the promises made to voters.

Committee members come from all across the city and from all walks of life. They take their oversight and accountability role seriously and they work closely with SDOT to ensure that BTG is not only meeting its goals, but that it is being integrated into the overall goals of the department and the City.

The committee members include:

  • Ann Martin, Co-chair
  • Kristen Lohse, Co-chair
  • Ref Lindmark
  • Betty Seith-Croll
  • Allegra Calder
  • John Coney
  • Jeremy Valenta
  • Barbara Wright
  • Chisula Chambers
  • Jessica Szelag, Bicycle Advisory Board member
  • Lydia Heard, Pedestrian Advisory Board member
  • David Mendoza, Freight Advisory Board member
  • Ben Noble, City Budget Director
  • Councilmember Tom Rasmussen, Transportation Committee Chair

All committee meetings are open to the public and residents are encouraged to attend and share their views on BTG during public comment. If you are interested in how your tax dollars are allocated, why not mark your calendar and join us July 29th.

For more information, please visit BTG Levy Oversight Committee website.

 

 

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Central Area Neighborhood Greenway Drop-in Sessions

Young Students WalkingRESIZE

Please join us next week for drop-in sessions for the Central Area Neighborhood Greenway. Since our last public meeting in February, we have refined options for the greenway route on the north and south ends of the project area.

This greenway is being developed in close coordination with the 23rd Avenue Corridor Improvements Project and will provide a bicycle and pedestrian facility off of 23rd Avenue. The modified 23rd Avenue is being designed to improve mobility through the corridor, but it will not include a protected bike lane (or “cycle track”). People on foot and riding bikes may prefer a calmer route. For those reasons, and to help achieve Seattle’s goal of zero traffic fatalities and serious injuries by 2030, SDOT is installing the Central Area Neighborhood Greenway near this busy arterial.

Neighborhood greenways are safer, calm residential streets that provide a more comfortable environment for people to walk, run and bike. Starting with a good foundation (a street with already low car volumes and speeds), small improvements are made that add up to a big difference. Improvements can include adding speed humps, signage, and pavement markings, reducing the speed limit, and making crossings easier by adding curb extensions, rapid flashing beacons, crosswalks, medians, or traffic signals at busy intersections.

The project is separated into three phases.

  • Phase 1 (E John Street to S Jackson Street)
  • Phase 2 (S Jackson Street to Rainier Avenue S)
  • Phase 3 (E Roanoke Street to E John Street)

Previous outreach efforts focused primarily on Phase 1 of the project. We are completing final design for Phase 1 now and anticipate that its construction will begin this fall.

The drop-in sessions next week will review in greater detail the elements and route options for Phases 2 and 3.

Drop-in Session Details

Phase 2: South Jackson Street to Rainier Avenue South

Tuesday, July 15, 4:30 – 7 PM

St. Mary’s Church School House (611 20th Avenue South)

 

Phase 3: East John Street to East Roanoke Street.

Thursday, July 17, 4 – 6:30 PM

Miller Community Center (330 19th Avenue East)

 

Please feel free to come to either session, as we will have knowledgeable staff available to answer your questions and hear your feedback about all details of the project.

 

For more information about this project, please visit our project website:

http://www.seattle.gov/transportation/centralgreenway.htm

 

If you have questions or comments about the project or drop-in sessions, please contact: Maribel Cruz, Communications Lead (206) 684-7963 • maribel.cruz@seattle.gov

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Alley Activation Creates New Pedestrian Friendly Venues

Crowd enjoys watching World Cup in Nord Alley. Photo courtesy of SounderBruce

Crowd enjoys watching World Cup in Nord Alley. Photo courtesy of SounderBruce

Many in Seattle have been swept up in the excitement of the World Cup. The Seattle Times even ran a front page picture of several hundred soccer fans watching one of the first World Cup games in Nord Alley down in Pioneer Square several weeks ago.

The non-profit International Sustainability Institute (ISI), working in collaboration with the Alliance for Pioneer Square, expects to show 22 of the World Cup matches in Nord Alley this year. This is just the latest example of the alley activation effort that began in Pioneer Square back in 2008 when ISI’s Executive Director moved the organization into the adjoining Nord Building. The City had just removed dumpsters from Pioneer Square alleys in an effort to improve the aesthetics and safety of the alleys, and he envisioned taking it further with a more active use of the alley adjacent to the building.

The group’s efforts led to the first public Nord Alley event in October 2008, when several hundred people enjoyed an evening of food, art, and music. In 2010, the group received a grant to install metal art panels onto which other artists could then install their art. A bicycle repair shop opened in the alley, providing yet another way to activate Nord Alley.

A 2009 contest, cosponsored with SDOT, asked people what they would like to see in Nord Alley, which in turn led to the showing of a number of the 2010 World Cup soccer matches. Showings of the Tour de France followed, along with numerous musical performances and artist displays (many in conjunction with Pioneer Square’s First Thursday Art Walks).

Canton Alley in the Seattle Chinatown International District.

Canton Alley in the Seattle Chinatown International District.

The alley activation success in Pioneer Square attracted the interest of the Seattle Chinatown International District Public Development Authority (SCIpda), who had a similar vision for their own Canton Alley. While SCIpda was the main driver, the Chinatown Historic Alley Partnership (CHAP), a group of community stakeholders, was formed to guide the effort and broaden community support and involvement.

Historically, Canton Alley has served as a hub of commercial, residential, and community based activities. As part of the recent alley reactivation effort, CHAP worked closely with local property and business owners and the Business Improvement Area to implement the City’s Clear Alley Program, removing dumpsters from the right of ways.

For Canton Alley, located right next to the Wing Luke Museum, CHAP envisions street pavers running down the middle of alley, with lanterns hanging from the adjacent buildings. The community’s long term goal is to bring businesses back into the currently vacant storefronts to help draw in more foot traffic. Like its Pioneer Square neighbor, Canton Alley serves as an ideal location for established popular International District outdoor events, and has hosted numerous community events in the last three years, including Dragon Fest, Jam Fest, and alley parties.

SDOT stepped up its own support for alley activation with the 2011 SDOT Director’s Rule creating the designation of “festival streets” that permits the use of a single year-long street use permit for multiple pedestrian friendly events. Nord and Canton alleys are two of the three streets to have obtained the designation.

This pregame shot provides a good example of typical alleyway road surface issues that SDOT will address. Photo courtesy SounderBruce

This pregame shot provides a good example of typical alleyway road surface issues that SDOT will address. Photo courtesy of SounderBruce

For only $800,000-$900,000 (including both design and construction) it is expected that both alleys will be repaved in the second quarter of 2015. By this time next year, both are expected to be alive with activity, and serving as examples of how alleys can be valuable community resources and how neighborhood groups can work with SDOT and other City departments to create a more livable and vibrant community.

 

 

 

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Schools Zones; Keeping it Slow, Keeping it Safe

Speed hump DSCN0168 RESIZEThis summer SDOT is installing speed humps in school zones at four schools in Seattle. (What’s a speed hump, you say? See our previous blog posting for the technical explanation). Lowering vehicle speed is one of the ways SDOT improves safety on the walking and biking routes to school. National studies show that a relatively small reduction in speed can make a big difference in safety for pedestrians. In Europe, speed humps are sometimes called “sleeping policemen” because they reinforce slower speeds and good behavior even at times when school is not in session, making schools and playgrounds more accessible to neighbors at all times of the day, throughout the year.

Research shows that speed humps are an effective tool not only at reducing speed but also at improving safety. The Institute of Traffic Engineers found a 13 percent reduction in collisions at locations where speed humps were installed. After SDOT installed speed humps near Graham Hill and Highland Park Elementary Schools, the percentage of drivers exceeding the speed limit by more than 10 miles per hour decreased by 80 percent at each school.

Speed hump and school bus DSCN0186 RESIZESpeed humps will be constructed on NE 130th Street near Olympic Hills School; on NE 80th Street near Thornton Creek School; on 30th Avenue NE near Eckstein Middle School; and on 30th Avenue SW near Roxhill School and Explorer Middle School. Construction is expected to be completed by the end of August, ready to serve school safety on the first day of school in September.

For more information about SDOT’s Safe Routes to School program, please visit our website: http://www.seattle.gov/transportation/saferoutes.htm

If you have questions or comments Safe Routes to School, please contact: Brian Dougherty, SDOT’s Safe Routes to School Coordinator by phone at 206-684-5124 or email at brian.dougherty@seattle.gov

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Summer is here and SDOT crews are busy

 

N/NE Northgate Way and N 105th project is on target to wrap up this summer.

N/NE Northgate Way and N 105th project is on target to wrap up this summer.

 

The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) is on track to meet its 2014 goals for the Bridging the Gap (BTG) transportation initiative. As summer begins, we have moved into the busy construction season and you can find work on BTG projects all across the city. SDOT has been busy paving roads, constructing new sidewalk, installing new signs and restriping roadway markings. BTG continues to make steady progress towards its nine-year goals.

This year, SDOT will complete two major paving projects – N 105th, N/NE Northgate Way and Holman Road – both projects are underway and will bring 17 new lane-miles of paving. And that’s not all, since January:

  • 15 new crossing improvements have been implemented and new pedestrian countdown signals installed at 40 intersections.
  • 263 new bicycle parking spaces and 14 miles of bike route signs have been installed. Crews have also inspected 40 miles of trails.
  • Three Safe Routes to School projects have been completed, 56 new curb ramps have been constructed and 11 school zones have been improved.
  • 444 new street trees have been planted so far this year and more than 457 have been pruned.

SDOT crews are also chipping away on much-needed maintenance work as well. Just this year, they have already replaced more than 1,558 regulatory traffic signs, installed new street name signs at 487 intersections, remarked more than 240 crosswalks and replaced 796 linear feet of poor guard rail.

During the seven and half years of the levy, the City has delivered on the promises made by Bridging the Gap. To date SDOT has paved 205 lane-miles of road, secured 50,000 new hours of transit service, constructed 100 blocks of new sidewalk, repaired 167 blocks of sidewalk, remarked 4,729 crosswalks, replaced 44,439 regulatory signs, installed school zone signage at 196 schools, replaced street name signs at 9,873 intersections, striped 150 miles of bike lanes and sharrows and planted 5,569 new street trees.

For more information about BTG and its goals and progress towards meeting those goals, please visit the BTG web page.

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Time to Start Building More Neighborhood Greenways

Woman_kid trailor-1 RESIZE Neighborhood greenways are safer, calmer residential streets for you, your family and neighbors. On streets with low car volumes and speeds, installing a series of small traffic improvements can add up to a big difference.

Seattle currently has about 10 miles of neighborhood greenways in place. This summer we’re building the next round in the Jackson Place, Madison Park, Olympic Hills (Lake City), University District, and Wedgwood neighborhoods. People who live, work, play and shop in the areas can look forward to 20 MPH streets taking them to where they want to go. To reinforce the calmer speeds, speed humps are being added and stop signs placed on streets intersecting the greenway. The stop signs halt drivers before entering the greenway so they can look and see if anyone is coming. They also give priority to those walking and biking along the route. We’ll also make pavement and temporary sidewalk repairs; add wayfinding signs; put in curb ramps at busy streets and add bicycle pavement markings to help guide users and alert drivers that they are sharing the street.

Speed hump construction requires on-street parking restrictions for a minimum of two days and may include additional time for prep. Construction notices will be delivered to impacted properties prior to work starting, as well as ‘no park’ signs placed in advance.

Let’s continue to celebrate the creation of a citywide network of facilities in Seattle for people of all ages and abilities to walk and bike along.

 

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Monday, June 30th – South Park and Georgetown reunited and it feels so good

South Park bridge IMG_1664 RESIZEDAfter three years of construction King County will open the new South Park Bridge to vehicles, bicyclists and pedestrians. The old bridge was closed to traffic because it was no longer safe to remain open. After an unprecedented effort that brought together community members, business partners, and government at the local, regional, state, and national levels, the new South Park Bridge is receiving its finishing touches. Designed to resemble its iconic predecessor, the new bridge was built to modern standards and should last a hundred years.

For information about the grand opening celebration on Sunday June 29th in South Park check the project website here. There will be a party all day long and you will be able to walk the bridge and tour its south tower.

The complex construction project required large-scale excavations to lay the caisson foundation and install piers. Each span of the drawbridge was brought in by a massive floating crane, and attached to the bridge with more than 1,000 large bolts. Crews installed more than 750,000 feet of electrical wiring – enough to stretch from South Park to Yakima. It required an estimated 27,600 cubic yards of concrete, enough to fill more than 2,700 concrete trucks.

Even though each drawspan weighs three million pounds, they are so precisely balanced that opening the drawbridge requires approximately the same amount of horsepower needed to drive a Toyota Prius. State-of-the-art mechanical and electrical drive systems will substantially improve the bridge’s operation.

South Park Bridge sideview IMG_1645 RESIZEThe new bridge meets current structural, seismic, and traffic standards. New bicycle lanes have been built on the road shoulders, and sidewalks on the bridge are separated from the roadway by a traffic rail. The moveable spans have a solid deck rather than open steel grating. The concrete deck also provides better traction. Roadway runoff will be treated in two rain gardens, which also feature salvaged components of the old bridge and interpretive displays along a walkway that provides improved access to the riverfront.

With funding from King County’s One Percent for Art program, Tucson artist Barbara Grygutis contributed ideas to the bridge design that honor the historic and cultural integrity of the original 1931 bridge as well as the South Park community as it exists today.

Art and components of the previous bridge have been incorporated into both the new bridge and the area around it.

Four rockers and guide tracks, which raised and lowered the drawspan of the old bridge and gave the bridge its historic status, now flank the approaches to the new bridge. The pedestrian railing has curved pickets that open toward the center of the bridge, echoing the motion of the Duwamish Waterway underneath. Gears and rail panels from the old bridge are embedded in the pedestrian rail throughout the span. These elements are painted metallic silver, and the rockers will be dramatically lit at night.

Grygutis was selected by 4Culture King County’s cultural services office, which administers the county’s One Percent for Art program.

Salvaged gears from the original bridge that are incorporated into the railing.

Salvaged gears from the original bridge that are incorporated into the railing.

The old five-way intersection at Dallas Avenue S and 14th Avenue S was reconfigured in the spring of 2012 into a safer four-way intersection. Street landscaping has been used throughout the bridge site. The county replaced concrete rubble on the riverbank with native vegetation to provide better marine habitat.

For more information about the bridge construction and the project, why not visit the King County South Park Bridge website.

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Join us to celebrate new artwork on the Burke-Gilman Trail on June 14

Artwork by Anna MacDonald.

Artwork by Anna MacDonald.

Why not join us as we celebrate the dedication of a new public artwork by Anna MacDonald along the Burke-Gilman Trail. The dedication will be from 3 to 4 p.m., Saturday, June 14 at Burke-Gilman Playground Park in the Bryant neighborhood.

What: MacDonald’s new artwork, Reclamation, consists of three variations of one form that resides at two sites along the trail. Two bronze copies of the same tree-form, ALREADY and NOT YET, create an arc in space that is completed by the user’s imagination. Located 1/2 mile east, the original tree, REMAIN, feeds and shapes a pair of Red Alder saplings. RECLAMATION commemorates the origin and transformation of the Burke-Gilman Trail, engaging trail users in a conversation about coming and going, and about physical and spiritual regeneration. It represents the city’s commitment to establishing greenways and honors the volunteer efforts of those who care for the corridor’s native species year round.
When: 3 to 4 p.m., Saturday, June 14
Where: Burke-Gilman Playground Park, 5201 Sand Point Way NE, 98105. Artwork site is located near the corner of NE 52nd Pl and 40th Ave NE, next to the Metropolitan Market.
Getting There: Limited street parking is available around the park’s vicinity. The site is accessible by King County Metro Transit busses: 30, 65 and 75.
For more info: Jason Huff, public art project manager, (206) 684-7278.

 

MacDonald’s artwork is commissioned with Seattle Department of Transportation 1% for Art funds.

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June 3rd Open House for the Northgate Pedestrian and Bicycle Bridge

 

ped bike Bridge RESIZE

We’d like to hear your thoughts on the concepts we’ve developed for Northgate Pedestrian and Bicycle Bridge before we move into design. So, please come to our open house next week to see models of some of the preliminary design concepts, comment on the selection criteria we’ll use to select between bridge types and alignments and speak with our project staff. Sound Transit staff will also be on hand to answer questions about the Northgate Station.

The open house will be on Tuesday, June 3 between 5:30 and 7:30 p.m. at Olympic View Elementary School cafeteria (504 NE 95th Street).  There will be a short presentation at 6 p.m. giving an overview of the project and the options for the bridge type and bridge alignments.

Once built, the Northgate Pedestrian and Bicycle Bridge will provide a non-motorized crossing over Interstate 5 to reconnect the communities, neighborhoods, businesses and schools in the Northgate area. The bridge will be located somewhere between NE 100th and NE 103rd streets and will likely be between 1800 and 2200 feet long. We expect to identify a preferred option this fall, and possibly begin construction in 2016, finishing well before Sound Transit’s North Link line begins operation.

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 or the Open House, please contact:

Art Brochet, Communications Lead

(206) 615-0786 • art.brochet@seattle.gov

 

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