Mercer Corridor Project – Maintaining Safety through the Corridor

Travelers who use the Mercer Corridor have much to look forward to as construction is expected to wrap-up later this year. As pavement is poured, lanes are added, sidewalks poured, bike lanes completed and signal timing adjusted, SDOT will maintain its commitment to safety to all those who work, live and travel in the corridor. Though traffic capacity is limited, the project opened two new westbound lanes between Ninth Ave N and Queen Anne Ave N last summer. This provides a much improved, direct route from I-5 to Seattle Center, Uptown and Queen Anne, and it also eliminates some of the challenges between turning vehicles and pedestrians.

Bicycle and Pedestrian route

Bicycle and Pedestrian route

Work in the past six months has focused on Mercer between Fifth Ave N and Ninth Ave N, and south along Fifth Ave N. Installation of new signals, sidewalks, and accessible ramps has required that traffic lanes, sidewalks, and crosswalks be closed to protect pedestrians and others from construction activities. Pedestrians have had to cross the street at signalized intersections and sometimes travel two or three blocks out of their way to avoid the construction zones. This is inconvenient, but necessary to maintain safe, accessible connections during construction. Pedestrian maps highlighting closures and detour routes are posted on our project website as well as on sidewalks in the project area. Here’s a link:

Mercer St Pedestrian Detour map

Mercer St Pedestrian Detour map

As work progresses, more corners and crosswalks are opening up with improved ramps and sidewalks. All new sidewalks and curbs are constructed to meet the current Americans with Disabilities Act standards for mobility providing safe travels for all users in the corridor.

Work will continue near the intersection of Dexter Ave N and Mercer St where temporary configurations have been in place on both streets since July of last year. Temporary roadways were constructed so that crews could safely work on major utility relocations on both Mercer St and Dexter Ave N. Both roadways and corresponding curvatures drivers experience will be removed this year, starting with Mercer St the weekend of February 7.

Removing the bridge over Broad St at the intersection of Mercer St and Dexter Ave N

Removing the bridge over Broad St at the intersection of Mercer St and Dexter Ave N

During this weekend closure, crews will also stripe the eastbound lanes with their final markings. Pedestrians will also experience a noticeable change in their routing as the temporary roadways are removed. Following the February 7 weekend closure, pedestrians will be moved from the south side of Mercer St to new sidewalks on the north side of Mercer St between 5th Ave N and Dexter Ave N. The new separated bicycle path will be in place adjacent to the sidewalk, but crews will wait for drier weather to add channelization markings on the bike path.

Do You take Transit on Madison Street? Your input is greatly appreciated.

Do you take Transit on Madison Street? SDOT has a new online survey and is seeking input for the Madison Corridor Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) Study.

The Study is developing a concept design for BRT from Colman Dock to Martin Luther King Jr. Way and will examine two alternatives to evaluate travel-time savings, traffic impacts, ridership projections, and parking impacts in the coming months.


Route 12 Bus on Madison Street

The 2.1-mile corridor runs from Colman Dock east to 23rd Avenue and will improve access to ferries, Third Avenue transit, First Hill medical facilities and housing, Seattle University, the Central district, Link Light Rail, and the First Hill Streetcar.

Madison Street Cooridor Map

Madison Street Cooridor Map

SDOT is seeking input on key elements before this analysis begins, including transit connections, routing options, station locations, and an alternate bike facility.  After the analysis is complete, SDOT will launch a round of outreach to share the results and discuss community preferences about the design options. The last question of the survey is a map exercise; don’t forget to share your map. #MadisonBRT

The survey ends February 5th.  You can request paper copies of the survey directly from SDOT, by emailing or contacting Sara Walton at 206-386-4645.

For more information on the Madison BRT study, visit the project website.

Bridging the Gap Transportation Levy Dollars at Work – 2015, part 1

In 2006, Seattle voters passed a nine-year levy program targeting transportation maintenance and improvement projects – Bridging the Gap (BTG). The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) has worked hard every year to spend the levy dollars wisely and to hold to the promises made to voters. Once again in 2015, the work plan for the program sets aggressive goals and will push SDOT staff to be creative in their designs and delivery of projects.

One of the most visible programs of the BTG levy is the asphalt and concrete paving program; this year they will deliver 117 lane miles of new pavements along some of the city’s most traveled streets. Projects include paving work along Renton Avenue South – Phase I and along Roosevelt Way NE.


Bridging the Gap


Additional work to be completed in 2015:

  • SDOT will repair 25 blocks of sidewalk, rehabilitate seven stairways and make smaller repairs to 10 lane-miles of road through the Arterial Major Maintenance program.


  • Seattle’s bridges will continue to receive much needed repair work. Crews will make 253 repairs to Seattle’s bridges, while construction will begin on – Yesler Way over 4th Ave.


  • Construction will begin on the 23rd Avenue Corridor Improvement Project – Phase 1


  • SDOT will plant 180 new street trees and prune more than 3,000 trees.


  • Ten Neighborhood Street Fund (NSF) Large Projects will be constructed.


During the seven years of the levy, the city has delivered on the promises made by BTG. SDOT has paved more than 222 lane-miles of road, repaired 193 blocks of sidewalk, made 2,413 bridge repairs, rehabilitated 40 stairways, pruned more than 26,220 trees and planted 6,135 new street trees.

For more information about BTG’s goals and progress on meeting those targets, please visit the BTG web page.

Bicycle Safety and Transit Improvements along Roosevelt Way NE

SDOT is repaving Roosevelt Way NE between Fuhrman Ave NE and NE 65th Street and adding safety improvements this fall 2015 to spring 2016. Along with meeting Seattle’s basic maintenance needs, we are adding a one-way Protected Bike Lane (PBL) on the west side of Roosevelt Way NE, transit reliability improvements and pedestrian improvements.

Project Map

Roosevelt Overview Map

Roosevelt Overview Map

Last fall we mailed project fliers, letters and held an open house to talk about the paving project. At that time we were only planning on installing the PBL from the University Bridge to NE 45th Street. At the open house, we shared that there were a few project components we hoped to add should funding become available. These included in-lane transit stops for better bus reliability and sidewalk repairs for easier pedestrian movement.

Since the open house, some funding for these improvements has been identified. This triggered another evaluation of how the project will best meet our Complete Streets Ordinance and transportation modal plan recommendations. Shifting the transit stops in-lane provided us with an opportunity to add the PBL recommended in the Bicycle Master Plan. There have been nine collisions involving bikes between NE 45th and NE 65th streets from October 2010 to October 2014, so the PBL would be a safety improvement and create better connections to Seattle’s citywide bike network and multimodal system. We can leverage the Roosevelt Way NE Paving Project to make bicycling safer and more comfortable along the corridor.  And we can do it in a way that minimizes construction disruptions and helps meet our goal of providing people with more travel options.





What is the goal of adding a PBL?

Safety for all travelers

  • People biking – separate bicyclists from travel lanes and parking maneuvers
  • People walking – separate bicycles from pedestrians
  • People driving – provide predictability within the street


What are the benefits of adding a PBL and transit islands?

  • Improve safety, as people are no longer riding bikes in the “door zone” or being blocked by buses
  • Improve transit reliability by adding in-lane bus stops (transit islands)
  • Create more space for people waiting for the bus by adding transit islands
  • Add connections to a citywide bicycle network and multimodal system at:
    • NE 47th Street, which connects to the University Neighborhood Greenway on 12th Avenue NE
    • Ravenna Boulevard where SDOT is upgrading the buffered bike lane to a PBL this year
    • NE 65th Street, where the new Link Light Rail Station is under construction



The two existing general purpose lanes will remain and we’ll continue to prioritize bus service. However, on-street parking and loading zones would be removed on the west side of the street. We know that businesses and residents can come to rely on public parking and do not take this lightly. Parking utilization data collection is currently underway.

Existing Cross Section

Existing Cross Section

We also work with the public to understand their access needs and determine how we can continue to meet those needs with the addition of the new facility. Three drop-in sessions at various times are being held the week of January 19. We’re also conducting door to door outreach and meeting with individual businesses and neighborhood groups.

Proposed Cross Section

Proposed Cross Section

We’d like to invite you to attend one of three drop-in sessions to meet with project staff, ask questions and share your thoughts.

Tuesday, January 20|2 – 3:30 PM: University Heights, 5031 University Way NE

Wednesday, January 21|8 – 9:30 AM: Wayward Coffeehouse, 6417 Roosevelt Way NE

Thursday, January 22 | 5:30 – 7 PM: University Heights, 5031 University Way NE

You can find a comprehensive Questions and Answers document at: For more information about the Roosevelt Way NE Paving Project visit

69 New Trees and Safer Streets in Columbia City

As part of our Safe Routes to School program here in SDOT, and in partnership with our Urban Forestry team, Columbia City now has 69 new beautiful trees along 42nd Avenue South between South Orcas and South Graham streets. The project is in direct response to what community members shared–concerns about cars speeding through the neighborhood to avoid back-ups on the nearby arterial and blowing past yield signs. This corridor is flanked by two schools: St. Edward School and Aki Kurose Middle School. With school children walking in the area and the neighborhood looking to reclaim its street, the following changes were made:

  • At the 42nd Avenue South and South Meade Street school crosswalk we replaced yield signs with stop signs
  • On the east side of 42nd Avenue South from South Orcas to South Meade streets we removed restrictions on parking
  • Next to St. Edward School we replaced a concrete planting strip with grass and 9 new trees (while removing three struggling trees)
  • Along 42nd Avenue South from South Orcas to South Graham streets we planted nearly 70 new street trees


The stop signs help clarify traffic rules through the intersection with the school crosswalk, and removing parking restrictions helps decrease speeds as drivers tend to go slower on narrower pathways. Street trees have also been shown to slow traffic speeds, so they are a pedestrian safety priority. The new grass planter strip helps provide a pleasant buffer between pedestrians and motor vehicles.


On 42nd Avenue South looking north toward South Orcas Street, at St. Edward School – BEFORE


On 42nd Ave S looking north toward S Orcas St., at St. Edward School - AFTER

On 42nd Avenue South looking north toward South Orcas Street, at St. Edward School – AFTER



The great news when SDOT’s Urban Forestry crew inspected the area is that much of it had 10-12 foot planter strips; yet, trees hadn’t been planted due to the proximity of overhead and underground utilities. That was solved with a specific planting plan: smaller but hearty blooming starlight dogwoods (see picture below) near utilities – east side of 42nd Avenue South from South Juneau to South Graham streets – and larger more majestic emerald sunshine elms (named for brilliant yellow fall color of leaves) where there were no restrictions in tree size – west side of 42nd Avenue South from South Orcas to South Graham streets and east side of 42nd Avenue South from South Orcas to South Juneau streets. Both tree species are newly developed disease and pest resistant hybrids of their well-known natives.


Starlight Dogwood Tree Blooms

Starlight Dogwood Tree Blooms

Before the project, we notified neighbors along the corridor and gave them contact information to express any concerns. The project manager also reached out to St. Edward School to ask if the concrete planting strips were used or needed for parking access or student drop-offs. The school was happy to have the 3-for-1 tree replacement along their block, exceeding the City’s 2-for-1 standard, and the more welcoming environment. They even agreed to maintain the new grass surrounding the new SDOT-managed street trees along the block.


For all 69 new trees SDOT purchased and planted, our Urban Forestry tree crews will provide water the first few years to help them get established, and maintain them for the lifetime of the trees. It all makes for a safer, healthier and more enjoyable neighborhood experience.


P.S. Thanks to Seattle Conservation Corps for their help – especially with concrete removal – and for bringing a great attitude!

SDOT’s Transportation Options program Keeps You Moving

SDOT’s Transportation Options program provides a variety of services to help residents, employers, building managers, and developers access tools and resources for getting around Seattle. Our programs include:

  • The Way to Go Program provides resources and information to residents and visitors on Seattle’s transportation options.
  • The NavSeattle Program is for residential building managers and developers. The program connects Seattle’s growing multifamily residential sector to resources for promoting a building’s transportation amenities.
  • The Commute Trip Reduction Program (CTR) supoorts employers in promoting transportation options to reduce congestion and air pollution.
  • The Transportation Management Program (TMP) assists owners and managers of large buildings in developing and evaluating building-wide transportation programs.












SDOT is here to help you get around Seattle:

Metro Transit – King County’s Transit Agency

Sound Transit – Connecting King, Pierce, and Snohomish counties.

Community Transit – Snohomish County’s Transit Agency

Pierce Transit – Pierce County’s Transit Agency

Seattle Interactive Bicycle Map

Traveler’s Information Map

City of Seattle Traffic Cameras

CityTrip – Helping you navigate the byways, highways and waterways in Seattle

Seattle has a lot of options to get around – walking, biking, transit, driving and car and ridesharing. Check out some of the tools available and find out how to get where you’re going! For easy transit, walking, bicycling, and driving directions visit Google Maps.

Find out before you go; This map shows up-to-date traffic information:

Solid Gold! Seattle is Bike Friendly

Great news for the City, and its work on making bicycle riding a great travel option for all ages and abilities. Seattle’s designation as a Gold Level Bicycle Friendly Community was recently renewed by the League of American Bicyclists. Seattle is part of a select group of 335 communities in all 50 states (Washington ranks #1) that is committed to improving health, safety, and quality of life, by implementing projects and programs that support bicycling. Seattle is among 21 Gold communities nationwide, four cities nationally have reached Platinum designation (Davis, Boulder, Fort Collins and Portland). We’ll continue to work towards this goal.

“Visionary community leaders are recognizing the real-time and long term impact that a culture of bicycling can create,” said Andy Clarke, president of the League of American Bicyclists. “We applaud this new round of communities for investing in a more sustainable future for the country and a healthier future for their residents.”  More information about the program is available here.

The league was especially interested in Seattle’s commitment to equity, as reflected in the 2014 update of the Bicycle Master Plan. Seattle was asked to write a guest post for the News—the League blog— to share more about the importance of equity in our planning and project delivery processes, which you can find here.

Rainier Vista Traffic Safety Play Street - Oct.  2014

Rainier Vista Traffic Safety Play Street – Oct. 2014

Pronto Cycle Share Keeps rolling through the Holidays and the New Year, Groupon Alert!

With just over two months under its chain, Pronto continues to gain momentum as they roll into and through the holiday season. Pronto is Seattle’s first bike-share service designed to serve commuters, and has 500 bikes located at 50 stations with 24-hour access and is currently offering a Groupon. Riders can use the service as a worry-free travel option and won’t have to to worry about locks, bike maintenance or repair, as a part of their cycle share service.

Pronto bikes have seven speeds, a bell, front and rear flashing lights, and a front rack. Pronto also supplies a helmet—freshly-cleaned rentals are free to borrow at every station.

30 cost-free minutes is provided, and their annual memberships and 24-hour passes let riders take out bikes as often as they want within that time frame, but riders will want to find a docking station every 30 minutes (to avoid usage fees).

Here’s a link to their website.

Pronto 12-17-14


Thanks to a mild winter, bicyclists are getting around without dealing with extreme wintry weather

“Oh, the weather outside is frightful”… Actually, the weather has been very favorable for biking here in the northwest this past fall and winter. Mother Nature has provided us with mostly decent conditions; the mild weather has also allowed Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) crews to complete work on the many Bridging the Gap (BTG) bike projects across the city. BTG is the nine-year, $365 million transportation initiative that was passed by Seattle voters in 2006. It provides key funding for many projects across the city including implementation of the Bicycle Master Plan.

Freshly restriped Bike Lane

Freshly restriped Bike Lane

2014 has been a solid year for BTG cycling projects across the city and SDOT crews have wrapped their work. This year four miles of neighborhood greenways were installed, 60 miles of bike lanes and sharrows were restriped, 25 miles of bicycle route signage and more than 500 bicycle parking spaces were installed at key locations across the city. In addition, SDOT crews inspected 40 miles of trail across the city was inspected and made improvements to 10 key locations. All this work helps make bicycling in Seattle easier and more accessible to everyone.


New Bike Route signs

New Bike Route signs

So get out, take advantage of this unseasonably nice weather we are seeing and enjoy the many new projects completed by SDOT this year. We look forward to enhancing mobility in the coming new year by continuing more Bridging the Gap projects.

urban treespeeps at Fremont BrdgRESIZE

BTG funding provides maintenance to Seattle’s roads, bridges, stairways, sidewalks and bike facilities with the goal of making it easier for all users to get around the city more easily and safely. For additional information on BTG and the work it does please visit the web page.

Getting around with help from the holiday construction moratorium in Seattle

Seattle Department of Transportation generally does not allow construction work during the winter holidays in streets or sidewalks located in the Downtown Retail Core and in Pioneer Square. This ban on construction helps Seattle businesses during the peak shopping season and reduces traffic congestion during this busy time of year. The moratorium period is from Thanksgiving Day through January 1. Exceptions are allowed for emergencies and for special conditions authorized by the Director of the Seattle Department of Transportation.

Blog Map for 12-5-14


The boundaries of the two areas are: Central Retail Shopping District: Seneca Street, 1-5 Freeway, Denny Way, Virginia Street and 1st Avenue; Pioneer Square District: Columbia Street, 2nd Avenue, 2nd Avenue South, South King Street and Elliott Bay.


For more information, call 684-ROAD (7623).