SDOT Seeks Input on Possible Expanded Restrictions for Ship Canal Bridge Openings

open bridge

SDOT owns and operates three bridges spanning the Ship Canal (Ballard, Fremont, and University bridges). WSDOT owns and operates the Montlake Bridge. The operation of these bridges is regulated by the US Coast Guard who authorized SDOT and WSDOT to keep the bridges closed on weekdays at 7-9 AM and 4-6 PM (except for large commercial vessels).

While the number of bridge openings has remained fairly consistent in recent years, the morning and afternoon commute peaks and traffic volumes have grown. With an average bridge opening lasting five minutes, hundreds of cars back up each time. Buses run behind schedule, emergency vehicles at times are delayed, commuters take longer to get to work or back home, and many of those motorists waiting leave their engines running, spewing polluting emissions into the atmosphere.

An illustrative graph for a one week period last August at the Ballard Bridge. The number of bridge openings is heaviest at the same time the vehicular traffic load is at its highest. For example, during the period from 6 to 7 PM, there were 11 weekday bridge openings that week, or an average of two each day. During that same one hour period about 2,600 vehicles crossed the bridge daily.

[Click to enhance] An illustrative graph for a one week period last August at the Ballard Bridge. The number of bridge openings is heaviest at the same time the vehicular traffic load is at its highest. For example, during the period from 6 to 7 PM, there were 11 weekday bridge openings that week, or an average of two each day. During that same one hour period about 2,600 vehicles crossed the bridge daily.

In response, SDOT is considering a petition to the US Coast Guard to seek a change to current restrictions. We’d propose a one year trial period for whatever expansion they might approve, after which the Coast Guard would decide whether the additional restrictions have produced sufficient benefit to justify making them permanent.

However, before SDOT files any such petition, we’re asking for feedback. Are additional restrictions warranted? If so, what would be reasonable?

We are asking individuals and/or organizations that might wish to share some thoughts to do so by Wednesday, September 30. Please send such comments to our project email address ShipCanalBridgeOpenings@seattle.gov, or send them via US mail to:

 

Ship Canal Bridge Openings

c/o Roadway Structures

Seattle Department of Transportation

PO Box 34996 (SMT-38-00)

Seattle, WA 98124-4996

 

For more information, please visit: http://www.seattle.gov/transportation/shipcanalOpenings.htm

Join us: Vision Zero Vigil and Procession tonight

VisionZeroLogo

This Friday evening, we invite you to join the City of Seattle and community partners at the Vision Zero Vigil and Procession. The event serves as a memorial to mark the one-year anniversary of Sher Kung’s death while biking to work on 2nd Ave downtown, and to honor all those who have died or been seriously injured in traffic collisions over the past year.

Beginning at 5 p.m. family members, friends, city leaders, and safe street advocates will gather for a brief speaking program at Benaroya Hall’s Garden of Remembrance at 2nd Ave and University St, located steps from where Ms. Kung passed away. A walking and biking procession down 2nd Ave to from University St to Yesler Way, ending Occidental Park will follow.

The event is part of Vision Zero – Seattle’s plan to end traffic deaths and serious injuries by 2030. We can, must, and will do more to make Seattle’s streets safer for everyone.

 

We hope to see you there.

Seattle Welcomes New Metro Electric Trolley Buses

SDOT is pleased that King County Metro riders are getting around in the new electric trolleys in downtown Seattle and nearby neighborhoods. You may have seen, or been on one of the new purple-accented electric trolleys that serves Seattle. King County Metro introduced the first completely new state-of-the-art electric trolleys in nearly 30 years this month.

The new trolleys are quiet, energy-efficient and emissions-free and use an estimated 20 to 30 percent less energy than the current electric trolley buses. They have regenerative braking that puts energy back into the trolley.

metro-electric-trolley2The first five of 174 replacement trolley buses went into service last week and the remaining trolleys will be phased in over the next two years. The new trolleys have the ability to go off-wire for short distances to detour around construction zones and other obstacles and stay on schedule. The buses also have passenger-activated back doors for easier exiting, air conditioning and low floors for easier boarding and exiting.

For useful travelers information, here’s SDOT’s Getting Around Seattle link.

 

 

 

 

SDOT is Evaluating over 21,000 Curb Ramps

This past June, SDOT surveyors were sent throughout the City to begin measuring and assessing existing Curb Ramps, about 21,000 of them!

Curb Ramp Inspection1So you ask,”What’s a Curb Ramp?” Curb ramps are located at intersections to facilitate wheelchair, bicycle, and pedestrian street crossings. Curb ramps are sloped areas, typically located on corners at intersections that provide access from the street grade to the sidewalk. The goal of the curb ramp program is to improve access to Seattle’s network of sidewalks and walkways, particularly those for whom mobility is limited.

Curb Ramp Crosswalk

Whether the curb ramps were built last week or 30 years ago, the goal is to gather data on all existing curb ramps to help determine areas that may need improvement sooner rather than later.The City of Seattle is excited to evaluate City programs, activities, and services provided to the public and identify barriers that may prevent access to persons with disabilities. For SDOT, that means sidewalks, street crossings, curb ramps, and any other pedestrian facility available.

SDOT will be measuring many different aspects of curb ramps, including the slope, the width, and other physical traits that may affect accessibility. When the information has been collected, SDOT will be able to analyze ramp conditions all over the City. Being able to review these existing conditions will help SDOT to prioritize curb ramp improvements in the future in collaboration with the Pedestrian Master Plan.

Curb Ramp Inspection4

If you have any questions about the curb ramp evaluation, we encourage you contact SDOT’s Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) Coordinator,  Michael Shaw. He can be reached at (206) 615-1974 or by email at Michael.Shaw@seattle.gov.

 

Join Us to Discuss Third Avenue Transit Corridor Improvements

SDOT appreciates your help last fall when you helped us create a list of potential improvements to Third Avenue. We are inviting you to meet us on the street to hear about design updates and share your thoughts.

Here are the dates, we look forward to seeing and hearing from you:

  • Monday, Aug. 31 – 3-6 p.m. on Third Avenue between Battery & Bell streets
  • Wednesday, Sept. 2  – 3-6 p.m. on Third Avenue between Pike & Union streets
  • Thursday, Sept. 3 – 11 a.m.-2 p.m. on Third Avenue between Yesler Way & S Washington Street

Third Avenue is downtown Seattle’s most heavily used transit corridor. More than 2,500 buses travel the corridor every weekday and about 42,000 people board at bus stops on the corridor each day. Thousands of visitors, workers, shoppers and area residents also use Third Avenue daily.

Third Avenue

 

To help create a positive and inviting environment for transit users and pedestrians, the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) and King County Metro Transit are working together to make the corridor an inviting, accommodating, safe and attractive place where people want to be.

 

The Third Avenue Transit Corridor Improvements Project will complement and be coordinated with the many other improvement projects underway in the downtown area.

Seattle Department of Transportation: Third Avenue Transit Corridor ImprovementsThe Third Avenue Transit Corridor Improvements Project is part of a larger plan to create a vibrant, safe and thriving Third Avenue. It will improve transit function and create a more welcoming urban environment along the corridor between Denny and Jackson streets. The project has extended transit priority measures approximately .75 miles north through the Belltown neighborhood.3rAveMap1014

For more information:

SDOT Contacts:

 

KC Metro Contacts:

 

Hey there, Need a Bike to get somewhere in town? Yes, Bike Share!

The City of Seattle’s Commute Trip Reduction (CTR) program is a partnership that connects employers with resources to provide high quality transportation options to their employees including a bike share program. Whether you’re in need of a quick ride for work or play, bike share stations can be a great way to get to and from where you need to go.

Our Bike Share partner is Pronto Cycle Share which has 500 bikes at 50 stations located across the Seattle. Annual membership of just $85 gives users unlimited 30 minute trips every day of the year. Bike stations are conveniently located near transit hubs and shopping districts. Pronto Cycle Share is a great way to connect transit trips, complete the last mile of a commute, or just explore the hidden gems of the city.

Pronto bikes are designed for comfort and ease. Members also get free use of a Pronto bike helmet. Many businesses offer their employees a discounted membership option.

Bike Share 101:

Bike share allows users to take short trips easily without owning their own bike. The Pronto fleet is made up of heavy-duty, durable bikes found in a network of docking stations generally located about 1,000 feet apart. Bike share systems allow users to control their own travel and are intended to be used for short, quick trips – typically less than 2 miles.

Bike share can help you get around town faster and easier.

Bike share can help you get around town faster and easier.

To ride, users can purchase short-term passes (24-Hour or 3-Day) or Annual Memberships to use the system. 24-Hour or 3-Day Passes may be purchased from any station kiosk using a credit or debit card. Annual Members enroll online and receive a personal key used to quickly unlock bikes from the docks.

Bikes can be returned to any station in the system, creating an efficient network with many possible connection points and combinations of departures and arrivals.

To find out more about Pronto Cycle Share, visit their website, at: prontocycleshare.com

Checkout the Latest SDOT Blog Video: Seattle Celebrates First “Pavement to Parks” location on First Hill

Here is a latest Blog Video about the new Park addition:

SDOT Director Scott Kubly, Mayor Ed Murray and Seattle Parks Superintendent Jesús Aguirre joined community members to celebrate the opening of Seattle’s first “Pavement to Parks” site with a ribbon cutting on First Hill  this past Saturday. Attendees enjoyed the new space by listening to live music, playing table tennis and dining on artisan grilled cheese sandwiches from a local food truck vendor.

SDOT Dir. Scott Kubly, Mayor Murray, Seattle Parks Sup. Jesús Aguirre, Alex Hudson of First Hill Improvement Association and SDOT's Susan McLaughlin for ribbon cutting .

Lower left: Seattle Parks Sup. Jesús Aguirre, SDOT Dir. Scott Kubly, Mayor Murray, Alex Hudson – First Hill Improvement Association and SDOT’s Susan McLaughlin for ribbon cutting .

These projects use underutilized street space to create community-driven public spaces, improving safety and offering inventive solutions for addressing open space needs. Located at the intersection of University, Union and Boylston, and at Ninth Avenue and University, the sites were developed based on recommendations in the First Hill Public Realm Action Plan. These new public spaces are the early implementation phase of the City’s effort to improve First Hill’s parks, green space and pedestrian connections.

The First Hill Improvement Association will be responsible for stewardship of the space going forward with maintenance and operations help from Seattle Parks and SDOT. Activation events will be held throughout the summer and more information about the events can be found at http://universitystreet.org/.

These prototype parks will be monitored by SDOT and community volunteers, and design modifications will be informed by the spaces’ performance over the next two years. The project is a partnership between SDOT, Seattle Parks and Recreation, Seattle Parks Foundation, the Department of Neighborhoods, the Department of Planning & Development, the First Hill Improvement Association and neighborhood residents.

SDOT’s 5 Tools for the Traveler

WalkandBusGetting around Seattle can be challenging, especially with all the changes and growth happening in the city. To help keep track of it all, SDOT has compiled 5 Tools to help travelers in the Seattle area whenever you’re on the go.

In no particular order, SDOT recommends:

1. Time

All modes of transportation however reliable can be affected by unexpected service interruptions. A bus may be delayed because of congestion from collisions or events happening in the area. Give yourself some extra travel time if possible, so you can to adjust to unexpected situations.

2. Maps  

Regardless of how you’re traveling, plotting out your trip out in advance can allow for alternatives routes if your primary plan gets interrupted. We suggest this SDOT Pedestrian Map that shows the grade of sidewalk so you can exercise as much or as little as you want. For bus routes, the Metro Bus Map shows route lines and where to catch them.

3. Twitter, SDOT’s On the Move Blog and Facebook

For near real-time updates about events, traffic, and road closures, you can follow SDOT on Twitter to help plan your trip. You can also go to SDOT’s On the Move Blog for the latest events advisories and construction updates, you can also visit our Facebook page for all things SDOT.

4. One Bus Away and Transit App

If you have a smartphone, the applications One Bus Away and Transit App are useful for bussing in, around and out of Seattle. One Bus Away is a great resource to see bus arrivals, nearby stops, and maps. Transit App helps users plan trips using bus routes and includes trip times and transfers.

5. Way to Go Program  

Seattle offers many ways to get around—the Way to Go program provides the user tools in one succinct place, whether using trains, biking, and many more. It also includes safety tips and information on transit fares in and around Seattle.

For more information and resources for traveling around the Seattle area, please visit SDOT’s Pedestrian and Bus user pages. Good luck!

Seattle Celebrates First “Pavement to Parks” location on First Hill

SDOT Director Scott Kubly, Mayor Ed Murray and Seattle Parks Superintendent Jesús Aguirre joined community members to celebrate the opening of Seattle’s first “Pavement to Parks” site with a ribbon cutting on First Hill  this past Saturday. Attendees enjoyed the new space by listening to live music, playing table tennis and dining on artisan grilled cheese sandwiches from a local food truck vendor.

SDOT Dir. Scott Kubly, Mayor Murray, Seattle Parks Sup. Jesús Aguirre, Alex Hudson of First Hill Improvement Association and SDOT's Susan McLaughlin for ribbon cutting .

Lower left: Seattle Parks Sup. Jesús Aguirre, SDOT Dir. Scott Kubly, Mayor Murray, Alex Hudson – First Hill Improvement Association and SDOT’s Susan McLaughlin for ribbon cutting .

These projects use underutilized street space to create community-driven public spaces, improving safety and offering inventive solutions for addressing open space needs. Located at the intersection of University, Union and Boylston, and at Ninth Avenue and University, the sites were developed based on recommendations in the First Hill Public Realm Action Plan. These new public spaces are the early implementation phase of the City’s effort to improve First Hill’s parks, green space and pedestrian connections.

The First Hill Improvement Association will be responsible for stewardship of the space going forward with maintenance and operations help from Seattle Parks and SDOT. Activation events will be held throughout the summer and more information about the events can be found at http://universitystreet.org/.

These prototype parks will be monitored by SDOT and community volunteers, and design modifications will be informed by the spaces’ performance over the next two years. The project is a partnership between SDOT, Seattle Parks and Recreation, Seattle Parks Foundation, the Department of Neighborhoods, the Department of Planning & Development, the First Hill Improvement Association and neighborhood residents.

Neighborhood Street Fund Projects Moving Along! West Woodland Complete, Lake to Bay Underway

One pedestrian improvement project wraps up, and another begins!

After seven weeks of construction, pedestrian safety improvements around the intersection of 3rd Avenue NW, NW 56th Street and NW 55th Place, near West Woodland Elementary School in Ballard, are now finished.

Before

Before: A confusing intersection with long pedestrian crossing distances

The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) appreciates the community’s patience throughout this project. These improvements will make it safer for people who walk, bike and drive:

  • New four-way stop at 3rd Avenue NW and NW 56th Street, to slow all traffic
  • New curb extensions (or “bulbs”), to shorten pedestrian crossings
  • New curb ramps, which comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) standards, to improve accessibility
  • New signs, to alert drivers to watch out for pedestrians
After: Schoolchildren and their parents will appreciate safer crossings in the fall

After: Schoolchildren and their parents will appreciate safer crossings in the fall

Half of the West Woodland Pedestrian Safety Improvements Project was funded through SDOT’s Neighborhood Street Fund (NSF) Program, which is financed by the Bridging the Gap program approved by Seattle voters in 2006. The other half of this project’s funding has come from the Safe Routes to Schools program.

Our next Neighborhood Street Fund project will improve pedestrian safety in Lower Queen Anne. Work begins August 3 and is expected to last six weeks, depending on the weather. The construction work, on W Harrison Street at the intersections with 1st Avenue W and 2nd Avenue W, is part of the “Lake to Bay Loop” project, because W Harrison Street connects the South Lake Union area to Elliott Bay.

At these two intersections on W Harrison Street, crews working for SDOT will install new curb extensions, ramps that comply with ADA standards, and new marked pedestrian crossings.

People walking, biking and driving can expect the following impacts during construction:

  • 24/7 road and sidewalk closures at the intersections of 1st Avenue W and 2nd Avenue W at W Harrison Street (see construction notice for details)
  • Short-term parking and lane restrictions on W Harrison Street and on both 1st Avenue W and 2nd Avenue W
  • Noise, dust and vibration
  • Typical weekday work hours, 7 AM to 5 PM

Please check the construction notice for more information on the impacts and suggested travel routes.

If you have any questions or concerns during this construction on W Harrison Street, please contact the project team at NSF@seattle.gov or 206-733-9361.

You may learn more about the project by visiting the website: www.seattle.gov/transportation/harrisonstreetimprovements.htm. You may also use this link to sign up to receive project email updates.