South Shore K-8 Gets Safer Routes to School

Walking or biking to school just got a whole lot safer for students at South Shore K-8!

Through our Safe Routes to School program, the area received improvements including a curb bulb, traffic island, new traffic signal along Rainier Ave, 20 MPH school zone flashing beacons, and public artwork at the intersection of Rainier Avenue S and 51st Avenue S.

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We also supported a Basics of Bicycling education program, and a 12-week long after school Urban Cycling Club to encourage kids to get around safely. Thanks to a partnership with Bike Works, we were also able to give free bikes to kids who participated in the Urban Cycling Club.

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When parents and neighbors from South Shore K-8 reached out for help making their community safer for kids’ commutes, we jumped at the opportunity. “During the South Shore Safe Routes to School program we started a dialogue about what changes we need in our neighborhood to feel comfortable walking and biking to school and built partnerships to make those changes happen,” said Sebrena Burr, whose daughter attends South Shore.

New King and Queen art installation

New King and Queen art installation

We’re excited to how this project will improve the South Shore community, including:

  • Improved safety for kids walking or biking to school
  • Reduced speeding along Rainier Avenue S
  • Increased awareness of how the community can support kids walking and biking
  • Reduced congestion as more kids walk and bike to school
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Take Advantage of Summer by Biking or Walking to Work

Summer is upon us, and it’s an excellent time to consider commuting by bike or walking.

Golden Gardens is the perfect place to play on a sunny summer day

Golden Gardens is the perfect place to play on a sunny summer day

Getting out of the car can be good for our environment, good for your health, and may even help your mood by avoiding the road rage which impacts 8 out of 10 drivers.

If you already commute by transit, add a little extra time outdoors by going to the next bus stop before boarding, or getting off one stop early. You might also consider a combination bike – bus commute: ride your bike to the bus stop, use transit for the longest leg of your commute, and then ride the last mile to work.

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You can even help Seattle stay one of the most walkable cities in the country by checking out our draft Pedestrian Master Plan update and giving us your feedback by August 12!

Do you need help planning your route? We can help! Check out:

Start out small and work your way up to more frequent and longer trips. Identify the important transition points in your commute where one mode may present greater efficiency over another. It won’t be long before you develop a flexible commute that will maximize your effort and minimize your commute times.

Seattle summers include rain, but don't let that stop you

Seattle summers include rain, but don’t let that stop you

By the time Labor Day rolls around, you’ll be a commuter pro!

Post by Commute Trip Reduction

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Planting Trees Across the Country

Last week we were excited to welcome Nikola Agatic, who rode into town after completing a cross-county bicycle trip with stops for tree planting along the way.

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We joined community members to help him plant a tree in Railroad Park, which for trivia buffs was planted by producers from Sleepless in Seattle as a thank you to the Westlake neighborhood after filming.

Seattle was the perfect place to the end trek, as an Arbor Day Tree City USA for 30 years and one of the best cities in the country for biking.

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Thanks for the tree Nikola! If you want to get a tree of your own to help keep our city green, Seattle’s Trees for Neighborhoods program is giving them this October and November. Enter the lottery drawing between July 18 and August 8, and you could win a FREE tree for your home or neighborhood.

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Neighborhood Greenways and Vision Zero Want Your Input in West Seattle!

greenway mapWe’re hosting a public meeting for our continued work with the 35th Ave SW Safety Corridor and new West Seattle Neighborhood Greenway planning.

The meeting will be held on Thursday, Aug. 4, from 7 to 9 p.m. at Neighborhood House High Point (6400 Sylvan Way SW).

In 2015, we redesigned 35th Ave SW to reduce speeding, collisions, and injuries as part of our Vision Zero plan to end traffic fatalities and serious injuries by 2030. We have some early data to share at the meeting and want to hear your observations and experiences along the corridor.

We’re also studying routes for a new north-south neighborhood greenway parallel to 35th Ave SW. The new West Seattle Neighborhood Greenway will prioritize people walking and biking on residential streets.

At the meeting, we will share traffic data and you can help us find out where people want to walk and bike in the neighborhood, as well as what barriers stand in their way. Neighborhood greenways mean safer, calmer streets for you and your family.

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We’re pairing our outreach and engagement for these two projects – the safety corridor and neighborhood greenway – to get the people who live, work, and travel in West Seattle comprehensive information.

Please join us at the open house and learn how we plan to improve the safety for everyone.

Open House on the 35th Avenue SW Road Safety Corridor Project

Thursday, August 4 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Neighborhood House

6400 Sylvan Way SW, Room 207

We hope to see you there!

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How do the Fremont and Ballard Bridge Openings work?

Here’s a behind-the-scenes look at the Fremont and Ballard Bridge openings, and how they work with our latest Blog Video:

(Click on 1080p HD in Settings to view in High Definition)

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 city is required to open the bridges to marine traffic when requested, but is allowed to restrict boat and marine traffic openings during the morning
(7-9 a.m.) and afternoon (4-6 p.m.) commutes on weekdays (except national holidays). The openings average about four minutes, from stopping traffic to letting traffic resume. SDOT appreciates the public’s patience during the openings as marine traffic passes through.

The Ballard Bridge, located at the west end of the Lake Washington Ship Canal at Salmon Bay, is the fourth and last of the Lake Washington Ship Canal Bridges to be passed before entering Puget Sound from Lake Washington. Built in 1917 with a length of 2,854 feet, the Ballard Bridge links the Magnolia and Queen Anne neighborhoods with Ballard.

The Fremont Bridge crosses the Lake Washington Ship Canal and connects the Fremont and Queen Anne neighborhoods. The bridge opened on July 4, 1917, it is the only blue and orange bridge operated by SDOT. The Fremont Bridge’s current color was chosen by a 1985 poll taken among Fremont residents and the Fremont Arts Council.

The Fremont Bridge also connects the Lake Washington Ship Canal Trail to the Burke Gilman Trail and has one of Seattle’s nine bike counters (here’s our previous blog about the Fremont Bridge Bike Counter and how it works). The Fremont Bridge has celebrated over 610,000 openings and counting as of January 2016. The bridge sits just 30 feet above the water, and rises for marine traffic on average of about 35 times a day, making it as one of the busiest bascule bridges in the world.

Here’s a link to our SDOT Bridges page: http://www.seattle.gov/transportation/bridges.htm

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Safe Routes to School Celebrates at Whittier Elementary

School is out! And for students at Whittier Elementary School, it was a great year of biking and walking to school.

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We celebrated the end of school with Whittier students by handing out healthy snacks and goodies like stickers, reflective key chains, and of course, sidewalk chalk.

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Students and parents were excited to learn about Bicycle Sunday events happening throughout the summer along Lake Washington Boulevard, and Summer Parkways events starting with the Rainier Valley Parade on August 23.

Our Safe Routes to School program is continuing to make getting to school easier for students throughout the city, and we look forward to seeing even more kids walking or biking next year!

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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.

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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.

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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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