Bikes and Bagels!

SDOT and Commute Seattle recently teamed up for “Bikes and Bagels,” an event to celebrate biking as part of Bike Everywhere Month. A steady stream of bike riders met up at McGraw Square downtown for coffee, bagels, and an opportunity to chat directly with Seattle transportation staff.

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People shared lots of great feedback with SDOT, including ideas for future projects, best practices to maintain cycle access at construction projects, and general thoughts about biking throughout the city.

Whether you’re a biking newbie or a veteran, SDOT has a host of bike resources for you. Commute Seattle has also been hard at work throughout the month, offering bike tune-ups at Bike Month transportation fairs, and hosting other events, like a free, online Bike Commuting 101 Seminar.

If you missed “Bikes and Bagels,” don’t worry, there’s still plenty of time to participate in Bike Everywhere Day and Bike Everywhere Month! Get started on becoming a regular bike rider or get more bike information here.

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May 20 is Bike Everywhere Day!

Have you taken your bike out for a spin during Bike Month? If not, now is a good time to start! This Friday, May 20, is Bike Everywhere Day! Whether you’re just starting out on a bike or you’re a seasoned rider, SDOT’s Bike Program can help. You’ll find helpful Bike Maps, including a cool Interactive Bicycle Map.

Join bicyclists everywhere for street side celebrations all throughout the city.

People biking on Rainier Ave

What to expect at celebration stations:

  • Free souvenirs
  • Free food and drinks
  • Drawings for fabulous prizes
  • Once-a-year discounted Cascade Bicycle Club membership (select stations only)
  • Bike maintenance

People riding bikes on Rainier

Bike Everywhere Day isn’t just for experienced riders. Thousands of people will be pedaling on our streets to offer encouragement and support to experienced and first time riders alike.

The celebration doesn’t stop there. Join Velo Bike Shop for their Bike Everywhere Day After Party! The fun continues with bites, beverages, and raffle prizes.

Pronto Bikes

If you don’t own a bike, consider trying out Pronto Cycle Share (free rides on May 20!). If a bike ride isn’t in your Friday forecast, no problem. Bike Month continues until the end of May. If distance is an issue, consider a “hybrid commute” where public transit is taken for a portion of the commute and you ride your bike the rest of the way.

Seattle is using our streets to provide safe, affordable travel choices and create great places that encourage people to get out and enjoy streets on foot or by bike. In doing so, we reduce greenhouse gas emissions, improve the health of or residents and make it comfortable for people of all abilities from our 5-year old kids to our 80-year old grandparents to move around.

Let’s keep this two-wheeled momentum going! Happy biking!

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May is Bike Everywhere Month!

There’s plenty of time to participate in Bike Everywhere Month!

Whether you ride 20 miles one way or 2 miles total in combination with a bus ride, you are still a bike commuter. The beauty of the bike is that it complements every rider and every commute, from a calorie-burning training ride to a quick jaunt down the 2nd Ave bike lane on your way in to work.

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Some basic guidelines for riding your bike include:

  • Is your bike in good working order? Make sure you have air in the tires, grease on the chain and some STOP in the brakes.
  • Always ride with a helmet, and use lights front and rear when riding after dark.
  • Get a Bike Buddy, someone to help you prepare for that first bike commute to work and help with choosing clothing and gear.
  • Know your route. Pick up or download a Seattle Bike Map, or check out our Interactive Bicycle Map, for all of the routes, safety suggestions, bike repair shops and much more.
  • Bus in on Monday and bring some clothes for the week. An extra pair of shoes under your desk is a great idea too.
  • Carry your ORCA card with you always. It’s the most reliable Plan B!

Program yourself for success: keep your first ride short and simple, and grow into longer commutes.

Fun fact: last year for Bike to Work Month, Mayor Ed Murray was joined by Seahawks player Michael Bennett for a group ride along the Fremont canal.

Mayor-and-Michael-Bennett-BTWD-5-15-15You can check out video of the ride here.

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Free-Ride Thursdays in May on First Hill Streetcar!

24131130634_f16fe88dd7_oRide the First Hill Streetcar free to re-discover, celebrate and explore some of Seattle’s most vibrant urban neighborhoods.  Join these neighborhoods in celebrating their streetcar stops Thursdays this May:

  • Thursday, May 12th:  Check out the Capitol Hill ArtWalk and celebrate the streetcar on Capitol Hill with interactive performances and visual art installations, 6-9pm – Broadway & Pike and Broadway & Denny streetcar stops
  • Thursday, May 19th:  Explore Chinatown-International District through its first Happy Hour Food Walk with $2, $4 or $6 bites at participating restaurants, 6-9pm – streetcar stops at Jackson St & 5th, 7th and 12th Avenues S
  • Thursday, May 26th:  Join Swedish Medical and Seattle University’s plaza celebration of the streetcar with hotdogs, popsicles, live performances and more, 11:30am-1pm – Broadway & Marion streetcar stop

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For more on the First Hill Streetcar Line and South Lake Union Street Car Line.

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Westlake Cycle Track is Nearly Halfway Done

SDOT’s Westlake Cycle Track Project is reaching the halfway point! The protected bike lane along Westlake Avenue North will provide a safer place for people riding bikes, walking and driving, while improving connectivity and accessibility for all travelers in the Westlake area.

Construction recap – from January to May

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An early photo of the Westlake corridor before construction began in January.

Construction of the protected bike lane began in January this year and is separated into four phases. Phase 1 and Phase 2 are on the north end of the corridor and are nearly complete.

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Completed section of the protected bike lane in Phase 1 in the north end of the corridor.

Our construction team is coordinating with Westlake businesses and residents to minimize construction impacts as they work to finish the project as safely and efficiently as possible.

Westlake work near Railroad Park

Work on the protected bike lane continues near Railroad Park in Phase 2.

Our crews are making progress on Phase 3 in the south end.

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Forming for the protected bike lane in Phase 3 in the south end of the corridor.

This Friday, May 6, from 7 – 9 a.m., keep an eye out for volunteers from Cascade Bicycle Club and the outreach team on the north end of the corridor. We’ll help guide people riding bikes to enter the first half of the protected bike lane. We will also be promoting safety education for all users.

The Westlake Cycle Track is scheduled to be complete in summer 2016, so get those bikes ready and sign up for email updates to stay up-to-date on construction progress!

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Behind the Scenes with a SDOT Bridge Operator

Recently, a SDOT Bridge Operator, Barbara Abelhauser was featured on NPR in a segment of StoryCorps on Morning Edition. In the story, Barbara says when she first took first bridge operator job, she thought she’d only stay for a year – but ended up staying for 8 years on the job in Jacksonville, Florida. Then in 2014, Barbara moved to Seattle and joined SDOT – and has been operating the University Bridge ever since.

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Barbara Abelhauser

When asked what her favorite part about being a bridge operator is, Barbara said, “I love this job now more than ever. All the Bridge Operators in SDOT are very professional and a delight to work with. I was very honored to be featured on Morning Edition. I’m also excited to be in the upcoming anthology, because I really do love my job and I’m proud of what I do.”

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The new anthology is Callingsa StoryCorps book that explores the lives of those who love what they do.

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 fourth movable bridge is the Spokane Street Bridge, which is a swing bridge. Here’s our Bridges and Roadway Structures main page.

Here are some cool facts about the University Bridge:

The University Bridge spans Portage Bay, linking the University District with the Eastlake and Capitol Hill communities. It is the second of the four Lake Washington Ship Canal Bridges. The University Bridge was originally built in 1919 and remodeled in 1933. President Franklin D. Roosevelt dedicated the bridge on April 7, 1933. On that opening day, 37,794 automobiles crossed the bridge. The addition of the I-5 bridge has decreased traffic over the University Bridge in recent years. A 1983 traffic count recorded 27,735 vehicles using the bridge daily.

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New Safe Routes to School Beacon Hill Trail is Finished

After breaking ground in January with SDOT Director Scott Kubly and Mayor Ed Murray, SDOT crews have completed a new 2000-foot paved trail on Beacon Hill that gives schoolchildren a safer place to walk and bike, while traveling to and from Mercer Middle School.

The new trail is part of the Safe Routes to School (SRTS) project, a national movement to make it easier and safer for students to walk and bike to school. This the first 2016 Safe Routes to Schools project in the Beacon Hill neighborhood.

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The new paved trail runs parallel to Jefferson Park and connects 16th Ave South at South Spokane Street to the north and South Dakota Street.

Benefits of the new trail:

  • Improves safety on walking and biking route to school
  • Offers a more comfortable, off-street option for people biking and walking to school
  • Provides safety education so kids have the skills they need to safely walk and bike to school
  • Encourages more kids to walk and bike to school, which will reduce congestion at the school
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Trail improvements included replacing the existing gravel path and planting vegetation.

Locally, the Mercer Middle School Safe Routes to School Program is a partnership between SDOT, Seattle Public Utilities and Seattle Parks Department. The project also includes education and encouragement programs to get more kids walking and biking safely to school.

The Mercer Middle School program is one of four SRTS projects in Seattle Public Schools this year that also include: Greenwood Elementary, Wedgwood Elementary, and South Shore PK-8.

 

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April is Earth Month: Transportation Choices to Help You Do Your Part

April is Earth Month. 

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Courtesy NASA

Using transit is one of the best ways to move around an urban environment and proclaim your environmental stewardship. Coupling a bike trip with your choice of transit turns a smart commute into an unbeatable combination.

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ORCA cards work on regional transit including Community Transit, King County Metro and Sound Transit.

The City of Seattle is now experiencing unprecedented growth, and transit agencies and planners are working hard to meet the demand with expanded bus and light rail service, additional miles of bike lanes, new car sharing services, and a host of infrastructure and technology improvements Citywide.

It is this quantity of mobility that will be key to helping us maintain the quality of life – the clean air and majestic views from mountains to Sound – that originally attracted all us to live here.

Choose rail, bus, bike or walk, and know you are doing your part to make Seattle one of the most progressive cities in the nation.

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Seattle Streetcar First Hill line.

For more information about ORCA cards, go here.

To see other ways the City of Seattle celebrates Earth Month, go here.

 

 

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SDOT Hosts North Seattle Walking Tour With Newly-Elected Councilmember Debora Juarez

SDOT recently led a tour of several Council District 5 transportation projects with newly-elected Councilmember Debora Juarez. The purpose of the trip was to familiarize Councilmember Juarez with a selection of SDOT projects and to learn about her priorities for the district.

The tour started along the recently-completed Olympic Hills / 27th Ave NE Neighborhood Greenway. Greenways improve safety for all ages and abilities by reducing speeds on neighborhood streets to make it more comfortable for people walking to share the street with people driving. The tour continued to the Olympic Hills Safe Routes to School project. In 2015, the program installed a new sidewalk on NE 130th St on the walking route to Olympic Hills Elementary. The voter-approved Levy to Move Seattle allows us to build 9 -12 Safe Routes to School projects every year, helping more kids and families safely walk and bike to school.

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Councilmember Juarez discusses sidewalk options with SDOT’s Safe Routes to Schools coordinator, Brian Dougherty.

Next, the SDOT tour took Councilmember Juarez to a site near John Rogers Elementary, where a new sidewalk was built using stamped asphalt instead of concrete – resulting in significant cost savings that allow us to build more sidewalks where they’re needed most. With funds from the Levy to Move Seattle, SDOT plans to build 250 blocks of new sidewalks over the next 9 years – both lower-cost and traditional – for the same price as 150 blocks of concrete sidewalks.

After walking the sidewalk and discussing drainage issues in many North Seattle neighborhoods, the tour stopped at the site of the future Link light rail station at Northgate. SDOT plans to build a new pedestrian and bicycle bridge over I-5 to improve connections within the Northgate community. The stop was near Councilmember Juarez’s district office at North Seattle College.

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Councilmember Juarez with SDOT’s Amanda Tse and Bill LeBorde, point to the future site of the Northgate pedestrian bridge over I-5

The tour wrapped with several stops along Linden Ave N to look at and discuss the Complete Street project completed in 2014. The project makes this neighborhood street easier and safer for everyone to get around, whether they are driving, walking, or riding a bike. The project also built a safe connection to the popular Interurban Trail making it more accessible for everyone, especially residents in the many senior retirement homes nearby.

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Councilmember Juarez going over a Complete Streets plan with Deputy Director Mike Terrell and Connie Zimmerman.

The morning tour offered SDOT staff and Councilmember Juarez a chance to talk about emerging transportation issues facing District 5 and the unique needs of neighborhoods in North Seattle.

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Planting a PBL

Our 2nd Ave protected bike lane (PBL) is a work in progress, and tonight we’ll be adding a new feature – 158 new planter boxes! They’ll help further separate the bike lanes and the travel/parking lanes. And they look a lot nicer than the plastic delineators.

Check out these photos and many more on our Flickr page:

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Empty planters lined up and ready to be filled

 

Filling the Planters

It takes 33 cubic yards (at 2,000 lbs. per cubic yard!) of dirt to fill these up

 

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More Plants for the Planters

Plants on the SDOT truck

Installation will be phased in over April with the goal of being done in time for May (bike month!). After we install these planters we’ll continue to monitor the health of the plants and replace them as needed. The planters are self-watering and our alley-flushing truck will fill the planters May through September.

Plants on Truck

In addition to adding these awesome planters, we’re extending the project north into Belltown. Learn more at www.seattle.gov/transportation/2ndavepbl.htm.

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