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Archive for 'Bridging the Gap'

Freight Master Plan, BTG Financial Review and more

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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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Neighborhood Street Fund Update

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Here we are – halfway between the start of 2013 and the end of 2015, the three-year cycle for the Neighborhood Street Fund (NSF) program. So, just how is the program doing? Pretty darn well it turns out!

By December 2012, 87 applications were received from groups and individuals for a portion of the $4.5M reserved by the Bridging the Gap levy for NSF projects. These projects had to be reasonably big transportation projects located entirely on SDOT right-of-way, but could address any sort of problem. Safety was nearly always the driving force behind these proposed projects and was one of the key criteria used to determine which would be funded.

2013 is the year when the projects were planned and prioritized. By mid-February Seattle’s 13 District Councils had each selected 3 projects for further consideration. By the end of May SDOT had studied the proposal, developed a preliminary design and an initial cost estimate. The District Councils then ranked their choices (1st, 2nd and 3rd) in June and the Bridging the Gap Oversight Committee selected a dozen projects for funding from the full list by August. By October of last year the recommendations were included in the City’s budget. Nearly all of the selected projects will improve pedestrian safety.

This year, 2014, is when most of the projects are designed, and the plans and specifications are prepared. In most cases this involves coordination with other agencies or utilities and in some cases there are details to be worked out with the project sponsors or nearby stakeholders.

One of the twelve projects that was funded– a 2 block long extension to SDOT’s West Duwamish Trail Project which was already in design – was fast-tracked and started construction this week.

Five other projects were bundled together for design (by SDOT staff) and construction (by a single contractor to be selected next year). These mostly feature new curb bulb or sidewalks for pedestrian safety:

  • Waterway 22, along Northlake Boulevard and N Stone Way south of North 34th Street
  • West Woodlawn, modifications to Third Avenue NW at NW 56th Street
  • 19th Avenue at East Union and Pike Streets
  • 12th Avenue at East Howell and Olive Streets
  • Lake-to-Bay route improvements on West Harrison Street

The Pioneer Square ADA access project has three locations; one on South Jackson Street which will be done later this summer and three others on Yesler Avenue which will be done next year. (As a bonus, SDOT received a grant which will allow the Neighborhood Street Fund to address additional locations next year.)

The Georgetown Festival Street project proposed for 12th Ave South and South Vale Street is 50 percent designed, thanks to the able assistance of a Citizen Advisory Group who has been working with the design team. This will also be built in 2015.

Three locations on Rainier Ave South are being designed to improve pedestrian movements: One at Rainier and Dearborn, one in the historic district of Columbia City, and one in Rainier Beach. These are in various stages of design (10 to 60 percent), but all are planned for construction next year.

Greenwood Ave N has NSF-funded sidewalks at 90 percent design, located at key locations between N 92nd and N 105th Streets. Construction is scheduled to start by March 2015.

Overall, the Neighborhood Street Fund program is doing just what was intended when it was included in the Bridging the Gap levy; directing scarce resources at the neighborhood transportation projects deemed most important to address. For more information about the program, please visit http://www.seattle.gov/transportation/btg_nsf_large.htm .

 

 

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What do trees, public safety and play streets have in common?

On June 25, 2014 Mayor Ed Murray announced his Summer of Safety Initiative. The initiative sets up a coordinated approach to public safety across city departments that will mobilize resources to change our built environment, activate our streets and provide jobs for our youth and young adults. The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) is one of the key departments actively involved in the initiative.

Neighborhood  street before pruning work.

Neighborhood street before pruning work.

SDOT will focus on two key areas over the summer. The first will make changes to the built environment. This piece actively involves SDOT’s Urban Forestry Division.   The division is charged with overseeing the more than 40,000 trees in the public right-of-way (ROW) and maintaining the 123 acres of landscapes that relate to the transportation system. How do they work to improve public safety you ask? Well, through tree pruning, especially around street lights, and landscape management we can make a street more inviting to the public while providing few places for criminal activity. Much of the work completed by SDOT’s Urban Forestry Division is possible thanks to the Bridging the Gap transportation levy passed by Seattle voters in 2006. Funding from the levy has been key in allowing SDOT to prune more than 23,000 trees, plant more than 5,500 trees and maintain street landscapes across the city.

Seattle residents are invited to attend one of the remaining “Find it, Fix it” walks being hosted by the City. Each of these Community Safety Walks will help residents identify safety issues present in the built environment of Seattle’s neighborhoods. Department Representatives will be on hand to answer questions and serve as resources for residents.

Same street after Urban Forestry Pruned trees and cut back vegetation overgrowth.

Same street after Urban Forestry Pruned trees and cut back vegetation overgrowth.

  • July 8: Orcas and Martin Luther King Jr Way
  • July 22: Sound Transit tour, between Rainier Beach and Othello Stations
  • July 29: Rainier Avenue and Genesee
  • August 12: Rainier Beach

For more information on the Summer of Safety Initiative, please visit their webpage.

SDOT’s second area of focus this summer will be to help community members activate the public spaces around them. SDOT will work with residents to help them create a Play Street in their neighborhood. Under this pilot program, residents can apply to close one block of street to traffic so the kids (and adults) can have more space to play. Many cities across the country have Play Streets, including New York City. This program will give kids of all ages more space to be active and they support FUN for everyone! For information on how you can create a Play Street, please contact Diane Walsh at diane.walsh@seattle.gov, (206) 386-4575.

If you have questions or would like more information about the SDOT Urban Forestry Tree Program, please visit Urban Forestry’s website. In addition, if you have concerns about specific trees in your neighborhood, please call the citywide tree line at (206) 684-TREE.

If you would like additional information on BTG please visit their website.

 

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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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Construction projects big and small

Curb ramps installed at 11th and Trenton SW.

Curb ramps installed at 11th and Trenton SW.

 

Summer is scheduled to arrive in 11 days and construction projects (both big and small) are popping up all over the city. If you have not already felt the impacts, it’s safe to say just wait and you will. Thanks to the Bridging the Gap (BTG) Transportation Initiative, Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) crews are keeping very busy these days as they work their way around the city paving roads, repairing sidewalks, installing new sidewalk, restriping crosswalks, implementing crossing improvements and installing pedestrian countdown signals. All of these projects help make Seattle more accessible to all its residents.

Curb ramps addes to Seattle's First Hill neighborhood.

Curb ramps addes to Seattle’s First Hill neighborhood.

One key program helping to make Seattle more accessible is the installation of ADA – (Americans with Disabilities Act) – compliant curb ramps across the city. SDOT has been working hard to update sidewalks currently without curb ramps and making sure that curb ramps are included in every new sidewalk project. Through 2013, with funding from BTG, more than 859 new curb ramps were installed across the city and 150 more will be installed this year. The ultimate goal is for all corners have curb ramps and SDOT will keep working until it reaches that critical target.

Curb ramps and a new sidewalk were added to 32nd Avenue SW.

Curb ramps and a new sidewalk were added to 32nd Avenue SW.

All construction projects can cause a bit of stress for all roadway users. They can mean delays and detours. Know that SDOT is working hard to minimize these inconveniences to keep Seattle moving. We encourage you to slow down and give yourself a few extra minutes to get to your destination. All this construction is a sign of a healthy and growing city.

For more information on BTG and the programs it funds please visit the web site.

 

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Construction, construction…oh my, more construction!!

2012-5-9 Blackbottle CW pour (4)RESIZEIt’s that time of year where road construction activity seems to be everywhere and it can be both a good thing and a bit frustrating. Late spring and summer is the most active time for road construction thanks to more consistent good weather and longer days. With funding from the Bridging the Gap (BTG) transportation initiative the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) crews are very busy making Seattle a little smoother and easier to navigate!

If it seems SDOT crews are everywhere you would be mostly right. This year SDOT will repave 17 lane miles of arterial roadway, restripe more than 500 crosswalks and will restripe 850 lane line miles of arterial roadway. Crews will construct more than four miles of new greenways, install 25 miles of new bike route signs and make repairs to ten key locations along Seattle’s trail system. You will also see SDOT crews repairing more than 25 blocks of new sidewalks, constructing seven blocks of new sidewalk, implementing 45 crossing improvements and completing eight Safe Routes to School projects.

Ravenna Blvd PavingRESIZEWhile construction season can bring small inconveniences – potential detours and slowdowns – it is worth it in the long run for smoother pavement, safer crossings and walking routes and newly striped roadways. So, give yourself a few extra minutes to get to your destination, slow down and give the road crews a little extra space. They are working to make Seattle a better place for all of us.

For more information on BTG and its accomplishments please visit the website.

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Record rains give way to record number of cyclists on the roads and trails!

Bike improvement on Othello Street.

Bike improvement on Othello Street.

National Bike Month comes to a close this week and what a month it has been! Aided by stretches of nice (mostly dry!) weather we have seen record numbers of cyclists taking to the roads and trails around Seattle. The increase can be attributed to many things, however the Bridging the Gap (BTG) transportation program had helped the Seattle Department of Transportation make solid progress in making it easier to bike to work or for play.

In the seven years BTG has been in place, 156 miles of bike route signage has been installed, over four miles of new trail constructed and more than 173 improvements made at key locations along Seattle’s urban trails and bikeways. SDOT has also made progress in increasing the number of on-street bike facilities. Before BTG, the city had fewer than 20 miles of bike lanes and sharrows and today we have more than 150 miles and have continued to maintain them by restriping more than 220 miles. In addition to bike lanes and sharrows, more than 7.5 miles of new greenways have been installed.

Greenway in Wallingford.

Greenway in Wallingford.

While sunshine and warmer temperatures draw us all outside to play, it is important to remember that this is also the prime time for SDOT crews to be working making it easier for you to get to work or play. Remember when you see crews working to please slow down and give them extra space. They are working hard to make Seattle easier to navigate and a little safer for all of us.

If you would like more information on the future plans for bicycling in the City of Seattle please take a few minutes to review the recently adopted Bicycle Master Plan. For more information on SDOT’soverall bicycle program please visit their web page and for more information on BTG please see its web page.

 

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Bike to Work Day – Friday, May 16th!!!

Bike route signage - making it easier to find your route.

Bike route signage – making it easier to find your route.

Are you a seasoned veteran or a newbie rider?!  It’s time to celebrate Bike to Work Day this Friday, May 16.  Bike to Work Day is an annual event and has been used to inspire many folks to try riding to work for the first time.  Biking to work can be a challenge, but with a little pre-planning and thought, many of the obstacles can be overcome fairly easily.  Below are a few of the common questions we hear from folks:

What route should I follow? 

The City of Seattle has an on-line bike map to help you pick the best route to get from home to work and back.

Can I ride on the street or sidewalk? 

\Bicyclists must follow the same rules of the road as other vehicles.  This link will help you become reacquainted with the do’s and don’ts of riding a bike in Seattle!

Where can I take a shower or get cleaned up after my ride?

Check with your building management to see if there are locker facilities in your building.  Many of the new buildings offer these facilities.  If that is not an option, check with a local gym as many offer day passes.  As a last resort, you can always clean up in the bathroom at work.  Many long-time riders utilize this option daily.

Green bike lane along N/NW 130th Street.

Green bike lane along N/NW 130th Street.

How do I get my clothes and shoes to work?

Plan ahead!  Many riders will bring stuff in the day before or keep a set of clothes at their desk.  Many items needed for one day can be packed neatly in a back pack for the day.

What if I can only ride one way? 

You can always put your bike on the bus if you can only ride one way.  All King County Metro, Sound Transit, Pierce Transit and Community Transit buses have bike racks for your use.  For information on how and where to load your bike on a bus, please visit King County Metro.

Planning ahead and doing a little bit of research can make your ride much less worrisome.   The Cascade Bicycle Club has a whole host of links, tips and ideas available on their commuter webpage.    In addition, Washington Bikes is a great resource for issues facing cyclists across the state, for information please visit their web page.

Bike Lane along Columbian Way.

Bike lane along Columbian Way.

There has been a big increase in the number of cyclists on the road already this month with the good weather.  However, you can expect to see many more this Friday.  It’s a good opportunity for all of us to slow down, look out for each other and be respectful of all roadway users!  For more information on Bike to Work day and the scheduled events please visit the webpage.

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Time to get out for a spin – rain or shine!

The month of May has ushered in Bike Month!  While things started off quite nice with a 90 degree day, things have since turned a little damp, but that’s no excuse!   It’s time to dust off the bike, pump up the tires and get outside for a ride.  Thanks to the  Seattle Transportation Initiative – Bridging the Gap (BTG) – riding your bike to work or for play has gotten easier.

In seven years, 156 miles of bike route signage has been installed, over four miles of new trail has been constructed and more than173 improvements have been made to Seattle’s urban trails and bikeways. The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) is taking big steps to increase the number of on-street bike facilities.  Before BTG, the city had fewer than 20 miles of bike lanes and sharrows. Today we have more than 150 miles of new bike lanes and sharrows and have restriped more than 220 miles.

Wallingford Greenway.

Wallingford Greenway.

Last year saw a big ramp-up in the neighborhood greenways program with more than seven miles installed. Greenways offer a safer and more comfortable place to walk and ride a bike for everyone from kids to grandparents and include improvements like speed humps, sidewalk improvements and wayfinding signs. For more information on the green way to travel visit SDOT’s program web page.

This spring also saw the adoption of the updated Bicycle Master Plan (BMP).  The BMP provides a bold vision for making needed investments in Seattle’s bicycle infrastructure and is supported by five goals which articulate the plan’s future achievements. The goals set the basis for the plan’s performance measures and frame the prioritization criteria that help define which projects should be built first:

Bike improvements on Othello Street.

Bike improvements on Othello Street.

  • Ridership – Increase amount and mode share of bicycle riding in Seattle for all trip purposes.
  • Safety – Improve safety for bicycle riders in Seattle.
  • Connectivity – Create a high-quality bicycle network that connects to places people want to go and provides a time-competitive travel option.
  • Equity – Improve bicycle riding for all through equity in public engagement, program delivery, and capital investments.
  • Livability – Build vibrant communities by creating a welcoming environment for bicycle riding.

SDOT is committed to making Seattle a place for all cyclists.  With the help of funding from BTG we have made steady progress.  There is more work to do and through the remaining two years of the BTG program we will continue making Seattle a more bikeable city.  For more information on BTG please visit the web page.

 

 

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