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Archive for 'Bridging the Gap'

Neighborhood Street Fund Large Projects off and running!

S Othello Street AFTERTwelve Neighborhood Street Fund (NSF) large projects were selected for funding in 2013, thanks to the voter-approved Bridging the Gap (BTG) transportation levy. This was the third round of funding provided by BTG and approximately $4.5 million to community-based projects on a three-year cycle, was bolstered by an additional $1 million provided by the Mayor and City Council as part of the savings from the Spokane Street Viaduct Project, bringing the total funding available for this third and final round to $5.5 million. In addition, $2.9 million from the School Zone Camera Enforcement Program will be used to fund four NSF projects near schools. Projects were selected in 2013 will be designed in 2014 and constructed in 2015.

There are 12 projects in the NSF Program all will be completed by the end of 2015. Two projects, the West Duwamish Trail extension and one segment of Pioneer Square ADA improvements, are ahead of schedule and construction will begin in 2014.

Projects to be constructed in 2015:

  • Columbia City Sidewalk Repair:  Construction begins in the first quarter of 2015
  • Georgetown Festival Street:  Construction begins in the second quarter of 2015
  • Pedestrian Improvements (5 locations throughout Seattle):  Construction begins in first quarter of 2015
  • Historic District ADA Improvements: Ongoing through 2015. Some additional work may continue in to 2016 if grant funding is received.
  • Rainier Beach pedestrian improvements:  Construction begins in the fourth quarter of 2015
  • Greenwood Ave N sidewalks:  Construction begins in the second quarter of 2015
  • Rainier Ave S & S Dearborn Street pedestrian improvements: Construction begins in the second quarter of 2015

Each of these projects was submitted by community members to their District Councils for review and selection based on their importance to the community. Projects were then forwarded to the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) for some initial design work and cost estimating.  Each project is then reviewed and evaluated by BTG Oversight Committee members and they then made a recommendation to the Mayor and Council. The full BTG Oversight committee bases their decision on the following factors:  geographic mix, “bang for the buck,” quality of life enhancement, safety considerations and, when appropriate, Pedestrian Master Plan and Bicycle Master Plan criteria.

To learn more about the Neighborhood Street Fund Large Project program and details about the projects selected, please visit their website.

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SDOT budget review, third quarter BTG update and more.

 

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Would you like to know about the Seattle Department of Transportation’s (SDOT) 2015-2016 budget?   How about an update of the third quarter Bridging the Gap (BTG) finances and an update on the 2014 BTG work plan deliverables?  Do 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 October 30, 2014, 6 – 8 p.m., Seattle Hall, Boards and Commissions Room (L-280).  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 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
• Ben Noble, City Budget Director
• Councilmember Tom Rasmussen, Transportation Committee Chair

All committee meeting s 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 October 30th.

For more information, please visit BTG Levy Oversight Committee website.

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City Delivers Bicycle Master Plan Implementation Plan

Setting vigorous project and program goals for enhancing cycling citywide, today the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) delivered to the Seattle City Council the Bicycle Master Plan (BMP) Implementation Plan. Covering work to be completed from 2015 to 2019, the five-year plan includes building nearly 33 miles of protected bike lanes and more than 52 miles of neighborhood greenways across Seattle.

Adopted in April 2014, the new Bicycle Master Plan envisions that, “riding a bicycle is a comfortable and integral part of daily life in Seattle for people of all ages and abilities.” SDOT’s implementation plan describes an ambitious set of projects and programs that will help create a connected network, improving safety for all roadway users and encouraging more people to enjoy the city on two wheels. The projects in the implementation plan were identified using the recommendations and priorities in the BMP, which emphasize safety, connectivity, equity, ridership and livability.

2015 Implementation Plan MapAmong the projects planned for 2015, at a cost of $18.2 million, are:

  • Creating approximately seven miles of protected bike lanes, to include a facility on Roosevelt Way NE (NE 45th Street to the University Bridge) to improve safety;
  • Building more than 12 miles of neighborhood greenways in Ballard, West Seattle, the Central Area and Southeast Seattle;
  • Beginning construction on the Westlake Cycle Track to create a safer, more comfortable and more predictable corridor for drivers, walkers and bicyclists;
  • Installing 225 bike racks and 15 on-street bike corrals; and
  • Creating 25 miles of bike route wayfinding signs throughout the city.

The projects will be funded using several sources, including Bridging the Gap supported BMP implementation and corridor projects, and state and federal grants. The Seattle Bicycle Advisory Board provided valuable feedback during the development of the implementation plan and SDOT will be providing regular progress reports to the board and to the Seattle City Council.

Additional information about the projects, to include maps of project locations, can be found here: BMP Implementation Plan.

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I’m just biking in the rain…fall weather has finally arrived!

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Normally this time of year we would all be breaking out our rain gear for any outdoor activity. It has been an amazing summer and early fall, but we knew it couldn’t last and the rains have returned. This may relegate many folks across the county indoors; in Seattle, rain doesn’t keep us from riding to work or for play. Thanks to the Bridging the Gap (BTG) transportation initiative passed by voters in 2006, biking is becoming easier and more accessible in the City.

2014 has been a solid year for BTG cycling projects across the city and Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) crews are working to wrap up their work, making it easier to ride a bike in a rainy Seattle. So far, SDOT is working hard to meet its promise of installing four miles of neighborhood greenways and restriping 60 miles of bike lanes and sharrows.

the wide shape of the arrow, combined with the bike symbol, gave rise to unofficial names such as "bike in a house" or "sharrow

the wide shape of the arrow, combined with the bike symbol, gave rise to unofficial names such as “bike in a house” or “sharrow

 

In addition, SDOT crews inspected 40 miles of trail across the city, made improvements to 10 key locations, are working to install 25 miles of bicycle route signage and complete the installation of 500 bicycle parking spaces at key locations across the city. All this work will be completed by the end of the year.

bicirain

Over the first seven years of the BTG program, SDOT has worked hard to implement the Bicycle Master Plan which calls for key improvements across Seattle to make bicycling easier and more accessible to everyone. SDOT is working hard to keep the promises made as part of the BTG program and is working to keep Seattle moving.

BTG

 For more information on BTG and work it is doing please visit the web site.

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Signs connecting our neighborhoods, thanks to Bridging the Gap

SNS-Ballard-1024x576_v2With the help of the Bridging the Gap Transportation levy the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) is working to replace those old, faded hard to read regulatory and street name signs across the city. Through 2013, nearly 45,000 regulatory signs have been replaced and more than 9,800 intersections have seen new street name signs. So far in 2014, more than 700 intersections have received new street name signs and hard working SDOT crews have installed more than 2,400 new regulatory signs across the city.

All these new signs help better connect our communities make it easier for everyone to navigate the city – especially the new street name signs – something we are all very thankful for!

As noted in a previous blog post various street name signs – named and numbered – are available through the City of Seattle Fleets and Facilities surplus warehouse.   They have posted an updated list of available signs which range in price from $5 – 15. Please contact the warehouse directly if you are interested in purchasing a sign.

Please visit the Bridging the Gap web page for additional information about the program.

 

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Bridging the Gap – working to beat the end of year clock.

Fall arrived this past week right on schedule with cooler temperatures, shorter days and rain. While it has been a long and lovely summer there is still a lot of work to be completed. Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) crews are working against the clock to wrap up their work for the year.

Thanks to the Bridging the Gap (BTG) Transportation initiative crews have been busy with lots of construction that will continue deep into the fall. SDOT crews are working to finish up more than 17 lane miles of paving, construct 7 blocks of new sidewalk, install 150 new curb ramps, repair 25 blocks of sidewalk, install 4 miles of greenways, replace 1,250 new street name signs, plant 500 trees, implement 45 crossing improvements and complete 190 bridge maintenance requests. As our crews complete their work plans for 2014, they are starting to look ahead and plan for 2015.

The end of summer saw SDOT complete its work on eight Safe Routes to School projects, the installation of 2441 new regulatory signs, three new stairways rehabilitated and the installation of 45 pedestrian countdown signals.

Before and after

Before and after

It has been a very busy year for BTG and SDOT crews! The arrival of fall as the days get shorter and darker please remember there is still a lot of work to be wrapped up before the end of 2014, please slow down and watch for SDOT crews doing this work to make Seattle a little easier to get around.

For more information on the BTG program please visit the web page.

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Access Seattle leads efforts to help West Seattle businesses

Construction is booming all over the city, with Seattle currently the fastest growing large city in America. All that development can create mobility impacts, especially when multiple projects happen simultaneously and in close proximity. Access Seattle calls such areas construction hubs. West Seattle is one of those hubs and right now it’s experiencing concentrated construction taking up more than half of the 4700 block of California Avenue SW/42nd Avenue SW. The Access Seattle team stepped in to help, bringing public and private entities to the table.

A major goal of Access Seattle is to maintain mobility, for thriving communities. This is done with business and community support; traveler engagement; and construction coordination. Much of the coordination work takes place behind the scenes, proactively bringing community concerns to the early phase planning of area contractors. The result often reduces what might otherwise be more significant cumulative construction impacts. Other Access Seattle work is more visible, as with a free parking program in the West Seattle Junction, and 3.5-feet by 7-feet signs guiding pedestrians to area businesses.

ParkingMapThe new free parking program launching today in West Seattle is the result of many weeks of discussion and coordination. The Access team brought contractors; area businesses; and the West Seattle Junction Association to the table to come up with a solution. Projects at 4203 SW Alaska St (Andersen Construction) and 4724 California Ave SW (Compass General Construction) were taking up more than 20 parking spaces in one block with construction expected to last until early 2015. In the brokered agreement Andersen and Compass agreed to help fund free parking for people visiting area businesses. Here’s how it works:

Customers get up to two hours of free parking in Jefferson Square’s underground parking garage, at SW Edmunds St. and 42nd Ave. SW. The only requirements are that customers:

  1. Use Diamond Parking’s Call to Park service (www.calltopark.com)
  2. Go directly to a participating business to provide their license plate number (Wallflower Custom Framing, Elliott Bay Brewery and Talarico’s Pizzeria)

The brokered mitigation effort is in effect until January of 2015.

WSJpedMapTo further assist the businesses struggling with the concentrated cumulative construction impacts in this city block, the Access Seattle team created a pedestrian detour map, complete with the names of area businesses and walking paths to reach them. The Seattle Department of Transportation created several of the 3.5-feet by 7-feet signs and attached them to construction fencing in the area (and posted smaller versions in public places). Again, Andersen Construction Company and Compass Construction shared the cost, showing commitment to maintaining access in our fast-growing city.

Access Seattle is an initiative seeks to keep businesses thriving; travelers moving safely; and construction coordinated during peak construction periods—working specifically in areas identified as construction hubs. At present these hubs are West Seattle, Ballard, Capitol Hill, South Lake Union, North Westlake, the Central Waterfront and Alaskan Way Viaduct North.

 

To learn more visit: http://www.seattle.gov/transportation/hub.htm

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Bridging the Gap: A path to pedestrian improvements

 

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Thanks to the Bridging the Gap (BTG) transportation initiative passed by Seattle voters in 2006, the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) is working to make it easier and safer to cross the road. Funding from BTG is available to remark crosswalks, make needed crossing improvements, install new signage in school zones, deploy the speed watch trailer and install pedestrian countdown signals across the city.

Since 2007, more than 4,700 crosswalks have been remarked, 185 crossing improvements have been implemented and 210 intersections have received the new pedestrian countdown signals. In addition, more than 196 improvement and signage upgrades have been made to school zones across the city and the speed watch trailer has been deployed more than 422 times.

While SDOT has made good progress on these valuable pedestrian improvements, work continues in 2014. So far this year the department has remarked 384 crosswalks; made 23 crossing improvements; installed pedestrian countdown signals at 45 intersections; deployed the speed watch trailer to 54 locations; and made 11 improvements to schools zones across the city.

Many of the improvements work in conjunction with our Safe Routes to School program making it easier and safer for kids all around Seattle to walk and bike to school. They bring awareness to all roadway users to be on the lookout for each other by creating more visibility to crossings; making drivers more aware they are entering a school zone; and providing immediate feedback to drivers about their speed through the use of the speed watch trailers.

For more information about BTG, its goals and accomplishments, visit the web site.

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Street Improvement Continues as Summer Turns into Fall

Fall is coming As the summer construction season transitions to fall, Seattle residents will still see lots of work going on in their neighborhoods, thanks to the Bridging the Gap transportation initiative passed by Seattle voters in 2006. Seattle Department of Transportation crews continue to be very busy making Seattle streets a little smoother and easier to navigate.

SDOT crews focus on striping and marking streets during the long, dry days of summer, including traffic lanes, crosswalks, and bicycle facilities. So far this year, more than 306 crosswalks have been remarked, 533 lane miles of arterial lanes have been restriped, 33 miles of bicycle facilities have been maintained and more than two miles of new facilities have been installed.

Two major paving projects – the North 105th Street and North/Northeast Northgate Way project and the Holman Road project – will be finished this fall. More than 16 lane miles will be repaved as part of these projects. For more information on each of these projects please visit the Bridging the Gap paving web site.

SDOT crews have been restriping and remarking streets this summer.

SDOT crews have been restriping and remarking streets this summer.

In addition to paving projects, work actively continues on several sidewalk projects across the city. SDOT expects to construct seven blocks of new sidewalk in 2014. For more information about the projects and to see a list of locations please visit see their web page.

SDOT is working hard to make Seattle more vibrant city for all of us. Yes, construction projects can be a small inconvenience, however, the improvements will be worth it in the long run.

It’s important to remember to slow down and give workers a little extra space. The arrival of fall brings shorter days, waning light and rain – all of which can make it more difficult to see. Give yourself a few extra minutes to get to where you are going and enjoy the many new facilities that sprung up over the summer!

For more information on Bridging the Gap and its accomplishments please visit the web site.

Northgate paving project will be completed before the end of the year.

Northgate paving project will be completed this fall.

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Landscaping Seattle City Right of Way: a Math Problem

Do you ever drive down a landscaped Seattle street and wonder, “Why don’t they maintain that median?” or, “Wow, I love the landscaping along this road, it really makes the neighborhood.”

In Seattle, there are approximately 123 acres of landscaped public right of way and tree pits—with just 12 gardeners to maintain it all. That means the team must diligently prioritize workload. The number one priority is ensuring these areas are safe and provide accessibility as they were designed. That’s the goal whether the landscaping was installed in the 1960’s, like it was when the 15th Avenue NW and Nickerson Street interchange was being built, or newly installed, as with the Mercer  corridor improvements.

1960 Seattle Municipal Archives photo of Emerson Street Interchange; Nickerson Approach to bridge.

1960 Seattle Municipal Archives photo; Nickerson Approach to bridge.

Mercer Corridor construction and landscaping work in January 2014

Mercer Corridor construction and landscaping work in January 2014

 

The Seattle Department of Transportation Urban Forestry gardeners are well-trained in current professional standards—several are Certified Professional Horticulturists and ISA Certified Arborists. Though the staff is knowledgeable and dedicated, it still comes down to a numbers game. The dozen SDOT Urban Forestry gardeners, supported by two irrigation specialists, are only able to reach about half of the landscaped areas each year for proactive maintenance.

Despite the challenge, the nimble team keeps multiple programs going (click on example photos below, for larger views): mowing for 6-8 months; leaf pick-up every fall; tree pit maintenance; landscape maintenance year-round; planting several hundred streets trees every spring and fall (funded by Bridging the Gap); and accent landscapes work, which is the more labor intensive flower beds featuring perennials and annuals.LANDSCAPE BEFORE & AFTER 021 Picture 0445TH AVE NE PHASE II 003 5TH AVE NE PHASE II 005 16th AVE SW MEDIANS 9.13 005

Some of the maintenance work, which focuses first on arterials, also requires traffic control like the recent work along Harbor Avenue SW (see photos below). The travel lane was shifted to the parking lane for six hours, each of three days last week, to ensure the workers were safe and to meet safety standards set by the Manual for Uniform Traffic Control Devices or MUTCD. From Southwest Spokane Street to Southwest Florida Street, along Harbor Avenue, the team weeded and cut back plants to improve visibility and added mulch to suppress weed growth.HarborAve

 Above: Segment of Harbor Avenue during and after landscape maintenance
(click for larger view)

So far this year SDOT Urban Forestry has recycled over 430 cubic yards of wood chip mulch back into landscapes. This mulch suppresses weeds, conditions the soil, retains soil moisture and reduces the need for herbicides. It’s important maintenance, and it’s needed all over the city.

A volunteer Tree Ambassador recants how history has shaped the trees in Seward Park during a recent Tree Walk.

A volunteer Tree Ambassador recants how history has shaped the trees in Seward Park during a recent ReLeaf Program Tree Walk.

The math starts to work out when volunteers become involved. SDOT relies on the community to help alert us to issues in landscaped areas we are unable to attend to; and on neighborhoods to help with litter pickup, weeding and group work parties. Seattle’s ReLeaf Tree Ambassador Program, a Seattle Department of Transportation and Seattle Public Utilities joint project, is there to train volunteers who are interested in leading landscape maintenance events in their neighborhoods.

Recently, a volunteer group organized by the Tree Ambassador Program, helped weed and mulch over 25 tree pits along Martin Luther King Jr Way near the Rainier Beach Transit Station. On August 9, a group of 16 volunteers working at N 46th Street and Aurora Avenue N (pictured below), removed 10 bags of garbage and 5 yards of weeds; freed 4 large conifers from strangling ivy; and laid down fresh mulch.

RainierVounteers

Volunteers gathered at N 46th St and Aurora Ave N to address maintenance needs

 

Similar work took place again this past weekend, on August 16, on Beacon Hill at Beacon Avenue S and 15th Avenue S. Want to be part of the equation? Add to the crew and make a winning solution this Saturday, August 23, in Rainier Beach:

RainierVounteer

When volunteers join forces with the dedicated gardener dozen, and the irrigation specialists give the plantings what they need to survive—the City starts to look pretty vibrant.

If you like solving math problems, help us solve for X:

(12 Gardeners) + (2 Irrigation Specialiats) + (X Volunteers) = 123 well-kept acres

Want to get your number in the game?

Thank you Seattle!

 

 

 

 

 

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