SDOT’s 2015 Accomplishments
To meet the challenges of a rapidly growing city while improving safety, delivering its core services, and providing more options for travelers, the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) focused on launching important new initiatives in 2015.
The nine-year Bridging the Gap transportation levy ended in 2015 and SDOT worked diligently to deliver on the work promised using this funding. A few examples of 2015 work funded by Bridging the Gap include 15 lane-miles of street paving, 11 blocks of new sidewalks, 3,500 trees pruned, 240 maintenance repairs to bridges, and 38 stairways rehabilitated or repaired. The West Emerson Overpass underwent successful upgrade and repairs. Several neighborhoods across the city benefited from microsurfacing (43.3 miles of streets), a preventative maintenance surface treatment that preserves roadways. Nearly 100 percent of potholes requests were filled within three business days.
In 2015 the City of Seattle launched Vision Zero with the goal of ending traffic deaths and serious injuries by 2030. SDOT studied corridors with high numbers of collisions – Rainier Avenue South, 35th Avenue Southwest, Southwest Roxbury Street and Lake City Way Northeast—to identify ways to improve safety. The department enhanced these four corridors through changes proven effective in reducing collisions, such as lower speed limits, redesigned lane configurations, and improved signage and pedestrian crossings. Preliminary data shows serious collisions were down 26 percent in 2015 from the previous three years.
SDOT also developed the Safe Routes to School Five-Year Action Plan, a part of Vision Zero, to guide new investments in critical areas that will make it even safer and easier for kids to walk and bike to school. The department improved sidewalks and pedestrian crossings on 12 walk-to-school routes around the city and installed school speed zone enforcement cameras at six additional schools.
To provide safer and more comfortable routes for walking and bicycling, more than three miles of neighborhood greenways were added—which are designated routes on non-arterial, low traffic volume streets with safety improvements added—and began work on another nine miles.
In 2015 SDOT and the Seattle Police Department adopted a data-driven approach to enforcement, so that patrols are dispatched to locations where collisions occur frequently and focus on the behaviors that contribute to crashes. SDOT partnered with community organizations to raise awareness about top safety issues, such as developing public service announcements about pedestrian safety for older adults with AARP and KOMO TV.
SDOT also partnered with MADD and Lyft to provide discounted rides home in Seattle’s nightlife hotspots to deter impaired driving. SDOT and SPD additionally coordinated “Blocking the Box” enforcement which helps address vehicles that illegally stop in the intersection impeding traffic and safe pedestrian crossings.
SDOT additionally worked with King County Metro and Sound Transit to make public transit more convenient, faster and more reliable. The department purchased 225,000 hours of additional transit service on Metro’s routes. SDOT installed 11 additional Real Time Information System screens on Metro Route 44 to inform passengers when to expect their next bus. SDOT and Metro also established a program to provide a fare discount for low-income riders. SDOT also coordinated transit lane enforcement with Seattle Police at critical locations.
To address Seattle’s rapid growth, inspectors were assigned to coordinate and monitor public and private work occurring in areas of intense construction, minimizing impacts to the right of way. SDOT also revised policies and procedures for responding to traffic incidents, supporting faster lane openings for collisions, and installed additional dynamic message signs and upgraded traffic cameras to provide advance notice of traffic conditions.
Other accomplishments in 2015 include:
- Installed 330 new parking pay stations; adjusted on-street parking rates in 12 areas
- Expanded e-Park to three new garages and installed two new e-Park electronic signs
Pedestrian safety improvements:
- Improved pedestrian crossings at 35 intersections; installed new signal at 47th SW and Admiral Way SW
- Installed or upgraded 210 curb ramps
- Finalized a new director’s rule addressing pedestrian safety around construction
Bicycling facility improvements:
- Added bike lanes and sharrows to seven miles of streets and maintained 50 miles of bike lane markings
- Installed bike route signs on 26 miles of routes
- Provided racks and corrals for 566 parking spaces for bikes
- Oversaw a pilot Play Streets program with 170 play streets
- Implemented two pavement to parks projects, three parklets and two streateries
- Converted four shoreline street ends into neighborhood public spaces