Beyond the Curb: SDOT and UW Work to Streamline Freight Delivery Downtown

Along with thousands of commuters who head downtown every day, freight delivery drivers are trying to drop off goods and keep customers happy.

Sometimes, the journey from warehouse to downtown building happens on public streets, but we want to make sure that last leg from the load zone to the lobby – the final 50 feet – is as seamless as possible.

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To make it easier to deliver goods in Seattle, we entered into a 3-year partnership with the University of Washington and private businesses known as the Urban Freight Lab.

The Final 50 Feet Program looks at improving delivery at the end of the supply chain: loading areas, traffic control, and street design. This will help us understand and maintain safer, more efficient deliveries throughout the city and the Puget Sound region.

The first step is to gather data on how people and goods are interacting right now. Downtown, from the waterfront to I-5, and from Denny Way to S Dearborn Street, grad students are collecting data on loading bay locations, load zones, alleyway access and any other means of delivering goods to downtown destinations.

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Next, we’ll identify changes that could help reduce congestion and collisions. Teaming up with the Urban Freight Lab, we’ll pilot test solutions in a real-world environment.

We’ve received requests from many other cities, including Washington, DC, to share results and lessons learned during the Freight Master Plan development process and early actions coming out of this 3-year program. Check out a few articles that have made local and national news:

Seattle is committed to being a leader in urban goods policy and problem-solving and keeping our economy thriving.

To learn more, please visit The Final 50 Feet Program webpage or contact Christopher Eaves at Christopher.Eaves@Seattle.gov.

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The New 2016-2017 Winter Weather Brochure and Snow Route Maps are here!

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SDOT’s annual Winter Weather brochure has a large map of Seattle’s snow and ice routes, lists important telephone numbers and web sites to use during winter storms, and offers preparedness tips. Here’s a link to our Winter Weather page that has useful information about what to expect when it snows.

During major winter storms, plan your trip by seeing where the snow plows have been and viewing traffic cameras by clicking on the link below:
Winter Weather Response Map

The brochures will be free at Seattle Public Library branches and Neighborhood Service Centers.

This year we will again distribute the brochure to elementary schools in the Seattle public school district for children to take home to their parents.

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Download only the map in English

Download the full brochure in:

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SDOT Mobility Innovations First Forum on Mobility Hubs

SDOT hosted the first Mobility Innovations Forum Monday, the topic Mobility Hubs.

We’re hosting a speaker series on mobility innovations, running through mid-2017 (see below)

The City of Seattle is partnering with transit agencies and private mobility services to develop a network of shared mobility hubs throughout the city, providing better mobility and integrated transportation choices for all. Topics will include mobility hubs, smart mobility strategies for high growth in Seattle, preparing for autonomous vehicles, and making shared transportation equitable.

Scott Kubly, Director of Seattle Department of Transportation; Seleta Reynolds, General Manager of Los Angeles DOT; David Bragdon, Executive Director of TransitCenter; Sharon Feigon, Executive Director at the Shared Use Mobility Center, discussed their thoughts on mobility hubs as Ross Reynolds from KUOW, moderated the conversation.

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Scott Kubly, SDOT Dir; Speakers: Seleta Reynolds; David Bragdon; Sharon Feigon; Ross Reynolds KUOW.

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Scott Kubly , SDOT Dir. addresses attendees alongside featured guests.

Here’s a definition of what Mobility Hubs are:

Mobility hubs provide an integrated suite of transportation services, supporting amenities, and urban design enhancements that reduce the need for single occupant vehicle trips by increasing first mile/last mile access to high-frequency transit stations. Mobility hubs are places of connectivity where different modes of transportation such as walking, biking, ride-sharing, and public transit, cometogether seamlessly at concentrations of employment, housing, shopping, and/ or recreation.

Hub features can include: bikeshare, car share, neighborhood electric vehicles, bike parking, dynamic parking management strategies, real-time traveler information, real-time ride-sharing, demand-based shuttle, bicycle and pedestrian facility improvements, wayfinding, urban design enhancements, and supporting systems like mobile applications, electric vehicle charging, smart intersections, and a universal payment system to make it easy to access a wide range of travel options.

Please join us at the upcoming forums. More details will be posted, we appreciate your participation in the months ahead.

The preliminary schedule for future topics is:

  • January: Smart mobility strategies for high growth Seattle
  • March: Preparing for connected and autonomous vehicles
  • May: Making shared mobility equitable
  • June or July: Rethinking mobility as a service

Questions, please contact Evan Corey: evan.corey@seattle.gov.

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Help Keep Seattle Truckin’

Seattle is deciding the future of how trucks will get around our city, and the Freight Master Plan provides us with an opportunity to help move goods efficiently and safely through the city. Local residents, businesses, freight companies, manufacturers, and community councils have weighed in – now we want to hear from you!

Freight Master Plan

Forty percent of jobs in Washington are tied to freight related activity, and that includes more than just next day deliveries from online shopping. The medicine for hospitals, the groceries for stores, the gas for cars, even the beer at your favorite bar all depend on Seattle’s network of planes, trains, ships, and trucks.

How your fish and chips travels by freight

How your fish and chips travels by freight

As Seattle continues to grow, the amount of goods moving on our streets is expected to increase over 60 percent over the next 20 years. To support this growth, and keep traffic flowing, we’ve drafted a Freight Master Plan designed to:

  • Grow our economy
  • Improve safety for everyone on the road
  • Connect industrial areas, business districts, and transportation hubs
  • Maintain and improve our roads
  • Protect communities who live near freight corridors
  • Cut down on harmful pollution

To reach these goals, we’ve proposed a number of ideas, ranging from redesigning intersections and restricting idling to improving loading zone enforcement and implementing new emissions reduction technologies. In addition to city funds, these efforts will be supported by the Levy to Move Seattle, the Port of Seattle, the State of Washington, and federal grants.

First Avenue and Pike Street

First Avenue and Pike Street, looking east up Pike Street. Source: Seattle Municipal Archives Photograph Collection

Our city has come a long way since the above photo from First and Pike a century ago, and we need a freight plan that makes sense with modern demands. We want to hear your ideas of how we can keep goods moving, keep streets safe, and keep Seattle green today and in the future.

Read the full proposal here, and be sure to send your comments to FreightMasterPlan@seattle.gov by July 8, 2016.

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Your Design Input Wanted for the South Lander Street Bridge Project

SDOT is going ahead with plans to build a bridge over South Lander Street between 1st and 4th avenues south to improve traffic, rail operations, and safety in the SODO neighborhood. At this early phase in the design process, we want to hear from you.

Learn more about the project and share feedback on key design features at our South Lander St Bridge Project Open House on Wednesday, June 8, 2016, from 4 to 6 p.m. at Metropolist located at 2931 1st Ave S in Seattle.

If you can’t make it to this Open House, you can visit our online open house, available from June 6 -17 at landerbridge.participate.online.

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South Lander St includes a crossing of four railroad tracks, which creates safety risks and traffic delays.

South Lander St is an essential east-west corridor in Seattle’s SODO neighborhood. Every day, the street serves freight, commuters, pedestrians, and bicyclists, as well as King County Metro buses and the Port of Seattle.

The corridor includes a crossing of four railroad tracks, which pose a safety risk and can cause traffic delays. Train crossings result in the road being closed more than 4.5 hours per day, impacting the mobility of tens of thousands of people and severely affecting access to port and local manufacturing facilities. South Lander St creates direct connections to facilities critical to our economy at the Port of Seattle, which contribute to 75,000 existing jobs and an additional 25,000 jobs that are forecasted by 2040.

The project may sound familiar – it went through preliminary design in 2007, but was put on hold. Thanks to the voter-approved Levy to Move Seattle, this project is moving forward again. Our transportation system has changed since 2007 and SDOT engineers are reevaluating the project’s previous design concepts to ensure the safest and most effective solution. 

For more information about the S Lander St Bridge Project, visit the project website. Email lander_bridge@seattle.gov to join our email list.

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Key Repairs Serve South Park’s Industrial Community

South Holden Street is the gateway to the extensive industrial area in the South Park neighborhood. This busy street carries a constant flow of heavy trucks, Metro buses and connects highways SR 509 and SR 99 to South Park’s industrial businesses. Years of wear and tear had naturally taken their toll and filling potholes was no longer effective, so this month SDOT repaved the busiest three blocks of S Holden St.

SDOT crews worked all day on a Saturday to get the job done without impacting the businesses that rely on this street every weekday – with remarkable results.

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Before and after the repairs on S Holden Street show a major improvement.

This project was funded by SDOT’s Arterial Major Maintenance (AMM) program, which maintains our busiest streets through strategic small scale pavement repairs to key locations in greatest need of repair.

SDOT and Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) are planning a much larger project on these same blocks of S Holden St in the next few years which will include drainage infrastructure and permanent street repairs.  SDOT determined that this key freight street should not wait years before being repaired, so this month’s repaving job provided a strategic, relatively low cost interim repair which vastly improved the street condition before the extensive SDOT/SPU project happens in a few years.

See more information on our Street Maintenance Program.

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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:

Empty Planters

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.

Planters

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Transit Improvement Installation to begin on Westlake Ave N between Stewart and Mercer Street this Weekend

On Saturday, March 19 and Sunday, March 20, SDOT will begin installation of new bus lane improvements on Westlake Ave / Westlake Ave N between Stewart St and Mercer St.

Beginning Monday, March 21, the new bus lanes can only be used by buses 24/7. These changes are in preparation for new service from the RapidRide C Line to South Lake Union that will begin the following Saturday, March 26. Implementing the bus only lanes a week in advanced of the March 26 service change provides opportunity for drivers to adjust to the new bus lanes and also takes advantage of dry weather, producing higher quality markings.

The new northbound center BUS ONLY lane (between Harrison St and Mercer St) replaces the left turn lane from Harrison to Mercer. Additionally, people driving will be restricted from:

  • Making northbound left turn Westlake to Mercer. (click to view map)
  • Making southbound right turns from Westlake to Mercer.
  • Making northbound and southbound left turns from Westlake to Republican.
  • Making southbound right turns from Westlake to Republican.
  • Making northbound right turns from Westlake to Harrison.
  • Making southbound right and left turns from Westlake to Thomas.
  • Making northbound right turns from Westlake to Thomas.
  • Making northbound left turns from Westlake to Denny (during the middle of the day)

Westlake Map v2

Please plan your new route in advance to allow for adjustments to the changes. SDOT would like to thank the public for its patience while this work is completed.

New RapidRide C Line service and the SLU Streetcar will start using the BUS ONLY lanes. The changes make it possible to double the number of people using transit along Westlake Avenue during the afternoon peak commute between 5p.m. and 6 p.m. on weekdays, which is the equivalent of adding another travel lane.

Ready for more bus service? Learn about the New RapidRide C Line service coming to SLU starting March 26.

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How to Use Find It and Fix It – Pothole Edition

If you live in Seattle or travel the city’s streets, you’ve probably seen the wear and tear on our roads. Because we live in a busy, growing city with heavy rainfall, potholes can be a problem.

In fact, it’s been one of the wettest winters on record, which means our roads are even more susceptible to potholes. When water seeps into the supporting soil below the asphalt, the foundation for our roads is weakened. Add heavy traffic into the mix and potholes are created.

We use two resources to communicate with the public to help us find and fix these issues.

Find It Fix It App

The Find It, Fix It app, created for mobile devices, allows the community to bring these issues to our attention. You are our eyes and ears on the streets. This app has a simple design where you can upload a photo of the issue and send it over to our maintenance crew and Customer Service Bureau.

Android users can download the app from the Google Play Store and iOS users can download it from the App Store.

In addition to reporting potholes, you can request a handful of other services through the app:

  • Abandoned Vehicles: report vehicles parked in a public right-of-way more than three days
  • Graffiti: report graffiti, including what it’s on — parking meter, utility pole or building — so it gets automatically routed to the appropriate department for response
  • Illegal Dumping: report illegal dumping — junk, garbage or debris — on public property, including roadsides, open streets and paved alleys
  • Parking Enforcement: make an inquiry about a parking concern
  • Streetlight Report: report a streetlight outage or damaged streetlight

 

Along with the Find It, Fix It app, we provide a map of all the potholes in the city on our website. Any requests that come in, are pending, or have already been filled are displayed on this map.

If you cannot access the Find It, Fix It app but would still like to report damages, you can still participate. Our website has a pothole report form and our contact number is 1-206-684-ROAD (7623). We also send Twitter requests to our maintenance crew if you do not have access to the Find It, Fix It app.

Thank you for taking part in our effort to maintain our roads for the future!

Pothole Map

 

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Keeping South Lake Union Moving

The construction cranes dotting Seattle’s landscape 1have become an iconic part of our city skyline in recent years. And perhaps no part of the skyline hosts densely clustered cranes more than the area above South Lake Union – a clear sign of the rapid development happening in the area. With 30-plus projects underway, and another 30-plus projects currently applying for permits, South Lake Union isn’t expecting a slow-down anytime soon.

So what does this mean for mobility and business in the community? Exciting future changes, for sure. But having multiple construction projects in close proximity to one another can of course present challenges. Because each neighborhood is unique, solutions to these challenges need to be tailored to the specific neighborhood that is experiencing the growth. This is where SDOT’s Access Seattle Initiative and Construction Hub Coordination Program become essential.

Active Construction Projects (orange) / Projects in Permitting (green)

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So how is SDOT’s Construction Hub Coordination Program helping South Lake Union navigate the ongoing construction boom?

First and foremost, we are reaching out to the community to find out what their needs and concerns are. By attending and holding public meetings, distributing frequent construction updates online and in print, and by establishing a single point of contact in each of Seattle’s construction hubs (Jack Bighorse is the contact for the South Lake Union hub – jack.bighorse@seattle.gov), we are keeping our fingers on the pulse of Seattle’s changing neighborhoods.

In addition to listening to individual concerns, we’re also taking in the big picture.

SDOT Street Use Director Brian de Place talks with constituents to get feedback

SDOT Street Use Director Brian de Place talks with people living and working in Seattle to get feedback.

In South Lake Union, it not just buildings that are changing the cityscape. Preconstruction activities for the Westlake Avenue protected bike lane are set to begin soon, the Fairview Avenue bridge is being replaced, a new substation and power-distribution network will be installed near Denny Way, and RapidRide C Line bus service is being extended to better serve the neighborhood. All of these changes mean that careful coordination with the timing of other nearby construction projects is key, so we’re working closely with contractors and developers to minimize potential conflicts.

4Part of making sure projects run smoothly, and that pedestrian and vehicular mobility is maintained, is proactive construction coordination to identify and resolve potential right of way issues before they occur. The Hub team collects and compiles project and event schedules  then works with contractors and stakeholders to consolidate haul routes, deliveries and other activities to minimize closures and ensure access.

 

We have also written the new Director’s Rule for Pedestrian Mobility In and Around Work Zones (DR 10-2015). This new rule, which will be finalized shortly and go into effect on January 1, provides clear requirements to contractors for the provision of pedestrian access around their work zones. In particular, the rule emphasizes that sidewalk closures should be used as a last resort  – which, especially in a busy construction hub such as South Lake Union, helps keep pedestrians safe and mobile.

SDOT is also partnering with the Seattle Office of Economic Development to gather input from local businesses, and to identify ways to maintain a healthy local economy during times of dense development. In addition to facilitating pedestrian access to businesses in the area, we’re working with stakeholders to develop specialized “construction mitigation toolkits” that are tailored to the unique issues of a particular business.

Do you live or work in South Lake Union or another construction-impacted neighborhood? We want to hear from you! Please send any questions or comments you may have to constructionhub@seattle.gov, and you can learn more about our efforts at seattle.gov/transportation/hub.htm.

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