We Want to Hear from You about a Proposed Restricted Parking Zone in Ballard

SDOT received a request from the Central Ballard Residents Association to create a new Restricted Parking Zone (RPZ) on residential streets around the Ballard business district.  We’d like to hear from residents, employees, and visitors in Ballard about how adding RPZ restrictions might affect them.

Here is a link to the survey to provide your feedback.

What is an Restricted Parking Zone?

An RPZ is meant to ease parking congestion in residential neighborhoods, while balancing the needs of all people to use the public right of way. RPZs help neighborhoods deal with parking congestion with signed time limits and vehicles displaying a valid RPZ permit are exempt.

What is the RPZ being proposed? (See Map)

RPZ Ballard

We are proposing an RPZ with the following restrictions:

• The gray area on the map highlights where residents would be eligible for permits.

• SDOT would install RPZ signs on the solid blue lined blocks, limiting vehicles without RPZ permits to 2-hour parking Monday – Friday, 7 AM – 8 PM. We are proposing RPZ signs on one side of the street only, to balance a variety of on-street parking demands.

• All blocks with RPZ signs would be subject to signed parking restrictions and residents within the gray area would be able to purchase permits (currently $65 for two years)

• We do not install RPZ signs next to ground floor retail or other non-residential uses. Many of the blocks in this area already have paid or time-limited parking; this RPZ proposal will not change those signs or regulations.

Why are these changes being proposed?

In the fall of 2014, SDOT received an RPZ review request from the Central Ballard Residents Association. In mid-2015 we made changes to Ballard commercial area on-street parking. In September 2015 we studied parking in the area shown and found street parking to be on average 93% full during the day, with over 35% of vehicles not belonging to residents. The goal of the proposed RPZ would be to limit all-day parking by non-residents, decrease parking congestion and circling within the neighborhood, and make it easier for residents to find parking near their homes.

Comments or questions?

To provide feedback on this proposal, complete a brief survey by May 31, 2016.

Send additional comments or questions to Ruth Harper at (206) 684-4103 or ruth.harper@seattle.gov.

Learn more about the RPZ program and the Ballard RPZ request.

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2016 Neighborhood Street Fund Applications Are In!

The City’s Neighborhood Street Fund (NSF) supports communities by providing funding for transportation projects identified by the community.  The 2016 NSF applications are in! 140 applications came in from across the city for all types of projects from new sidewalks to festival streets. Compared to the last round in 2013, this is a 63% increase in applications! By neighborhood (some applications included more than one neighborhood) the numbers are:

District Council Applications Received
Ballard 10
Central Area 6
Delridge 16
Downtown 13
East 15
Greater Duwamish 8
Lake Union 7
Magnolia / Queen Anne 8
North 12
Northeast 11
Northwest 16
Southeast 22
Southwest 6


Boundaries of Seattle’s 13 Neighborhood District Councils

The NSF program is supported by the Levy to Move Seattle approved by voters in 2015. The 9-year, $930 million Levy to Move Seattle provides funding to improve safety for all travelers, maintain our streets and bridges, and invest in reliable, affordable travel options for a growing city. The levy provides $24 million over the next 9 years to select, design, and construct neighborhood projects identified by the community.

Curious what projects are being considered in your neighborhood?

In May each Neighborhood District Council will review the projects in its boundaries and choose five projects to move forward into the conceptual design phase. You can see a map of each district council here (http://www.seattle.gov/neighborhoods/neighborhood-districts) and find your neighborhood’s District Coordinator here (http://www.seattle.gov/neighborhoods/programs-and-services/neighborhood-district-coordinators). If you’re are interested in learning more about the applications, consider attending your district council’s May meeting.

NSF 4-28-16

One NSF project built a new sidewalk extension and planting area on Maynard Ave S in the International District

What Next?

After each Neighborhood District Council chooses 5 projects they will forward these picks to SDOT for evaluation and refinement.  This summer SDOT will develop a cost estimate and conceptual design, working with applicants as needed to refine the project or find alternative solutions. With this new information each district council will rank the 5 projects and send them to the Move Seattle Levy Oversight Committee. The committee evaluates the projects and makes recommendations to the Mayor and City Council who select the projects that will receive NSF funding. From there, projects will be designed in 2017 and constructed in 2018.

Learn More About:

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How You Can Help Encourage Safe Routes to School

With our recent completion of the Beacon Hill Trail, the first Safe Routes to School (SRTS) project in that neighborhood in 2016, SDOT provided a safe off-street option for kids walking and biking to school.

Now, SDOT is offering free incentives to help you encourage more kids to walk and bike to school in your neighborhood.

Kids Crossing

These fun, free incentives include stickers, temporary tattoos, wrist bands, and hand stamps to give out during your campaign. Public and private schools and PTA’s within Seattle city limits are all welcome to request packages.


Schools and PTA groups can request a free incentive package by visiting our incentives page and filling out an order form. Or you can stop by Feet First, Monday through Wednesday, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., to pick up an order in person.

049044Incentive packages include:

  • Option A: An assortment of stickers, temporary tattoos, wrist bands, and hand stamps
  • Option B: 1,000 stickers
  • Option C: 1,000 temporary tattoos
  • Option D: 2 hand stamps
  • Option E: 1,000 wrist bands

Haven’t started a walk and bike to school campaign at your school yet? Not a problem. For more information on how to start one, refer to our Safe Routes to School Campaign guide.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the project coordinator, Ashley Rhead at Ashley.Rhead@seattle.gov.

Added bonus: these free incentives for your Safe Routes to School campaigns come just in time for Bike Month coming up in May!

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Seattle Convention Attendees’ Travel Modes

Seattle is host to events and conventions such as the recent Emerald City Comicon which brought over 80,000 comic book and pop culture enthusiasts into downtown Seattle for four days this month. Checkout our latest Blog Video.

Fan attendees of the sold-out show traveled from all over to see the celebrity event panels, artwork, and shop for fan gear and collectibles. Many of the attendees drove in from far and wide and mentioned that the commute and parking was mostly hassle-free.

Many were dressed in their favorite hero cosplay costumes, outfits and uniforms. Some locals who attended the convention on multiple days travelled in to Seattle and stayed at hotels, to avoid having to commute. Others carpooled, took the Link and transit in because it was the best option for them to get around.

Seattle has a lot of options to get around – walking, biking, transit, driving, carsharing and ridesharing. Check out some of the tools available and find out how to get where you’re going! For Transportation options, please visit our SDOT link.

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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.

University Bridge2

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.”

University Bridge

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.


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
Beacon Hill trail 1

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. 


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.


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.

Seattle Streetcar

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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Levy to Move Seattle: Before and After Safety Improvement

In the first 100 days of 2016, SDOT has completed more than three dozen safety, maintenance and repair, and congestion relief projects, all funded by the $930 million Levy to Move Seattle.

The completed projects include new bike parking spaces, transit improvements for a Rapid Ride line and repairs to two pedestrian stairways. Photos of the stairway rehabilitation project at South Park at 12th Ave S and S Trenton St highlight just one of the many transportation improvements being made around the city.

Move Seattle BeforeAfter Stairway

Pedestrian stairway project at 12th Ave S and S Trenton St. The photo on the left was taken last July. The photo on the right was taken April 6, 2016.

The levy was approved by voters in November 2015 and provides funding to improve safety for all travelers, maintain streets and bridges, and invest in reliable, affordable travel options for our growing city.

See a list of completed projects using Levy to Move Seattle dollars 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.


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.


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.


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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Seattle Welcomes BMW ReachNow Car Share!

The City of  Seattle was represented at BMW’s ReachNow car share service launch event in Capitol Hill today. The car share is the second free floating car share service in Seattle. ReachNow has been issued permits for a fleet of  370 vehicles  that are made up of BMW 3 Series, Mini Cooper or the electric i3 cars that can use on-street paid parking and zone parking spots in Seattle.

In January 2015, the Seattle City Council expanded the free-floating car share program. Based on data from a 2015 annual free-floating car share survey, car share vehicles have been shown to take up a relatively small amount of business district on-street parking and the vehicles typically turn over more frequently, allowing other uses of and consistent customer and visitor access to the curb space.

BMWs lined up


SDOT Director Scott Kubly (left) listens as Deputy Mayor Joncas chats with the audience.

BMW Board member Peter Schwarzenbauer thanked Deputy Mayor Kate Joncas, SDOT Director Scott Kubly and Council member Mike O’Brien, who chairs the Transportation Committee, for their work in bringing this new transportation option to Seattle.

SDOT Director Scott Kubly,  Deputy Mayor Kate Joncas and BMW's Peter Schwarzenbauer.

SDOT Director Scott Kubly, Deputy Mayor Kate Joncas and BMW’s Peter Schwarzenbauer.

Car share services are just one way to get around the city. For more information on car share services, go here.

Seattle has a lot of other options for getting around – walking, biking, transit, driving and ridesharing. Check out some of the tools available in our Way To Go Program and find out how to get where you’re going!

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