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Archive for 'General'

Future Northgate Connection for Bikes & Peds

Interstate 5 is a critical transportation corridor for Seattle. It helps move people and goods north and south through the center of our city, often at high speeds, unhindered by pedestrians crossing at intersections or bicyclists of various abilities in – or even alongside – the roadway.

Interstate 5 is also an immense obstacle to transportation in the east-west direction wherever the freeway is not lidded or elevated. Where a major arterial does cross, it often has both on- and off-ramps well suited to vehicles, but not particularly friendly for bicyclists or pedestrians.

A new Sound Transit light rail station will soon be built next to the existing King County Metro transit station at 1st Avenue NE and NE 100th Street. The need to connect this transportation hub to the west side of I-5 has become paramount, expressed in planning documents, by public feedback and via support for funding.

Caption:  Artist’s depiction of planned bridge looking west along NE 100th Street

Caption: Artist’s depiction of planned bridge looking west along NE 100th Street

SDOT has responded by planning a new 15-20 wide bridge for bicyclists and pedestrians across I-5 at 100th Street. It would include a ramp on either side to return users to ground level at a less than 5% incline and at least one stairwell on the east side. The bridge would make a direct connection to the mezzanine level of the new light rail station, and would also connect to a new cycle track along 1st Avenue NE.The basic alignment is now being established in consultation with WSDOT, Sound Transit, King County Metro and the North Seattle College (where the landing on the west side will be). The bridge type is also being determined, after which design will begin in earnest.

The planning level estimate for this project is $25M; the City of Seattle and Sound Transit have each agreed to provide $5M towards the cost if the remaining funding is identified by July 2015.

For more information about this project, please visit our project website:

www.seattle.gov/transportation/northgatepedbridge.htm

If you have questions or comments about the project, please contact: Art Brochet, Communications Lead (206) 615-0786 • art.brochet@seattle.gov

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2014 Street Tree watering reaches 2,768 trees

2768.trees.wateredUrban Forestry crews are wrapping up this year’s street tree watering program that started in March.

Crews completed street tree inventory and watering route updates to make sure all the newly planted trees would be properly cared for through the summer months. They then placed irrigation bags at the base of all 2,768 trees SDOT planted these last three years.

Two crews were hired from Seattle Conservation Corps to water the trees in North Seattle and two SDOT crews watered the remaining trees.

As in previous years, Urban Forestry collaborated with Street Maintenance to utilize two 3000-gallon flusher trucks primarily used for applying deicer during the winter months. The capacity of these trucks allows each crew to water upwards of 200 trees per day.

UFwateringDaily watering started in June and continued through the end of September. In all, 37,492 bags were filled with over 749,000 gallons of water  to help get our newly planted trees established!

Crews are now in the process of retrieving all the bags, making repairs and packing them for storage to be used again next year. This work is expected to be completed in the next week or so.

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Sound Transit’s Northgate Link Extension project: Moving dirt

If you dumped the soil that will be removed to build Sound Transit’s Northgate Link Extension on the football field at CenturyLink, it would stand about 350 feet high. That’s nearly 100 feet taller than the stadium’s roof. Fortunately for football and soccer fans, the 756,000 cubic yards of dirt will head truck by truck to reclaim old gravel quarries in Snohomish and Yakima counties. And while crews are making good progress on tunneling and excavation, it will take about two more years before crews have all that dirt removed.

northagtelink

Above: Miners wait for an approaching delivery of concrete tunnel segments. The crew is standing in the tunnel boring machine which removes the dirt and builds the tunnel walls.

Meanwhile excavators have dug about 40 feet down at the Roosevelt Station site. Crews need to finish excavation before the tunnel boring machines arrive. At U District Station, crews are currently building a temporary bridge that will carry eastbound traffic on NE 43rd Street until 2017 while excavation and tunneling is under way.

northgatelink2

Excavators have removed more than 40 feet worth of dirt from the Roosevelt Station site

A crew puts finishing touches on the installation of an underground electrical distribution line on Weedin Place NE.

A crew puts finishing touches on the installation of an underground electrical distribution line on Weedin Place NE.

After tunneling and excavation, another contractor will have a lot of work to do to build the new stations at U District, Roosevelt and Northgate. Riders will be able to use the extension by 2021.If you would like more information on Sound Transit’s Northgate Link construction, Sound Transit is hosting drop in sessions today and tomorrow. You can also visit the project website for more information or call the 24-hour construction hotline (888) 298-2395 with more immediate issues.

Wednesday, October 22

5-7 pm

Whole Foods front kitchen

1024 NE 64th St

Thursday, October 23

5-7 pm

Northgate Transit Center Bus Platform

10200 1st Ave NE

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SDOT budget review, third quarter BTG update and more.

 

BTG20logo-RESIZE

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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Generation Y: Drive less, use alternative transportation more.

US-youth-2Generation Y, (age 16-34) is now driving significantly less than young generations have in prior decades. According to the National Household Travel Survey (NHTS), between 2001 and 2009, the average number of vehicle-miles traveled by young people (16 to 34-year-olds) decreased from 10,300 miles to 7,900 miles per capita-a 23 percent drop from the previous year. Another interesting trend about generation x is that they are taking a while to get a drivers’ license. According to the Federal Highway Administration, from 2000 to 2010, the percentage of 14 to 34-year-olds without licenses increased from 21 percent to 26 percent. In addition, a recent survey by Zipcar and KRC Research found that many young people substitute social networking for driving and prefer living in a place that is walkable and transit-oriented.

As many more Americans, including young people, seek to move to places that have alternative transportation options we find Seattle at the center of an incredible transformation. As a technology hub with companies like Google, Microsoft, Adobe, Getty Images, Amazon and companies offering transportation alternatives like Tesla, Car to Go, Pronto Bike Share, and Uber we are geared to meet the transportation needs and preferences of the future.

SDOT will play a key role in shaping the future of transportation in Seattle. In the next ten years, we are looking forward to set policies and provide services that not only meet the demands of our future citizens but create equity in access to all that makes life in Seattle great.

For more information about the NHTS report visit: http://www.copirgfoundation.org/reports/cof/transportation-and-new-generation

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Once Around the Web: Here’s Why

Curb Ramps Increase Mobility for Many

 

blindperson adn curbrampwheelchair and curbrampThose who travel in wheelchairs or motorized scooters, the sight impaired who use canes, or people pushing strollers or walking a bike, depend on curb ramps to easily move between the sidewalk and the street level. The sloped ramps, generally located at intersection corners, have become commonplace throughout Seattle and the rest of the nation.

All SDOT construction projects that touch intersection sidewalks require the installation of curb ramps meet ADA Accessibility Guidelines. Naturally, these standards have changed and improved since the ADA was first enacted in 1996, meaning that many of the city’s existing ramps fall short of the guidelines. For example, current standards require that curb ramps be wholly contained within a marked crosswalk and include detectible warnings so that pedestrians can easily determine the boundary between the sidewalk and the street, both intended to make them safer for their users. The required tactile warning surfaces provide a surface that is distinguishable underfoot and by cane. Also, they are generally bright yellow in color to contrast with the surrounding area, such that they provide a visual cue for low-vision pedestrians.Curb Ramp Photo Callout

While many curb ramps are replaced when adjacent sidewalks and/or streets are rebuilt or resurfaced, SDOT also works to replace other substandard ramps as funding becomes available, as mandated by the federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA),. Each year, SDOT conducts a curb ramp inventory, prioritizing replacement on the basis of such factors as neighborhood demographics, proximity to transit connections, and the proximity to places with significant numbers of pedestrians, such as commercial districts, schools, parks, and hospitals.

The latest SDOT curb ramp replacement project (unrelated to adjacent road construction) is currently scheduled to begin construction in December, and will replace 163 curb ramps at 29 locations throughout the city. Many of these locations are at residential intersections that currently lack any curb ramps at all, while others are replacements in more commercial areas. Construction will generally have a limited impact on those living or working nearby, with work at each intersection taking two to three weeks, but with the temporary closure of some nearby on-street parking.

In addition, citizens with disabilities can request curb ramp installations at locations otherwise not scheduled for construction, which SDOT will install as funding becomes available. Under current conditions, it may take up to three years from approval to installation. To request a curb ramp, contact Brian Dougherty at 206/684-5124 or complete this online form.

Installing and maintaining curb ramps is one critical element in SDOT’s commitment to deliver a safe and reliable transportation system that serves all of Seattle’s citizens.curbrampblog

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The first seawall face panels are installed south of Colman Dock

Seawall

The new seawall face is lowered into place with a crane and secured to the concrete support slab.

On October 4, the Elliott Bay Seawall Project installed the first segment of the new seawall face. The individual panels were lifted into place with a crane in a similar manner to how the original seawall was constructed. Because the activity is tidally influenced, this work was completed in the early morning hours while the tide was at its lowest.

The new face of the seawall will be 10 to 15 feet farther inland than the old seawall face. This extra room will provide space for habitat features, including marine mattresses that provide shallow habitat for marine life as they travel along the seawall, and glass blocks in the overhanging sidewalk that allow light to pass through to the water below. The face of the new seawall is textured to provide a surface for algae and other marine organisms to attach – a great source of food for migrating salmon.

The new wall is made up of eight foot wide panels that each weigh approximately 18,000 pounds. In the past two weeks, 160 feet of new seawall has been installed south of Colman Dock. To see how the activity was completed, check out the latest snapshot video.

For more information about seawall construction, visit the Seawall Project website. If you have questions, email the Seawall Project (seawall@waterfrontseattle.org) or call the 24-hour hotline (206.618.8584).

 

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Access Seattle: Working for South Lake Union Mobility

SLU

Map of SLU construction – click to enlarge

If you’ve visited Seattle’s unique South Lake Union neighborhood lately, you’ve likely seen not only the many attractions in this booming community but also the significant construction. In fact, South Lake Union is one of the neighborhoods identified by SDOT as a construction hub, or area experiencing multiple, simultaneous construction projects in close proximity and with considerable cumulative impacts. Those impacts often hamper mobility. That’s one of the reasons the Access Seattle Initiative came to be, to better serve the city through its growth and development surge.

Access Seattle is an initiative launched in 2013 to keep Seattle moving during unprecedented pressure on our transportation system: from increasing population density; new employment centers; and, a significant construction surge. In the South Lake Union area, all three of these factors come into play, creating daily travel challenges for residents and businesses.

A major Access Seattle goal is to proactively plan and manage the city’s transportation system to move people and goods more effectively. The South Lake Union community has a similar goal, of sorts, as part of the South Lake Union/Uptown Triangle Mobility Plan. That plan lays out the community’s vision for all travel modes, to accommodate growth that, “…demands a paradigm shift in how people travel…” The integrated and interconnected neighborhood vision calls for partnerships; the Access Seattle team is working to be one of those partners.

At a recent South Lake Union Community Council meeting, the Access Seattle team talked about progress coordinating multiple construction projects in the neighborhood. Very specific concerns of area residents and business owners were addressed, with results from direct coordination. Some of these concerns, with information the team identified and coordinated steps moving forward, are:

Harrison Street is blocked funneling all traffic to Republican Street and impacts public safety (by restricting access by emergency vehicles). 

The Harrison Street closure and limited emergency vehicle access are related. Off duty Seattle Police Department (SPD) officers were hired by Amazon to restrict street access in order to empty out the garages.

Moving Forward:   SPD will no longer close streets to address garage exiting.  Any such closures must be coordinated with SDOT’s Traffic Management Center in advance.

People avoid the neighborhood because of the traffic gridlock, which hurts local businesses

According to our community contacts, one of the biggest problems is the eastbound flow of traffic on Mercer East, which apparently backs up outside of peak hours.

Moving Forward:  In less than a week, another eastbound lane of Mercer is expected to open up, which will require retiming all the signals and should provide some relief for eastbound flow. Our signal timing engineers will be monitoring the changes and are happy to meet with any members of the community to see how we can make improvements after these changes are complete.

Efforts on the City’s part to coordinate construction to alleviate impacts to parking, and on residents, are not adequate.

SDOT and OED have heard from many community members in construction hub neighborhoods that our efforts through Access Seattle are helping, but more is needed given the scale of the impacts.

Moving Forward:  The Mayor’s Proposed Budget includes additional staffing in 2015 to increase our inspection presence in the field.  We also plan to release more regular traveler information in multiple formats so people can be aware of known impacts.

Residential developments are being constructed without adequate parking.  The community is still experiencing parking impacts, in part due to contractors getting to the neighborhood early and taking up all the available parking all day.

The larger South Lake Union projects all have the amount of parking required by code. There is also an existing Residential Parking Zone.

Moving Forward: Parking enforcement officers have agreed to increase patrols in the area.  Additionally, DPD and SDOT will ramp up the requirements that the builders find off-street parking for their workers.  This is a practice some developers do voluntarily, others are required to due to permit conditions; in the future, we will look at making this a requirement for all large developments

Pedestrian Safety Issues. 

Ninth Ave is not a great situation for pedestrians given the projects along the corridor and many heavy trucks are coming through other parts of Cascade and South Lake Union.

Moving Forward: The builders will pay for SDOT traffic crews to change the signal timing so that we will have all-way walks at the intersections of 9th and Republican, 9th and Harrison, and 9th and Thomas. Additionally, SDOT will be installing all-way walk signals at John and Minor, Yale and Minor, and Yale and Thomas.

Concern about the upcoming Denny Substation construction and increased gridlock. 

The Denny Substation will move into the next phase of construction including running new distribution lines to the substation.  The scale of this construction is significant and there will be neighborhood impacts.

Moving Forward:  We are working closely with Seattle City Light (SCL) to coordinate this massive project.  We continue our efforts to coordinate impacts, keep lines of communication flowing, and resolve issues quickly to minimize the impacts to the neighborhood.

Construction noise regulations are based on a commercial zone, despite the fact that Cascade residents are numerous, including a significant number of low income housing developments. 

Moving Forward:  There is not currently a plan to amend the Noise Ordinance to include more restrictive construction hours in neighborhoods not currently covered by the code (such as Cascade).

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The work listed above is the result of the new Access Seattle Construction Coordination Program, looking at all permitted public and private construction schedules and impacts holistically. It builds on the SDOT Street Use permit process, taking it to new levels while building relationships and systems to better communicate. It also joins multiple City of Seattle Departments–Transportation, Planning & Development, Neighborhoods, and Economic Development–toward the common goal of keeping communities thriving.

For more information on the new program, visit: http://www.seattle.gov/transportation/hub.htm

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