Archive for 'General'
Join us tonight for the Waterfront 2020 at the Seattle Center, Fisher Pavilion at 5:30 p.m. to hear Landscape Architect James Corner and City Staff give a presentation on the most current waterfront design. It will be a great chance to hear and see how designs have evolved, including updates on key east/west connections, the new Alaskan Way, Union Street Pier, Pier 62/63 and more. Interactive stations for the community to share ideas will follow the presentation.
Take it all in, ask questions, and tell us what you’re most excited about! This event is free and open to all.
Can’t make it tonight? Click here to find out more opportunities to engage in #WaterfrontWeek.[More]
In 2006, Seattle voters passed a transportation maintenance initiative – Bridging the Gap (BTG) – and one of the major pieces of the levy was paving. Since then, the Seattle Department of Transportation has been working hard to make paving upgrades and needed repairs to Seattle’s roads. More than 205 lane miles of roadway across the city have been repaved or reconstructed. This helps provide a smoother and safer trip for all of us.
Some major roadways that have seen repaving include Airport Way S, 15th Avenue NE, Dexter Avenue N, Columbian Way S, First Avenue S, Fourth Avenue S, Fifth Avenue S, 15th Avenue N, NE Ravenna Boulevard, 14th Avenue S, NE 125th and Sandpoint Way and Delridge Way.
One project that began in 2013 will carry over into 2014. The paving of N 105th Street and N/NE Northgate Way from Greenwood Avenue N to First Avenue NE is about halfway done and is expected to wrap up later this year. In addition to the 105th Street project, SDOT will also be repaving Holman Rd. from NW 87th to Greenwood Avenue N. These roadways were in need of major repair work and provide key links to neighborhoods in the Seattle’s north end.
Paving projects are, by nature, disruptive and can frustrate drivers, transit riders, pedestrians and cyclists. Unfortunately, it is a part of the project. We do our best to keep disruptions to a minimum; however, they cannot always be avoided. It’s important to remember that in the end, all roadway users will have a smoother and safer road on which to travel.
Along with the major Arterial Asphalt and Concrete projects discussed above, SDOT will also be doing a lot of smaller repaving work as part of the Arterial Major Maintenance Program. Smaller projects, throughout the City, will repave more than 16 lane-miles helping to preserve and extend the lives of those roads.[More]
It’s time to kick back, relax, and let some transportation videos whisk you away!
Musician Wants to Make Taking the A Train Easier on the Ears
Babies on bikes: This Dutch music video rocks
West Seattle boys sing protest song they wrote at ‘exploding oil trains’ rally
Bicycle roundabout in the sky in the Netherlands, Hovenring
The Rise of Open Streets
*Ttv = Transportation Television!
Other shows coming soon: Ttv’s 16 and Commuting, My Super Sweet Sixteen Bus Rides, BikeZone, Car World: Ex-plosion, and many more!
We all generally realize the importance of getting goods from ships, rail terminals and warehouses to their ultimate destinations – for example, a factory owner waiting for delivery of a machine part; a restaurant counting on their daily supply of fresh fish; a clothing store looking to display the latest seasonal fashions; a neighborhood hardware store needing to keep its shelves well-stocked. Our economy at every level is dependent upon reliable deliveries of all sorts of products, many of which eventually wind up in people’s homes and businesses.
To help ensure these critical deliveries take place without undue delay, Seattle, the Puget Sound region and the broader state and national economy rely upon an efficient transportation system. In 2014, SDOT will be looking at its streets, roads and bridges to see where improvements are needed to keep freight moving safely and smoothly. In doing this work SDOT will have to ensure that the freight network also works well with all the other travel modes we value – walking, biking and riding public transit.
In 2014, keep your eye on two freight planning projects: the Seattle Freight Access Project which is being done in partnership with the Port of Seattle and is focusing on the city’s two Manufacturing and Industrial Centers – SODO and Ballard/Northend; and the Freight Master Plan which will look at freight mobility and access on a city-wide basis. Work on the Freight Access project is underway, while work on the Freight Master Plan will begin early this spring. More information can be found at http://www.seattle.gov/transportation/freight.htm[More]
In 2006, Seattle voters passed a nine-year, $365 million, transportation levy for maintenance and improvements known as Bridging the Gap (BTG). The levy is funded by a commercial parking tax. The BTG levy funds maintenance programs for paving; new sidewalk development and repairs; repair, rehabilitation and seismic upgrades to Seattle’s bridges; tree pruning and planting; transit enhancements; and other much needed maintenance work. Funding also supports projects that develop and implement the Bicycle, Pedestrian and Transit Master Plans; promotes development of the Safe Routes to School Program; and helps neighborhoods secure larger projects built through the Neighborhood Street Fund Large Project Program.
The BTG levy, as approved by voters, stipulated that certain percentages of the levy revenues be spent on different categories of projects over the nine year program:
- Neighborhood Street Fund – first $1.5 million annually
- Maintenance Programs – no less than 67%
- Pedestrian/Bike/Safety Programs – no less than 18%
- Transit and Major Projects – no more than 15%
During the early stages of development for the levy program, key goals and benchmarks were established helping the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) create a work program around BTG and set accountability measures to ensure the promises would be met. Some of the promises made and current numbers include:
- Prune 25,000 street trees – 23,000 trees have been pruned
- Repave 200 lane-miles of arterial streets – 205 lane miles completed
- Rehabilitate or replace 5 bridges – 6 have been rehabilitated or replaced
- Seismically retrofit 5 additional bridges – 3 have been completed
- Build 117 blocks of new sidewalks – 100 blocks have been constructed
- Restripe 5,000 crosswalks – 4,000 have been restriped
- Create “safe routes to schools” near 30 elementary schools – 40 have been created
- Repair 144 blocks of sidewalks – 167 blocks have been repaired
The transportation levy has been a critical funding piece for the department and SDOT is proud that is meeting and even surpassing the goals of the levy.
If you would like additional information on BTG please visit the webpage.[More]
Join SDOT staff next Wednesday evening to learn more about changes to the 23rd Avenue corridor, including the planned route for the Central Area Neighborhood Greenway. The public open house begins at 5:00 p.m. at Thurgood Marshall Elementary School.
Accessible by Metro Routes 4, 8 and 48
The purpose of the projects in the Central Area is to balance safety, mobility and reliability needs for a variety of users in the area, as well as enhance the local community and natural environment.
Improvements in each phase include:
- New pavement
- Sidewalk improvements
- Lighting improvements
- Increased transit reliability
- Traffic signal improvements
- Public art
- Adjacent neighborhood greenway
The corridor changes address the current state of the roadway – hundreds of patches where potholes existed, narrow lanes, a lack of turn pockets at key intersections and narrow and uneven sidewalks – as well as balance the needs of users in the area. SDOT will redesign 23rd Avenue between E John Street and Rainier Avenue S (Phases 1 and 2) from the current four lanes (two lanes in each direction) to three lanes (one lane in each direction and a center turn lane). Between E Roanoke Street and E John Street (Phase 3), the road will remain four lanes. SDOT will also implement a nearby neighborhood greenway, called the Central Area Neighborhood Greenway. This greenway will provide a safer, calmer street for people to walk and ride bicycles.
For roads like 23rd Avenue with fewer than 25,000 vehicles per day, redesigning a street from four lanes to three can have many benefits, including:
- Reducing collisions
- Reducing speeding
- Allowing vehicles to turn without blocking traffic
- Managing drivers cutting in and out of travel lanes
- Creating space for wider sidewalks
- Making streets easier to cross
- Easing travel for large vehicles (e.g. buses)
Learn more about a similar project on Nickerson Street. As a result of the project, the road became safer and kept people and goods moving.
For more information about the 23rd Avenue Corridor Improvement Project, please visit the city’s Web page at http://www.seattle.gov/transportation/23rd_ave.htm and www.seattle.gov/transportation/centralgreenway.htm for information about the Central Area Neighborhood Greenway, or attend the February 26 open house.
Translated project information will be available in Spanish, Vietnamese, Chinese, Korean, Oromo, Tigrinya, and Amharic.[More]
Last week’s post, part 1, focused more on the larger projects (bridges, paving, trees and the Neighborhood Street Fund Large Projects) supported by your transportation levy – BTG. This week we will look at the work plans for pedestrians, bikes and traffic management operations.
Since the BTG initiative was passed by Seattle voters in 2006, the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) has pulled together ambitious work plans each year and 2014 is no exception.
More work to be completed in 2014:
- 2,000 new regulatory signs will be replaced and upgraded and 1,250 intersections will have their street name signs replaced.
- Crews will make 45 crossing improvements, complete eight Safe Routes to School projects, construct 150 new curb ramps and install pedestrian countdown signals at 10 intersections.
- More than 850 lane miles of arterial roadway will be restriped, 500 crosswalks will also be restriped and 60 miles of on-street bicycle facilities will be maintained.
- SDOT will inspect 40 miles of trails and bikeways, install 25 miles of signed bicycle routes, install four miles of greenways and six miles of bike lanes and sharrows and install 500 bicycle parking spaces across the city.
- Crews will also rehabilitate seven stairways and construct seven blocks of new sidewalk.
- 50,000 transit service hours will be preserved, two transit corridors will be designed, and two will be constructed, while six priority bus corridors will see strategic spot improvements constructed.
Through the first six years of the levy, the city has delivered on the promises made by BTG. We have constructed more than 100 blocks of new sidewalk; installed more than 44,500 new regulatory signs; replaced street names signs at nearly 10,000 intersections; improved walking routes to more than 40 schools; remarked 4,729 crosswalks; installed 156 miles of bike route signage; striped 150 miles of bike lanes and sharrows; upgraded 15,000 linear-feet of guardrail; and installed pedestrian countdown signals at 210 intersections. Each of these projects help residents of Seattle navigate the city a little easier and a little more safely.
For more information about BTG’s goals and progress on meeting those targets, please visit the BTG web page.[More]
Government forms aren’t typically thought of as colorful, or, for that matter, easy to use. Enter Seattle, ever on the cutting edge! On Monday customers coming to the Seattle Department of Transportation’s Street Use Permit Counter will see a rainbow of permit application colors, differentiating lines of business, and sporting a format much easier to interact with. Here’s a before and after example, of the application for a renewable or “Annual Permit” application:
So what inspired the more inspiring forms? Firstly, it was the over-arching effort to create a more customer-focused service model; that effort includes adding permit technicians to the counter – beginning Monday; as well as a host of other improvements this spring and summer (all aimed at reducing wait times while better preparing
applicants with active coaching and refined tools).
Secondly, indirectly, it was the life history of SDOT graphic designer Mayumi Thompson. In 2009 Thompson lived in England, with her husband and mother-in-law, and they were in the process of moving out. Thompson’s mother-in-law asked her to go to the local council office (don’t worry, I’m getting to the point…) to pick up a form for her, to revise her tax assessments based on no longer having boarders. When Thompson picked up the form, she says, ”I was impressed by the layout and design of it. I had never seen a government form that looked like this.”
“It struck me as being very easy to read and fill out as well as inviting, especially for older people like my mother-in-law, commented Thompson. ”I thought the most intelligent part of the design was their use of white boxes to clearly indicate where users had to fill in information.”
It wasn’t Thompson’s experience that started the idea to revamp the permit application forms. Rather, the permit counter team asked for ideas to update the forms - to make them easier to decipher; inviting to use; and, yes, enjoyable (it’s an ambitious team).
Thompson began researching the friendliness of government forms. What she found in several U.S. cities, including Seattle, wasn’t so warm and fuzzy; bland, text-heavy forms prevailed. That’s when Thompson’s memory from England kicked in, and she looked up the very form her mother-in-law had asked to pick up that day five years ago (you can see it too, at: http://www.bassetlaw.gov.uk/pdf/CC2_yellow_proof3.pdf).
“I studied them and created a design for street use based on them,” Thompson said.
So, when you come in to the SDOT Street Use Permit Counter to apply for a permit, and find yourself “enjoying” the inviting colors and the way the clear white boxes beckon you to fill them in, think of England (and Seattle, for dedication to public service and improving it).
Construction crews working on SDOT’s North 105th/N-NE Northgate Way Improvement Project are nearing completion of the west phase of the work. This will permit the reopening of the eastbound lanes of North 105th Street between Greenwood Avenue North and Aurora Avenue North the week of President’s Day, weather allowing. The eastbound lanes have been closed since last summer, with westbound travel often reduced to a single lane, all to permit the repaving of the street, combined with the installation of new sidewalks, curb ramps, drainage/storm water improvements, and street light and traffic light upgrades.
The construction and associated road closure are then scheduled to shift to the project’s center phase the same week, at which time it will be the eastbound lanes of North 105th/North Northgate Way between Aurora and Meridian Avenue North that will be closed, and westbound traffic reduced to a single lane. The closure and lane reduction are expected to continue for about five to six months until sometime in mid-summer. During this period, general purpose traffic will be detoured either north on Aurora to North 115th Street or south on Aurora to North 85th Street. Truck traffic will be detoured north on Aurora to North 145th Street. (General purpose traffic heading to North Seattle Community College, Northgate Shopping Center, or other neighborhood destinations, may also detour south on Aurora to North 90th Street, then east to Wallingford Avenue North, then north on Wallingford to North 92nd Street, and then north again on College Way North/Meridian Avenue North.)The third and final phase of the repaving on North Northgate Way between Meridian and Corliss Avenue North (immediately west of I-5) will follow in July and August. Fortunately, the width of North Northgate Way in this single long block is sufficiently wide that at least a single lane of traffic in both east and westbound direction will remain open throughout construction.
While it is the repaving element of the project that impacts motorists (along with adjacent businesses and residences), the project also includes the installation of two new dynamic message signs (N 105th & Ashworth Avenue North and Lake City Way Northeast & Northeast 120th) that will provide motorists with real time traffic information, as well as a new traffic camera at 105th & Ashworth to help SDOT with traffic management and safety. The entire project is slated for completion late this summer.
More information about the project can be found at www.seattle.gov/transportation/pave_N105.htm.
As Seahawks fans poured into the streets of Seattle on Sunday night, we managed to, for the most part, play it safe. Maybe you’ve seen this YouTube video showing how fans in Ballard celebrated without jaywalking. Aww yeah, that’s what we like to see.
A steady stream of satiric and self-effacing Tweets resulted – check out the #HowSeattleRiots thread. Here are some of our faves:
- Took my turn at the 4 way stop instead of waving someone else through.
- When causing a slow-moving vehicle to bounce up and down, please make sure all vehicle occupants are wearing seat belts
- Talked to strangers on my @kcmetrobus ride instead of burying my nose in my @AmazonKindle
And the rioting celebration continues…
Today’s parade is expected to draw a huge crowd downtown and we’re stoked to be welcoming our Superbowl champs home!
- Starts at 11 A.M. just south of Seattle Center, near 4th Avenue and Denny Way
- Continues down 4th Avenue to S. Washington Street, then proceeds on 2nd Avenue S. to CenturyLink Field
- Ends with a rally at CenturyLink at 1:30 P.M.
- Given the influx of people in the downtown area, your best bets are going to be walking, biking, using public transit, or carpooling
- Expect significant wait times and service delays on buses and trains
- All bus routes that travel along or near 4th Avenue will be impacted. More information on Metro re-routes can be found at http://metro.kingcounty.gov/alerts/.
- And bundle up – it’s going to be chilly (temperatures expected in the mid-20s)
Have fun, be safe, and way to go Seahawks!