Van Hailin’

Every year, thousands of Seattle commuters get to work using a van or carpool. Not driving single occupancy vehicles helps reduce congestion and carbon emissions – as well as being a convenient way to save on commuting costs.

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But, the fee for a Vanpool parking permit hasn’t been updated in over 20 years, and has not kept up with rising costs for carpool parking or administering the program. To align these costs, and ensure the financial viability of the Vanpool program, the Seattle City Council approved a schedule for permit fee increases over the next three years.

So, is the price going up? Yes. Are Vanpool on-street parking permits still significantly cheaper than carpool or private parking? Absolutely!

Here’s the permit fee increase schedule for on-street Vanpool parking:

 

Location 2017 fee per month 2018 fee per month 2019 fee per month
Central Business District (CBD) $66.67 $133.33 $200
Non-CBD $33.33 $66.67 $100

 

We understand this represents a cost increase for Vanpool commuters, but it is important to note that Vanpool parking rates have not kept up as carpool and private parking fees increased significantly.

For a 5-person vanpool in the CBD, a rider’s parking cost in 2017 will increase from $0.33 per month to $13.33 per month. In 2019, each rider would pay $40 per month. In contrast, for a 2-person carpool in the CBD, each rider today pays $100 per month. And for a 5-person Vanpool parking off street in private lots or garages, which most do, fees are currently $300-$400 per month, or $60-80 per month per person.

It’s also important to note that 5 people is just the minimum required for a Vanpool. If you filled a Vanpool to capacity at 15 people, the permit fee per person would be just $4.44 in 2017, or $13.33 in 2019!

Of the over 800 Vanpools currently in use in Seattle, the vast majority park off-street in private lots or garages, and only about 70 park on-street and will be impacted by this fee increase.

We remain committed to Vanpooling, as well as other forms of shared transportation and transit. As our city grows, it’s increasingly important alternative forms of commuting are easy and attractive. To join a Vanpool, or start your own, check out the King County Metro page.

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Parking Changes Coming to Capitol Hill Pike-Pine Corridor

There’s more demand than ever for parking near businesses and restaurants in Capitol Hill.  To improve parking availability and turnover, we are expanding the existing paid parking along Pike-Pine east to 15th Avenue.  Hours and rates will match existing paid parking along 12th Avenue and to the west.  These changes will be installed starting in the middle of this month.

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While parking on these streets is free and limited to 2 hours, SDOT studies show that parking is full as early as 9 AM, remains over 90% full for most of the day, and that most vehicles stay longer than the posted time limit. This makes it extremely challenging for customers and visitors to find available on-street parking. These study results contrast with the adjacent paid parking area which, while well utilized, generally has parking available until 6 PM.

To provide more predictable, consistent parking regulations, we are also relocating Restricted Parking Zone (RPZ) 4 parking from commercial blocks to residential blocks.  Finally, in areas that are already No Parking at the corners for intersection visibility, we will  add on-street bike corrals.

Get more information and background on parking changes here.

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Resolve to Reduce Speeds

New Years resolutions are as easy to break as they are to make, but for 2017, Seattle is keeping our commitment to Vision Zero and eliminating traffic deaths or serious injuries by 2030.

At the end of 2016, we announced multiple speed limit changes to help keep everyone safe, and new signs are being deployed throughout the city.

  • Arterials in central Seattle (blue on the map below) were reduced to 25 mph.
  • Non-arterials (a.k.a. residential street) speed limit were reduced to 20 mph everywhere in the city.
  • Delridge Way SW was reduced to 30 between SW Henderson Street and the West Seattle Bridge.

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Speed matters, and slowing down saves lives, especially for people walking and biking.

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In 2017, we’ll be examining the impact of these changes on traffic and collisions, educating the public on new laws, and evaluating additional arterials that could benefit from speed reductions.

Be on the lookout for new signs and speed limits, and remember that unless otherwise posted all arterials are now 25 mph, and all residential streets are now 20 mph.

 

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Ramp Up Seattle

Every year, SDOT builds or replaces 500-1,000 curb ramps to increase access for people using our sidewalks and crosswalks, especially those with wheelchairs or other mobility devices. In late 2016, we held a public meeting and online survey to gather feedback on where ramps are needed most and how they could be improved.

Curb ramp construction in 2016

Curb ramp construction in 2016

Hundreds of Seattle residents gave input on curb ramps, including many living with disabilities, and we are working to incorporate their feedback into future curb ramp construction plans.

  • Participants felt that prioritizing curb ramp improvements serving transit facilities, medical facilities, and public buildings (schools, libraries, community centers, etc.) are most important.
  • The alignment of the curb ramps and the crosswalk is very important to most participants.
  • The collection of water and debris at the bottom of curb ramps is a concern to many.
  • Most participants were not aware that specific curb ramp improvement requests can be made on the SDOT website.
  • Exclusive of curb ramps, many of the participants feel that addressing areas in Seattle where sidewalks are missing should be the highest priority for improvement.
Public meeting at the Center Park Community Room

Public meeting at the Center Park Community Room

Thanks to everyone who shared their experiences online or at joined our November 1 meeting at the Center Park Community Room!

Check out the current map of traffic safety features, including curb ramp locations and conditions, here.

If you have any questions about accessibility within the Seattle public right-of-way, we encourage you contact SDOT’s ADA Coordinator, Michael Shaw. He can be reached at (206) 615-1974 or by email at Michael.Shaw@seattle.gov.

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Street Use Permits Permit Changes

SDOT’s Street Use team reviews, issues, and inspects up to 35,000 permitted right-of-way uses each year, and continues to improve services with updates to regulations, fees, and hours.

PORR to ROWORR and More 2017 Street Use Changes

The Pavement Opening and Restoration Rule (PORR), is now the Right-Of-Way Opening and Restoration Rule (ROWORR). The change expands the scope of the rule beyond street pavement to public right-of-way areas. The updated regulations and requirements include:utilsblocksidewalk

  • Increasing the pavement opening moratorium from 3 to 5 years
  • A sliding scale for restoration requirements, based around the street’s condition
  • More guidance on ADA accessibility ROW requirements, including ADA-compliant curb ramps
  • A wider scope that better includes Green Storm Infrastructure
  • Shorter timeframes for permanent restoration projects
  • Making it more cost-effective for groups to coordinate projects, while increasing costs for groups that fail to coordinate

For additional details on the upcoming changes for ROWORR, please reference the Right-of-Way Opening and Restoration Manual, available in PDF form at: www.seattle.gov/transportation/docs/ROWORR_Manual.pdf

New Fee Structure

Our hourly review and inspection rate fee is now $209, up from $196.  However, some fee decreases are also now in effect, for 2017. feeschedulefactsheetFor example, occupancy fees for installing or removing public art are now $138, down from $146. Miscellaneous private temporary right-of-way use is decreasing to $146, from $305. And, for street and alley paving under 750 sq. ft. we are eliminating use fees including transit-related infrastructure, but not utility installation.

For more details on these changes, please contact Street Use Operations Manager Liz Sheldon at elizabeth.sheldon@seattle.gov or read our 2017 Fee Schedule Fact Sheet.

 

New Counter Hours

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Starting in 2017, permit services hours are:

  • Monday, Wednesday, and Friday: 8 AM to 5 PM
  • Tuesday and Thursday: 10:30 AM to 5 PM

The change comes after reviewing our customers’ needs and priorities. An increasingly high number of permit applicants submit their applications electronically, which requires a higher number of our permit reviewers to be behind a computer. By adjusting our hours, we can expand our team’s capacity to process permits.

The new hours also align with Seattle Department of Construction and Inspections’ (SDCI) permit counter service hours; the change helps streamline permit processing for larger projects involving both departments.

Happy New Year!

 

 

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Happy New Year and Safe Travels!

On behalf of the Seattle Department of Transportation, we wish everyone a Happy and Safe New Year holiday wherever your travels take you.

In the new year, SDOT will continue its focus on creating a safe, interconnected, vibrant, affordable, and innovative city for all.

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On-street paid parking is free in Seattle on New Year’s Day, Monday, January 2 (observed).

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Happy Holidays and Safe Travels!

On behalf of the Seattle Department of Transportation, we wish everyone Happy Holidays wherever your travels take you.

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City offices are closed Monday, December 26 for the holiday. On-street parking is free in Seattle on Monday, Christmas Day (Observed), December 26.

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A Little Help From Our Friends

Winter weather is on everyone’s mind as we prepare for possible snow and freezing temperatures in Seattle. At SDOT, we’re focused on getting everyone information on what to expect on the roads and how to commute safely, but that means more than just tweets with “Winter is Coming” GIFs (although we have plenty of those too.)

As Seattle grows and diversifies so too has our outreach, and our Winter Weather Brochure is available in 10 different languages to reflect our booming immigrant and refugee populations. But, when it comes to distributing these materials to immigrant populations who need them, we needed a little help from our friends at Seattle’s Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs (OIRA).

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The Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs works directly with families to find jobs, access government resources, and achieve citizenship, so they were the perfect partner to help us with winter weather outreach to our city’s diverse immigrant communities.

Although there is uncertainty over future changes in federal immigration policies, this winter Seattle Mayor Ed Murray signed an Executive Order reaffirming Seattle as a Welcoming City. This means departments throughout our city will focus on inclusion and remaining accessible to all residents, and OIRA is leading the charge.

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray signs executive order affirming Seattle's Welcoming City policies 11/24.

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray signs executive order affirming Seattle’s Welcoming City policies 11/24.

We will continue to provide the most up to date information on winter impacts to your commute (take a look at our live map), and thanks to help from OIRA we can ensure that information reaches all Seattle residents, regardless of citizenship status.

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How Clearer Cameras Help Clear Streets

Constant innovation is central to our mission of building a more connected city, and SDOT’s Transportation Operations Center (TOC) is always looking for new ways technology can help. We use Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) devices to monitor traffic throughout the city, and then share information on incidents with the public through dynamic message signs (DMS), Twitter, and the Travelers Information Map (where you can see a live feed from cameras).

Over 40 traffic cameras, a key tool for confirming incidents, received a major upgrade in 2016 to give our TOC clearer video feeds and make identifying and reporting incidents easier. This improvement also helps first responders who monitor the feeds see what’s going on, plan ahead, and provide assistance more efficiently.

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To better share this information with the public, we’ve also installed 6 additional dynamic message signs throughout the city to let motorists know of any ongoing issues and plan ahead.

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At SDOT, we use the latest technological innovations to improve our ability to monitor, respond to, and share information about traffic incidents throughout Seattle. Our Intelligent Transportation Systems play a key role in creating a safe, efficient, innovative transportation system that works for all travelers, and we’ll be continuing to develop and upgrade systems next year in 2017. When people know what’s going on in real-time, they can make more informed travel choices.

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Happy Thanksgiving from SDOT!

Happy Thanksgiving from SDOT!

City Offices are Closed November 24 and 25 in observance of the holiday.

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Please enjoy the holidays wherever they take you.

On-street parking is free in Seattle on Thanksgiving Day, November 24.

Please remember that normal pay for street parking remains in effect on Friday, November 25, so make sure you observe time limits and other posted regulations as you would on any other Friday.

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