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Archive for 'General'

Once Around the Web: Newsy news time!

Urban Planners and Traffic Engineers for a Day!

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About 45 folks gathered last week to help a team of professionals design a Festival Street for the heart of Georgetown.  The design workshop was a four hour long engagement between those who hold Georgetown near and dear (mostly business owners, employees, artists and residents) and the professional team of designers and engineers who needed the community’s input on the project.

On this project the community is defining the scope and nature of what will be done – in part because what makes a great street for holding festivals depends on what the community wants.  Festival Streets are, after all, a non-arterial street that is “designated for recurring temporary closure to vehicular traffic use for the purpose of pedestrian-oriented special activities” – such as the Georgetown Carnival and Honkfest.

The Georgetown Community Council, the Georgetown Merchants Association and the United Artists of Georgetown are all involved in, and enthusiastic about, the project.  An eight member citizen advisory group, formed in February, will continue to meet with the project team to select an alternative and to refine the design over the next year.  The project is expected to be built in 2015.

The Georgetown Festival Street was one of just 12 projects selected by the Bridging the Gap Oversight Committee to receive Neighborhood Street Funds last year.  The project will also benefit from the One Percent for Art program, with the selection of Georgetown artist extraordinaire Chris McMullen in the project.

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What You Missed at Waterfront Week!

The Office of the Waterfront drew over 1,000 participants in “Waterfront Week” events that wrapped up last week. These events were attended by  a wide variety of Seattleites – from long-time to brand new supporters — who learned more about the Waterfront project’s design and saw how the  Seawall construction is moving along.

At Wednesday evening‘s Waterfront 2020, landscape architect James Corner, unveiled the 30% design to the public. In case you missed it, The Seattle Channel captured the entire presentation on the new waterfront design. Check it out here: http://goo.gl/6a977X! With our amazing partners the Office of Arts and Culture and Friends of the Waterfront, Friday and Saturday’s Art, Design, & Play Conference stimulated great discussions on ways to integrate arts and culture and play opportunities on the new waterfront.

Waterfront Week ended with Sunday’s Field Day on the Waterfront, which had educational and family and kid – focused activities, with more than 600 people moving along the Waterfront from the Seattle Aquarium to Waterfront Park. Field Day had a variety of activity stations, where anyone could experience jet grouting first-hand with the help of Seawall engineers; made quickset concrete craft projects; learned about marine habitat ; and adopted a gribble, with the promise to keep them away from “seawalls;” got a sneak-peak of the future views of the waterfront, by looking through retro view masters of before and after shots of the changes to the Waterfront; and kids climbed on and took part in a construction safety education training. Thanks to local waterfront businesses who donated gift certificates, everyone who came down was able to participate in a raffle at the field day event.

The photos below were taken during the Waterfront Week events:

Design display boards at Wednesday evening's Waterfront 2020 Event drew plenty of attention and stimulated lots of discussions.

Design display boards at Wednesday evening’s Waterfront 2020 Event drew plenty of attention and stimulated lots of discussions.

Getting an early start at the Constructon and Materials Activity Station at Field Day.

Getting an early start at the Constructon and Materials Activity Station at Field Day.

Field Day-er checks out the past and future Waterfront with the retro View Master.

Field Day-er gets a glimpse of the future Waterfront with the aid of the retro View Master.

 

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What Does the Green Mean?

Because it’s St. Patrick’s Day, we wanted to get in to the spirit of things and focus on something green. In this case, the green pavement markings near many of Seattle’s new bikeways. So what does the green mean?

Seattle, and cities throughout the country, use the green pavement markings to indicate that a space will be used by both people on bikes and people who are driving. The green pavement lets people know to watch out for each other.

For example, here’s a picture of a two-way protected bike lane (also known as a cycle track) where the green pavement let’s people on bikes know to expect cars coming out of the driveway. Similarly the green also alerts drivers to look both ways before crossing the bikeway.

pic 1 green boxRESIZED

You might also notice the green pavement near right turn lanes. In this case the green pavement is used because people driving will cross the bike lane when making a right turn. Drivers will need to check their right side mirrors for approaching bikes and people on bikes should watch for right signaling cars.

pic 2 green laneRESIZED

Finally one of the other places you might see the green is at a bike box. A bike box allows people on bikes to wait at the front of the intersection at a red light. This allows bikes to be more visible and predictable to drivers at the intersection. If you’re on a bike wait in the green until you have the signal and if you’re driving, remember that when waiting at the intersection stop behind the green to allow space for people on bikes.

pic 3 greenboxlane stopturnRESIZED

To learn more about bike facilities around the city, check out our website.  And remember, whether you’re walking, biking, or driving somewhere, look out for others and pay close attention when you see the green. Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

 

 

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Getting to a Great Commute

bus picRESIZE

 

This month we’re highlighting some of the great work that’s improving commuting around the region. Many people don’t know that back in 1991 Washington State passed legislation to help manage the effects of increased traffic associated with our daily commutes. The bill, titled the Commute Trip Reduction (CTR) Act, a part of the Washington State Clean Air Act, required that large employers encourage their employees to drive alone less in order to reduce carbon emissions and keep the busiest commute routes flowing. As a part of the CTR Act, SDOT staff works with these employers to help them deliver programs and services for their employees. Through this partnership, SDOT connects employers with transportation resources and technical services that enhance their program’s effectiveness.

For more than 20 years now, many employers throughout the region have recognized the value of CTR and invested in offering free or reduced transit passes, vanpool subsidies, classes on starting to commute by bike and much more. Leaders like the Gates Foundation, Children’s Hospital, and the Amgen Corporation have embraced the program as an employee benefit that helps recruit and retain great employees.

And we’re seeing great results! Last year Seattle made news by being one of the few cities in the country with more than 50% of commuters travelling to work by modes other than driving alone – think transit, carpooling, biking, working from home, any and all of these. We were again spotlighted as a city where there is an increasing number of households who do not own a car – 16% according to the most recent census data! And finally, just this week, the region was featured as having one of the fastest growing transit ridership bases on both King County Metro and Sound Transit services.

This is all great news for the environment, our commutes and our wallets. On average Americans spend 19% of our income on transportation, so CTR benefits can really add up. Check with your employer to learn what they offer to save you money, time and the environment!

 

 

 

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Tonight! Waterfront 2020 Event Launches #WaterfrontWeek

*Sneak Peak of View of Pier 62/63 of Landscape Architect James Corner Presentation for tonight.

*Sneak Peak of View of Pier 62/63 of Landscape Architect James Corner Presentation for tonight.

 

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.

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205 lane-miles paved and counting!

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.

For information on the Arterial Asphalt & Concrete Paving projects please visit the web site. For more information on BTG please visit the webpage.

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Once Around the Web: I know you want your Ttv*!

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!

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Moving Freight = Creating Jobs = Supplying Customers

 

truck on Spokane St RESIZE

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

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It’s your money, where is it going?

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.

Old wooden supports exposed as the N 45th Street Viaduct is demomlished,

Old wooden supports exposed as the N 45th Street Viaduct is demomlished,

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:

The completed replacement of the N 45th Street Viaduct.

The completed replacement of the N 45th Street Viaduct.

  • 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.

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