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Archive for 'General'

Tree Ambassador Training well received

The Seattle Department of Transportation Street Use & Urban Forestry team, in partnership with Seattle Public Utilities, recently completed another Tree Ambassador training. For the training, focused on street tree stewardship, all survey respondents rated the instructors as good or very good and provided written comments including:

  • “All three of the facilitators were enthusiastic, well informed, and very comfortable presenting,”
  • “Joshua is excellent with technical questions, and all have a positive and open attitude which is a breath of fresh air…”TreeAmassadorsWorking
  • “I enjoyed the mix of speakers, especially hearing from Tree Ambassadors that had already hosted events…”

There are three training topics offered: street tree stewardship; landscape renewal; and tree walks. All training sessions help interested volunteers care for Seattle’s trees, and engage communities in their neighborhood to do the same.

The Tree Ambassador effort is in its third year and has trained 45 volunteers so far in 2014. The project is led by Seattle ReLeaf, a program housed in SPU and in partnership with SDOT and the nonprofit group Forterra.

Following trainings, each participant is asked to submit a project plan outlining what they would like to do. The program evaluates proposals for feasibility, cost, safety, etc., and works with the volunteers to modify and implement plans as necessary.

Tree Ambassador events happen year round, with the next one August 9, from 9 a.m. to noon, on the northeast side of Aurora Avenue & N 46th.

For more information on the program or to see other upcoming events visit the website at:


Once Around the Web: Highway Funding Crash Course

Step 1: Watch this White House white board video starring Joe Biden

White House White Board: Vice President Biden on Rebuild America

Step 2: Pick your 10 favorites from these links and read them. Talk to your friends and loved ones about these issues.

Step 3: Watch this video

Shabby Road: The Daily Show with Jon Stewart


Complete Streets: Providing Safe Streets for all Users

“Complete Streets” is an approach to planning, designing, and operating streets so that they provide safe, convenient and comfortable travel for all users, including pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists, transit riders, and freight. Complete Streets improvements can include safety-enhancing elements such as providing new and/or wider sidewalks, improved pedestrian crossing treatments, enhanced landscaping(including street trees or other landscaping between the sidewalk and the roadway), enhanced lighting, marked in-street or protected bike lanes, improved intersection design, traffic-calming measures, and improved accessibility for disabled travelers. Complete Streets safety improvements can help make streets safer for everyone by reducing vehicle crashes and providing safe facilities for walking and bicycling for people of all ages and abilities.

The City Council adopted a Complete Streets policy in 2007. Complete Streets is the lens through which SDOT approaches all new major transportation projects. One of our most recent Complete Streets projects is on 23rd Avenue East, a principal arterial connecting a variety of users to businesses, educational institutions and residences in the Central District and beyond, and serving high volumes of pedestrians, bike riders, and transit users. Given concerns about the poor pedestrian, bicycle, and transit facilities along the corridor, SDOT expanded its original plan to repave the roadway to include Complete Streets safety and accessibility improvements within the project’s scope.

The proposed roadway redesign for the segment between E John St. and Rainier Ave. S will reduce the roadway from four vehicular lanes to two through-lanes and a center turning lane, thereby allowing vehicles to turn without blocking traffic and managing drivers cutting in and out of lanes, reducing collisions and speeding, creating space for wider sidewalks, and making streets easier to cross for pedestrians. The project is also evaluating routes for a parallel greenway to improve pedestrian and bicycle safety in the area by providing a safe north/south route through the area. The intended result is a safer roadway for all users.

Phase 1 construction (between E John St. and S Jackson St.) begins in late 2014/early 2015, with construction between S Jackson St. and Rainier Ave. S, and between E Roanoke St. and E John St. beginning in late 2015. More information on the project can be found at

23rd Ave E: Existing Cross Section

23rd Ave E: Existing Cross Section23rd Ave E: New Cross Section

23rd Ave E: New Cross Section


How to replace a bridge in four days

Eric O'B PANO-SR99 at Broad St-2014_07_09_FULL-SIZE

(Click photo for larger version)

In August, crews working on the North Access contract near the SR 99 tunnel’s north portal will replace the bridge on SR 99 over Broad Street. Not sure what bridge we’re talking about? Don’t worry. Even the most seasoned SR 99 commuter may not realize they are crossing a bridge at Broad Street.

That bridge, and Broad Street itself, must be completely transformed to make room for the future connection to the tunnel’s north portal and on- and off-ramps at Harrison and Republican streets.

Crews have already begun to fill in Broad Street with recycled concrete from the former roadway. Once we close this section of SR 99 to traffic, crews will bring in heavy equipment and demolish the old bridge in about 12 hours. They’ll then spend the next two days adding more fill material to make the new roadway level with the existing lanes of SR 99. After paving the new SR 99 roadway, crews will stripe the lanes and reinstall barriers. Once all of this is completed, SR 99 will reopen.

Closure information
Demolishing a bridge and building a new road in its place isn’t easy work. It is especially challenging on a major highway through Seattle. To minimize disruptions to drivers, crews will replace this portion of SR 99 in a mere four days. Drivers should plan ahead for SR 99 closures from Friday night, August 22 to Wednesday morning, August 27. Closure details can be found here.

There’s a lot of other WSDOT work that will happen on SR 99 during this closure as well, including utility work at Harrison Street, concrete panel replacement in SODO, expansion joint repairs on the viaduct near the Seneca Street off-ramp and removal of ivy from the viaduct in downtown Seattle.

We will continue to share information to help drivers plan ahead and get around during the closure.


Warehouse Site Transformed into a Neighborhood Oasis of Tranquility

Midvale before photo strip__pegThis past year, with assistance from SDOT’s Urban Forestry Landscape Architect, the Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) department constructed a project which demonstrates how storm water management can be a beautiful success!

The Midvale Pond project provides a unique example of site design to manage storm water while enhancing the surrounding neighborhood with an attractive and accessible open space. The project transformed a 1.8 acre commercial site, which was previously occupied by warehouses, into a neighborhood amenity. The facility, located at 10735 Stone Avenue North, is designed to substantially reduce localized flooding; and reduce pollutants from the storm sewer system that conveys flows from the 1,120 acre Densmore Creek Basin to Lake Union.

The design layout includes sidewalks and a pathway for safe public access to walk, bird watch, and enjoy the seasonal changes provided by a diverse collection of trees and understory plants selected for fall color, flower display and wildlife habitat.   Over the course of six months, SPU demolished structures and pavement from the light industrial site, and created a serene stormwater detention pond with emphasis on the use of native plant and tree species including more than 10,000 upland plants in addition to 12,000 emergent /wetland plants and 75 trees.

To the passerby, the alluring tranquility and beauty of the park-like site certainly disguises the fact that critical stormwater detention and pollution reduction is actively taking place in full view!

Midvale Pond ooh la la RESIZE



City launches program to address impacts from construction surge

The City of Seattle recognizes that construction can create challenges, and now a new program is working to lessen resulting cumulative impacts, and maintain mobility. The Access Seattle initiative is an effort to balance unprecedented growth and development with the need to maintain access in the city. Three pillars support the Access Seattle Initiative:

  • Business and community support;
  • Traveler engagement; and
  • Construction coordination–led by the new Construction Hub Coordination Program

Maintaining access during peak construction periods is the primary goal of Access Seattle and the new Construction Hub Coordination Program that supports it. The hub team of project and on-site coordinators assess permitted construction holistically, across public and private lines, in areas with multiple simultaneous construction projects in close proximity—otherwise known as construction hubs. Hubs identified thus far, and subject to change with changing development, are identified in the map below (click for larger version).


The Access Seattle construction coordination effort comes at a time when downtown Seattle has more projects under construction, about to break ground or recently completed than it has in the seven years preceding January 2013, according to the Downtown Seattle Association Development Guide June 2014 Update. That update also found that in the last year the amount of office space under construction has nearly doubled, and there are more than three times the number of apartment units under construction compared to the last development cycle in 2007.

To keep projects and people moving, the Construction Hub Coordination Program team is:

  • Assessing all project schedules together to identify conflicts and minimize mobility/access impacts
  • Creating mapping systems showing all planned and active mobility impacts from all hub-area construction
  • Establishing reliable lines of communication with impacted communities
  • Providing on-site enforcement to monitor and resolve conflicts

“Our site coordinators meet with contractors before construction begins, discussing impacts and coaching on best ways to maintain mobility for the duration of a project,” said SDOT Right of Way Manager Brian de Place. “The idea is to get everyone talking and seeing the same big picture, to save the public and contractors from undue inconvenience and frustration.”

The Construction Hub Coordination Program is led by the Seattle Department of Transportation, in partnership with the Office of Economic Development. The effort is collaborative, to ensure strong support and thorough problem solving.

“The Office of Economic Development works to provide assistance and information for businesses to grow and compete in Seattle, and that sometimes includes navigating governmental services,” said James Kelly, Business Liaison with the Office of Economic Development. “Our office is pleased to partner with the Department of Transportation, helping to provide clear communication about construction project impacts and lessen the effect on local businesses.”Team

Key contacts for residents and businesses concerned with construction are as follows:

  • Site Coordinator Ken Ewalt for construction related concerns in Center City area, Alaskan Way Viaduct, North Westlake and South Lake Union hubs | 206.684.4995 or
  • Site Coordinator Wayne Gallup for construction related concerns in West Seattle, Capitol Hill and Ballard hubs | 206.681.6099 or
  • Business Liaison James Kelly for business impact concerns in all hubs | 206.684.8612 or

Construction Hub Coordination Program goals include helping residents and businesses know what to expect and where, while limiting and managing cumulative impacts to support neighborhood and economic vitality.

For more information on the Construction Hub Coordination Program contact the team at SDOTConstructionHub@Seattle.govor visit


Construction Safety Day!

Kids on ground small RESIZE

As construction hits its busiest time of the year, we’re staying on our toes when it comes to safety. The great weather encourages families to be out and about and children to play outdoors in their neighborhoods.Kids  w speaker at frnt_P1160215RESIZE 2

We recently spent an afternoon at Small Faces Child Development Center in Ballard, and it was fantastic to see the interest and excitement of the children, who ranged in ages from 3 to 10 years old. They learned everything from how to read common construction signs to how to recognize unsafe situations and make safe decisions.

Between questions, the attentive group greeted with great enthusiasm the Kids trying on vests_RESIZE 2opportunity to try on construction vests and hard hats. And needless to say, these young safety scholars passed the test at the end with flying colors.

To help keep your child safe during summer construction, remind them of these 5 safety tips:

  • Do not walk, run, ride, or play in a construction area. Avoid a construction zone whenever possible.
  • P1160185small HolmanRESIZEAlways walk on a sidewalk or designated walkway. Slow down and follow signs that tell you where to walk, skateboard or bicycle.
  • Be alert to closure signs; avoid distractions such as using cell phones, headphones, video games or other hand-held devices.
  • Stop, look and listen for construction vehicles. Be sure to make eye contact with drivers of construction vehicles to make sure you are seen.
  • Stay outside of orange cones, construction fences and chain link fences.

A big thank you to Small Faces for hosting our presentation!





Once Around the Web: Past and Future Construction

Ah, remember when Bertha was working? Those were good times. But tunneling is hard work and sometimes things go wrong. Currently the plan is to have Bertha back on the dig by March 2015 and until then you can follow along via Twitter. They share some pretty cool pictures of the repair progress. Take for example, this one from about a week ago:

If looking through Bertha’s archives doesn’t satisfy your need for cool photos of tunneling machines, you should check out this article over at Gizmodo!

24 Tunneling Machines That Created a World Beneath Our Feet

Two TBMs responsible for drilling Sound Transit Link Light Rail make an appearance as does Bertha. And you don’t want to miss the older machines like this one from 1908:


1908. Machine used in Gary, West Virginia digs the coal and loads it onto the car. With it, three men could do the work of 50 in the old way. Photo: Lewis Wickes Hine


So cool right? Looks like a steampunk dinosaur! Speaking of cool, you’ve seen this video about solar roadways right?

The internet is a buzz with the idea of solar roadways – they pay for themselves, they create jobs, they melt snow, they cut greenhouse gas emissions, they can display dynamic messaging and road striping, and they can do the cha cha! Ok, not that last one but thanks to a federal grant from the FHA, a working prototype exists and it’s blowing a lot of minds. So much so, that their indiegogo campaign has already raised more than 2 million dollars!

Read more about it at:

We Could Build a Solar-Powered Roadway. But Will We?

Solar roads are more practical than they sound

How Crowdfunding May Help Build Solar Roadways

Solar-powered roads: Coming to a highway near you?

Are solar panel road surfaces the path to the future?

Solar Roadways: Turning Pavement into Power

Of course, not everyone is on board, and the naysayers do raise some compelling points:

Why Solar-Powered Roads Won’t Work

Solar Roadways: Don’t believe the hype on this boondoggle of a project

Solar Roadways: 4 Reasons They Might Not Work

Why The Solar Roadway Is A Terrible Idea

Solar Roadways would be great, but won’t happen

Solar Roadways passes $1.4 million in crowdfunding: Just short of the $56 trillion required, but not bad for a crazy idea

So what do you think? Is it the technology of tomorrow or just another fool’s errand?

Solar Roadways would be great, but won’t happen


Broadway Streetcar Open House on June 17

061214 Blog_Post_Image RESIZE

Please join us for an open house for the Broadway Streetcar on June 17, from 6 to 8 pm at Lowell Elementary School, 1058 E. Mercer on Capitol Hill. The open house will provide information about the Broadway Streetcar alignment, station locations and bicycle facilities. Displays boards and a large project map will be available to provide an overview of the project and features. Project staff will be there to speak with you about design elements, answer questions, and hear your comments.

The Broadway Streetcar is part of the larger Seattle Streetcar system, made up of the South Lake Union Streetcar, First Hill Streetcar, and the future Center City Connector streetcar. Once all of these elements are in place, riders will be able to travel from South Lake Union to north Capitol Hill (via the Center City, Pioneer Square and Chinatown/International District in between!).

We expect to begin final design later this year, begin construction in late 2015 and open in 2016.

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

If you have questions or comments about the project or the open house, please contact: Art Brochet, Communications Lead (206) 615-0786 •


Join us to celebrate new artwork on the Burke-Gilman Trail on June 14

Artwork by Anna MacDonald.

Artwork by Anna MacDonald.

Why not join us as we celebrate the dedication of a new public artwork by Anna MacDonald along the Burke-Gilman Trail. The dedication will be from 3 to 4 p.m., Saturday, June 14 at Burke-Gilman Playground Park in the Bryant neighborhood.

What: MacDonald’s new artwork, Reclamation, consists of three variations of one form that resides at two sites along the trail. Two bronze copies of the same tree-form, ALREADY and NOT YET, create an arc in space that is completed by the user’s imagination. Located 1/2 mile east, the original tree, REMAIN, feeds and shapes a pair of Red Alder saplings. RECLAMATION commemorates the origin and transformation of the Burke-Gilman Trail, engaging trail users in a conversation about coming and going, and about physical and spiritual regeneration. It represents the city’s commitment to establishing greenways and honors the volunteer efforts of those who care for the corridor’s native species year round.
When: 3 to 4 p.m., Saturday, June 14
Where: Burke-Gilman Playground Park, 5201 Sand Point Way NE, 98105. Artwork site is located near the corner of NE 52nd Pl and 40th Ave NE, next to the Metropolitan Market.
Getting There: Limited street parking is available around the park’s vicinity. The site is accessible by King County Metro Transit busses: 30, 65 and 75.
For more info: Jason Huff, public art project manager, (206) 684-7278.


MacDonald’s artwork is commissioned with Seattle Department of Transportation 1% for Art funds.