Rainier Vista Creates a New Space!

Meaningful space for neighborhoods to share is an important part of community building. SDOT’s Adaptive Streets Program works toward that end, facilitating possibilities like using underutilized right of way for new gathering places. The latest effort came last week in the Rainier Vista neighborhood, with the grand opening of a new Pavement to Parks project.


Colorful new park space at Rainier Vista!

The project repurposes part of S Genesee St between 29th Avenue S and Jill Place S for an expanded park space, including planters, seating, turf mounds, and a street mural–designed by local youth involved in an arts program through Horn of Africa Services. The project was community-driven and community-designed. Built under SDOT’s Adaptive Streets Program, the project uses low-cost, adaptable materials to test a public space on the street before permanent changes take place.

Here’s a video from our friends at Seattle Channel:

The site was selected for improvements based on neighborhood requests and a very engaged and highly diverse Rainier Vista community joined together to create the project.


SDOT Director Kubly and Mayor Murray at the ribbon-cutting ceremony.

For the November 3 ribbon-cutting event, the Seattle Housing Authority (SHA) Rainier Vista community was joined by Mayor Ed Murray, SHA Director Andrew Lofton, an SHA youth community leader, and SDOT Director Scott Kubly to celebrate the amazing work of so many.

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Your new Vision Zero speed limits

What is happening?

Beginning November 7th, new speed limits will be going into effect for city streets.  This is part of Seattle’s Vision Zero plan to end traffic deaths and serious injuries on city streets by 2030.

Speed limits for the streets in central Seattle (indicated in blue in the map below) will be reduced to 25 mph. The non-arterial (a.k.a. residential street) speed limit will be reduced from 25 mph to 20 mph.


Why is this happening?

While Seattle is one of the safest cities in the country, each year about 20 people are killed in traffic collisions and another 150 are seriously injured. Their lives are cut short or changed forever, impacting their families, friends, and broader communities. One life lost or altered is one life too many.

Speed plays a role all serious injury and fatal collisions.  Someone who is walking and is struck by a vehicle going at 20 mph has a 90% chance of surviving the crash.  The chances of survival are reduced to 50% when a vehicle going +10 mph faster.


By lowering the speed limits, we will be:

  • Creating consistent speed limits.
  • Enhancing safety for everyone, especially people walking and biking.
  • Reducing the severity of all collisions.

What is SDOT doing to let people know about the new speed limits?

To let Seattle residents and people traveling into the city know about the new speed limits, we will be:

  • Adding new or altering existing signs.
  • Launching a comprehensive public education campaign.
  • Enforcing the new speeds through the high visibility patrols (the Seattle Police Department will issue warnings for a period of two weeks to one month).

Drivers traveling from outside the city will see either of these two signs indicating our city’s lowered speed limits:




















Drivers will see 25 mph signs when using arterial streets to travel central Seattle:



Where can I learn more about Vision Zero?

You can find out more about Vision Zero. Also know that yard signs are a great way to encourage safety along your street.

We also have a Vision Zero dashboard  and safety resources  that you can share with your friends, family, and co-workers to promote safety all around you.

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International Walk/Bike to School Day

Today is International Walk/Bike to School Day! Students throughout Seattle are enjoying our city’s Safe Routes to School by walking and biking to school today, part of our program to promote community, healthy lifestyles, and a cleaner environment.


Here at SDOT, we developed school walk and bike maps to help you and your child determine the best route to safely walk and bike to school. These maps highlight street safety features, bicycle facilities, intersection controls, and other neighborhood destinations.


Our Safe Routes to School program is continuing to make getting to school easier for students throughout the city, and we look forward to seeing even more kids walking or biking! We even have free incentive packs of stickers, temporary tattoos, and more to encourage kids to walk and bike.


If you’d like to throw your own event celebrating Walktober, check out Feet First’s guide to getting something started at your school.

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Fall Mini Grant Funding Now Open for Safe Routes to School Projects

The Seattle Department of Transportation is now accepting applications for the Safe Routes to School Mini Grants of up to $1,000 to fund projects that educate students about pedestrian and bicycle safety and encourage walking and biking to school. Public and private schools, PTAs, and other non-profit organizations may apply.

Mini Grants can fund a wide range of projects and programs at schools that improve conditions for walkers and bikers, educate kids on safety walking and biking behaviors, or encourage more kids to ride their bikes or walk to school. Examples of projects funded in the past include student safety patrol equipment, crossing flags, after school bike clubs, traffic circulation plans, walking school buses, bike trains, bike rodeos, and bike and walk to school campaigns.

Visit our website: http://www.seattle.gov/transportation/ped_srts_grant.htm to download the application or apply online. In addition to the application, a letter of support from the school principal must be mailed or emailed by the application due date. If you have questions, please contact Serena Lehman at Serena.Lehman@seattle.gov. Completed applications are due October 31st, 2016 by 5p.m. Applicants will be notified of awards the first week of December 2016 and funds will be distributed in January 2017.

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How do the Fremont and Ballard Bridge Openings work? (Updated)

Here’s an updated and shortened Blog Video of our behind-the-scenes look at the Fremont and Ballard Bridge openings, and how they work:

(Click on HD in Settings to view in High Definition)


SDOT operates and maintains over 149 bridges throughout Seattle, including four movable bridges. Three of SDOT’s movable bridges are draw bridges, known as bascule bridges. These are the Ballard Bridge, Fremont Bridge and University Bridge.

The city is required to open the bridges to marine traffic when requested, but is allowed to restrict boat and marine traffic openings during the morning
(7-9 a.m.) and afternoon (4-6 p.m.) commutes on weekdays (except national holidays). The openings average about four minutes, from stopping traffic to letting traffic resume. SDOT appreciates the public’s patience during the openings as marine traffic passes through.

The Ballard Bridge, located at the west end of the Lake Washington Ship Canal at Salmon Bay, is the fourth and last of the Lake Washington Ship Canal Bridges to be passed before entering Puget Sound from Lake Washington. Built in 1917 with a length of 2,854 feet, the Ballard Bridge links the Magnolia and Queen Anne neighborhoods with Ballard.

The Fremont Bridge crosses the Lake Washington Ship Canal and connects the Fremont and Queen Anne neighborhoods. The bridge opened on July 4, 1917, it is the only blue and orange bridge operated by SDOT. The Fremont Bridge’s current color was chosen by a 1985 poll taken among Fremont residents and the Fremont Arts Council.

The Fremont Bridge also connects the Lake Washington Ship Canal Trail to the Burke Gilman Trail and has one of Seattle’s nine bike counters (here’s our previous blog about the Fremont Bridge Bike Counter and how it works). The Fremont Bridge has celebrated over 610,000 openings and counting as of January 2016. The bridge sits just 30 feet above the water, and rises for marine traffic on average of about 35 times a day, making it as one of the busiest bascule bridges in the world.

Here’s a link to our SDOT Bridges page: http://www.seattle.gov/transportation/bridges.htm

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Join the Street Scrabble Tournament on Capitol Hill, Wed. 9/28, 1-3pm

Seattle is hosting NACTO (National Association of Transportation Officials) Designing Cities Conference this week.

Join the Street Scrabble Tournament

Wednesday, September 28, 2016 1 – 3 PM,
Where: Denny Way at Broadway in Capitol Hill

Street Scrabble!

Street Scrabble!

To sign up for the tournament, e-mail: streetscrabble@seattle.gov or go to the NACTO walkshop registration booth

Come play or watch a life-size Scrabble game on Wednesday from 1-3 pm in Capitol Hill! Learn more about Seattle Department of Transportation’s (SDOT) Public Space Management program and how this future Festival Street will help activate the new Capitol Hill light rail plaza space.

How will the tournament work? Scrabble participants will be determined by lottery. We will draw 16 participants from a “hat” at the event and pair them up into teams. Each game will be 30 minutes. The tournament will have a referee and scorekeeper, and is a single elimination format.

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City Officially Opens Westlake Protected Bike Lane

The Westlake protected bike lane on the west side of Lake Union is now officially open, connecting the Fremont Bridge and surrounding trails and parks to South Lake Union and downtown. Driven by an extensive community input process, the completed project addresses the pedestrian, bike and vehicular conflicts the corridor’s undefined parking and sidewalk space created.

People biking now have a separate space to ride, making the area safer and more comfortable for cyclists of all ages and abilities. The project also improves safety for all users by featuring a pedestrian path for people walking that is separate from the bicycle lanes. The designated space for people biking also makes the parking lot more predictable for drivers, which makes this scenic corridor more accessible for residents, employees and customers.

“Our goal is to provide safe, reliable, and predictable transportation infrastructure that connects people to homes, jobs, and recreation,” said Mayor Murray. “We heard from local businesses and residents that preserving public parking was a key priority to maintain economic opportunity. I’m happy to say we were able to build a protected
bike lane, improve pedestrian crossings, and preserve 90% of the original parking. I’m proud of the work the community and the City has done to make today a reality.”

The opening celebration on September 15 featured speakers, giveaways, snacks, games and a ride-along led by Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) Director Scott Kubly.

“The Westlake protected bike lane makes everyone’s trip along the corridor safer and more predictable,” said SDOT Director Scott Kubly. “My thanks to the Design Advisory Committee for its critical work on this important safety project.”

The Westlake protected bike lane project began in fall 2013 and attracted hundreds of attendees to project open houses and community meetings. Project design was overseen by a Design Advisory Committee, composed of representatives of local businesses, residents, freight, and the bicycle and pedestrian communities. With this community input built into the design, the Westlake protected bike lane creates a safer, more comfortable corridor for people walking, biking, and driving while preserving approximately 90 percent of the parking. The City thanks the Westlake community’s residents, businesses, customers and commuters for their patience throughout the completion of this project.

Visit the Westlake protected bike lane project web page for more information at http://www.seattle.gov/transportation/wct.htm.

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Get Ready for Holiday Construction Moratorium

With so much construction going on in Seattle, how do we keep downtown streets open and welcoming for holiday festivities and shoppers?

Downtown Deer Decorations

With the Holiday Construction Moratorium! This seasonal ban on construction supports Seattle businesses during the peak shopping season and reduces traffic congestion during this busy time of year. The Holiday Moratorium runs from Thanksgiving Day through New Year’s Day, November 24, 2016 to January 1, 2017.

During the moratorium, most construction which impacts the right-of-way (streets and sidewalks) will be prohibited in the Central Retail Shopping District or Pioneer Square District (see map below). Construction outside the moratorium zones may also be restricted if work would have a significant impact on the traveling public.


Over the next ten weeks, Seattle’s downtown construction projects will be working to wrap up their building season to clear the right-of-way before the holiday season begins.

Limited exceptions to the moratorium may be made for projects that do not impede the right of way, or are brief and quiet enough to be done during nighttime hours. If you plan to submit an exception request, start now – all exception requests must be received by SDOT Street Use by October 24, 2016.

No late exception requests will be granted unless emergency work is necessary for protection of public health and safety.

If a short term exception is granted, right-of-way-impacting work may begin 30 minutes after close of neighboring businesses and the City’s right of way must be cleared and restored by 6 AM the following business day. Other rules apply. For more details see Client Assistance Memo 2107: Holiday Construction Moratorium.


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City Offices are closed Monday, September 5 for the Labor Day Holiday

The Seattle Department of Transportation is closed Monday in observance of Labor Day. On-street parking is free in Seattle on Monday for the holiday. We wish everyone a safe and happy Labor Day holiday weekend.








Q: When did it become a national holiday and why?

A: Labor Day as a national, legal holiday had an interesting evolution. The legalized celebration of Labor Day began as individual state celebrations. In 1887, New York, New Jersey and Colorado were among the first states to approve state legal holidays. Then other states joined in to create their own state Labor Days. Finally, in response to a groundswell of support for a national holiday celebrating the nation’s workers, Sen. James Henderson Kyle of South Dakota introduced S. 730 to the 53rd Congress to make Labor Day a legal holiday on the first Monday of September each year. It was approved on June 28, 1894.

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Photo Contest for Updated Street Design Manual

What’s your favorite Seattle street? Is it 2nd Ave downtown because of the protected bike lanes? Ravenna Blvd because of the dense tree canopy? We’re holding a photo contest where you can share your favorite street, and win up to $300 in prizes!

2nd ave

The contest is being held to celebrate the release of the updated Right-of-Way Improvements Manual (also known by its new name, Streets Illustrated). This manual is a design guide for improvements made to city streets. It will include street typologies, guidelines, and standards for street elements – such as sidewalk width, travel lane width, crosswalk design, bike infrastructure, street trees, landscaping, and street furniture. It also highlights opportunities for street art, parklets, streateries and more! Standards for these elements are tailored depending on street type. For example, a downtown street has different street elements and standards than an industrial access street, or a neighborhood curbless street.


As you travel the city for your daily activities, think about the diverse character of Seattle streets, and which streets you like best. Don’t forget to take a picture and share!


Contest Details:

  • Start date: Aug 22
  • End date: last submissions taken on Sep 19 at 5pm
  • Enter by posting the photo to Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook with the tag #StreetsIllustratedSEA (alternatively, send it in an email to streets.illustrated@seattle.gov
  • Label the street and tell us why you love it!
  • The top 12 photos will all receive prizes and be featured in our inaugural Streets Illustrated Calendar.
  • Grand prize of $300 to Glazer’s Camera Store, 2nd place prize of $100 and 3rd place prize of $50.

Visit the contest’s official webpage for more details: http://www.seattle.gov/transportation/photo_contest.htm.


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