Commuting During Summer Construction

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Construction site in Seattle.

Seattle is one of the fastest growing cities in the nation right now, which means more construction projects, cars, and crowds as we share our streets with people on everything from zero to sixteen wheels.

Summer is a great time to try an alternate commute method, such as biking or taking the bus, but it’s also peak season for road and sidewalk maintenance. The rainy season can cause delays and difficulty on construction and repairs, so projects are trying to complete work while the sun is still shining.

All this can make commuting tricky, but we’re here to help.

 

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Seattle Mayor Ed Murray and SDOT Intern Ahlaam Ibraahim at a recent Vision Zero event.

Our Vision Zero team is hard at work to end traffic deaths and serious injuries by 2030 through educational outreach like the above event, and coordinating enforcement of traffic safety laws with the Seattle Police Department. Our Levy to Move team is implementing the taxpayer approved $930 million 9 year plan to improve safety for all travelers, maintain our streets and bridges, and invest in reliable, affordable travel options for a growing city.

And, through our All Aboard partnership with King County Metro, we’re improving or expanding 85% of the bus routes in Seattle.

We’re working hard to make it easier to get around Seattle, but it’s likely you won’t be able to avoid work zones completely as our city continues to grow.

Please be patient and cautious around construction, and remember, your fellow travelers – whether they be in cars, on bikes or buses – are also navigating the same obstacles.

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New Opportunity in Open-Air Dining

In Seattle, we love our summers and the chance to get out and enjoy the sunshine. Eating is no exception, and we have hundreds of sidewalk cafes throughout our city. To help these sidewalk cafes proliferate, and make the process easier, we’re piloting a new design for sidewalk cafes.

Thanks to a recent change by the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board, restaurants can now outline permitted sidewalk cafes with pavement markers instead of the standard 42-inch high fences. Modeled on the sidewalk seating used in many European cities, this fence-free option will allow Seattle restaurants to integrate their sidewalk cafes with adjacent public space and improve customer movement. Other U.S. cities, such as Portland and San Francisco already allow fence-free sidewalk cafes similar to those that will be tested in Seattle’s pilot program.

 

San Francisco sidewalk café. Source: Map data ©2016 Google

San Francisco sidewalk cafe. Source: Map data ©2016 Google

We will work with participants to install pavement markers on the sidewalk to outline the boundary of the cafe, as shown in the diagram below. Through this pilot permit, we will test the viability of a fence-free sidewalk cafe with applicants who are willing to provide feedback during our evaluation. Although the fence-free sidewalk cafes are intended to activate streets, create more vibrant neighborhoods, and support economic vitality, ultimately SDOT is committed to ensuring that our streets and sidewalks serve the traveling public. As such, City staff will pay particular attention to any negative impacts on pedestrian mobility and safety that may arise during the pilot phase.

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Are you a restaurant owner curious about what this would look like for your business? Review our fact sheet and keep an eye on our webpage for additional information as the pilot progresses. Feel free to reach out to us with questions or interest in participating: 206-733-9707 or casey.rogers@seattle.gov.

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Enjoy Your Seafair Weekend!

Seafair Weekend is one of the biggest, busiest weekends of the summer in Seattle and that means a LOT of people will be out and about – it’s a good time to remind people to look out for others when heading out for summertime activities.

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Whether you’re hopping a bus to the waterfront to tour a US Navy ship, biking to a friend’s waterfront home to watch the Blue Angels or packing up the family to drive down to Genessee Park to catch the hydros, here are a few reminder safety tips:

Allow Enough Time to Reach Your Destination

Plan your trip and be sure to allow enough time to get where you’re going. That usual 30 minutes to get downtown will take longer than normal because thousands of others are headed that way as well! Speeding can lead to trouble. So please slow down and be courteous.

Plan Ahead if You Plan to Partake

Help keep our streets safe by not driving while under the influence of alcohol – which remains the single biggest contributing factor to traffic fatalities – or marijuana. As part of our Vision Zero campaign, we are partnering with rideshare services Uber and Lyft to give you options for safe rides home this Seafair weekend and beyond.

Keep Your Eyes on the Road

Your phone will likely be pinging you all day long while you plan your weekend. There’s no need to check it while you’re behind the wheel (1, 2 or 4 wheels). Whether you’re driving, walking, or biking, we recommend that you focus on the road instead of other things.

Stop for Pedestrians

We are having an amazing stretch of weather (which doesn’t always happen during Seafair) and that brings more people outdoors, everywhere. As drivers, always be watchful, courteous, and remember to stop for pedestrians. Don’t forget to wave!

Headed down to Genessee Park for Seafair? Check out the map below to see which streets are closed and where parking has been restricted.2016_Seafair_StreetParking_Map newHave a fantastic Seafair Weekend!

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Night Out: Not Your Everyday Block Party

Next week is the national Night Out celebration – but it’s more than just a block party. Night Out is an annual event designed to heighten crime prevention awareness, increase neighborhood support in anti-crime efforts, and unite our communities. Night Out is the first Tuesday in August and has been a Seattle tradition for 32 years. 

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Neighbors at Night Out set up tables and chairs on residential streets to share food, play street games and music and get to know one another.

Two Ways to Get Your Block Party Permitted

On any other day of the year, a block party street closure would be permitted through SDOT, but on the first Tuesday of August every year, block party street closures are arranged through the Seattle Police Department. Why? Because it is national Night Out!

Night Out Block Party

  • Allows you to close your residential block to cars from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. on August 2, 2016 only.
  • Permits are available through the Seattle Police Department.
  • This permit is FREE.
  • Register your Night Out block party until August 1.
  • Request visits from the Police Department, Fire Department, or Office of Emergency Management to your block party to share safety and emergency-preparedness information.

Neighborhood Block Party

  • Allows you to close your non-arterial block to cars during daylight hours any day of the year.
  • Permits are available through SDOT.
  • This permit is FREE.
  • You need to apply for this permit at least 2 weeks in advance of your event.

More Opportunities to Play in the Streetsummer streets parklet

Throwing a block party is a fun opportunity to meet and play with your neighbors in the street. Check out some of SDOT’s other public space programs:

Play Streets allow you to host recurring street closures under a single permit. Want to host a weekly street soccer game? A monthly potluck or chalk art party?  The Play Streets program is for you!  Check out this new program that makes it easy to use your street as playful space for people. Apply at least 2 weeks before you want to close your street. Permit is free.

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PARK(ing) Day Plus+  (September 16-17, 2016) What if you could turn a parking space into a park? Put café tables in front of your favorite business? Create a temporary bike lane?  For two days in September, you can!  If you are working with your neighbors on a project for PARK(ing) Day you may want to plan to finalize your design at your Night Out block party on Tuesday, August 2, so you can meet the permit application deadline on August 5. Permit is free.

Check out our previous post on PARK(ing) Day Plus+ here.

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Pac-Man Coming to Capitol Hill!

As part of our Pavement to Parks project, SDOT is planning to test a new public open space on Capitol Hill this year – with Pac-Man!

SDOT recently hosted a pop-up demonstration park in that neighborhood and invited the community to submit and vote on their favorite maze-themed mural designs for the street.

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Community outreach event on July 14 on Capitol Hill.

The winner? Pac-Man!

This new open public space will use adaptable materials to repurpose the underutilized segment of Summit Ave E between E Denny Way and E Olive Way for a vibrant community gathering place.

Pavement to Parks projects use short-term strategies to deliver new public spaces that will serve as front yards, playgrounds, social spaces, and active zones.

SDOT began installing Pavement to Parks projects in summer 2015 and will be continuing to develop new projects through the city. If you have a great idea for a Pavement to Parks project in your neighborhood, please contact Susan.McLaughlin@Seattle.gov or call 206-733-9649.

 

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Take Advantage of Summer by Biking or Walking to Work

Summer is upon us, and it’s an excellent time to consider commuting by bike or walking.

Golden Gardens is the perfect place to play on a sunny summer day

Golden Gardens is the perfect place to play on a sunny summer day

Getting out of the car can be good for our environment, good for your health, and may even help your mood by avoiding the road rage which impacts 8 out of 10 drivers.

If you already commute by transit, add a little extra time outdoors by going to the next bus stop before boarding, or getting off one stop early. You might also consider a combination bike – bus commute: ride your bike to the bus stop, use transit for the longest leg of your commute, and then ride the last mile to work.

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You can even help Seattle stay one of the most walkable cities in the country by checking out our draft Pedestrian Master Plan update and giving us your feedback by August 12!

Do you need help planning your route? We can help! Check out:

Start out small and work your way up to more frequent and longer trips. Identify the important transition points in your commute where one mode may present greater efficiency over another. It won’t be long before you develop a flexible commute that will maximize your effort and minimize your commute times.

Seattle summers include rain, but don't let that stop you

Seattle summers include rain, but don’t let that stop you

By the time Labor Day rolls around, you’ll be a commuter pro!

Post by Commute Trip Reduction

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Neighborhood Greenways and Vision Zero Want Your Input in West Seattle!

greenway mapWe’re hosting a public meeting for our continued work with the 35th Ave SW Safety Corridor and new West Seattle Neighborhood Greenway planning.

The meeting will be held on Thursday, Aug. 4, from 7 to 9 p.m. at Neighborhood House High Point (6400 Sylvan Way SW).

In 2015, we redesigned 35th Ave SW to reduce speeding, collisions, and injuries as part of our Vision Zero plan to end traffic fatalities and serious injuries by 2030. We have some early data to share at the meeting and want to hear your observations and experiences along the corridor.

We’re also studying routes for a new north-south neighborhood greenway parallel to 35th Ave SW. The new West Seattle Neighborhood Greenway will prioritize people walking and biking on residential streets.

At the meeting, we will share traffic data and you can help us find out where people want to walk and bike in the neighborhood, as well as what barriers stand in their way. Neighborhood greenways mean safer, calmer streets for you and your family.

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We’re pairing our outreach and engagement for these two projects – the safety corridor and neighborhood greenway – to get the people who live, work, and travel in West Seattle comprehensive information.

Please join us at the open house and learn how we plan to improve the safety for everyone.

Open House on the 35th Avenue SW Road Safety Corridor Project

Thursday, August 4 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Neighborhood House

6400 Sylvan Way SW, Room 207

We hope to see you there!

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Innovative Solution in South Park Saves Trees and Improves Walkability

Three blocks of grand maple trees on 8th Ave S near the South Park Community Center provide critical tree canopy and a sense of place for the neighborhood.  Unfortunately, these trees were planted in a narrow planting strip, so their roots have significantly damaged the sidewalk and made it difficult for folks to get around.

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Severely uplifted sidewalk due to tree roots.

King County and the City plan to implement a long term solution to these tree and sidewalk issues in the next few years, so SDOT’s objective in 2016 was to complete interim repairs to improve safety on a relatively small budget.  Luckily, we also had a valuable resource: 14’ driving lanes on 8th Ave S.  That’s wider than we need even for buses and trucks.  This opened possibilities.

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Wide driving lanes on 8th Ave S.

Throughout Seattle, SDOT is looking at existing pavement in new ways.  By using low cost investments such as paint and planter boxes, we’ve reprogrammed street areas into curb bulbs, sidewalks, and public plazas. With this creative perspective, we gathered feedback from the South Park community on ways to reconfigure 8th Ave S to increase safety for people walking, preserve trees and address other priorities.  SDOT crews completed the newly configured three blocks of 8th Ave S this summer.

The updated 8th Ave S keeps street parking on both sides as the neighborhood requested. We narrowed driving lanes to 10.5’, freeing up space to add a 6’ wide protected walkway along the curb, and we closed the damaged sidewalk.  As an added benefit, narrower driving lanes tend to slow traffic speeds.

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Walkway separated from traffic by parking lane, curbing and posts.

The walkway is protected from traffic by the parking lane and curbs and posts installed by SDOT crews.  We also extended the pedestrian space at intersections and reduced the length of the crossings by creating curb bulbs using posts and paint.

In other locations SDOT fully painted these curb bulbs, but in South Park we used a more innovative design using polka dots, which are more eye-catching to drivers.  We worked with South Park leaders to match the colors of the polka dots with the colors of the South Park Neighborhood Association logo.

fig 6 Final prod pkg lane, walkway

fig 7 Polka dots S Park colors

 

Feedback from the South Park community has been positive about this added sense of place for the neighborhood, the preservation of its stately trees and a safer place to walk.

 

 

 

For more details, check out the 8th Ave S 2016 Improvements website, including SDOT’s presentation to the community.

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Seattle Strides Towards Being Most Walkable City in the Country

Seattle is consistently recognized as one of the nation’s safest and most accessible cities for pedestrians, but there’s still more we can do.

That’s why we’ve released a new Pedestrian Master Plan which will include everything from sidewalk and accessibility improvements to new crosswalks and safety features. This update will help guide our city for the next 20 years.

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The Plan is open to public comment until August 22, and we want to hear from you!

What features are you excited for? What do you want to see more of? What are your great ideas we didn’t think of? Email us at PMPupdate@seattle.gov and we’ll start building them.

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The Pedestrian Master Plan, along with Master Plans for Freight, Biking, and Transit are part of Mayor Murray’s Move Seattle 10-year vision for an interconnected city which safely moves people and goods.

Read the Pedestrian Master Plan, then send your comments to PMPupdate@seattle.gov by August 12!

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Join Us For a Find It, Fix It Neighborhood Walk in Belltown!

Join Mayor Ed Murray, SDOT Director Scott Kubly, and other City Department Directors and staff on Tuesday, June 28th for the Belltown Find It, Fix It Walk. The walk starts at the Belltown Community Center and there will be refreshments from 5:30-6:00pm. The walk will take place from 6:00-7:30pm.

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SDOT project managers will be at the event to discuss transportation projects and changes in this rapidly growing neighborhood, including the 2nd Ave safety project, the Pavement to Parks program, and planned transit investments.

The walk also gives neighbors an opportunity to identify and report areas that need improvement, such as overgrown landscaping, litter, graffiti and street light outages using the Find It, Fix It app. Download the app on your smart phone before the walk on Tuesday and use it to request services to fix the issues that you see.FindItFixItApp

Future Find It, Fix it Community Walks scheduled for 2016 include:

  • Roxhill – July
  • Judkins Park – August
  • Crown Hill – September
  • Georgetown – October
  • Wallingford – Mid-November

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