Worker’s Solutions Help SDOT Improve Safety

We are working hard to decrease the number, and severity, of accidents at SDOT. Whether someone is out in the field installing new pedestrian features, fixing potholes, pruning trees, or planning a new bike lane, safety is our top priority.

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As part of this effort, we’ve revamped our Accident Prevention Program to encourage solutions directly from the workers engaging with a potential hazard. We’ve had great success so far, and are currently ahead of our goal for work-related injury and illness rates.safety-3

By getting all employees focused on safety, we’ve been able to come up with new strategies, encourage new people to get involved, and helped activate individuals to serve as safety role models for their co-workers. Not only can this shift produce great ideas and decrease accidents, it can also improve morale without incurring unnecessary costs.

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The revamped Accident Prevention Program is being incorporated into new employee orientations, safety meetings, and classroom training sessions.

 

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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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Friendly Safety Reminders for Back to School

Welcome to a new school year!  Safety is our #1 concern and we want to remind you of a few things:

Stopping for a school bus – When the red lights are flashing, there are kids ahead! It is Washington state law to stop for a school bus that is stopped with its red lights flashing – whether it is on your side of the road, the opposite side or at an intersection you are approaching.

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School crossingSlow down when you are driving through school zones – Children have difficulty judging a car’s speed and distance.  When school zone beacons are flashing, the speed limit is 20 MPH, even if children are not present.  Driving at or below 20 MPH gives people driving and children walking more time to see each other and react.

The current fine for speeding in an active school zone is $234.

Speed cameras are installed in 20 MPH school zones at 14 schools throughout Seattle to enforce speeds while the yellow beacons are flashing.

school times map These speed cameras aim to reduce vehicular speeds and improve safety for all during those drop-off and pick-up hours.  Fines collected from these cameras goes towards supporting our Safe Routes to School Program.

More information about our school zone speed camera program 

Have a safe and happy school year!

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Safe Routes to School Kicks Off the New School Year

September 7th is the first day of school for Seattle Public Schools and the SDOT Safe Routes to School (SRTS) program got kids and parents excited about the start of the new school year!

The first annual SRTS Kickoff Event on Friday, August 26th in Cedar Park was a great success! More than 100 people from schools across the city gathered in the Lake City neighborhood for a fun afternoon of promoting safer ways for kids to walk and bike to school.

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The first 50 people got free helmets and help with helmet fittings at the SRTS Kick off event!

After learning about safe driving and walking, people won gift cards donated by Recycled Cycles and gear donated by R2 Bicycles. Families also got repairs done on their bikes, thanks to Hampsten Cycles, Mend Bicycles, and R2 Bicycles. There was music, healthy snacks and a bike rodeo put on by Lake City Greenways and Cascade Bicycle Club, which also had some “slow races” – where the winner comes in last! Kids enjoyed bicycle-themed story time and heard their favorite books read by Nancy Pew of the Seattle Public Library, Lake City Branch.

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Bicycle Storytime with Nancy Pew from the Seattle Public Library.

Parents learned about the Mini Grant Program, which provides up to $1,000 for activities that promote safe walking and biking to school and is accepting applications October 1st – 31st. Families explored their best route to school using SDOT’s interactive walking and biking maps, neighbors heard about the Cedar Park Elementary School SRTS Project and people got Vision Zero safety yard signs to put up in their neighborhoods.

Everyone had a blast at this event that was packed with fun and information! Michael Snyder, whose 3 ½ year-old son had a great time riding his balance bike around the track said, “It was great to see so many children and adults learn how to ride more safely. As a society, we do a great job teaching children that we stop at a stop sign, but most don’t quite know what to do next.” But now he does!

What a great way to start off the school year!

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Family Friendly Transportation Improvements Coming to Wallingford

Seattle Neighborhood Greenways are safer, calm residential streets for you, your family and neighbors. The Wallingford neighborhood greenway was envisioned in 2009 by the community, funded in 2011 with Neighborhood Project Funds (now the Neighborhood Parks and Street Fund) and constructed in 2012. This was Seattle’s first greenway and helped shift the City’s approach toward safer streets.

In 2014, we evaluated the existing greenway, which met some of our current guidelines, but lacked speed humps to encourage calm speeds. It’s also missing another common feature, stop signs at streets crossing the greenway. Stop signs pause people driving and increase the likelihood they will see people walking and biking along the street. The greenway is located on N 43rd St from N Stone Way to Meridian Ave N and along N 44th St to Latona Ave NE.

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Speed humps encourage slower speeds so people see more of their surroundings and have more time to avoid crashes.

Project features:

  • Improve safety by installing 20 mile per hour speed limit signs and adding about one speed hump per block.
  • Benefits: People driving at slower speeds see more of their surroundings and have more time avoid crashes.
  • Make it easier to cross streets for people walking and biking by adding crosswalks at Latona Ave NE and NE 44th St and Thackeray Pl NE and NE 44th St. Also, new crossing beacons are being installed at N Stone Way and N 43rd St with the Neighborhood Parks and Street Funding.
  • Benefits: Supports affordable, healthy travel options that get you to local parks, schools, shops and restaurants.
  • Increase visibility of people walking and biking by installing stop signs and stop bars on streets intersecting the neighborhood greenway.
  • Benefits: More neighbors feel comfortable walking and biking, which helps create a sense of community.

Neighborhood greenways are not car free zones, do not add bike lanes and have minimal if any on-street parking impacts.

Construction is occurring between July and October. Here are some things to expect:

  • Short-term street closures
  • Possible detours
  • Noise, dust and vibration

Visit our neighborhood greenway page to learn more about what they are at www.seattle.gov/transportation/greenways.htm.

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Neighborhood Street Fund Concepts Completed

Streets, sidewalks, and everything in between are about to get improvements as part of our Neighborhood Street Fund (NSF) program!

This U-District proposal called for adding lights, a bike rack, and other improvements to turn this alley off 42nd into a common space for the community.

This U-District proposal called for adding lights, a bike rack, and other improvements to turn this alley off 42nd into a common space for the community.

Communities came together to come up with areas for improvement, decided which projects to prioritize through their Neighborhood District Councils, and sent us their top choices in May. Now, after reading proposals, visiting locations, and reviewing the data, we’ve finished turning those ideas into 65 conceptual designs which could help with safety, accessibility, livability, and more.

This Rainier Valley proposal called for building sidewalks and street calming improvements near S Charleston Street to improve safety for kids walking to school.

This Rainier Valley proposal called for building sidewalks and street calming improvements near S Charlestown Street to improve safety for kids walking to school.

The Neighborhood District Councils will now have chance to read the designs and rank their priority, before sending them to the Levy to Move Seattle Oversight Committee for review later this fall. The list of funded projects is expected by the end of October. Projects will be finalized in 2017 and constructed in 2018. Public engagement for each project will begin once the project list is finalized. We look forward to working with you!

This West Seattle proposal called for traffic calming with curb bulbs, pedestrian signals, and a new marked crosswalk to make the SW Oregon and 39th intersection safer.

This West Seattle proposal called for traffic calming with curb bulbs, pedestrian signals, and a new marked crosswalk to make the SW Oregon and 39th intersection safer.

The NSF Program is funded by the Levy to Move Seattle. The 9-year, $930 million levy provides funding to improve safety for all travelers, maintain our streets and bridges, and invest in reliable, affordable travel options for a growing city. The levy includes $24 million to continue the Neighborhood Street Fund program over the next 9 years.

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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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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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South Shore K-8 Gets Safer Routes to School

Walking or biking to school just got a whole lot safer for students at South Shore K-8!

Through our Safe Routes to School program, the area received improvements including a curb bulb, traffic island, new traffic signal along Rainier Ave, 20 MPH school zone flashing beacons, and public artwork at the intersection of Rainier Avenue S and 51st Avenue S.

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We also supported a Basics of Bicycling education program, and a 12-week long after school Urban Cycling Club to encourage kids to get around safely. Thanks to a partnership with Bike Works, we were also able to give free bikes to kids who participated in the Urban Cycling Club.

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When parents and neighbors from South Shore K-8 reached out for help making their community safer for kids’ commutes, we jumped at the opportunity. “During the South Shore Safe Routes to School program we started a dialogue about what changes we need in our neighborhood to feel comfortable walking and biking to school and built partnerships to make those changes happen,” said Sebrena Burr, whose daughter attends South Shore.

New King and Queen art installation

New King and Queen art installation

We’re excited to how this project will improve the South Shore community, including:

  • Improved safety for kids walking or biking to school
  • Reduced speeding along Rainier Avenue S
  • Increased awareness of how the community can support kids walking and biking
  • Reduced congestion as more kids walk and bike to school
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