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Archive for 'Safety'

Safe Routes to School grant program now accepting applications

Do you have a creative idea for promoting walking and biking to school? Looking for a source of funds to make your idea a reality? Look no further!

FPEWSB_KidVestThe Seattle Department of Transportation is now accepting applications for mini grants of up to $1,000 to fund projects that educate students about pedestrian and bicycle safety and encourage walking and bicycling to school. All you need to do is fill out a straightforward application form, get a letter of support from your school principal, and complete a summary report when you’ve finished your project highlighting all the great things you accomplished. It’s that simple!

Some examples of past projects funded by the Safe Routes to School Mini Grants include kick-starting a walking school bus with safety vests and flags for bus “drivers;” supporting walk to school month events with prizes and incentives for walkers; incentives for bike to school commuters, like bike locks, lights, and helmets; bicycle safety and maintenance classes to make sure kids know the rules of the road and how to keep their bikes in tip-top shape; traffic circulation plans and communication to make sure traffic flows as safely as possible around schools.

If you have an idea for a safety education or encouragement program, please visit our website for more information on how to apply for a mini-grant. In addition to the application, a letter of support from the school principal must be e-mailed, mailed, or faxed by the application due date. For questions, contact Ashley Harris at Completed applications are due October 31st, 2014 by 5pm and recipients will be announced by December 5th, 2014. Funds will be distributed in January 2015.


Bridging the Gap – working to beat the end of year clock.

Fall arrived this past week right on schedule with cooler temperatures, shorter days and rain. While it has been a long and lovely summer there is still a lot of work to be completed. Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) crews are working against the clock to wrap up their work for the year.

Thanks to the Bridging the Gap (BTG) Transportation initiative crews have been busy with lots of construction that will continue deep into the fall. SDOT crews are working to finish up more than 17 lane miles of paving, construct 7 blocks of new sidewalk, install 150 new curb ramps, repair 25 blocks of sidewalk, install 4 miles of greenways, replace 1,250 new street name signs, plant 500 trees, implement 45 crossing improvements and complete 190 bridge maintenance requests. As our crews complete their work plans for 2014, they are starting to look ahead and plan for 2015.

The end of summer saw SDOT complete its work on eight Safe Routes to School projects, the installation of 2441 new regulatory signs, three new stairways rehabilitated and the installation of 45 pedestrian countdown signals.

Before and after

Before and after

It has been a very busy year for BTG and SDOT crews! The arrival of fall as the days get shorter and darker please remember there is still a lot of work to be wrapped up before the end of 2014, please slow down and watch for SDOT crews doing this work to make Seattle a little easier to get around.

For more information on the BTG program please visit the web page.


Madison Corridor Bus Rapid Transit Kick-Off

Come join us as we kick-off a study to improve transit service, pedestrian and bike connections, and public space along Madison St. Learn more about the study and bus rapid transit, and share your knowledge and ideas with the project team.  The ultimate goal of the project is to give people along the corridor a more reliable, convenient, and enjoyable way to get around.

 When: Tuesday, September 30, 2014

                 5 – 7 p.m., with a brief presentation at 5:30 p.m.

Where: Silver Cloud Hotel

1100 Broadway (at Madison)

Seattle, WA 98122

This open house will launch a year-long study of bus rapid transit along Madison St from Colman Dock to 23rd Ave E.  What is bus rapid transit (BRT), you might be asking yourself? It’s the cream of the crop in bus service. It features things like dedicated transit lanes, frequent service, level boarding, and off-board fare payment.


Since June, we’ve been collecting information about existing conditions and talking with community members, businesses, and other organizations to help inform the scope and approach to the study.  At the open house, we’ll have information to share about the project timeline, existing conditions, and the basis for the project. Hint: it was a priority corridor identified in our Transit Master Plan.

We hope to engage a broad cross section of the community in a conversation at the open house to ensure we’ve captured the range of issues and opportunities for the study as we move forward.

You can learn more about the project at If you have any questions or comments, feel free to get in touch with the project manager, Maria Koengeter at or (206) 733-9865.



Greenways! Tell Us What You Think

Neighborhood greenways are safer, calm residential streets prioritized for people walking and biking of all ages and abilities. Common neighborhood greenway elements include signs, pavement markings, pavement and minor sidewalk repair, traffic calming, and safer crossings at busy streets: small things that can add up to a big difference. 9.29.14 blogGreenwaysThe city of Seattle has an ambitious plan to build a network of 250 miles of neighborhood greenways in 20 years. To make sure we build the best projects in the coming years, we’re evaluating how our current neighborhood greenways serve you, your family, your visitors and customers. The purpose of this evaluation is to better inform current design standards and to identify potential improvements to existing neighborhood greenways. We want to know what you think!

Follow the survey link below and give us your input by October 10 and share this link with others so we can get even more feedback.

The neighborhood greenways in Ballard, Beacon Hill, Delridge, PhinneyWood, Wallingford, and Wedgwood are just the start of what will continue to grow into a full network of streets on which people of all ages and all abilities feel comfortable biking and walking!

Neighborhood Greenway Evaluation survey link:

To learn more about our Neighborhood Greenways, head here:


Play Streets at Schools: More Room to Have Fun Safely

Schools and play streets are a perfect pair…just like peanut butter and jelly! Our Pilot Play Streets program launched at St. Therese Academy in Madrona back in May, and the start of the school year is a great time to think about a play street at your child’s school.








Relay game and hula hoop fun during play street at St. Therese Academy in Madrona in May

The program has been a big hit so far, with 24 recurring play streets and 12 one-time play streets. Neighborhoods all over the city are part of the fun, and now there’s an opportunity for more schools to jump on the play streets bandwagon. Street closures for school play streets integrate well with Safe Routes to School, signaling to motorists that kids are around and are are using the street in their own creative ways.
Even if your school already has a good deal of playground space, a play street allows you to close the street that connects two spaces (say, the school building and the play field) to create a safe space for students. This new space can provide a great surface for kids to learn and improve their safe biking and rollerblading skills, can be used to create temporary art installations and student-led chalk “messages of the day,” can provide space for special events with messy programming, or can host festivals or races during field day events. School play streets don’t have to be organized by school staff—they’re a great way for parent-teacher associations and other school-related groups to support regular classroom activities.


The free pilot program runs thru May 31, 2015, so there’s still plenty of time to get involved, either in your own neighborhood or through a school. More information is available on our website:




Safely (but loudly) breaking eggs to make an omelet

West Emerson Overpass Repair Project

The U-shaped loop of roadway just south of the Ballard Bridge that connects North Queen Ann with Fisherman’s Terminal and Magnolia is about to be closed through the end of year. The bottom of this bridge structure is just 15’6” above 15th Ave West and it has been repeatedly struck by over-height vehicles or their loads since it was built 55 years ago. As a result, the northern girder above the southbound lanes (the low spot) has chunks of concrete missing and its tensioning cables are broken in places and rusting away.

West Emerson Overpass Repair Projectpic2West Emerson Overpass Repair Projectpic1

Although the bridge is not in immediate danger of collapse, the girder and the structures above it have to be removed and replaced. Carefully cutting the overpass lengthwise and removing the 100 foot long northern edge of the girder in one piece would require closing 15th Avenue West for long periods, so instead:

West Emerson Overpass Repair Projectpic3

               We’re going to smash it apart where it sits and haul the rubble away!

This is probably a good time to apologize in advance for the UNAVOIDABLY LOUD racket caused by busting up and hauling off a concrete bridge, or even a part of it.

Work will begin at 8PM on Friday October 10 and demolition will proceed quickly (but safely). However but some folks are bound to lose some sleep before 15th Ave West reopens to traffic the next morning. The next night, Saturday, October 11, we will close 15th Ave West at 8PM again for a comparatively quieter job – hoisting a replacement girder into place. During these two nights traffic on 15th Avenue West will be reduced to 1 lane in each direction and detoured around the demolition.

Of course we have to close the Nickerson-Emerson Overpass before we demolish even a part of it, so that will begin on Thursday October 9th. The overpass will not reopen until the end of the year, after the girder, curb, guard rail and driving surface have all been replaced.   (While we have the bridge under the knife, so to speak, we will resurface the other worn bits, including pavement and expansion joints.)

This long term closure will require a detour that uses 15th Avenue West to reach a point where you can make a U-turn to get back to Nickerson/Emerson from the other side. This will be either down to Dravus (for east bound traffic) or up to NW Leary – on the other side of the Ballard Bridge (for west bound traffic). The project website has maps for the signed detour routes and even a few alternates, as well as bike/ped detour routes.

The project is for the safety of the travelling public now, and for the next 50 years or more. Balanced against a three month closure and one night’s sleep is doesn’t seem too bad…


SDOT Partners in IWALK Challenge; Raises Awareness of School Traffic Safety

To celebrate International Walk to School Month SDOT has launched a Safe Routes to School Campaign.

Celebrate International Walk to School Month. SDOT has launched a Safe Routes to School campaign.


October is International Walk to School Month (IWALK) and SDOT is a proud partner in the Feet First IWALKChallenge, which offers incentives for schools to participate in the walk to school campaign. The Mariner Moose has also joined the IWALKChallenge, and is at the ready to help one lucky school promote pedestrian safety and safe walking in October.  Picture the Moose at your school greeting walkers in the morning, walking with a Walking School Bus, and/or promoting safety at a school assembly! Thanks to Safe Kids Washington, any Puget Sound Area school planning an International Walk to School event is eligible to win a visit from the Mariner Moose.SRTSkeepkidssafe

Sign up by this Sunday, September 28th to have your school name placed in a drawing.  The winner will be announced on September 30th, and will receive planning assistance from Safe Kids Washington.

To coincide with International Walk to School Month, SDOT has launched a Safe Routes to School (SRTS) outreach campaign to remind everyone to look out for each other and keep kids safe in school zones. By making our streets safer near schools, SDOT aims to encourage more families to start walking and biking to school, reduce congestion near schools, and keep kids safe and fit. Some teachers even say that kids who walk or bike to school arrive more alert and ready to learn, making for a successful school day for everyone.

The outreach campaign provides yard signs along busy streets where children must cross on their way to and from school. They were installed in the school zones at 40 schools throughout the city. The signs are primarily aimed at drivers; to remind them that school is in session; to drive 20 mph; and to keep kids safe. They ask everyone to look out for each other, whether driving, walking or biking.

This is the second year SDOT has undertaken this SRTS awareness campaign and the response to the signs has again been overwhelmingly positive. This year the signs were revised and updated to reflect feedback we heard from the public about last year’s signs; this year they are even more eye-catching and the messages clearer.










For more information about SDOT’s Safe Routes to School program, contact SDOT’s SRTS Coordinator Brian Dougherty email


Waterfront Program: Fostering civically-minded youth through community partnerships!

Students from The Northwest School learn all about the future of Seattle's waterfront on a fun, educational tour offered through the Waterfront Program’s partnership with the Seattle Architecture Foundation

Students from The Northwest School learn all about the future of Seattle’s waterfront on a fun, educational tour offered through the Waterfront Program’s partnership with the Seattle Architecture Foundation

The City of Seattle’s Waterfront Program team has received thousands of comments and suggestions for the design of Seattle’s future waterfront. Incorporating childhood memories of the waterfront, featuring the heritage of tribal communities, and the idea that downtown Seattle could reorient itself to face the Salish Sea are just a few ideas that people across the region use as fuel to ask great questions and give constructive feedback. The majority of the comments we receive are from adults, but they’re certainly not the only ones passionate about the future of Seattle’s waterfront.

As part of the Seattle Architecture Foundation's Art Generation group, teens brainstormed and designed destinations that could attract people to the waterfront during construction

As part of the Seattle Architecture Foundation’s Art Generation group, teens brainstormed and designed destinations that could attract people to the waterfront during construction

One neat aspect of pubic engagement on public projects, including the Waterfront Program, is that it’s not restricted to the 18 years-and-older crowd. The Waterfront Seattle design team values civic-mindedness across all age groups, including those who will live, work, and play on the future waterfront for many years to come. Youth and family programming gets the wheels of public involvement turning and helps develop skill sets that will be used throughout adulthood. Plus, it’s rewarding to dive into the perspective of young people living in the Seattle area, whose fresh eyes and creativity bring vibrancy into any conversation, and certainly into the conversation about Seattle’s waterfront. The Waterfront Program’s commitment to create a “waterfront for all” definitely includes young people. We’ve partnered with several organizations in the community to help kids and teens understand what’s going on at the water’s edge and have the chance to weigh in with their voices. We’ve worked with the Seattle Architecture Foundation, The Northwest School, the Seattle Youth Commission, Mercer Island High School, University of Washington and Western Washington University to engage kids and teens in our region through innovative learning opportunities.

Notably, as part of a weeklong series of events held earlier this year to highlight Waterfront Seattle’s design progress, the Waterfront Program hosted an interactive, kid-focused event called “Field Day.” From learning about jet grouting with Seawall engineers to discovering the importance of healthy marine habitats and the threat posed by gribbles (tiny marine isopods), it was a fun-filled day that doubled as a great educational opportunity. More than 600 people – mainly kids and families – participated in the Field Day event!

Learning about the importance of healthy marine habitats at the Waterfront Program's Field Day event in 2014

Learning about the importance of healthy marine habitats at the Waterfront Program’s Field Day event in 2014


Access Seattle leads efforts to help West Seattle businesses

Construction is booming all over the city, with Seattle currently the fastest growing large city in America. All that development can create mobility impacts, especially when multiple projects happen simultaneously and in close proximity. Access Seattle calls such areas construction hubs. West Seattle is one of those hubs and right now it’s experiencing concentrated construction taking up more than half of the 4700 block of California Avenue SW/42nd Avenue SW. The Access Seattle team stepped in to help, bringing public and private entities to the table.

A major goal of Access Seattle is to maintain mobility, for thriving communities. This is done with business and community support; traveler engagement; and construction coordination. Much of the coordination work takes place behind the scenes, proactively bringing community concerns to the early phase planning of area contractors. The result often reduces what might otherwise be more significant cumulative construction impacts. Other Access Seattle work is more visible, as with a free parking program in the West Seattle Junction, and 3.5-feet by 7-feet signs guiding pedestrians to area businesses.

ParkingMapThe new free parking program launching today in West Seattle is the result of many weeks of discussion and coordination. The Access team brought contractors; area businesses; and the West Seattle Junction Association to the table to come up with a solution. Projects at 4203 SW Alaska St (Andersen Construction) and 4724 California Ave SW (Compass General Construction) were taking up more than 20 parking spaces in one block with construction expected to last until early 2015. In the brokered agreement Andersen and Compass agreed to help fund free parking for people visiting area businesses. Here’s how it works:

Customers get up to two hours of free parking in Jefferson Square’s underground parking garage, at SW Edmunds St. and 42nd Ave. SW. The only requirements are that customers:

  1. Use Diamond Parking’s Call to Park service (
  2. Go directly to a participating business to provide their license plate number (Wallflower Custom Framing, Elliott Bay Brewery and Talarico’s Pizzeria)

The brokered mitigation effort is in effect until January of 2015.

WSJpedMapTo further assist the businesses struggling with the concentrated cumulative construction impacts in this city block, the Access Seattle team created a pedestrian detour map, complete with the names of area businesses and walking paths to reach them. The Seattle Department of Transportation created several of the 3.5-feet by 7-feet signs and attached them to construction fencing in the area (and posted smaller versions in public places). Again, Andersen Construction Company and Compass Construction shared the cost, showing commitment to maintaining access in our fast-growing city.

Access Seattle is an initiative seeks to keep businesses thriving; travelers moving safely; and construction coordinated during peak construction periods—working specifically in areas identified as construction hubs. At present these hubs are West Seattle, Ballard, Capitol Hill, South Lake Union, North Westlake, the Central Waterfront and Alaskan Way Viaduct North.


To learn more visit:


Once Around the Web: Watch This!

Why Bike Lovers Should Be Happy About ‘Bikelash’

Public hatred of biking culture is actually a natural part of its evolution into the mainstream.

It’s all a part of the cycle of social change: Ridicule > Violent opposition > Acceptance.

PARK(ing) Day Was Streetfilms First Big Hit in 2006!!

Don’t forget Park(ing) Day is today and it’s Seattle’s biggest yet with more than 50 pop-up parks!

How About a Crosswalk Light that Dances?

The makers of this gyrating Do Not Cross signal say it reduces jaywalking by 81 percent.

Wait Your Turn for the Swings at Boston’s Adult Playground

The wildly successful Lawn on D Street is a temporary park that took no tedious city planning. Should we let more urban design emerge organically?

Swing Time is an interactive playscape composed of 20 illuminated ring-shaped swings designed by Höweler + Yoon Architecture.