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Archive for 'Safety'

Earth Day is Next Week! Do Your Part, Ride a Bike!

041614 Bike Lane RESIZEDid you know that using a bicycle has virtually no carbon footprint and is the most energy efficient form of transportation ever invented?  Riding a bike instead of driving a car reduces the amount of paved surfaces needed for travel lanes and parking lots; reduces energy consumption; and reduces air pollution. A 4-mile bicycle trip keeps about 15 pounds of pollutants out of the air we breathe.

There are other good reasons to use bicycling as a form of transportation. Since it’s easier and cheaper to park a bike, your commute could be the best part of your day instead of the worst part of your day. You could save on the membership to a health club by getting your exercise bicycling to work, school, shopping, etc. It’s a healthy family and friends activity, and, best of all, it’s just fun.

Did you know May is Bike to Work Month? With all these good reasons to ride a bike, you may want to think about taking the Cascade Commute Challenge. Cascade’s Commute Challenge is a friendly and free competition that is open to anyone who is willing to bike just 4 commute trips during the month of May.

141714 BMP familyRESIZEIf you’re a new bike commuter, Cascade offers free classes and weekly information on safe bicycling practices. Team captains and fellow bike commuters are a fantastic resource as well.

If you’re an experienced rider, sign up to be a captain. You can be that person who introduces someone to the simple joys (and practical benefits) of bike commuting.

If you’re a transit rider or carpooler, you can have the best of both worlds. The commute challenge counts one-way or partial trips. Take the bus to work and bike home – it counts (the bike miles, that is)! Bus or carpool part way and bike the rest – it counts!

If you’re an employer, you can increase bike commuting at your workplace by simply promoting the commute challenge to your employees. The team captains will take it from there. You can do more, though. Check out Cascade’s Employer Toolkit for suggestions on how to make the most of Bike Month.

041714 Sara and Allison RESIZESo, what are you waiting for? Join in the fun and join a Bike to Work Team today!  Visit the Commute Challenge website for more information.

Are you a City of Seattle Employee?  Stop in at the “Getting Started” City Bike Expo on Thursday, April 24, 2014, at the Seattle Municipal Tower and learn about the City Employees’ Bike Commute Program and facilities. You can also sign up for the Commute Challenge, practice loading a bike on a bus rack, learn about good routes and equipment choices from coworkers, take a Bike Commute 101 class, and learn how to fix a flat. For more information about the Bike Expo, Bike to Work Day on May 16 and the Bike to Work Month Challenge, go to your My Trips website or contact Eric Mamroth at (206) 684-5420 or mytrips@seattle.gov.

For references and more benefits of bicycling, visit http://www.ibike.org/encouragement/benefits.htm.

 

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A Bike Plan for All Ages and Abilities

bmp_cover_blogPeople who live and work in Seattle want choices about how they get around the city.  They think about safety, convenience and cost when deciding how to travel.  Increasingly, people also look for forms of transportation which improve their health and let them see more, experience more, and appreciate the natural beauty of the city.  Biking is one tool to meet Seattleites’ travel needs.

For the last two years SDOT staff has been working with members of the community to update the City’s Bicycle Master Plan, with the overall theme of increasing the number and types of people who would be willing and interested in riding a bicycle in the city.  SDOT learned throughout the planning process that one of the main factors keeping more people from bicycling is a concern about safety; many people do not feel safe riding a bicycle on busy streets.  With that in mind, the updated plan was developed with a vision that riding a bicycle would be a comfortable and integral part of daily life in Seattle for people of all ages and abilities.  The updated plan focuses on bicycle facility types that would feel safe and comfortable for a larger number of people:  either neighborhood greenways, which are bike lane KevinO'N RESIZEsafer, calmer streets for people walking, biking and driving; and protected bike lanes (also called cycle tracks), which are on busier streets with a buffer between people driving.  Broadway’s Protected Bike Lane in Capitol Hill is opening in May. Be sure to check it out! The plan also includes expanding upon Seattle’s great system of off-street paths (such as the Burke-Gilman Trail).  In addition, the plan also identifies a number of other actions to make bicycling (and all travel) safer, including education on the rules of the road.

Earlier this week, the City Council unanimously adopted the updated Bicycle Master Plan, and indicated their strong support for achieving this vision over time.  The final plan can be found on our web site. SDOT is already taking action to turn lines on a map into projects. Planning, design and construction for several neighborhood greenway projects is underway. And SDOT is kids on bike traffic circle RESIZEpreparing a 3-5 year implementation plan which will be reviewed by City Council this summer.  This effort will inform all community stakeholders about what the priorities for implementation are in the near term.   For more information on bicycle projects that SDOT is working on now, and other actions that the City is doing to promote safe cycling, visit our bike program web page.

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Keep up with your New Year’s Resolution and take the stairs!

 

Stairway located on S Lilac Street between Letitia and Rainier Avenue S.

Stairway located on S Lilac Street between Letitia and Rainier Avenue S.

Did you know that the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) is responsible for managing more than 500 stairways that can be found across the city? With the help of the Bridging the Gap (BTG) transportation levy, SDOT has been making it easier to make the decision to use the stairs by keeping the stairways clear and useable!

Stairways are an important connection to Seattle’s neighborhoods, transit, schools, and businesses. Thanks to the BTG levy, SDOT has completed 33 stairway projects to date and hasseven more planned for 2014! Look for SDOT crews this year working on stairways at: N 43rd Street and Palatine Avenue N; S Spokane Street; E McGraw Street and 18th Avenue E; SW Thistle Street; and E Thomas Street and 25th Avenue E. Two more projects are in the planning stage and will be announced soon.

Recently completed stairway at Sixth Avenue W and W Mercer Street.

Recently completed stairway at Sixth Avenue W and W Mercer Street.

Seattle’s stairways not only help increases our pedestrian connections, but it’s also much more fun climbing real stairs than using a stair climber at the gym. As Spring and Summer kick off, be sure to get out there and explore some of the great stairways Seattle has to offer. Who knows, you may even discover a new neighborhood, park, or route to your favorite restaurant!If stairs aren’t your thing, check out the other great projects BTG has planned around Seattle.

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Burke-Gilman Trail Detour and Improvements Open House

Burke Gilman Trail detour map 041114Work has already begun on construction projects to improve the Burke-Gilman Trail and the surrounding areas, and more construction is on the way. This includes the Montlake Triangle and Rainier Vista, Maple and Terry halls, the new Sound Transit Link light rail stations and power upgrades by Seattle City Light.

Beginning this spring, University of Washington will close portions of the Burke-Gilman Trail between Brooklyn Avenue Northeast and Mason Road, just east of the Rainier Vista, to facilitate these projects and the construction of a new, wider Burke-Gilman Trail with separation for people who walk and people who ride bikes, dozens of new lights, more blue emergency phones, better trail intersections and ADA access, and improved sightlines. Construction on phases of these projects will begin at different times, but by Summer 2014 the full detour will be in place.

We want to help keep you safe and informed during this detour! Watching out for each other–whether walking, riding a bike, or driving a vehicle–is a shared responsibility. Take extra care during the construction. Look out for other road users and make eye contact or wave to others – the more awareness motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians have, the more we can better ensure everyone’s safety.

UW Transportation Services will have more information about the detour and improvements to the Burke-Gilman Trail at the Gould Hall Atrium on April 17, 2014 from 4:00pm to 6:00pm. For questions or comments please send them to Brian Ho, brianho@uw.edu.

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Got a great idea fort a Safe Routes to School project?

We’re now taking applications for Safe Routes to School mini-grant projects

The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) 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 biking to school. Making the choice to walk and bike to school reduces pollution and congestion near schools and provides quality time for parents and kids to spend together. Programs funded by the SDOT mini-grant not only increase safety around schools, but also help kids learn earth-friendly ways of getting around their neighborhoods.

In a change from previous years, the mini grant program will now have two funding rounds each year: Fall and Spring. The new Spring funding round will provide funds to grantees in time for Fall school activities, such as the International Walk to School Month in October. Applicants are eligible to receive a grant once per year. Private and public schools, PTAs, neighborhood councils, local advocacy organizations, and other school-related 040714_ SRTS_Walking Bus_Photo4 2 RESIZEnonprofit groups may apply.

Mini-grants can fund a wide range of projects and programs at schools. The activities must support the overall goal of improving safety and encouraging more walking and bicycling to school, but otherwise, we are open to your creative ideas. Examples of past mini-grants have included helping schools and non-profits start student safety patrols; launching anti-idling campaigns; installing pedestrian crossing flags; developing and promoting school traffic circulation plans; hosting walk and bike to school month activities; leading walking school buses and bike trains; and educating kids on bike safety. The possibilities are nearly endless!

If you have an idea for a safety education or encouragement program, please visit our website www.cityofseattle.net/transportation/ped_srts_grant.htm 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 ashley.harris@seattle.gov. Completed applications are due April 30, 2014 by 5pm and recipients will be announced by June 6, 2014. Funds will be distributed in July 2014.

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Urban Planners and Traffic Engineers for a Day!

art_blog

About 45 folks gathered last week to help a team of professionals design a Festival Street for the heart of Georgetown.  The design workshop was a four hour long engagement between those who hold Georgetown near and dear (mostly business owners, employees, artists and residents) and the professional team of designers and engineers who needed the community’s input on the project.

On this project the community is defining the scope and nature of what will be done – in part because what makes a great street for holding festivals depends on what the community wants.  Festival Streets are, after all, a non-arterial street that is “designated for recurring temporary closure to vehicular traffic use for the purpose of pedestrian-oriented special activities” – such as the Georgetown Carnival and Honkfest.

The Georgetown Community Council, the Georgetown Merchants Association and the United Artists of Georgetown are all involved in, and enthusiastic about, the project.  An eight member citizen advisory group, formed in February, will continue to meet with the project team to select an alternative and to refine the design over the next year.  The project is expected to be built in 2015.

The Georgetown Festival Street was one of just 12 projects selected by the Bridging the Gap Oversight Committee to receive Neighborhood Street Funds last year.  The project will also benefit from the One Percent for Art program, with the selection of Georgetown artist extraordinaire Chris McMullen in the project.

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What Does the Green Mean?

Because it’s St. Patrick’s Day, we wanted to get in to the spirit of things and focus on something green. In this case, the green pavement markings near many of Seattle’s new bikeways. So what does the green mean?

Seattle, and cities throughout the country, use the green pavement markings to indicate that a space will be used by both people on bikes and people who are driving. The green pavement lets people know to watch out for each other.

For example, here’s a picture of a two-way protected bike lane (also known as a cycle track) where the green pavement let’s people on bikes know to expect cars coming out of the driveway. Similarly the green also alerts drivers to look both ways before crossing the bikeway.

pic 1 green boxRESIZED

You might also notice the green pavement near right turn lanes. In this case the green pavement is used because people driving will cross the bike lane when making a right turn. Drivers will need to check their right side mirrors for approaching bikes and people on bikes should watch for right signaling cars.

pic 2 green laneRESIZED

Finally one of the other places you might see the green is at a bike box. A bike box allows people on bikes to wait at the front of the intersection at a red light. This allows bikes to be more visible and predictable to drivers at the intersection. If you’re on a bike wait in the green until you have the signal and if you’re driving, remember that when waiting at the intersection stop behind the green to allow space for people on bikes.

pic 3 greenboxlane stopturnRESIZED

To learn more about bike facilities around the city, check out our website.  And remember, whether you’re walking, biking, or driving somewhere, look out for others and pay close attention when you see the green. Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

 

 

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U District Neighborhood Greenway

The Greenway to Travel – Safety Improvements Proposed for the U District

MapLast November, SDOT started exploring the idea of a neighborhood greenway in the U District. We hosted a meeting in November and quickly learned that there is a lot of great stuff happening there! The University of Washington is building Maple and Terry Halls. This means new open space and a pedestrian link to the Burke-Gilman Trail, as well as crosswalks on the east and west sides of 12th Avenue NE and ADA-accessible curb ramps on Campus Parkway. Sound Transit’s started constructing the University Station for the Northgate Link Light Rail project. And ‘Only in Seattle’ is funding a community-led partnership to work on public safety, business development, urban design, marketing and neighborhood leadership. So cool! But now back to SDOT.

A neighborhood greenway is a great way to link the people in the community to the new assets being built. Based on public feedback, agency coordination and our evaluation we are recommending a greenway on 12th Avenue NE. The map on the right shows the traffic improvements that would be implemented.

Not shown on the map, but also included are wayfinding signs, reducing the speed limit from 25MPH to 20MPH, speed humps about one every block and pavement and sidewalk repairs.  There are two upcoming opportunities for giving us feedback.

 

Walk and Talk

Co-sponsored by the University Neighborhood Greenways Community Coalition

Saturday, March 15

10 a.m. Meet at Chaco Canyon and walk north to Ravenna Boulevard

11 a.m. Meet at Chaco Canyon and walk south to NE Campus Parkway

 

Project Open House

Thursday, March 20

6 to 7:30 p.m. (presentation at 6:30)

University Christian Church

4731 15th Avenue NE

If you are unable to make these events information is also available on the project web page. Thanks for reading our post and joining us in making safer streets for all.

 

 

 

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New commute connections coming to North Beacon Hill!

 

Existing intersection at 14th Avenue S and Beacon Avenue S that will be redesigned to improve pedestrian safety.

Existing intersection at 14th Avenue S and Beacon Avenue S that will be redesigned to improve pedestrian safety.

 

Are you a walker or a bike rider? If so, we’ve got a set of plans for improvements that we think are pretty cool! Before the end of the year, area neighbors and commuters can expect to see a new sidewalk and bike lane on Beacon Avenue S, intersection realignment at Beacon Avenue S and 14th Avenue S, and curb bulbs at 14th Avenue S and S College Street! Many of these improvements were recommended by neighbors just like YOU and included in plans like the Southeast Transportation Study (SETS), Beacon B.I.K.E.S. Circulation Plan, and applications through the Neighborhood Park and Street Fund.

Mountains to Sound Trail: On the left where it connects to Daejeon Park and on the right where it connects to S Holgate Street.

Mountains to Sound Trail: On the left where it connects to Daejeon Park and on the right where it connects to S Holgate Street.

 

The sidewalk along Beacon Ave S will also provide a connection between the Beacon Hill business district and the Mountains to Sound Trail. These improvements will also make it safer and more comfortable for families to walk and bike to Beacon Hill International School.

Stay tuned for more information on the timing of when these great improvements will begin  – hopefully before the end of the year!

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Trails, signs and bike parking spaces, oh my!

March roared in with record rain, but appears to be giving way to more spring-like weather this week and that has many Seattleites itching to get outside and get active!  The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) is working to make that happen by putting your transportation levy dollars to good use, making it easier to walk, bike and ride in Seattle.  Thanks to the Bridging the Gap (BTG) transportation levy, passed by Seattle voters New bike route signageRESIZEin 2006, SDOT crews are working to inspect and make needed repairs our urban trails, install new route signage making it easier to travel from one part of town to another and they will also be installing more bicycle parking in neighborhoods around the city.

This year, in addition to inspecting more than 40 miles of trails, our crews will make more than ten scheduled spot improvements at key locations along our most heavily-used urban trails.  SDOT and BTG will invest $1,165 million in 2014, to inspect and make improvements to urban trails and to maintain existing on-street facilities.  Spot improvements can range from filling a pothole, to trimming tree roots or repaving small sections of trail to keep them smooth and easy to navigate for all users.

Bike Route SignageRESIZECrews have already begun installing new signage along more than 25 miles of bike routes and have started installing new bicycle parking spaces which will total 500 by the end of this year.  All of this work comes ahead of the upcoming Bike to Work Month (May) and the summer cycling season.

Over the seven years the transportation levy has been in place, SDOT crews have inspected a total of 176 miles of urban trails and bike ways, made more than 173 spot improvements, installed new signs along more than 156 miles of bike routes and installed more than 1,590 bicycle parking spaces.  Each of these projects helps make Seattle a little easier to travel through and get you where you want to go whether it’s for work or pleasure.

For more information on BTG please visit the web page.

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