Archive for 'Safety'
Much has been happening behind the scenes on the Westlake Cycle Track Project lately; good news for the increasing number of folks interested a commute options between north end communities, South Lake Union and downtown Seattle. (It should also be popular with tourists, given the large number of great waterfront businesses on the Westlake waterfront.)
Last week Mayor Ed Murray announced the creation of a Design Advisory Committee, which will meet for the first time on March 24th. This 13 member group, with a variety of perspectives and expertise, will work toward making this project a success for all concerned by offering the project team their insights and suggestions.
In addition, a survey for residents and businesses on Westlake is now underway – through March 19th. This on-line questionnaire primarily focuses on parking needs of those who work, live and do business in this busy waterfront area.
The project website gives much more information about the project, including a Frequently Asked Questions and a list of upcoming of presentations. An Open House is planned for May, and a basic design alternative/route will be selected by the end of 2014. Final design will be done in time for construction to begin late in 2015.
Lots more information will be available shortly on the project design criteria, traffic flows and parking, both summarized and in detailed reports. If you aren’t already on the mailing list, but would like to be, please click here.
This month, 11 schools citywide will have new flashing beacons reminding drivers to adhere to the 20 mph speed limit in school zones. For the safety of students, driving the school zone speed limit – 20 miles per hour – is especially important.
The schools receiving new beacons include:
- Bryant Elementary School/Assumption – Saint Bridget School – NE 65th Street
- Denny Middle School & Chief Sealth High School – SW Thistle Street
- Gatewood Elementary School – California Avenue SW
- Hawthorne Elementary School – 38th Avenue S
- McDonald Elementary School – Latona Avenue NE
- Montlake Elementary School – 24th Avenue NE
- Rainier View Elementary School – Beacon Avenue S
- K-5 STEM at Boren – Delridge Way SW
- Whitman Middle School – 15th Avenue NW
Every school in Seattle is surrounded by signs clearly notifying drivers of the lower speed limit. Before entering the school zone, drivers pass a sign alerting them that they should expect to see students. The “School – Speed Limit 20” sign marks the beginning of the reduced speed zone.
SDOT has installed flashing beacons along with the school zone signage on arterial streets at more than 65 schools to provide further emphasis for the reduced speed limit. Before and after studies show an overall reduction in speeding as a result of flashing beacons, with the greatest reduction being by those drivers exceeding the speed limit by 10 or more miles per hour.
To see the schedule for all school zone flashing beacons, visit http://www.seattle.gov/transportation/ped_srts_sign.htm
In 2006, Seattle voters passed a transportation maintenance initiative – Bridging the Gap (BTG) – and one of the major pieces of the levy was paving. Since then, the Seattle Department of Transportation has been working hard to make paving upgrades and needed repairs to Seattle’s roads. More than 205 lane miles of roadway across the city have been repaved or reconstructed. This helps provide a smoother and safer trip for all of us.
Some major roadways that have seen repaving include Airport Way S, 15th Avenue NE, Dexter Avenue N, Columbian Way S, First Avenue S, Fourth Avenue S, Fifth Avenue S, 15th Avenue N, NE Ravenna Boulevard, 14th Avenue S, NE 125th and Sandpoint Way and Delridge Way.
One project that began in 2013 will carry over into 2014. The paving of N 105th Street and N/NE Northgate Way from Greenwood Avenue N to First Avenue NE is about halfway done and is expected to wrap up later this year. In addition to the 105th Street project, SDOT will also be repaving Holman Rd. from NW 87th to Greenwood Avenue N. These roadways were in need of major repair work and provide key links to neighborhoods in the Seattle’s north end.
Paving projects are, by nature, disruptive and can frustrate drivers, transit riders, pedestrians and cyclists. Unfortunately, it is a part of the project. We do our best to keep disruptions to a minimum; however, they cannot always be avoided. It’s important to remember that in the end, all roadway users will have a smoother and safer road on which to travel.
Along with the major Arterial Asphalt and Concrete projects discussed above, SDOT will also be doing a lot of smaller repaving work as part of the Arterial Major Maintenance Program. Smaller projects, throughout the City, will repave more than 16 lane-miles helping to preserve and extend the lives of those roads.[More]
To improve safety for all roadway users, The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) is lowering the speed limit on Beacon Avenue S between S Columbian Way and S Barton Street from 35 miles per hour (mph) to 30 mph.
Four school walking zones blanket nearly the entire corridor: Van Asselt Elementary, Wing Luke Elementary, Maple Elementary, and Dearborn Park Elementary. This corridor experiences high transit use, with Route 36 running every 8-10 minutes and Route 106 running every 15 to 30 minutes. Three school speed zones are located along this corridor and the walking routes to several other schools cross Beacon Avenue S. SDOT’s Safe Routes to School program will fund the cost to remove and replace the existing speed limit signs.
Beacon Avenue S is one of three main north-south corridors in southeast Seattle, including Martin Luther King Jr Way S and Rainier Avenue S. It is five miles in length with two miles already signed for 30 mph. Lowering the speed limit from 35 to 30 mph on this section of the corridor will make the speed limit consistent for the entire corridor. Speed studies confirm that a majority of drivers are already traveling at or below 30 so the new speed limit is not expected to change travel times significantly.
Most of the adjacent neighborhood is single-family residences with small pockets of retail and commercial uses, including several facilities such as churches, parks and playgrounds, and the Veteran’s Medical Center.
Lowering the speed limit Beacon Avenue S will improve safety for not only pedestrians, but bicyclists and motorists as well. The work is scheduled to be completed by April 30, 2014.[More]
Construction of the First Hill Streetcar (FHS) is moving ever closer to completion and will begin service later this year.Like virtually every other streetcar system in the world, ours will be electrically powered. However, it will be the first in the US (and only the second system in the world) to incorporate an advanced hybrid battery system that means considerably less overhead wiring and the associated benefit of significant cost savings!
Trolley buses operate with two overhead wires, one positive and one negative, while our streetcar will use its own tracks for its grounding. Heading from Pioneer Square to Broadway, the FHS will operate on its outbound route on electrical power provided by a single overhead wire which receives electricity provided by four power substations strategically located along the 2.5 mile route. On the return trip, the FHS hybrid batteries will provide the power generated through its regenerative braking along the inbound route, much of it downhill.
Even with the system only requiring the single overhead wire on the outgoing route, integrating it into the existing overhead trolley bus wiring system is a very complicated and time consuming endeavor. Both Broadway and Jackson serve a number of existing trolley bus routes, many of which make turns on and off of those arterials that require an intricate mesh of wiring (as evidenced in the photo at Pine Street). The power systems for the trolleys and streetcar are entirely separate from one another, yet both have wiring strung at about the same height.
Because streetcar wiring must be installed when the trolley wires are de-energized, the work can only be done on weekends when Metro has enough available diesel buses to substitute for the trolleys. The result has been that a number of intersections on both Broadway and Jackson have been closed on weekends this winter. The work on Broadway is nearly finished. The work on Jackson is about half complete, so will require additional weekend closures before the work is finished by April.
Stay tuned for more updates on the First Hill Streetcar.[More]
We all generally realize the importance of getting goods from ships, rail terminals and warehouses to their ultimate destinations – for example, a factory owner waiting for delivery of a machine part; a restaurant counting on their daily supply of fresh fish; a clothing store looking to display the latest seasonal fashions; a neighborhood hardware store needing to keep its shelves well-stocked. Our economy at every level is dependent upon reliable deliveries of all sorts of products, many of which eventually wind up in people’s homes and businesses.
To help ensure these critical deliveries take place without undue delay, Seattle, the Puget Sound region and the broader state and national economy rely upon an efficient transportation system. In 2014, SDOT will be looking at its streets, roads and bridges to see where improvements are needed to keep freight moving safely and smoothly. In doing this work SDOT will have to ensure that the freight network also works well with all the other travel modes we value – walking, biking and riding public transit.
In 2014, keep your eye on two freight planning projects: the Seattle Freight Access Project which is being done in partnership with the Port of Seattle and is focusing on the city’s two Manufacturing and Industrial Centers – SODO and Ballard/Northend; and the Freight Master Plan which will look at freight mobility and access on a city-wide basis. Work on the Freight Access project is underway, while work on the Freight Master Plan will begin early this spring. More information can be found at http://www.seattle.gov/transportation/freight.htm[More]
In 2006, Seattle voters passed a nine-year, $365 million, transportation levy for maintenance and improvements known as Bridging the Gap (BTG). The levy is funded by a commercial parking tax. The BTG levy funds maintenance programs for paving; new sidewalk development and repairs; repair, rehabilitation and seismic upgrades to Seattle’s bridges; tree pruning and planting; transit enhancements; and other much needed maintenance work. Funding also supports projects that develop and implement the Bicycle, Pedestrian and Transit Master Plans; promotes development of the Safe Routes to School Program; and helps neighborhoods secure larger projects built through the Neighborhood Street Fund Large Project Program.
The BTG levy, as approved by voters, stipulated that certain percentages of the levy revenues be spent on different categories of projects over the nine year program:
- Neighborhood Street Fund – first $1.5 million annually
- Maintenance Programs – no less than 67%
- Pedestrian/Bike/Safety Programs – no less than 18%
- Transit and Major Projects – no more than 15%
During the early stages of development for the levy program, key goals and benchmarks were established helping the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) create a work program around BTG and set accountability measures to ensure the promises would be met. Some of the promises made and current numbers include:
- Prune 25,000 street trees – 23,000 trees have been pruned
- Repave 200 lane-miles of arterial streets – 205 lane miles completed
- Rehabilitate or replace 5 bridges – 6 have been rehabilitated or replaced
- Seismically retrofit 5 additional bridges – 3 have been completed
- Build 117 blocks of new sidewalks – 100 blocks have been constructed
- Restripe 5,000 crosswalks – 4,000 have been restriped
- Create “safe routes to schools” near 30 elementary schools – 40 have been created
- Repair 144 blocks of sidewalks – 167 blocks have been repaired
The transportation levy has been a critical funding piece for the department and SDOT is proud that is meeting and even surpassing the goals of the levy.
If you would like additional information on BTG please visit the webpage.[More]
Join SDOT staff next Wednesday evening to learn more about changes to the 23rd Avenue corridor, including the planned route for the Central Area Neighborhood Greenway. The public open house begins at 5:00 p.m. at Thurgood Marshall Elementary School.
Accessible by Metro Routes 4, 8 and 48
The purpose of the projects in the Central Area is to balance safety, mobility and reliability needs for a variety of users in the area, as well as enhance the local community and natural environment.
Improvements in each phase include:
- New pavement
- Sidewalk improvements
- Lighting improvements
- Increased transit reliability
- Traffic signal improvements
- Public art
- Adjacent neighborhood greenway
The corridor changes address the current state of the roadway – hundreds of patches where potholes existed, narrow lanes, a lack of turn pockets at key intersections and narrow and uneven sidewalks – as well as balance the needs of users in the area. SDOT will redesign 23rd Avenue between E John Street and Rainier Avenue S (Phases 1 and 2) from the current four lanes (two lanes in each direction) to three lanes (one lane in each direction and a center turn lane). Between E Roanoke Street and E John Street (Phase 3), the road will remain four lanes. SDOT will also implement a nearby neighborhood greenway, called the Central Area Neighborhood Greenway. This greenway will provide a safer, calmer street for people to walk and ride bicycles.
For roads like 23rd Avenue with fewer than 25,000 vehicles per day, redesigning a street from four lanes to three can have many benefits, including:
- Reducing collisions
- Reducing speeding
- Allowing vehicles to turn without blocking traffic
- Managing drivers cutting in and out of travel lanes
- Creating space for wider sidewalks
- Making streets easier to cross
- Easing travel for large vehicles (e.g. buses)
Learn more about a similar project on Nickerson Street. As a result of the project, the road became safer and kept people and goods moving.
For more information about the 23rd Avenue Corridor Improvement Project, please visit the city’s Web page at http://www.seattle.gov/transportation/23rd_ave.htm and www.seattle.gov/transportation/centralgreenway.htm for information about the Central Area Neighborhood Greenway, or attend the February 26 open house.
Translated project information will be available in Spanish, Vietnamese, Chinese, Korean, Oromo, Tigrinya, and Amharic.[More]
According to the calendar, we are moving quickly from winter to spring and folks are looking forward to getting outside and getting active once again. As the days get longer, it’s a great time of year for kids to walk or bike to school. Thanks to your transportation levy dollars – Bridging the Gap (BTG) – 40 elementary schools around Seattle have gained new and improved walking routes since the Safe Routes to School program began in 2007. This program works closely with school staff, studentsand parents to identify barriers andsolutions to make walking and biking safer and more accessible.
Depending upon the streets surrounding the school, the safety program improvements can include all or some of the following: new curb ramps, marked crosswalks, sidewalk repairs, new sidewalks and speed cushions. Building off the success of 2013 with nine projects completed, the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) will make improvements at eight schools in 2014.
New sidewalks will be installed around both Olympic Hills and Arbor Height Elementary Schools. Roxhill, Salmon Bay and Beacon Hill Elementary Schools will see newly marked cross walks and curb bulbs installed. In addition, McDonald Elementary will receive new curb ramps; Martin Luther King Elementary will be given new curb bulbs; and Maple Elementary will acquire new curbs to help buffer the sidewalk this year.
Over the first seven years of the program, Orcas Elementary, Sanislo Elementary, Dearborn Park Elementary, Wing Luke Elementary, Dunlap Elementary, Bailey Gatzert Elementary, Concord Elementary, Northgate Elementary, Aki Kurose Middle School, Kimball Elementary and Cleveland High schools were recipients of funding from the program.
One of the projects planned for construction later this year is an extension of the West Duwamish Trail from where it currently ends at 2nd Avenue South and South Holden Street to 8th Avenue South and South Kenyon. An Open House was held Tuesday evening (February 11) to review the history of the project, the process by which the selected alignment was chosen, and to share the design of the project.
What was originally just a trail project (a ten feet wide asphalt path separated from vehicles by a five foot wide landscape strip) has been expanded both in scope and in length. The project now includes a storm drainage system, a new 20 foot wide asphalt road surface, and concrete curbs. Driveways will be widened to 30 feet, and landscaping and pedestrian lighting will be located to avoid potential interference with truck movements.
Representatives of a half dozen businesses from this industrial area of South Park came with questions about modifying the design still further. The project manager, Terry Plumb, was on hand to share the design features and construction plans. A Truck Turning Rodeo – to enable businesses to test the widened driveways and curb locations – is planned for Saturday, February 22.
For more information about the project visit: http://www.seattle.gov/transportation/westduwamishtrail.htm .[More]