What we’ve been up to: Mercer Corridor Project’s Substantial Completion Photo Blog

In August 2015, the West Phase of the Mercer Corridor Project reached substantial completion – meaning all major closures and improvements to the corridor are complete! All that remains is a localized closure on Roy St. and some low-key maintenance items with associated lane closures around the area, including landscaping, striping, and a few repairs. Here are a few of the key improvements throughout the corridor:

Mercer1

New, separated bike lanes and a widened pedestrian walkway were installed along the north side of Mercer St. in addition to a widened sidewalk on the south side. Trees and landscaping provide a buffer from the roadway. Here you can also see the expanded underpass beneath SR 99. The widened span, with elimination of the center columns, brings in more light.

 

Mercer2

Widened, two-way Mercer St at 5th Ave. N.: there are three lanes of eastbound and westbound traffic as well as updated intersections, crosswalks, and landscaping. Corners at this and all intersections have been updated to provide safe, accessible crossings for all users.

 

Mercer3

Looking south – the intersection of Dexter Ave. N and Mercer St., showing an updated configuration of traffic lanes, bike lanes, and the pedestrian crosswalk. Signals and signage at this intersection help eliminate conflicts between right-turning traffic and the many pedestrians and bicyclists who cross Mercer at this intersection.

 

Mercer4

The intersection of 5th Ave. N, Thomas St., and Broad St. has been reconfigured significantly, improving access for pedestrians at this major entrance to Seattle Center, thereby accommodating traffic volumes on Fifth Ave N and Broad Street, and separating pedestrians and delivery vehicles on the Seattle Center campus.

SDOT Seeks Input on Possible Expanded Restrictions for Ship Canal Bridge Openings

open bridge

SDOT owns and operates three bridges spanning the Ship Canal (Ballard, Fremont, and University bridges). WSDOT owns and operates the Montlake Bridge. The operation of these bridges is regulated by the US Coast Guard who authorized SDOT and WSDOT to keep the bridges closed on weekdays at 7-9 AM and 4-6 PM (except for large commercial vessels).

While the number of bridge openings has remained fairly consistent in recent years, the morning and afternoon commute peaks and traffic volumes have grown. With an average bridge opening lasting five minutes, hundreds of cars back up each time. Buses run behind schedule, emergency vehicles at times are delayed, commuters take longer to get to work or back home, and many of those motorists waiting leave their engines running, spewing polluting emissions into the atmosphere.

An illustrative graph for a one week period last August at the Ballard Bridge. The number of bridge openings is heaviest at the same time the vehicular traffic load is at its highest. For example, during the period from 6 to 7 PM, there were 11 weekday bridge openings that week, or an average of two each day. During that same one hour period about 2,600 vehicles crossed the bridge daily.

[Click to enhance] An illustrative graph for a one week period last August at the Ballard Bridge. The number of bridge openings is heaviest at the same time the vehicular traffic load is at its highest. For example, during the period from 6 to 7 PM, there were 11 weekday bridge openings that week, or an average of two each day. During that same one hour period about 2,600 vehicles crossed the bridge daily.

In response, SDOT is considering a petition to the US Coast Guard to seek a change to current restrictions. We’d propose a one year trial period for whatever expansion they might approve, after which the Coast Guard would decide whether the additional restrictions have produced sufficient benefit to justify making them permanent.

However, before SDOT files any such petition, we’re asking for feedback. Are additional restrictions warranted? If so, what would be reasonable?

We are asking individuals and/or organizations that might wish to share some thoughts to do so by Wednesday, September 30. Please send such comments to our project email address ShipCanalBridgeOpenings@seattle.gov, or send them via US mail to:

 

Ship Canal Bridge Openings

c/o Roadway Structures

Seattle Department of Transportation

PO Box 34996 (SMT-38-00)

Seattle, WA 98124-4996

 

For more information, please visit: http://www.seattle.gov/transportation/shipcanalOpenings.htm

Join us: Vision Zero Vigil and Procession tonight

VisionZeroLogo

This Friday evening, we invite you to join the City of Seattle and community partners at the Vision Zero Vigil and Procession. The event serves as a memorial to mark the one-year anniversary of Sher Kung’s death while biking to work on 2nd Ave downtown, and to honor all those who have died or been seriously injured in traffic collisions over the past year.

Beginning at 5 p.m. family members, friends, city leaders, and safe street advocates will gather for a brief speaking program at Benaroya Hall’s Garden of Remembrance at 2nd Ave and University St, located steps from where Ms. Kung passed away. A walking and biking procession down 2nd Ave to from University St to Yesler Way, ending Occidental Park will follow.

The event is part of Vision Zero – Seattle’s plan to end traffic deaths and serious injuries by 2030. We can, must, and will do more to make Seattle’s streets safer for everyone.

 

We hope to see you there.

Helping contractors and developers be good neighbors

Crane soaring above 5th Avenue and Columbia Street downtown

Crane soaring above construction at 5th Avenue and Columbia Street downtown

Our city is developing at a rapid pace, as most people can tell just walking around Seattle.  There’s no shortage of cranes soaring up into the air or scaffolding erecting up from the ground. The development and population boom is not expected to end anytime soon; and though some say a growing city is better than a dying one, growth challenges remain. To help keep pace with the growth surge and stay ahead of impacts our construction management and coordination approach is changing; with continued improvements that help contractors and developers to be good neighbors in the communities they impact.

 

We now assess all public and private construction holistically in areas where development is highly concentrated (construction hubs) often leading to pre-construction or on-site changes that significantly improve access. An example is work with a contractor at 2nd and Pike downtown to create better bicycle access. Sellen Construction agreed to modify the construction plan and build a protected 2-way bike path so that cyclists did not have to abruptly merge with motor vehicle traffic or dismount through heavy pedestrian traffic. Modifications like that happen often in hub areas where the city has site coordinators assessing impacts almost daily. We also keep lines of communications open, open, open – meeting regularly with contractors; posting hub area  construction information online.

 

Bike lane solution at 2nd & Pike downtown

Bike lane solution at 2nd & Pike downtown

The long-term goal is to have consistently prepared permit applicants and well-coordinated construction projects before problems ever have a chance to set in. To get there SDOT is continuing to evolve, working with contractors and developers earlier in the pre-construction phase. We are also providing new tools to identify and reduce potential impacts to surrounding neighborhoods and make it easy to do the right thing. The following improvements are now in place or coming later this month:

 

  • Construction Management Plan (CMP) template and guide—Now required for projects that significantly impact public right of way; requires plan for entire course of a project for traffic management, noise mitigation, pedestrian circulation, parking, etc..
  • Multiple Site Plan Templates—Available both online and at the counter to support thorough assessment and management of construction use of the right of way.
  • Online permit applications—Fillable PDF forms designed to be more intuitive and interactive.
  • One-on-one Pre-Application Appointments—Now available for complex permit applications.
  • Channelization Sketch Map—Online tool to help permit applicants create Traffic Control Plans; launching August 31, 2015 along with the following elements:
    • Project Summary Correction Notice—Comprehensive early project planning assessment to help identify and resolve problems.
    • Streamlined Permit Applications—Connecting information across multiple permit forms for improved efficiency.
    • Concept-to-completion coordination—Strategy for consistent ROW management.

 

Our increasingly integrated services are making us more nimble. We are focusing on improved pedestrian access around construction with swift and certain enforcement for bad actors. We are asking more of contractors and developers, but we are giving more in the form of early planning tools and guidance. Best practices and new standards are emerging, but not without support that in the long-run will fuel more efficient building. The benefits of our strategy may take some time to fully emerge, yet we fully expect improvement and are energized to continue.

 

We want to work together to reduce potential right of way conflicts; streamline permitting; and mitigate community impacts. By engaging consistently and earlier in pre-construction we all become better city stewards—and building Seattle well helps us all.

Join Us to Discuss Third Avenue Transit Corridor Improvements

SDOT appreciates your help last fall when you helped us create a list of potential improvements to Third Avenue. We are inviting you to meet us on the street to hear about design updates and share your thoughts.

Here are the dates, we look forward to seeing and hearing from you:

  • Monday, Aug. 31 – 3-6 p.m. on Third Avenue between Battery & Bell streets
  • Wednesday, Sept. 2  – 3-6 p.m. on Third Avenue between Pike & Union streets
  • Thursday, Sept. 3 – 11 a.m.-2 p.m. on Third Avenue between Yesler Way & S Washington Street

Third Avenue is downtown Seattle’s most heavily used transit corridor. More than 2,500 buses travel the corridor every weekday and about 42,000 people board at bus stops on the corridor each day. Thousands of visitors, workers, shoppers and area residents also use Third Avenue daily.

Third Avenue

 

To help create a positive and inviting environment for transit users and pedestrians, the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) and King County Metro Transit are working together to make the corridor an inviting, accommodating, safe and attractive place where people want to be.

 

The Third Avenue Transit Corridor Improvements Project will complement and be coordinated with the many other improvement projects underway in the downtown area.

Seattle Department of Transportation: Third Avenue Transit Corridor ImprovementsThe Third Avenue Transit Corridor Improvements Project is part of a larger plan to create a vibrant, safe and thriving Third Avenue. It will improve transit function and create a more welcoming urban environment along the corridor between Denny and Jackson streets. The project has extended transit priority measures approximately .75 miles north through the Belltown neighborhood.3rAveMap1014

For more information:

SDOT Contacts:

 

KC Metro Contacts:

 

Checkout the Latest SDOT Blog Video: Seattle Celebrates First “Pavement to Parks” location on First Hill

Here is a latest Blog Video about the new Park addition:

SDOT Director Scott Kubly, Mayor Ed Murray and Seattle Parks Superintendent Jesús Aguirre joined community members to celebrate the opening of Seattle’s first “Pavement to Parks” site with a ribbon cutting on First Hill  this past Saturday. Attendees enjoyed the new space by listening to live music, playing table tennis and dining on artisan grilled cheese sandwiches from a local food truck vendor.

SDOT Dir. Scott Kubly, Mayor Murray, Seattle Parks Sup. Jesús Aguirre, Alex Hudson of First Hill Improvement Association and SDOT's Susan McLaughlin for ribbon cutting .

Lower left: Seattle Parks Sup. Jesús Aguirre, SDOT Dir. Scott Kubly, Mayor Murray, Alex Hudson – First Hill Improvement Association and SDOT’s Susan McLaughlin for ribbon cutting .

These projects use underutilized street space to create community-driven public spaces, improving safety and offering inventive solutions for addressing open space needs. Located at the intersection of University, Union and Boylston, and at Ninth Avenue and University, the sites were developed based on recommendations in the First Hill Public Realm Action Plan. These new public spaces are the early implementation phase of the City’s effort to improve First Hill’s parks, green space and pedestrian connections.

The First Hill Improvement Association will be responsible for stewardship of the space going forward with maintenance and operations help from Seattle Parks and SDOT. Activation events will be held throughout the summer and more information about the events can be found at http://universitystreet.org/.

These prototype parks will be monitored by SDOT and community volunteers, and design modifications will be informed by the spaces’ performance over the next two years. The project is a partnership between SDOT, Seattle Parks and Recreation, Seattle Parks Foundation, the Department of Neighborhoods, the Department of Planning & Development, the First Hill Improvement Association and neighborhood residents.

SDOT’s 5 Tools for the Traveler

WalkandBusGetting around Seattle can be challenging, especially with all the changes and growth happening in the city. To help keep track of it all, SDOT has compiled 5 Tools to help travelers in the Seattle area whenever you’re on the go.

In no particular order, SDOT recommends:

1. Time

All modes of transportation however reliable can be affected by unexpected service interruptions. A bus may be delayed because of congestion from collisions or events happening in the area. Give yourself some extra travel time if possible, so you can to adjust to unexpected situations.

2. Maps  

Regardless of how you’re traveling, plotting out your trip out in advance can allow for alternatives routes if your primary plan gets interrupted. We suggest this SDOT Pedestrian Map that shows the grade of sidewalk so you can exercise as much or as little as you want. For bus routes, the Metro Bus Map shows route lines and where to catch them.

3. Twitter, SDOT’s On the Move Blog and Facebook

For near real-time updates about events, traffic, and road closures, you can follow SDOT on Twitter to help plan your trip. You can also go to SDOT’s On the Move Blog for the latest events advisories and construction updates, you can also visit our Facebook page for all things SDOT.

4. One Bus Away and Transit App

If you have a smartphone, the applications One Bus Away and Transit App are useful for bussing in, around and out of Seattle. One Bus Away is a great resource to see bus arrivals, nearby stops, and maps. Transit App helps users plan trips using bus routes and includes trip times and transfers.

5. Way to Go Program  

Seattle offers many ways to get around—the Way to Go program provides the user tools in one succinct place, whether using trains, biking, and many more. It also includes safety tips and information on transit fares in and around Seattle.

For more information and resources for traveling around the Seattle area, please visit SDOT’s Pedestrian and Bus user pages. Good luck!

Seattle Celebrates First “Pavement to Parks” location on First Hill

SDOT Director Scott Kubly, Mayor Ed Murray and Seattle Parks Superintendent Jesús Aguirre joined community members to celebrate the opening of Seattle’s first “Pavement to Parks” site with a ribbon cutting on First Hill  this past Saturday. Attendees enjoyed the new space by listening to live music, playing table tennis and dining on artisan grilled cheese sandwiches from a local food truck vendor.

SDOT Dir. Scott Kubly, Mayor Murray, Seattle Parks Sup. Jesús Aguirre, Alex Hudson of First Hill Improvement Association and SDOT's Susan McLaughlin for ribbon cutting .

Lower left: Seattle Parks Sup. Jesús Aguirre, SDOT Dir. Scott Kubly, Mayor Murray, Alex Hudson – First Hill Improvement Association and SDOT’s Susan McLaughlin for ribbon cutting .

These projects use underutilized street space to create community-driven public spaces, improving safety and offering inventive solutions for addressing open space needs. Located at the intersection of University, Union and Boylston, and at Ninth Avenue and University, the sites were developed based on recommendations in the First Hill Public Realm Action Plan. These new public spaces are the early implementation phase of the City’s effort to improve First Hill’s parks, green space and pedestrian connections.

The First Hill Improvement Association will be responsible for stewardship of the space going forward with maintenance and operations help from Seattle Parks and SDOT. Activation events will be held throughout the summer and more information about the events can be found at http://universitystreet.org/.

These prototype parks will be monitored by SDOT and community volunteers, and design modifications will be informed by the spaces’ performance over the next two years. The project is a partnership between SDOT, Seattle Parks and Recreation, Seattle Parks Foundation, the Department of Neighborhoods, the Department of Planning & Development, the First Hill Improvement Association and neighborhood residents.

Neighborhood Street Fund Projects Moving Along! West Woodland Complete, Lake to Bay Underway

One pedestrian improvement project wraps up, and another begins!

After seven weeks of construction, pedestrian safety improvements around the intersection of 3rd Avenue NW, NW 56th Street and NW 55th Place, near West Woodland Elementary School in Ballard, are now finished.

Before

Before: A confusing intersection with long pedestrian crossing distances

The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) appreciates the community’s patience throughout this project. These improvements will make it safer for people who walk, bike and drive:

  • New four-way stop at 3rd Avenue NW and NW 56th Street, to slow all traffic
  • New curb extensions (or “bulbs”), to shorten pedestrian crossings
  • New curb ramps, which comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) standards, to improve accessibility
  • New signs, to alert drivers to watch out for pedestrians
After: Schoolchildren and their parents will appreciate safer crossings in the fall

After: Schoolchildren and their parents will appreciate safer crossings in the fall

Half of the West Woodland Pedestrian Safety Improvements Project was funded through SDOT’s Neighborhood Street Fund (NSF) Program, which is financed by the Bridging the Gap program approved by Seattle voters in 2006. The other half of this project’s funding has come from the Safe Routes to Schools program.

Our next Neighborhood Street Fund project will improve pedestrian safety in Lower Queen Anne. Work begins August 3 and is expected to last six weeks, depending on the weather. The construction work, on W Harrison Street at the intersections with 1st Avenue W and 2nd Avenue W, is part of the “Lake to Bay Loop” project, because W Harrison Street connects the South Lake Union area to Elliott Bay.

At these two intersections on W Harrison Street, crews working for SDOT will install new curb extensions, ramps that comply with ADA standards, and new marked pedestrian crossings.

People walking, biking and driving can expect the following impacts during construction:

  • 24/7 road and sidewalk closures at the intersections of 1st Avenue W and 2nd Avenue W at W Harrison Street (see construction notice for details)
  • Short-term parking and lane restrictions on W Harrison Street and on both 1st Avenue W and 2nd Avenue W
  • Noise, dust and vibration
  • Typical weekday work hours, 7 AM to 5 PM

Please check the construction notice for more information on the impacts and suggested travel routes.

If you have any questions or concerns during this construction on W Harrison Street, please contact the project team at NSF@seattle.gov or 206-733-9361.

You may learn more about the project by visiting the website: www.seattle.gov/transportation/harrisonstreetimprovements.htm. You may also use this link to sign up to receive project email updates.

Private and Public Investment = Safer Crossings

There’s a new traffic signal at 9th Ave N and Thomas St in South Lake Union, making it easier and safer to navigate through this busy intersection located within this booming part of town. Thanks to a strategic partnership between SDOT and private developers working in the area, people who walk, bike or drive through this intersection have a more predictable experience as they travel.

New signal and intersection improvements at 9th Ave N and Thomas St

New signal and intersection improvements at 9th Ave N and Thomas St

In the upcoming weeks SDOT crews will continue to improve safety at the intersection by adjusting the timing of the signals in the area, as well as working with a developer to construct curb ramps on the southeast corner in 2016. This traffic signal project is another example of how we work with community partners to achieve our Vision Zero goal and eliminate traffic related fatalities and serious injuries in Seattle.

Other safety features added to the intersection as part of this signal project include:

  • Audible ADA pedestrian push buttons that help remind people when to cross safely
  • Marked crosswalks to increase safety of people walking or biking along the intersection
  • Upgraded pedestrian curb ramps to make sidewalks more accessible to people on wheelchairs, people using strollers and people biking

 

This project was funded by South Lake Union private development traffic mitigation fees and the SDOT capital projects program.