Seattle is Growing…and so is Access

Seattle is booming. Right now there are approximately 100 active and upcoming construction projects in downtown; 129 current and upcoming projects across four hub areas outside of city center; and one very busy Access Seattle team.

 

The effort that began nearly one year ago is a big step for the City of Seattle—managing construction impacts holistically across all projects, public and private. That big step has met with appreciation, profound need and budget approval to hire a third site coordinator.

 

The Access Seattle Construction Hub Coordination program kicked off in 2014 with two site coordinators: Ken Ewalt and Wayne Gallup. They meet regularly with contractors, area residents and business owners to identify and resolve construction conflicts. They’ve become pretty well-known as hard-working honest guys dedicated to problem solving—from collaboration and guidance to enforcement and follow through. Joining them just this week is Jack Bighorse, direct from private sector work as the resident engineer for the Mercer West Project.

3Coordinators

 

Jack Bighorse is new to SDOT but not new to the work. For Mercer West he was responsible for coordinating all private and public projects in and around the site. He has 20+ years of construction management and inspection services experience and has worked on numerous projects including the SR 99 Bore Tunnel, I-90 Homer Hadley Bridge, Sound Transit I-5 Pike/Pine and the Alaskan Way Viaduct Tunneling project. Suffice it to say he can hit the ground running and we may quite literally need that—it’s busy out there!

 

The Access Seattle Site Coordinators are working to be single points of contact for efficient, clear communication. Some businesses have told us they’ve come to see Ken and Wayne as family, working together for fair results. Now, just as we welcome Jack to the fold, Wayne will be out for one month to spend time with his family out of state. So we’re not quite at 3…but we will be by April 27, 2015. In the meantime, welcome Jack; be aware that Jack and Ken will be sharing duties across all hubs the next four weeks; and let us know what questions you have about our growing team and critical effort to limit cumulative construction impacts. You can reach us at: SDOTConstructionHub@seattle.gov

 

If you’re not very familiar with Access Seattle and its Construction Hub Coordination Program, check out some of these blog posts. Keep reading and we’ll keep working to Move Seattle!

SDOT Grants for Projects that Encourage Walking and Biking to School

Did you know SDOT’s Safe Routes to School program provides funding to any K-12 public school, private school, non-profit, or PTA for projects that encourage kids to walk or bike to school safely? The Mini Grant program has been supporting grass-roots efforts at increasing safe biking and walking since 2009.

Take, for example, Denny International Middle School’s Bike to School program. Last year the Denny PTSA hosted donut and fruit days for kids who biked to school, handed out lights, reflectors and gloves during the winter months to keep kids safe on their bikes, kept kids hydrated with water bottles during warmer months, and made sure kids knew how to bike safely all year round by broadcasting safety information.

Last May the PTSA hosted their annual Denny-Lincoln Classic family bike ride and doubled their attendance! They handed out snacks and student-designed t-shirts to all participants and made sure to give each bike a thorough check through the A (air), B (brakes), Cs (chains). The student bike riders wound their way through the neighborhood down to Lincoln Park and were joined by the West Seattle Bike Connections group, Denny M.S. staff, and Principal Jeff Clark. The ride ended with a barbeque and prizes at the park. What a fun day!

Safe routes

Denny International Middle School students/staff joined by West Seattle Bike Connections group.

If you have a great idea you’d like to make a reality at your school, we can help you make it happen. There are two chances every year to apply for funding: April and October. The application is simple, just tell us what you plan to do and how that will improve safety at your school and encourage more kids to bike and walk. Send in a letter of support from the school principal and your application is complete!

For more information visit: http://www.seattle.gov/transportation/ped_srts_grant.htm. For questions, contact ashley.harris@seattle.gov or 206-684-7577.

Vision Zero Pedestrian Safety Patrols Have Begun

The City of Seattle’s Vision Zero efforts are underway.  The Seattle Police Department has begun pedestrian safety patrols on Lake City Way NE as part of the Lake City Way Traffic Safety Project and Vision Zero. Safety Patrols will occur in the heart of Lake City between roughly NE 120th Street and NE 130th Street. 

Lake City Way NE near NE 127th

Lake City Way NE near NE 127th

Officers will focus on the mid-block crossings just north and south of the intersection of Lake City Way and NE 125th Street. The location was selected based on the number of total collisions that occur in this area which is busy with pedestrian, transit, bicycle and vehicular traffic. SDOT recently enhanced these crossings with rapid flashing beacons through the Lake City Way Traffic Safety Project. These beacons provide an increased awareness to drivers that pedestrians are in the crosswalk and that drivers should stop.  

Lake City Way SDOT Cam facing southbound

Lake City Way SDOT Cam facing southbound

Enforcement will also focus on behaviors that are most commonly associated with pedestrian collisions and target people that fail to yield to pedestrians. Officers will be on the look out for other behaviors that commonly lead to trouble on Lake City Way including speeding and distraction.

This effort is part of our ongoing work to enhance safety on Lake City Way. Travelers can expect to see increased law enforcement on Lake City Way today and throughout 2015. We’ve partnered with the Washington State Patrol to help monitor conditions on this busy northeast Seattle corridor. SPD will continue these patrols citywide through our Vision Zero enforcement efforts.

Remember always stop for pedestrians in the crosswalk. It’s the law and it’s the Lake City Way. 

Thank you for supporting safety.

Vizion Zero

LCW1 (2)

 

Enforcement to Protect Pedestrians

Access Seattle is working to keep businesses thriving, travelers moving and construction coordinated during the City’s continued construction boom. Besides getting public and private projects in hub areas to start collaborating, we’re working to ensure contractor compliance across the city. One recent example opened up a pedestrian pathway on Greenwood Avenue North.

Before

Permit inspectors saw unpermitted use of the site, blocking travelers from walking through the area around 14307 Greenwood Avenue N. The team met with the contractor to not only insist on safe pedestrian passage and a smaller project site footprint per established permits, but also to collect several thousand dollars in fines for outstanding issues. Needless to say, the site is now in much better shape.

After

 

Managing Traffic with updated Traffic Signals and Information Systems on Mercer Corridor

The Mercer Corridor Project is transforming Mercer Street into a principal arterial street that better serves the growing South Lake Union and Uptown urban centers while continuing to provide access to and from I-5 and the future SR 99 Tunnel for these neighborhoods and others to the north and west.  Given the volumes of traffic exiting and entering I-5 at Mercer Street and dispersing from Mercer to north and south streets, as well as west toward Queen Anne, Magnolia and Interbay, SDOT is installing new traffic signals and communications systems to move people and goods more efficiently along and across the corridor as efficiently as possible.  Enhancements to maximize the benefit of the new signals and communications are coming soon.

New Signal Light at Mercer Street and 5th Ave North

New Signal Light at Mercer Street and 5th Ave North

The Mercer Corridor project installed or updated 30 signals on Mercer, Valley, Roy, and Republican streets and on Fifth Ave N.  All of the signals are connected to SDOT’s Traffic Management Center to allow for better communication and coordination between signals.  Each signal includes a controller that can be equipped with new traffic control technology – adaptive signal control – which will be coming to the Mercer Corridor in the near future.  Adaptive signal control allows the signal system to be more responsive to real-time traffic conditions.  Detectors in the street will monitor traffic volumes and feed that information to signals downstream from the traffic flow, so they can adjust timing to better accommodate traffic flows.

New Signal Controller at Mercer Street and 5th Ave North

New Signal Controller at Mercer Street and 5th Ave North

Adaptive signal control is expected to be most effective during the periods before or after the peak demand periods in the corridor, sometimes referred to as “the shoulders.”  It will be less effective during the peak periods, especially the evening peak, when traffic is backed up trying to get onto I-5 and other destinations. Even the latest technology cannot move more traffic when there’s no space ahead.  Adaptive signal control is also expected to improve operations for people leaving Seattle Center after an evening performance or other event.  In that case, the signals would detect the surge of eastbound traffic, along with the lower demands on side streets late at night and give more green time to traffic on Mercer Street.

 

The Mercer Corridor will be the first application of adaptive signal control in the city.  The City Council provided $1 Million in SDOT’s budget to design and implement the system on Mercer.  Specification and design is starting in 2015, and the system will be implemented on Mercer in 2016.  The next phase of adaptive signal control, after Mercer, will be on Denny Way.

 

Mercer Corridor Aerial 10-14

Mercer Corridor Aerial 10-14

SDOT is also implementing other features on Mercer Street that will provide more information to those traveling on Mercer and to the engineers programming the signals.  The department is measuring travel times on Mercer using Bluetooth technology.  This new system collects and summarizes travel time information at multiple locations along the corridor so the engineers can zero in on specific problem areas or intersections.  The travel time information will be added to SDOT’s Traveler Information Map and on the Traveler’s app.  This and other information will also be displayed on new variable message signs at Ninth Ave N and Sixth Ave N along the corridor, as well as a new variable message sign that will be installed on Elliott Avenue W.

 

For up-to-minute construction updates join our project email list at: http://www.seattle.gov/transportation/mercercorridor.htm or call the 24-hour construction hotline at 206-419-5818.

Improvements to NE 75th Street Successfully Reduce Collisions

Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) announced the results of a before and after study evaluating the effectiveness of safety improvements on Northeast 75th Street between 15th Avenue Northeast and 35th Avenue Northeast. The findings indicate the changes have dramatically improved safety, benefitting everyone who uses the street.

The main safety improvement on Northeast 75th Street, implemented in August 2013, was adding lane striping to define a previously unstriped area as having one lane in each direction with a center turn lane. Little-used on-street parking was removed to prevent general traffic from using that space as a second lane, helping to reduce speeding and to make it easier for pedestrians to cross the street. School zone photo enforcement cameras were also installed in September 2014 at Eckstein Middle School.

NE 75th Street Before Safety Improvements

NE 75th Street Before Safety Improvements

NE 75th After Safety Improvements

NE 75th After Safety Improvements

 

Collision statistics from September 2013 through August 2014 show a 45 percent reduction in collisions from the time before the improvements were made, and no collisions involving pedestrians. Also, the number of drivers exceeding the 30 mph speed limit by 10 mph or more has declined significantly – by 75 percent for eastbound traffic and nearly 80 percent for westbound traffic.

The safety improvements did not increase the time it takes to drive this segment of street, also reported in the study and contrary to common perceptions. Furthermore, the volume of traffic remained unchanged, indicating traffic is not spilling over onto nearby streets. In fact, traffic volumes have actually increased slightly on 75th since the completion of the project.

SDOT traffic planners will continue to monitor traffic on Northeast 75th Street and nearby streets, looking for opportunities for additional safety measures, including improvements on Northeast 75th Street where it turns into Banner Way Northeast, near I-5. Please visit http://www.seattle.gov/transportation/ne75th.htm for the full report.

SDOT is analyzing several other corridors this year to identify ways to improve safety. Each is considered separately to identify improvements tailored to their unique characteristics. Traffic planners are currently studying 35th Avenue Southwest, Southwest Roxbury Street, Lake City Way Northeast and Rainier Avenue South. To learn more about Vision Zero, please see the program webpage at: http://www.seattle.gov/visionzero.

What Moves You, Seattle? Share Your Input on a New Transportation Levy Proposal

Seattle is one of the fastest growing cities in the country, and our transportation system is critical to our quality of life and economic vitality. Earlier this month, Mayor Ed Murray introduced Move Seattle — his ten-year transportation vision that integrates our long-term plans for walking, biking, transit, and freight and sets forth a holistic approach to meeting Seattle’s needs today and tomorrow.

To help make that vision a reality, the city will need to identify a replacement for the current Bridging the Gap levy that expires at the end of 2015. Today, Mayor Murray and SDOT Director Scott Kubly announced a proposal for a new levy the Transportation Levy to Move Seattle.

SDOT Director Scott Kubly  discusses the Levy to Move Seattle.

Mayor Murray and SDOT Director Scott Kubly (at podium) announce the Levy to Move Seattle.

The proposed nine-year, $900 million levy aims to take care of the basics by maintaining our streets, bridges, and sidewalks, while also investing in the future with improvements that give us more travel choices to move more people and goods in and around Seattle.

ltms_overviewnumbers

We’d like to get your input and reaction to this draft proposal before Mayor Murray sends it to the Seattle City Council in May. The City will need to submit a final levy proposal to King County by early August for it to be on the ballot in November 2015.

Your participation matters. Help shape our transportation future:

Visit www.seattle.gov/LevytoMoveSeattle to:

 

Attend an upcoming community conversation to talk directly with staff about the proposal and your transportation priorities:

Saturday, March 28:

  • New Holly Gathering Hall (7054 32nd Ave S, Seattle 98118): 10 AM –12 PM

 

Monday, March 30:

  • Roosevelt High School (1410 NE 66th St, Seattle 98115): 6 – 8 PM

 

Tuesday, March 31:

  • West Seattle High School (3000 California Ave SW, Seattle 98116): 6 – 8 PM

 

Learn more at www.seattle.gov/LevytoMoveSeattle

ltms_header

 

23rd Avenue South and South Walker Street Area gets a Pedestrian-Friendly Makeover!

Pedestrians can now safely stroll along the east side of 23rd Avenue S between S College and S Waite streets, enjoying the new sidewalk, curb ramps, planting strips and trees (photo below).

23 Ave South - New Sidewalk

23 Ave South – New Sidewalk

Soon vehicles will also experience a smoother ride over the newly paved roadway along 23rd Avenue S in the same area. Over the past few months, SDOT has been working to install pedestrian and roadway safety improvements, to make the 23rd Avenue S and S Walker Street area more safe and comfortable for all modes of transportation.

To improve safety and access at street crossings the project installed a number of ADA compliant curb ramps along 23rd Avenue S, Rainier Avenue S and MLK Jr Way S and S Walker Street. Curb bulbs to improve visibility and reduce pedestrian crossing distance were installed on the east side of Rainier Avenue S and S Walker Street.

Additional segments of sidewalk were also installed on the south side of S College Street, from 23rd Avenue S to Rainier Avenue S and Rainier Avenue S between 23rd Avenue S and S Walker Street (see photo below).

South College Street - New Sidewalk

South College Street – New Sidewalk

The project will be completed over the next month as crews complete the installation of landscaping, curb ramps and signage.

Thank you for your patience during construction!

If you have any questions or comments about construction for this project, please email Alicia@stephersonassociates.com or call 206-615-1075.

For more about the project: http://www.seattle.gov/transportation/23rdwalkerimprovements.htm

 

It’s a sign! Access Seattle is working!

One of many similar signs  now along both sides of 10th Avenue, between E Pike and E Union streets

One of many similar signs now along both sides of 10th Avenue, between E Pike and E Union streets

Access Seattle wants to help navigate you through the City’s construction boom. Coordination is critical, assessing all public and private projects in identified hubs and meeting with contractors to reduce cumulative impacts. Above is a sign (pun intended) that the effort is working–liasing with contractor Mill Creek Residential to produce and pay for signs guiding construction workers to park elsewhere (signs placed along both sides of 10th Avenue between E Pike and E Union streets).

The team meets regularly with contractors to negotiate solutions to problems community members raise–like construction vehicles taking up street parking.

It’s just a sampling of the ongoing work, which includes other signs along 10th Avenue paid for by contractor Exxel Pacific:

One of several similar signs along the west side of 10th Avenue between E Union and E Seneca streets.

One of several similar signs along the west side of 10th Avenue between E Union and E Seneca streets.

Proof that coordination, communication and collaboration work!

 

 

 

March 25, 6-8pm “Future of Transportation in Cities” featuring Transportation Expert Gabe Klein

What is the future of transportation in Seattle? What can Seattle learn from other cities?

We’re bringing the expertise of four national and international leaders who transformed cities through transportation to help Seattle see our streets and sidewalks in a new light. Join these leaders of New York City, Washington DC, Chicago and Bogotá as they challenge us to develop a transportation system than can meet current demands while also looking ahead to future needs.

In four nights from March to June, come hear about the effects of new technology, demographic changes, quick project delivery, and emerging public space needs on transportation, as well as the impact transportation can have on Seattleites’ health, prosperity and happiness. Together, let’s find the answer to “Where are we Going?”

The first forum will feature Gabe Klein:

Gabe Klein

Gabe Klein

Wednesday, March 25 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. “Future of Transportation in Cities”

  • Gabe Klein – Urban Land Institute, fmr. Transportation Commissioner, Washington DC and Chicago
  • Moderator: Cathy Duchamp, KUOW
  • Seattle Central Library 1000 Fourth Avenue

 

Please register for this free event at: https://gabeklein.eventbrite.com

Sponsors: Seattle Department of Transportation, Office of Arts & Culture, KUOW

For more information: http://www.seattle.gov/transportation/SpeakerSeries/default.htm

Speaker Series Banner