Remembering Those We’ve Lost

This week, Seattle is observing World Remembrance Day and commemorating the 240 people who died in traffic incidents over the past 10 years. On Thursday, families who have lost loved ones, city employees, and first responders gathered at City Hall at an event organized by Seattle Neighborhood Greenways for a public memorial with silhouette cut-outs to represent those we’ve lost.

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SDOT Traffic Safety Coordinator Jim Curtin speaking at City Hall memorial 11/17

This Sunday, November 20, local Greenways coalition member groups will hold events throughout the city to install the silhouettes as a public reminder, and come together as a community to commit to doing better:

  • Ballard/Aurora/Fremont noon Peddler Brewing Company 1514 NW Leary Way
  • Beacon Hill/Mt. Baker 10AM The Station 2533 16th Ave S
  • Central/Capitol Hill noon Victrola Coffee Roasters 310 E. Pike St.
  • Crown Hill/Broadview noon Holy Grounds 9000 Holman Way NW
  • Downtown/Belltown 10AM Uptown Espresso 2504 4th Ave
  • Lake City/Northgate 10AM Kaffeeklatsch 12513 Lake City Way NE
  • Queen Anne/Magnolia 10AM Starbucks 2135 Queen Anne Ave N
  • Ravenna/Roosevelt 10AM Third Place Cafe 6504 20th Ave NE
  • West Seattle 10AM Ampersand Café 2536 Alki Ave SW
  • Rainier Valley 10:15AM Bike Works 3711 S Hudson St. (back entrance to warehouse)
  • Duwamish Valley noon Oxbow Park (Hat & Boots) 6430 Corson Ave S

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As a city, we’ve committed to end traffic deaths and serious injuries by 2030 through our Vision Zero initiative. These tragedies mostly aren’t “accidents,” but preventable incidents caused by poor behaviors and unforgiving roadway designs.

Earlier this month, we instituted lower speed limits – arterials in central Seattle were reduced from 30mph to 25, residential streets throughout the city from 25mph to 20 – an adjustment proven to increase crash survival rates. And over the last year, we’ve made significant investments in our Safe Routes to School program to make it easier and safer for students to walk and bike. These efforts were funded through the 2015 voter approved Levy to Move Seattle, which has supported safety and infrastructure improvements throughout the city.

By working with community groups, health-care professionals, university researchers, and local corporate partners, we can eliminate death and serious injuries on our streets.

 

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The New 2016-2017 Winter Weather Brochure and Snow Route Maps are here!

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SDOT’s annual Winter Weather brochure has a large map of Seattle’s snow and ice routes, lists important telephone numbers and web sites to use during winter storms, and offers preparedness tips. Here’s a link to our Winter Weather page that has useful information about what to expect when it snows.

During major winter storms, plan your trip by seeing where the snow plows have been and viewing traffic cameras by clicking on the link below:
Winter Weather Response Map

The brochures will be free at Seattle Public Library branches and Neighborhood Service Centers.

This year we will again distribute the brochure to elementary schools in the Seattle public school district for children to take home to their parents.

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Download only the map in English

Download the full brochure in:

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Your new Vision Zero speed limits

What is happening?

Beginning November 7th, new speed limits will be going into effect for city streets.  This is part of Seattle’s Vision Zero plan to end traffic deaths and serious injuries on city streets by 2030.

Speed limits for the streets in central Seattle (indicated in blue in the map below) will be reduced to 25 mph. The non-arterial (a.k.a. residential street) speed limit will be reduced from 25 mph to 20 mph.

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Why is this happening?

While Seattle is one of the safest cities in the country, each year about 20 people are killed in traffic collisions and another 150 are seriously injured. Their lives are cut short or changed forever, impacting their families, friends, and broader communities. One life lost or altered is one life too many.

Speed plays a role all serious injury and fatal collisions.  Someone who is walking and is struck by a vehicle going at 20 mph has a 90% chance of surviving the crash.  The chances of survival are reduced to 50% when a vehicle going +10 mph faster.

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By lowering the speed limits, we will be:

  • Creating consistent speed limits.
  • Enhancing safety for everyone, especially people walking and biking.
  • Reducing the severity of all collisions.

What is SDOT doing to let people know about the new speed limits?

To let Seattle residents and people traveling into the city know about the new speed limits, we will be:

  • Adding new or altering existing signs.
  • Launching a comprehensive public education campaign.
  • Enforcing the new speeds through the high visibility patrols (the Seattle Police Department will issue warnings for a period of two weeks to one month).

Drivers traveling from outside the city will see either of these two signs indicating our city’s lowered speed limits:

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Drivers will see 25 mph signs when using arterial streets to travel central Seattle:

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Where can I learn more about Vision Zero?

You can find out more about Vision Zero. Also know that yard signs are a great way to encourage safety along your street.

We also have a Vision Zero dashboard  and safety resources  that you can share with your friends, family, and co-workers to promote safety all around you.

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Have a Happy and Safe Halloween!

Fall has arrived in the northwest with rainy weather and shorter days. The darker and wetter season leads to more collisions on our our streets, so please be extra aware no matter how you get around.

Tonight, be extra mindful that Trick-or-Treaters will be out and about, and that the drizzly weather can affect visibility. Children-involved car/pedestrian collisions are nearly twice as likely to happen on Halloween than other days of the year, so it’s important that kids (and their parents) stay visible.

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The clock also turns back on Sunday, so the sun will start setting before 5 o’clock next week and it will be dark during the busiest hours of our commutes.

As part of our Vision Zero effort to improve safety and raise awareness, here are some important tips for traveling safely on Halloween and beyond:
• Make good decisions when you walk, bike, or drive. Don’t drive distracted (anything from talking on your cell phone to adjusting your costume) and make sure you have a safe way to get home if you plan to drink.
• Take it slow on our streets. Give yourself plenty of time to reach your destination. With speed, the frequency and severity of collisions increases.
• Pay attention. Every intersection is a legal crosswalk – whether there are pavement markings or not – so drivers should stop for pedestrians. Pedestrians should cross the street at intersections or crosswalks where drivers expect to see you.
• Be visible. Take extra measures to ensure you can be seen when you walk and bike on our streets. Wear light-colored clothing and/or reflective gear so drivers can spot you.

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Remember that we all just want to get to get to the candy safely. Have a Happy and Safe Halloween!

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Be Prepared for Stormy Weekend

A storm is sweeping through Seattle this weekend. Although we don’t know exactly how strong it’ll be, we are recommending that everyone be extra cautious, and if possible avoid commuting, during this inclement weather.

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If you notice a downed powerline, DO NOT touch or approach it. Please report downed wires or outages to Seattle City Light at 206-684-7400.

If you notice blocked gutters, we could use your help in clearing them of leaves and debris to keep the 80,000 storm drains throughout our city flowing smoothly. Please report flooding issues to Seattle Public Utilities at 206-386-1800.

If you are planning to go to one of our city’s many parks, you may want to make new plans. All green athletic fields in Seattle will be closed, and additional parks programs/facilities may be impacted throughout the weekend.

If you notice fallen trees or other debris blocking streets or sidewalks, contact SDOT at 206-386-1218

If you can’t avoid traveling this weekend, a few pieces of advice:

Rainy DayFirst, as wind gusts get stronger there is a strong possibility of rolling power outages including traffic signals. Please treat dark signals as all-way stops.

Second, if you’re getting around by foot or by bike, wear high visibility clothing/lights or if you’re driving, be sure to turn your headlights on.

Third, and this goes for everyone, expect traffic to move a bit slower, and don’t try to rush in the rain!

For information on planning for the winter storm season, like what you should include in your emergency preparedness kit, check out Take Winter By Storm, our multi-agency preparedness site. For the latest emergency notifications, sign up for Alert Seattle to get alerts via text, tweet, and more.

 

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New Curb Bulbs at Burke-Gilman Trail Pop with Colorful Design

The Burke-Gilman Trail is getting a burst of color at the once grey intersection with 40th Ave NE.

With just a bit of paint, street markings, and posts, we can create low-cost curb bulbs where data and community members tell us traffic safety is a concern. Curb bulbs are effective at reducing the number and severity of traffic collisions by increasing the visibility of vulnerable users – people walking and biking – and decreasing the distance they have to travel to get across the street.

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New curb bulb at 40th Ave NE and the Burke-Gilman Trail.

Northeast Seattle Greenways and Seattle Children’s Hospital teamed up and were winners of Seattle Neighborhood Greenways PARK(ing) Day Plus design competition in 2015 for their original design of painted curb bulbs at this location.

We then went to work to make the design permanent.

How do we decide what colors to use to really make them stand out? For this crossing, we wanted to let people in the neighborhood help decide colors and design.

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We used this ballot to ask residents and trail users which design they preferred. The option with blue circles won the informal contest.

 

The installation started with laying down colorful thermoplastic, which we blasted with propane torches to make it stick to the concrete. Then we added new posts and signs.

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Laying out and trimming the new street marking material at 40th Ave NE and the Burke-Gilman Trail.

“Bringing color and pattern to the ground plane elevates and enlivens an ordinary bit of city infrastructure,” says Kristen Ramirez, who manages public art projects for SDOT and Seattle’s Office of Arts and Culture. One result of the new curb bulbs design, she said, is to “bring pause or wonder to people passing by. The circle pattern could evoke many ideas: ripples on water, constellations, textile patterns, and more.”

It isn’t just an artistic statement though.

Traffic engineering and safety work uses bright colors and patterns, which this project has in spades, to grab driver’s attention and communicate that there are people walking and biking. Extending the curb into the street reduces the width of the travel lanes, which causes people to slow down.

Supported by traffic studies showing that curb bulbs increase yielding to pedestrians, these improvements are one of the many tools in our Vision Zero plan to end traffic deaths and serious injuries in Seattle by 2030.

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Brake for Bananas?

Biking or walking to school in Seattle just keeps getting better.

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There are more Safe Routes to School than ever, more resources and grants for parents, more schools participating, and the cherry on top? Bananas.

Banana Brakes is our new program to help kids kick off a fruitful school year by giving students fresh fruit, reflectors, bike lights, bracelets, coloring books, and more. We also have updated biking and walking maps so parents can explore their best route to school.

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So far, we’ve held Banana Brakes at:

• Whittier Elementary
• Northgate Elementary
• Sand Point Elementary
• Daniel Bagley Elementary
• Beacon Hill International

And we’re just getting started!

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Seattle Launches Safe Routes to School “Let’s Go” Program

The City of Seattle officially launched a new partnership between the City, Seattle Public Schools and Cascade Bicycle Club to provide universal pedestrian and bicycle education at every public Seattle elementary school called “Let’s Go.” The announcement was made at Madrona K-8 School in Seattle. Thanks to everyone involved for making “Let’s Go ” happen, and special thanks to Madrona K-8 students and staff for hosting the announcement and demonstrating the safety lessons they learned.

SDOT Director Scott Kubly chatting with Madron K-8 students about safety

SDOT Director Scott Kubly chats with Madrona K-8 students about biking and pedestrian safety lessons.

“Let’s Go” delivers universal walking and biking safety education training for every third, fourth and fifth grade public school student. Over the past year the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) has worked with its partners to develop and pilot the program. The program will be implemented in the physical education classes at all K-5 and K-8 schools starting this fall and will continue for the next seven years.

The three-week program provides a solid foundation of skills required for students to safely walk and roll through the built environment, avoiding the most common types of collisions. Respect is a cornerstone of the program as students learn about “right of way” and how to communicate with other street and trail users. Students are also taught the importance of wearing bike helmets and having them fitted correctly.

Students demonstrate following rules of the road such as properly stopping

Students demonstrate following rules of the road such as properly stopping.

Cascade Bicycle Club is contracted by Seattle Public Schools to train physical education teachers, assist in the classroom with curriculum, and deliver bikes, helmets and equipment to schools for use during the three-week program. The students receive critical, real-time practice walking and biking in a safe environment so they can apply their skills under supervision.

Safe Routes to School is a core component of Seattle’s Vision Zero plan to end traffic deaths and serious injuries by 2030. For more information on Vision Zero, please visit www.seattle.gov/visionzero. #VisionZeroSEA

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International Walk/Bike to School Day

Today is International Walk/Bike to School Day! Students throughout Seattle are enjoying our city’s Safe Routes to School by walking and biking to school today, part of our program to promote community, healthy lifestyles, and a cleaner environment.

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Here at SDOT, we developed school walk and bike maps to help you and your child determine the best route to safely walk and bike to school. These maps highlight street safety features, bicycle facilities, intersection controls, and other neighborhood destinations.

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Our Safe Routes to School program is continuing to make getting to school easier for students throughout the city, and we look forward to seeing even more kids walking or biking! We even have free incentive packs of stickers, temporary tattoos, and more to encourage kids to walk and bike.

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If you’d like to throw your own event celebrating Walktober, check out Feet First’s guide to getting something started at your school.

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October is Walk to School Month!

Or “Walktober,” as those in the know like to say!

Walktober is a time for kids, parents and teachers to celebrate walking to school with fun events and activities. The goals of this month are to promote walking to school safely while having fun.

Want to set up a Walk to School month at your school? Checkout Feet First’s guide to setting up a Walktober event. Or you can participate on the biggest walking day – International Walk to School Day is October 5!

SDOT is offering free incentives to help encourage more kids to try out walking to school!

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We have whole assortment of goodies that include stickers, temporary tattoos, wrist bands, and hand stamps. All schools and PTA groups within the Seattle city limit are welcome to request materials.

Just go to our incentives page and filling out an order form!

Incentive packages include:

  • Option A: An assortment of stickers, temporary tattoos, wrist bands, and hand stamps
  • Option B: 1,000 stickers
  • Option C: 1,000 temporary tattoos
  • Option D: 2 hand stamps
  • Option E: 1,000 wrist bands

Incentives are offered to promote walking to school as part of our Safe Routes to School Program. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the project coordinator, Serena Lehman at Serena.Lehman@seattle.gov.

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