Night Out: Not Your Everyday Block Party

Next week is the national Night Out celebration – but it’s more than just a block party. Night Out is an annual event designed to heighten crime prevention awareness, increase neighborhood support in anti-crime efforts, and unite our communities. Night Out is the first Tuesday in August and has been a Seattle tradition for 32 years. 

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Neighbors at Night Out set up tables and chairs on residential streets to share food, play street games and music and get to know one another.

Two Ways to Get Your Block Party Permitted

On any other day of the year, a block party street closure would be permitted through SDOT, but on the first Tuesday of August every year, block party street closures are arranged through the Seattle Police Department. Why? Because it is national Night Out!

Night Out Block Party

  • Allows you to close your residential block to cars from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. on August 2, 2016 only.
  • Permits are available through the Seattle Police Department.
  • This permit is FREE.
  • Register your Night Out block party until August 1.
  • Request visits from the Police Department, Fire Department, or Office of Emergency Management to your block party to share safety and emergency-preparedness information.

Neighborhood Block Party

  • Allows you to close your non-arterial block to cars during daylight hours any day of the year.
  • Permits are available through SDOT.
  • This permit is FREE.
  • You need to apply for this permit at least 2 weeks in advance of your event.

More Opportunities to Play in the Streetsummer streets parklet

Throwing a block party is a fun opportunity to meet and play with your neighbors in the street. Check out some of SDOT’s other public space programs:

Play Streets allow you to host recurring street closures under a single permit. Want to host a weekly street soccer game? A monthly potluck or chalk art party?  The Play Streets program is for you!  Check out this new program that makes it easy to use your street as playful space for people. Apply at least 2 weeks before you want to close your street. Permit is free.

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PARK(ing) Day Plus+  (September 16-17, 2016) What if you could turn a parking space into a park? Put café tables in front of your favorite business? Create a temporary bike lane?  For two days in September, you can!  If you are working with your neighbors on a project for PARK(ing) Day you may want to plan to finalize your design at your Night Out block party on Tuesday, August 2, so you can meet the permit application deadline on August 5. Permit is free.

Check out our previous post on PARK(ing) Day Plus+ here.

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South Shore K-8 Gets Safer Routes to School

Walking or biking to school just got a whole lot safer for students at South Shore K-8!

Through our Safe Routes to School program, the area received improvements including a curb bulb, traffic island, new traffic signal along Rainier Ave, 20 MPH school zone flashing beacons, and public artwork at the intersection of Rainier Avenue S and 51st Avenue S.

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We also supported a Basics of Bicycling education program, and a 12-week long after school Urban Cycling Club to encourage kids to get around safely. Thanks to a partnership with Bike Works, we were also able to give free bikes to kids who participated in the Urban Cycling Club.

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When parents and neighbors from South Shore K-8 reached out for help making their community safer for kids’ commutes, we jumped at the opportunity. “During the South Shore Safe Routes to School program we started a dialogue about what changes we need in our neighborhood to feel comfortable walking and biking to school and built partnerships to make those changes happen,” said Sebrena Burr, whose daughter attends South Shore.

New King and Queen art installation

New King and Queen art installation

We’re excited to how this project will improve the South Shore community, including:

  • Improved safety for kids walking or biking to school
  • Reduced speeding along Rainier Avenue S
  • Increased awareness of how the community can support kids walking and biking
  • Reduced congestion as more kids walk and bike to school
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Neighborhood Greenways and Vision Zero Want Your Input in West Seattle!

greenway mapWe’re hosting a public meeting for our continued work with the 35th Ave SW Safety Corridor and new West Seattle Neighborhood Greenway planning.

The meeting will be held on Thursday, Aug. 4, from 7 to 9 p.m. at Neighborhood House High Point (6400 Sylvan Way SW).

In 2015, we redesigned 35th Ave SW to reduce speeding, collisions, and injuries as part of our Vision Zero plan to end traffic fatalities and serious injuries by 2030. We have some early data to share at the meeting and want to hear your observations and experiences along the corridor.

We’re also studying routes for a new north-south neighborhood greenway parallel to 35th Ave SW. The new West Seattle Neighborhood Greenway will prioritize people walking and biking on residential streets.

At the meeting, we will share traffic data and you can help us find out where people want to walk and bike in the neighborhood, as well as what barriers stand in their way. Neighborhood greenways mean safer, calmer streets for you and your family.

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We’re pairing our outreach and engagement for these two projects – the safety corridor and neighborhood greenway – to get the people who live, work, and travel in West Seattle comprehensive information.

Please join us at the open house and learn how we plan to improve the safety for everyone.

Open House on the 35th Avenue SW Road Safety Corridor Project

Thursday, August 4 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Neighborhood House

6400 Sylvan Way SW, Room 207

We hope to see you there!

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Innovative Solution in South Park Saves Trees and Improves Walkability

Three blocks of grand maple trees on 8th Ave S near the South Park Community Center provide critical tree canopy and a sense of place for the neighborhood.  Unfortunately, these trees were planted in a narrow planting strip, so their roots have significantly damaged the sidewalk and made it difficult for folks to get around.

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Severely uplifted sidewalk due to tree roots.

King County and the City plan to implement a long term solution to these tree and sidewalk issues in the next few years, so SDOT’s objective in 2016 was to complete interim repairs to improve safety on a relatively small budget.  Luckily, we also had a valuable resource: 14’ driving lanes on 8th Ave S.  That’s wider than we need even for buses and trucks.  This opened possibilities.

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Wide driving lanes on 8th Ave S.

Throughout Seattle, SDOT is looking at existing pavement in new ways.  By using low cost investments such as paint and planter boxes, we’ve reprogrammed street areas into curb bulbs, sidewalks, and public plazas. With this creative perspective, we gathered feedback from the South Park community on ways to reconfigure 8th Ave S to increase safety for people walking, preserve trees and address other priorities.  SDOT crews completed the newly configured three blocks of 8th Ave S this summer.

The updated 8th Ave S keeps street parking on both sides as the neighborhood requested. We narrowed driving lanes to 10.5’, freeing up space to add a 6’ wide protected walkway along the curb, and we closed the damaged sidewalk.  As an added benefit, narrower driving lanes tend to slow traffic speeds.

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Walkway separated from traffic by parking lane, curbing and posts.

The walkway is protected from traffic by the parking lane and curbs and posts installed by SDOT crews.  We also extended the pedestrian space at intersections and reduced the length of the crossings by creating curb bulbs using posts and paint.

In other locations SDOT fully painted these curb bulbs, but in South Park we used a more innovative design using polka dots, which are more eye-catching to drivers.  We worked with South Park leaders to match the colors of the polka dots with the colors of the South Park Neighborhood Association logo.

fig 6 Final prod pkg lane, walkway

fig 7 Polka dots S Park colors

 

Feedback from the South Park community has been positive about this added sense of place for the neighborhood, the preservation of its stately trees and a safer place to walk.

 

 

 

For more details, check out the 8th Ave S 2016 Improvements website, including SDOT’s presentation to the community.

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Resource Fair Helps Rainier Valley Residents Get Around Safely

We recently held a Community Resource Fair in Rainier Valley to speak with residents about getting around the city safely. We shared information on the variety of services and programs we offer including Play Streets, Transportation Options, car tab rebates and our Pedestrian Master Plan. The event drew in recent immigrants, young people, and communities of color.

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In an effort to broaden the event beyond transportation, we partnered with other government agencies, non-profits, and advocacy groups to discuss our Vision Zero efforts to end traffic deaths, and gave people opportunities to learn more about things like health care, voting and subsidized ORCA cards.

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Some of the highlights included interpreters for 7 different languages spoken in the community, delicious food from local ethnic restaurants, and our mini traffic safety course, which showed children (and adults) of all ages how to navigate traffic circles, bike boxes, and crosswalks.

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Our Vision Zero campaign to end traffic deaths and serious injuries by 2030 can’t happen without your support –  we need everyone across the city to commit to being smart and safe when getting around, whether you drive, walk, bike, or take transit. Together, we can prevent crashes and put an end to traffic tragedies.

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Thank you to all the organizations who joined us last week, and a special thanks to the Filipino Community Center for providing space for a great event!

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SDOT Learns How Deaf-Blind Pedestrians Get Around

We had the chance to learn more about how deaf-blind pedestrians use sidewalks, street crossings, and public transit to get around the city thanks to The Lighthouse for the Blind, Inc. David Miller, an Orientation & Mobility Specialist with The Lighthouse, extended an invitation to observe how deaf-blind pedestrians navigate the public pedestrian ways and transit systems.

First, we met with David and John Romish. John is deaf-blind due to Usher syndrome and does not understand spoken language. His vision has been severely impacted due to retinitis pigmentosa; John has less than 10 degrees of remaining vision of what normally would be 180 degrees. John and David are able to communicate using the sense of touch through Tactile American Sign Language (TASL), where information is passed using gestures and motions between their hands.

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John Romish crosses the street on Capitol Hill with his guide dog.

John relies on his guide dog to help him find curb ramps and street crossings. His limited vision may allow John to identify the surge of traffic when a signal turns green, letting him know it is time to make the crossing parallel to the moving vehicles.  When riding the Streetcar from Rainier Valley to Capitol Hill, John needs to sit close to the doors of the vehicle so he may see or feel the doors open and close to help him count stops and to determine his location. John also has learned to identify landmarks along transit routes where a hill or a turn along a route helps him keep track of his location.

Next, we met David and Alberto Gonzales at the Mount Baker LINK station. Alberto lost all of his vision from Rubella many years ago and is Deaf. Again, David and Alberto are able to communicate using TASL. Alberto also uses a guide dog, a long white cane to help with wayfinding and detection, and a tool called a Miniguide. Alberto demonstrated his ability to find the “welcome mat” in the LINK tunnel, which is a textured surface on the floor that indicates where train stops and the LINK doors open. When Alberto has located this welcome mat, he uses the Miniguide to help him understand when the train arrives. When Alberto activates his Miniguide, a vibration will be emitted when there is an obstruction within a set distance from the front of the device. As he holds the button before the train arrives, there is no vibration. The vibration commences when the train begins to pass in front of him, and then stops when the doors to the vehicle open.

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Alberto Gonzales awaits the LINK using his mini-guide.

These meetings highlighted the importance of curb ramp and signal crossing push button placement for deaf-blind pedestrians, designs need to be consistent so they’re predictable. The pedestrian push buttons have a tactile vibration feature that inform Alberto when it is appropriate to cross the street. These accessible pedestrian signals (APS) are very important to pedestrians like John and Alberto, allowing individuals with limited/no vision or hearing to interpret safe crossing times.

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David Miller observes as Alberto Gonzales locates the pedestrian pushbutton.

SDOT is looking for opportunities to strengthen relations with individuals and communities of people that live with disabilities in Seattle and the surrounding region. It is important that we understand the abilities and needs of all pedestrians.

If you have any questions about accessibility within the Seattle public right-of-way, we encourage you contact SDOT’s ADA Coordinator, Michael Shaw. He can be reached at (206) 615-1974 or by email at Michael.Shaw@seattle.gov.

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Traffic Calming and Speed Cushions

Our Traffic Calming Program encompasses a broad range of measures to improve street safety and encourages travelers to drive more slowly. Narrow streets, curved streets, trees, and parked cars can send visual cues to drivers to slow down. SDOT can also determine whether to install a Physical Traffic Calming Device, such as a traffic circle or speed cushions, to make a street more safe.

In June, speed cushions were installed on Boyer Ave E between E Hamlin St and 24th Ave E in the Montlake neighborhood to provide a safer environment for people walking and biking.

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Speed cushions installed on Boyer Avenue East.

Speed cushions are designed to reduce vehicle speeds while allowing larger vehicles such as transit and emergency response vehicles to straddle them.  SDOT worked closely with the fire department and pavement engineering staff to properly locate these traffic calming devices throughout the corridor.

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To follow-up with these changes, SDOT will conduct additional speed studies to measure the impacts of these traffic calming devices.

If you are interested in traffic calming for your street, please see our Traffic Calming Program page here.

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Join Us For a Find It, Fix It Neighborhood Walk in Belltown!

Join Mayor Ed Murray, SDOT Director Scott Kubly, and other City Department Directors and staff on Tuesday, June 28th for the Belltown Find It, Fix It Walk. The walk starts at the Belltown Community Center and there will be refreshments from 5:30-6:00pm. The walk will take place from 6:00-7:30pm.

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SDOT project managers will be at the event to discuss transportation projects and changes in this rapidly growing neighborhood, including the 2nd Ave safety project, the Pavement to Parks program, and planned transit investments.

The walk also gives neighbors an opportunity to identify and report areas that need improvement, such as overgrown landscaping, litter, graffiti and street light outages using the Find It, Fix It app. Download the app on your smart phone before the walk on Tuesday and use it to request services to fix the issues that you see.FindItFixItApp

Future Find It, Fix it Community Walks scheduled for 2016 include:

  • Roxhill – July
  • Judkins Park – August
  • Crown Hill – September
  • Georgetown – October
  • Wallingford – Mid-November

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Get a (Discounted!) Safe Ride This Pride Weekend

Seattle will be celebrating our Pride this weekend, and helping you to get home safe afterward.

Whether you’re enjoying events throughout Capitol Hill on Saturday, or the parade through downtown and Seattle Center celebrations on Sunday, enjoy discounted rideshare services all weekend long

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This weekend our city will be celebrating Pride and showing support for the LGBTQ community. We’ll also be remembering those who’ve lost their lives in the struggle for equality, whether in the 1969 New York Stonewall riots or earlier this month in the Orlando Pulse tragedy.

As part of our city’s commitment to keeping everyone safe, Seattle has partnered with Uber and Lyft to offer discounted rides so you can get home, or to your next party, without incident.

Photo caption: People using a rainbow Community Crosswalk on Capitol Hill as the First Hill Streetcar goes by on Broadway.

Photo caption: People using a rainbow Community Crosswalk on Capitol Hill as the First Hill Streetcar goes by on Broadway.

Seattle is consistently recognized as one of the safest cities in the country, but on average, impaired driving still contributes to 30% of fatal car crashes each year. We want that number down to zero – Vision Zero is our plan to end traffic deaths and serious injuries by 2030. So this weekend, while you’re having fun celebrating Pride and standing up for equality, take a stand for safe streets as well by getting a ride instead of driving under the influence. We also encourage you to take transit, grab a cab, or carpool with a sober friend.

Get your rideshare discount codes here, and stay safe while celebrating.

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Staff ‘Walk and Talk’ with Neighbors about the 2nd Ave Safety Project

Staff with the 2nd Ave Safety Project recently invited neighbors in Belltown to walk along 2nd Ave to learn about the final project design. The walk led them to several locations along 2nd Ave between Bell St and Broad St, sparking discussions about the safety improvements coming to 2nd Ave when construction starts later this year.

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SDOT staff walk along 2nd Ave with neighbors (and their dogs!) to discuss the project’s final design.

Discussion on the walk included new traffic signals, new street trees and the design of the new protected bike lane (PBL) that will be added from Pike Street to Denny Way. Neighbors also learned about how some curb bulbs will need to be removed and how the design uses special features – such as raised or colored pavement – to indicate areas where cars are pulling out of driveways or pedestrians are loading and unloading. These features are designed to improve safety for everyone.

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Example of a passenger load zone that will be built in several locations on 2nd Ave in Belltown.

Construction of the 2nd Ave Safety Project will begin this fall and the new protected bike lane is scheduled to open in mid-2017.

Thank you to everyone who participated in the 2nd Ave walk and talk event!

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