HALA for Transit Improvements

As we begin the new year, we continue our efforts to make Seattle an affordable and vibrant city for all its residents, including conversations and adjustments to the Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda (HALA).

On January 10, 2017, we attended a neighborhood HALA meeting at Optimism Brewing on Capitol Hill. One hundred people came, and we were there to answer questions about city parking policies and the Madison Street Bus Rapid Transit (BRT). The Madison street BRT will provide enhanced public transportation between First Avenue downtown and Martin Luther King, Jr. Way.

We will continue to participate in citywide conversations around HALA and joining people in their communities for scheduled meetings to make giving feedback more accessible. We are using technology to gather input on HALA objectives, such as keeping our communities affordable and accessible.

Mercer Corridor: the new street, transit islands, and protected bike lanes.

Mercer Corridor: the new street, transit islands, and protected bike lanes.

The Levy to Move Seattle provides funding to achieving this objective by improving safety for all travelers, maintaining our streets and bridges, and investment in reliable, affordable transit options for our growing City. The meetings serve as an opportunity to learn about resulting transportation projects and programs in your neighborhood while providing us with your knowledge of our city.

Improvements such as these provide riders with wait times for buses.

Improvements such as these provide riders with wait times for buses.

The next meeting, on February 4, 2017, will provide another opportunity to learn more about HALA and transportation issues in southeast Seattle communities. We will be there to discuss a Parking Management Proposal for changes to parking in and around Columbia City.

For more information, visit the City of Seattle HALA page.

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Seattle Supports Youth ORCA

Seattle’s Youth ORCA program began thanks to the efforts of Rainier Beach High School students. In 2015, students at the school led a march and a town hall, to raise awareness about the 2-mile walk zone for school district-issued ORCA cards. These activities led City Council to set aside $1 million annually for five years from the Seattle Transportation Benefit District for Youth ORCA.

In 2016, the program reached a milestone – making 3,000 cards available to high school students!

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The Youth ORCA program distributes ORCA cards to high school students enrolled in Seattle Public Schools that live less than 2 miles from their school. Program participants must also be income-eligible. This is the first full school year that the Youth ORCA program is in operation (September 2016-June 2017). The program has distributed more than 2,000 ORCA cards this academic year.

A Youth ORCA card provides free transit for the entire school year. Cards are valid for King County Metro, Sound Transit, King County Water Taxi, Community Transit, Pierce Transit, Everett Transit, Kitsap Transit, and Seattle Streetcar.

As of January 2017, program participants saved $200,000 on 132,000 transit trips.

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Big Benefits from Seattle’s Transportation Benefit District

In 2014, Seattle voters approved Proposition 1 to expand Metro service and transit programs for Seattle residents. By increasing the vehicle license fee to $80, and sales tax by 0.1%, we generated about $45 million per year for 6 years (2014-2020) towards creating a more connected and accessible city. Just one year later, investments in Seattle’s Transportation Benefit District (STBD) are already paying off.stbd1

The Year 1 Performance Report outlines our current transit landscape, investments, and results from STBD’s first year, as well as our commitment to transit service and transportation equity. There’s also background performance data on Seattle’s transit services, Vehicle License Fee Rebate ($20 back for income qualified households), ORCA LIFT (50% off trips for income qualified households), and Youth ORCA (free ORCA card for income qualified Seattle Public School students) programs.stbd2

Additional information about the Year 1 Performance, including a full list of investments, frequently asked questions, and financial information is available at http://www.seattle.gov/transit.

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Move Seattle Wins in ST3

Voters in the Puget Sound region recently approved Sound Transit 3 (ST3), the $54 billion plan to fund light rail, commuter trains and bus-rapid transit.

While most of the attention was focused on 62 miles of light rail that will be added to our growing network (Seattle to Ballard and West Seattle), there are some early wins in the plan for the Levy to Move Seattle.

The approved funding package includes $65 million to improve speed and reliability of existing transit service in Seattle. $35 million will be dedicated to improving Seattle’s Rapid Ride C and D Lines. SDOT will work closely with Metro and Sound Transit to construct roadway, traffic signal and other improvements to both of these high ridership corridors.

The remaining $30 million of the funding will provide critical matching funds for the Madison Street Bus Rapid Transit project, another Move Seattle commitment and one of the seven future Rapid Ride corridors that will be constructed during the life of the 9-year levy.st3

ST3 also includes funding for a new light rail station at Graham Street in Southeast Seattle. The Levy to Move Seattle included $10 million to help build this important station and passage of the ST3 package will make this a reality for residents and commuters in this neighborhood. Additionally, ST3 includes funding for a station at 130th to improve light rail access in North Seattle.st3-2

ST3 also includes several million dollars for improved station access at our existing light rail stations to make them safer for pedestrians, cyclists and motorists. SDOT will be working with Sound Transit to identify and construct these projects and we will keep you updated as the planning for ST3 work progresses.

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Moving More People Through Transportation Equity

More than 200 people turned out for a kickoff event to launch our Transportation Equity Program in partnership with Seattle Housing Authority (SHA). This event was part of a new initiative to promote transportation equity by helping people of all incomes access a full range of transportation options, such as ORCA LIFT cards, car sharing memberships and car tab rebates, among other resources.

20161118_174923The event was at the Rainier Vista housing community where we distributed:

It was a diverse crowd – people spoke a variety of languages including Vietnamese, Somali, Amharic, and English. Thank you to the Public Outreach and Engagement Liaisons through the Seattle Department of Neighborhoods for offering interpretation services. Hopelink was also there to show residents hands-on training on how to use ORCA cards.

We will continue working with SHA to plan similar events at New Holly, Yesler Terrace, and other SHA residential properties.

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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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SDOT Mobility Innovations First Forum on Mobility Hubs

SDOT hosted the first Mobility Innovations Forum Monday, the topic Mobility Hubs.

We’re hosting a speaker series on mobility innovations, running through mid-2017 (see below)

The City of Seattle is partnering with transit agencies and private mobility services to develop a network of shared mobility hubs throughout the city, providing better mobility and integrated transportation choices for all. Topics will include mobility hubs, smart mobility strategies for high growth in Seattle, preparing for autonomous vehicles, and making shared transportation equitable.

Scott Kubly, Director of Seattle Department of Transportation; Seleta Reynolds, General Manager of Los Angeles DOT; David Bragdon, Executive Director of TransitCenter; Sharon Feigon, Executive Director at the Shared Use Mobility Center, discussed their thoughts on mobility hubs as Ross Reynolds from KUOW, moderated the conversation.

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Scott Kubly, SDOT Dir; Speakers: Seleta Reynolds; David Bragdon; Sharon Feigon; Ross Reynolds KUOW.

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Scott Kubly , SDOT Dir. addresses attendees alongside featured guests.

Here’s a definition of what Mobility Hubs are:

Mobility hubs provide an integrated suite of transportation services, supporting amenities, and urban design enhancements that reduce the need for single occupant vehicle trips by increasing first mile/last mile access to high-frequency transit stations. Mobility hubs are places of connectivity where different modes of transportation such as walking, biking, ride-sharing, and public transit, cometogether seamlessly at concentrations of employment, housing, shopping, and/ or recreation.

Hub features can include: bikeshare, car share, neighborhood electric vehicles, bike parking, dynamic parking management strategies, real-time traveler information, real-time ride-sharing, demand-based shuttle, bicycle and pedestrian facility improvements, wayfinding, urban design enhancements, and supporting systems like mobile applications, electric vehicle charging, smart intersections, and a universal payment system to make it easy to access a wide range of travel options.

Please join us at the upcoming forums. More details will be posted, we appreciate your participation in the months ahead.

The preliminary schedule for future topics is:

  • January: Smart mobility strategies for high growth Seattle
  • March: Preparing for connected and autonomous vehicles
  • May: Making shared mobility equitable
  • June or July: Rethinking mobility as a service

Questions, please contact Evan Corey: evan.corey@seattle.gov.

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SDOT Mobility Innovations Forum Monday, November 14 at 6 p.m.

SDOT is hosting a speaker series on mobility innovations, running through mid-2017. 

Please join us at the first event on Monday, November 14. The City of Seattle is partnering with transit agencies and private mobility services to develop a network of shared mobility hubs throughout the city, providing better mobility and integrated transportation choices for all. Topics will include mobility hubs, smart mobility strategies for high growth in Seattle, preparing for autonomous vehicles, and making shared transportation equitable.

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Topic: Mobility Hubs
When: November 14, 6:00 PM
Where: Seattle Art Museum (Pletscheeff Auditorium) 1300 1st Ave
Free with RSVP: https://sdot-mobilityinnovations.eventbrite.com

Speakers include:

  • Scott Kubly, Director of Seattle Department of Transportation
  • Seleta Reynolds, General Manager of Los Angeles DOT
  • David Bragdon, Executive Director of TransitCenter
  • Sharon Feigon, Executive Director at the Shared Use Mobility Center
  • Ross Reynolds from KUOW will moderate the conversation.

The preliminary schedule for future topics is:

  • January: Smart mobility strategies for high growth Seattle
  • March: Preparing for connected and autonomous vehicles
  • May: Making shared mobility equitable
  • June or July: Rethinking mobility as a service

Learn about this effort, similar efforts throughout North America, and how mobility hubs can transform the travel experience in the future.

Questions, please contact Evan Corey: evan.corey@seattle.gov.

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How do the Fremont and Ballard Bridge Openings work? (Updated)

Here’s an updated and shortened Blog Video of our behind-the-scenes look at the Fremont and Ballard Bridge openings, and how they work:

(Click on HD in Settings to view in High Definition)

 

SDOT operates and maintains over 149 bridges throughout Seattle, including four movable bridges. Three of SDOT’s movable bridges are draw bridges, known as bascule bridges. These are the Ballard Bridge, Fremont Bridge and University Bridge.

The city is required to open the bridges to marine traffic when requested, but is allowed to restrict boat and marine traffic openings during the morning
(7-9 a.m.) and afternoon (4-6 p.m.) commutes on weekdays (except national holidays). The openings average about four minutes, from stopping traffic to letting traffic resume. SDOT appreciates the public’s patience during the openings as marine traffic passes through.

The Ballard Bridge, located at the west end of the Lake Washington Ship Canal at Salmon Bay, is the fourth and last of the Lake Washington Ship Canal Bridges to be passed before entering Puget Sound from Lake Washington. Built in 1917 with a length of 2,854 feet, the Ballard Bridge links the Magnolia and Queen Anne neighborhoods with Ballard.

The Fremont Bridge crosses the Lake Washington Ship Canal and connects the Fremont and Queen Anne neighborhoods. The bridge opened on July 4, 1917, it is the only blue and orange bridge operated by SDOT. The Fremont Bridge’s current color was chosen by a 1985 poll taken among Fremont residents and the Fremont Arts Council.

The Fremont Bridge also connects the Lake Washington Ship Canal Trail to the Burke Gilman Trail and has one of Seattle’s nine bike counters (here’s our previous blog about the Fremont Bridge Bike Counter and how it works). The Fremont Bridge has celebrated over 610,000 openings and counting as of January 2016. The bridge sits just 30 feet above the water, and rises for marine traffic on average of about 35 times a day, making it as one of the busiest bascule bridges in the world.

Here’s a link to our SDOT Bridges page: http://www.seattle.gov/transportation/bridges.htm

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SDOT at the Mount Baker Hub Fest!

The Mount Baker Hub Festival celebrated the transformation of that community with music, food, and fun last weekend at the Sound Transit Link Station and ArtSpace Plaza.

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SDOT had a table at the event and we shared information on our Accessible Mount Baker project that will engage and interact with the community to better understand how the existing transportation system functions and how it can be most readily improved.

The project identifies safety improvements for the community near the Link light rail station and the intersection of Martin Luther King Jr. Way and Rainer Avenue. A second project outcome is the development of a long-range integrated multimodal plan for the Mount Baker Town Center.

While there were several participating agencies, many resources and a lot of important information, there was also plenty of fun at Hub Fest, including local vendors, live music, artists and performers. About 400 people showed up to this fun community event!

Hub Fest was presented by the Mount Baker Hub Business Association, sponsored by SouthEast Effective Development; and Friends of Mount Baker Town Center, sponsored by the Seattle Parks Foundation.

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