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Archive for 'Transit'

Madison Corridor Bus Rapid Transit Kick-Off

Come join us as we kick-off a study to improve transit service, pedestrian and bike connections, and public space along Madison St. Learn more about the study and bus rapid transit, and share your knowledge and ideas with the project team.  The ultimate goal of the project is to give people along the corridor a more reliable, convenient, and enjoyable way to get around.

 When: Tuesday, September 30, 2014

                 5 – 7 p.m., with a brief presentation at 5:30 p.m.

Where: Silver Cloud Hotel

1100 Broadway (at Madison)

Seattle, WA 98122

This open house will launch a year-long study of bus rapid transit along Madison St from Colman Dock to 23rd Ave E.  What is bus rapid transit (BRT), you might be asking yourself? It’s the cream of the crop in bus service. It features things like dedicated transit lanes, frequent service, level boarding, and off-board fare payment.

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Since June, we’ve been collecting information about existing conditions and talking with community members, businesses, and other organizations to help inform the scope and approach to the study.  At the open house, we’ll have information to share about the project timeline, existing conditions, and the basis for the project. Hint: it was a priority corridor identified in our Transit Master Plan.

We hope to engage a broad cross section of the community in a conversation at the open house to ensure we’ve captured the range of issues and opportunities for the study as we move forward.

You can learn more about the project at http://www.seattle.gov/transportation/madisonBRT.htm. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to get in touch with the project manager, Maria Koengeter at maria.koengeter@seattle.gov or (206) 733-9865.

 

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Delivery of Streetcars for First Hill Line Delayed by Manufacturer

If you have visited Capitol Hill or the International District lately, you have likely seen the finished construction work for the new First Hill Streetcar line. New track, electrical lines, traffic signals and sidewalk abound thanks to the project. But one critical component is missing: the streetcar manufacturer is behind schedule in delivering the line’s streetcars.

When the First Hill Streetcar Line is operational, a fleet of six streetcars will support the line, with three to five streetcars in operation during the service day. The streetcars are being supplied by Inekon, the Czech company that built the streetcars that have operated on Seattle’s South Lake Union Line since 2007.

Three of the cars are being assembled in the Czech Republic and three are being assembled by a local labor force at Seattle’s First Hill Streetcar Operations and Maintenance Facility. However, delivery of the vehicles is behind schedule. Several vehicles are now nearing completion, with initial deliveries expected in December and the entire fleet expected to be ready for operation in early 2015.

The schedule for streetcar delivery and service will continue to have some uncertainty until mid-November when more is known about testing results, supply chain issues and the pace of local production. The streetcar vehicles are comprised of components from numerous suppliers to the global transit vehicle market and demand for streetcar parts has been exceptionally strong. As of September 2014, the brake system supplier has delivered the brakes for two of the streetcars and this supply chain issue could affect the overall schedule.

The First Hill Streetcar Line, a new urban mobility option funded through Sound Transit’s “ST2” mass transit expansion plan, will support economic growth and strengthen connections among the places where people live, work and socialize. It will be an important link in the regional transit system, and will connect the diverse and vibrant residential neighborhoods and business districts of Capitol Hill, First Hill, Yesler Terrace, Central Area, Chinatown ID and Pioneer Square. Service will operate 5 AM to 1 AM Monday through Saturday. On Sundays and holidays, service will operate 10 AM to 8 PM.

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Greenwood Sidewalk & Transit Project

91614blogpostOpen house postcard photo - current conditions

Sidewalk repairs ahead.

North Seattle still has a number of streets that lack sidewalks. A subject of frustration for many who live in these neighborhoods, there are even some arterials that don’t have sidewalks yet. Greenwood Avenue, a little north of its business district, is such a place where bus riders, kids going to and from school, and neighborhood residents walking to do their grocery shopping a few blocks away don’t have a sidewalk.

SDOT plans to tackle a substantial piece of the problem next year when it constructs sidewalks along the east side of Greenwood Avenue North between NE 92nd and NE 105th streets. (The west side of the street has some sidewalk gaps, but not as many as on the east side. It is hoped that sufficient funding can be secured to include the construction of these west side missing sidewalk segments, but as of this writing, the funding has not been identified.)

Specifically, the project will install a six foot wide concrete sidewalk with curb and gutter, a five foot wide planting strip, ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) mandated curb ramps at intersections, and minor drainage, grading, and paving improvements to provide a continuous sidewalk along the east side of Greenwood Avenue.

While the project will make for a safer and more aesthetically appealing streetscape, it will create parking challenges for some businesses and apartment buildings. Because of this, SDOT is working closely with individual property owners to address their access and parking needs to the greatest extent possible.

As the project name itself suggests, the project also includes significant transit improvements, specifically the construction of two new in-lane bus islands (at N 92nd and N 97th streets), along with the closure of some stops and the relocation of others to provide more appropriate spacing between them. The in-lane bus islands, similar to those on Dexter Avenue North, permit buses to load and unload while still in the travel lane, improving their speed and reliability.

The existing bike lanes on both sides of Greenwood will remain, with the bus islands routing bicyclists between the bus stop and sidewalk, substantially reducing conflicts between buses and bikes.

The $2.5 million project, primarily financed through the voter-approved Bridging the Gap measure and the Neighborhood Street Fund, is expected to begin construction in early 2015 and take about six months to complete (up to ten months if the project eventually includes sidewalks on the west side of Greenwood).

 

 

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The South Park Bridge returns

The South Park Bridge was opened on June 30th, 4 years after the closure of the old bridge. This King County project has restored South Park’s connection to their neighbors in Georgetown, Sodo and the rest of the City. South Park now has the coolest bridge around.

 

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Transit Improvements Coming to First Avenue and Denny Way

1st--Denny-Transit-Improvements-Map_webSDOT has recently made several transit service improvements along Denny Way, at the intersections of First Avenue and Denny and First Avenue and Broad Street. These changes have improved transit’s speed and reliability, but we are not done yet. We’re planning more through these busy intersections:

  • New signal operations at northbound First Avenue and Denny Way New traffic signal hardware and a longer bus-only signal phase will allow more buses, including local service to Magnolia and express service to Ballard and northwest Seattle, to turn left from the existing bus-only curb lane. Drivers travelling north on First Avenue should expect to see buses cross in front of existing travel lanes as they turn from First Avenue to Denny, and a longer green light for these buses and other buses proceeding north across Denny to First Avenue North.
  • Move the Denny Way bus stop To accommodate existing westbound bus traffic and make sure buses don’t block the intersection, we’ll move the bus stop on westbound Denny Way (west of First Ave North) 150 feet down the block, next to Queen Anne Avenue North. Metro will install a new shelter with lighting. The new location will accommodate two to three buses, instead of the current one to two buses, on routes serving Lower Queen Anne, Magnolia, Ballard, and South Lake Union.
  • Revised Parking Restriction for Transit Speed and Reliability on First Avenue. Existing parking restrictions on First Avenue between Denny Way and Broad Street will expand to provide a bus-only lane for longer periods of the day and match other bus lane operations in the city. Currently, parking is not allowed from 3:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. In addition, parking will not be allowed from 6:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. so buses can more reliably serve passengers travelling to Lower Queen Anne, Interbay, Magnolia, and Ballard.
  • Benefits Combined, the transit improvements coming to First and Denny will provide quicker and more consistent bus travel in both the morning and afternoon rush hour. These changes will get buses through this chokepoint quickly and get riders to their destinations.
    • Improvements to the Denny Way bus stop will benefit about 150 passengers per day.
    • The new signal phase at 1st and Denny will help nearly 100 daily bus trips headed for Magnolia and Ballard get through this intersection quicker.
    • The expanded hours of the bus-only lane will allow over 50 bus trips free-flow travel on First Avenue during these additional times.

Routes benefitting from these changes include: Rapid Ride D Line, 1, 2, 13, 15X, 17X, 18X, 24 and 33.

Cost and Schedule All improvements will be complete by fall 2014.

Questions?

We’re looking for public input on this project during the month of September, if you have questions please contact benjamin.smith@seattle.gov or (206) 684-4209.

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Central Area Neighborhood Greenway Open Houses

Please join us at an open house next week to learn more about the Central Area Neighborhood Greenway most promising routes for Phases 2 and 3 (the south and north ends of the greenway, respectively) and share your input. We will review the evaluation criteria of previously studied routes, the most promising route from Rainier Avenue S. to E. Roanoke Street, and some of the design elements that may be applied.

CANG Most Promising Route

This greenway is being developed in close coordination with the 23rd Avenue Corridor Improvements Project and will provide a bicycle and pedestrian facility off of 23rd Avenue. The modified 23rd Avenue is being designed to improve mobility through the corridor, but it will not include a protected bike lane. People on foot and riding bikes may prefer a calmer route. For those reasons, and to help achieve Seattle’s goal of zero traffic fatalities and serious injuries by 2030, SDOT is installing the Central Area Neighborhood Greenway near this busy arterial.

Neighborhood greenways are safer, calm residential streets that provide a more comfortable environment for people to walk, run and bike. Starting with a good foundation (a street with already low car volumes and speeds), small improvements are made that add up to a big difference. Improvements can include adding speed humps, signage, and pavement markings, reducing the speed limit, and making crossings easier by adding curb extensions, rapid flashing beacons, crosswalks, medians, or traffic signals at busy intersections.

The project is separated into three phases.

  • Phase 1 (E John Street to S Jackson Street)
  • Phase 2 (S Jackson Street to Rainier Avenue S)
  • Phase 3 (E Roanoke Street to E John Street)

We are completing final design for Phase 1 now and anticipate that its construction will begin this fall. Phases 2 and 3 will begin design this fall and we anticipate construction will begin in summer 2015.

Open House Details

Read more »

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Four-day SR 99 Closure Shines Spotlight on Tunnel’s North Portal

You may have heard that SR 99 will be closed for four straight days by the state starting Friday night, August 22. It’s the longest full closure of SR 99 in Seattle since crews demolished the southern mile of the Alaskan Way Viaduct in 2011. While this is probably not welcome news for travelers, it is a sign of progress at the tunnel’s north portal.

The 2011 demolition of the southern portion of the viaduct cleared the way for construction of the tunnel launch pit and the commencement of tunneling. During this month’s closure crews will demolish the SR 99 bridge above Broad Street, which will clear the way for continued construction of ramp and roadway connections at the tunnel’s north portal.

North Portal of the Tunnel

The shape of those connections is a little hard to imagine now, but this visualization from the Washington State Department of Transportation helps show how all the pieces of the portal will function. As you can see, the city’s two-way Mercer Street is a key component to making this portal function. You might be surprised to learn that a big piece of the north portal, the tunnel entrance, is mostly complete. In the next year you’ll start to see the outlines of the lanes and ramps that connect to the tunnel entrance. Since much of this change can’t be seen on the ground, the construction camera views on the Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement Program website are the best way to keep track of progress toward the future north portal of the SR 99 tunnel.

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Freight Master Plan, BTG Financial Review and more

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Would you like to know more about progress made by the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) on developing a Freight Master Plan? How about a review of the Bridging the Gap (BTG) finances and an update on the 2014 BTG work plan implementation? Would you like to meet new folks and find out how you can get engaged?   If you answered yes to any of the above questions, you are in luck!

The BTG Levy Oversight Committee has a meeting scheduled for July 29, 2014, 6 – 8 p.m., Seattle City Hall Room 370. The committee is a dedicated group of 15 community members who meet quarterly to review and track the progress of the BTG transportation initiative that was passed by Seattle voters in 2006. They are charged with ensuring SDOT is delivering on the promises made to voters.

Committee members come from all across the city and from all walks of life. They take their oversight and accountability role seriously and they work closely with SDOT to ensure that BTG is not only meeting its goals, but that it is being integrated into the overall goals of the department and the City.

The committee members include:

  • Ann Martin, Co-chair
  • Kristen Lohse, Co-chair
  • Ref Lindmark
  • Betty Seith-Croll
  • Allegra Calder
  • John Coney
  • Jeremy Valenta
  • Barbara Wright
  • Chisula Chambers
  • Jessica Szelag, Bicycle Advisory Board member
  • Lydia Heard, Pedestrian Advisory Board member
  • David Mendoza, Freight Advisory Board member
  • Ben Noble, City Budget Director
  • Councilmember Tom Rasmussen, Transportation Committee Chair

All committee meetings are open to the public and residents are encouraged to attend and share their views on BTG during public comment. If you are interested in how your tax dollars are allocated, why not mark your calendar and join us July 29th.

For more information, please visit BTG Levy Oversight Committee website.

 

 

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Broadway Streetcar Goes Public

 

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About a hundred people showed up last Tuesday evening, June 17,  for an open house on the Broadway Streetcar project, the first major public event since design work began in February. The open house, held at the Lowell Elementary School between 6 p.m. and  p.m., had staff and consultants arrayed throughout the room by display boards to answer questions – as well as by the obligatory coffee and cookies table.

FHSC Ext 3 peeps at easel RESIZE DSC_2898The first display board provided a map showing Seattle’s four streetcar lines: South Lake Union (completed in 2007), First Hill (starting operation later this year), Broadway (now in design, possibly opening late in 2016) and the City Center Connector (now in planning).

Other display boards focused on the timeline, the basic elements of the streetcar and the distinguishing features of the Broadway line. However, the main focus of public’s attention was the large plot showing the planned location of the streetcar track and the protected bicycle lane on Broadway north of Denny. The plot showed that parking had been preserved on both sides of the street except where left turn lanes were needed. It also showed where the station platforms are being planned and what the cross-section of the street at the platforms would look like (as well as between platforms).

FHSC Ext Easel two person shotRESIZE DSC_2903Two boards, one showing a terminus at East Roy Street and another showing the terminus at East Prospect Street were also shown, as the project team has yet to recommend one over the other.

Public reaction was generally favorable, with some concerns about the loss of even a limited number of parking spaces and others about the expense. Many attendees were excited about the extension of the protected bicycle lane along Broadway, but the most enthusiasm was for having a streetcar that would connect Broadway directly with First Hill, Pioneer Square and the Stadium District. Some folks even urged a future connection directly uphill from South Lake Union to Capitol Hill to complete a loop route!

Materials presented at the open house are available on the project website http://www.seattlestreetcar.org/broadway.htm .   If you would like to comment, or if you have questions, feel free to email seattle.streetcar@seattle.gov .

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Summer is here and SDOT crews are busy

 

N/NE Northgate Way and N 105th project is on target to wrap up this summer.

N/NE Northgate Way and N 105th project is on target to wrap up this summer.

 

The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) is on track to meet its 2014 goals for the Bridging the Gap (BTG) transportation initiative. As summer begins, we have moved into the busy construction season and you can find work on BTG projects all across the city. SDOT has been busy paving roads, constructing new sidewalk, installing new signs and restriping roadway markings. BTG continues to make steady progress towards its nine-year goals.

This year, SDOT will complete two major paving projects – N 105th, N/NE Northgate Way and Holman Road – both projects are underway and will bring 17 new lane-miles of paving. And that’s not all, since January:

  • 15 new crossing improvements have been implemented and new pedestrian countdown signals installed at 40 intersections.
  • 263 new bicycle parking spaces and 14 miles of bike route signs have been installed. Crews have also inspected 40 miles of trails.
  • Three Safe Routes to School projects have been completed, 56 new curb ramps have been constructed and 11 school zones have been improved.
  • 444 new street trees have been planted so far this year and more than 457 have been pruned.

SDOT crews are also chipping away on much-needed maintenance work as well. Just this year, they have already replaced more than 1,558 regulatory traffic signs, installed new street name signs at 487 intersections, remarked more than 240 crosswalks and replaced 796 linear feet of poor guard rail.

During the seven and half years of the levy, the City has delivered on the promises made by Bridging the Gap. To date SDOT has paved 205 lane-miles of road, secured 50,000 new hours of transit service, constructed 100 blocks of new sidewalk, repaired 167 blocks of sidewalk, remarked 4,729 crosswalks, replaced 44,439 regulatory signs, installed school zone signage at 196 schools, replaced street name signs at 9,873 intersections, striped 150 miles of bike lanes and sharrows and planted 5,569 new street trees.

For more information about BTG and its goals and progress towards meeting those goals, please visit the BTG web page.

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