Columbia City Tells Us How They Get Around the Neighborhood

SDOT recently completed neighborhood surveys along Rainier Ave S in Columbia City to find out more about how people get around. Here’s what we learned:

  • People come by many modes. While using a personal car is the single most popular way people come to Columbia City, 65% of all customers and visitors reported arriving by walking, transit, biking, or other means besides a personal vehicle. That’s a big change from a similar study in the same area in 2011 when only 43% of customers and visitors reported arriving by means other than a personal car.Columbia City 1
  • Locals are regulars. Nearly all residents reported coming to the business district two or more times a week and the most frequent visitors do so by walking or biking.
  • Drivers are finding parking, but it might require circling around the neighborhood first. Most drivers (65%) park on-street, and most (89%) reported that it took about the length of time they expected or less to find parking. However, 11% of drivers reported spending more than 5 minutes looking for parking.


How do these surveys work?  SDOT consults with professional survey companies to gather information from visitors to the business district using a short questionnaire.  Once the data is analyzed, we summarize the findings and share them with the neighborhood, often through our Community Access and Parking Program – SDOT’s effort to improve on-street parking management in Seattle’s neighborhood business districts and nearby residential areas.

For full results from this survey and others, go here. We are planning to conduct surveys in more neighborhoods this fall!

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Ridership Increases for RapidRide and South Lake Union

The city is working to meet the growing demand for transit service in Seattle and improve the reliability of service. The city funded the separation and extension of the RapidRide C and D lines in March 2016. The C Line now travels from West Seattle to South Lake Union, and the D Line travels from Ballard to Pioneer Square. The Westlake Ave transit lanes allow the streetcar and buses to bypass traffic reducing delay and making for a smoother, more predictable ride. These changes should improve the travel time reliability for riders while providing additional connections to our growing city.

How are the routes performing? 

After the first month of operations, ridership increased by more than 20% on the C and D Lines and the Westlake Ave transit lanes are improving travel time reliability throughout South Lake Union.


Transit 1

To better understand the impacts of the changes in the C and D Lines, we compared ridership in April 2015 and April 2016:

  • C Line ridership is up 27%, about 2,300 new daily rides
  • D Line ridership is up 23%, over 2,600 new daily rides
  • Rt 40 ridership is up 23%, over 2,000 new daily rides

Transit 2Travel Times for Route 40 on Westlake Ave N

With the March 26th Metro service change, southbound Route 40 was rerouted from 9th Ave N to Westlake Ave N to take advantage of the new transit lanes, saving each southbound trip about 1 minute.

  • Average morning travel times between Westlake Ave N & 8th Ave N and 3rd Ave & Virginia St dropped by 1.23 minutes (1 minute, 14 seconds); a 10% decrease in travel times.
  • Average afternoon travel times between Westlake Ave N & 8th Ave N and 3rd Ave & Virginia St dropped by 0.83 minutes (50 seconds); a 5% decrease in travel times.

Note that these average travel times were recorded during the Alaskan Way Viaduct closure in April 2016.

RapidRide On-Time Performance

Overall, on-time performance has improved on the C and D Lines as a result of the split. From April 2015 to April 2016: C Line on-time performance increased from 80.7% to 84.9%. D Line on-time performance increased from 81.4% to 86.7%. During the morning commute, on-time performance for both routes is about 85%. In the afternoon, on-time performance is above 80%.

How were these changes funded?

In November 2014, voters approved Proposition 1, which provided funding for the City of Seattle to fund additional transit service, above and beyond what King County Metro could provide. This allows the City to better meet the needs of our riders and address overcrowding, reliability, and frequency needs that affect Seattle riders every day.

For more information on transit, ferries, trains and other modes of travel in the Seattle area, check out SDOT’s Rider Tools, including tips on riding the bus with kids and where to catch the Water Taxi.

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Greenwood Ave N Transit and Sidewalk Safety Improvements Update

This week, crews working on behalf of the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) completed the majority of work under the Greenwood Ave N Transit and Sidewalk project. The work included safety and transit improvements along Greenwood Ave N, a key north-south arterial, between N 90th St and N 105th St.

Greenwood Ave N Bus Stop Improvements PW#2014-038 2016 05 13 (19)

Prior to construction, the lack of a curb and planting strip along Greenwood Ave N, especially along the east side of the road, failed to safely separate pedestrians from vehicle traffic. Overgrown vegetation partially hid bus stops, which had to be accessed through narrow, uneven sidewalks.

Greenwood Sidewalk near N 97th

New sidewalk near N 97th St connects to bus island via raised crosswalk

This project constructed more than half a mile of new sidewalk and about 30 curb ramps on the east side of Greenwood Ave N between N 92nd St and N 105th St, along with a planting strip between the sidewalk and road along much of the corridor. Transit improvements include 4 new in-lane bus islands with shelters and lighting near the intersections of N 92nd St and N 97th St. New bus islands replace some existing stops, which helps improve bus stop spacing and contributes to transit reliability through the corridor.


The new facilities improve safety for pedestrians, drivers, and bicyclists traveling through the Greenwood Ave N corridor, and offer greater safety and comfort for transit riders. The improvements also contribute to more predictable travel patterns for all road users and improved transit reliability.

New bus island at N 92nd St will have a shelter installed by Metro before being put into service

New bus island at N 92nd St will have a shelter installed by Metro before being put into service

Funded by the Bridging the Gap transportation levy, Neighborhood Street Fund and a grant from the State’s Transportation Improvement Board, this project supports Vision Zero, an international initiative that aims for no fatalities or serious injuries in traffic collisions.

For more project information, please visit:

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May is Bike Everywhere Month!

There’s plenty of time to participate in Bike Everywhere Month!

Whether you ride 20 miles one way or 2 miles total in combination with a bus ride, you are still a bike commuter. The beauty of the bike is that it complements every rider and every commute, from a calorie-burning training ride to a quick jaunt down the 2nd Ave bike lane on your way in to work.


Some basic guidelines for riding your bike include:

  • Is your bike in good working order? Make sure you have air in the tires, grease on the chain and some STOP in the brakes.
  • Always ride with a helmet, and use lights front and rear when riding after dark.
  • Get a Bike Buddy, someone to help you prepare for that first bike commute to work and help with choosing clothing and gear.
  • Know your route. Pick up or download a Seattle Bike Map, or check out our Interactive Bicycle Map, for all of the routes, safety suggestions, bike repair shops and much more.
  • Bus in on Monday and bring some clothes for the week. An extra pair of shoes under your desk is a great idea too.
  • Carry your ORCA card with you always. It’s the most reliable Plan B!

Program yourself for success: keep your first ride short and simple, and grow into longer commutes.

Fun fact: last year for Bike to Work Month, Mayor Ed Murray was joined by Seahawks player Michael Bennett for a group ride along the Fremont canal.

Mayor-and-Michael-Bennett-BTWD-5-15-15You can check out video of the ride here.

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Free-Ride Thursdays in May on First Hill Streetcar!

24131130634_f16fe88dd7_oRide the First Hill Streetcar free to re-discover, celebrate and explore some of Seattle’s most vibrant urban neighborhoods.  Join these neighborhoods in celebrating their streetcar stops Thursdays this May:

  • Thursday, May 12th:  Check out the Capitol Hill ArtWalk and celebrate the streetcar on Capitol Hill with interactive performances and visual art installations, 6-9pm – Broadway & Pike and Broadway & Denny streetcar stops
  • Thursday, May 19th:  Explore Chinatown-International District through its first Happy Hour Food Walk with $2, $4 or $6 bites at participating restaurants, 6-9pm – streetcar stops at Jackson St & 5th, 7th and 12th Avenues S
  • Thursday, May 26th:  Join Swedish Medical and Seattle University’s plaza celebration of the streetcar with hotdogs, popsicles, live performances and more, 11:30am-1pm – Broadway & Marion streetcar stop



For more on the First Hill Streetcar Line and South Lake Union Street Car Line.

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New Expanded RapidRide C Line service to South Lake Union Celebrated with Rain-activated Art

The extension of the new RapidRide C Line to South Lake Union began in March, thanks to Seattle voters who approved Proposition 1 that gave the city of Seattle funds to expand weekday in-city bus service.

C Line Bus

In addition to service expansion, bus riders waiting along the new line will get to see special artwork on the sidewalks – when it rains.

Westlake & Denny (1)

Rain-activated artwork installed at Westlake and Denny.

SDOT worked with Rainworks, a Seattle start-up that takes advantage of our weather by installing rain-activated artwork on sidewalks that’s sure to surprise and delight riders waiting for Metro buses in West Seattle, Belltown and South Lake Union.

Scott Kubly helping out with placing the stencil

SDOT Director Scott Kubly helps place the stencil to install rain-activated art.

The art installations give riders a positive message when it rains as they wait for the new RapidRide C Line to South Lake Union, which was extended via Westlake Avenue.

3rd & Virginia (2)

The finished product at 3rd Avenue and Virginia Street – made visible by rain!

Other improvements to the new RapidRide C Line to South Lake Union:

  • More service on Route 40, operating every 9-15 minutes
  • More peak time service for Route 70
  • More service and shorter route for Route 8
  • Dedicated transit lanes on Westlake Ave N
  • Transit stop upgrades

C Line

To see when Seattle Mayor Ed Murray celebrated the first day of service expansion on the new RapidRide C Line to South Lake Union, go here.

Fore more on Metro Transit options.

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Seattle Convention Attendees’ Travel Modes

Seattle is host to events and conventions such as the recent Emerald City Comicon which brought over 80,000 comic book and pop culture enthusiasts into downtown Seattle for four days this month. Checkout our latest Blog Video.

Fan attendees of the sold-out show traveled from all over to see the celebrity event panels, artwork, and shop for fan gear and collectibles. Many of the attendees drove in from far and wide and mentioned that the commute and parking was mostly hassle-free.

Many were dressed in their favorite hero cosplay costumes, outfits and uniforms. Some locals who attended the convention on multiple days travelled in to Seattle and stayed at hotels, to avoid having to commute. Others carpooled, took the Link and transit in because it was the best option for them to get around.

Seattle has a lot of options to get around – walking, biking, transit, driving, carsharing and ridesharing. Check out some of the tools available and find out how to get where you’re going! For Transportation options, please visit our SDOT link.

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April is Earth Month: Transportation Choices to Help You Do Your Part

April is Earth Month. 


Courtesy NASA

Using transit is one of the best ways to move around an urban environment and proclaim your environmental stewardship. Coupling a bike trip with your choice of transit turns a smart commute into an unbeatable combination.


ORCA cards work on regional transit including Community Transit, King County Metro and Sound Transit.

The City of Seattle is now experiencing unprecedented growth, and transit agencies and planners are working hard to meet the demand with expanded bus and light rail service, additional miles of bike lanes, new car sharing services, and a host of infrastructure and technology improvements Citywide.

It is this quantity of mobility that will be key to helping us maintain the quality of life – the clean air and majestic views from mountains to Sound – that originally attracted all us to live here.

Choose rail, bus, bike or walk, and know you are doing your part to make Seattle one of the most progressive cities in the nation.

Seattle Streetcar

Seattle Streetcar First Hill line.

For more information about ORCA cards, go here.

To see other ways the City of Seattle celebrates Earth Month, go here.



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SDOT Hosts North Seattle Walking Tour With Newly-Elected Councilmember Debora Juarez

SDOT recently led a tour of several Council District 5 transportation projects with newly-elected Councilmember Debora Juarez. The purpose of the trip was to familiarize Councilmember Juarez with a selection of SDOT projects and to learn about her priorities for the district.

The tour started along the recently-completed Olympic Hills / 27th Ave NE Neighborhood Greenway. Greenways improve safety for all ages and abilities by reducing speeds on neighborhood streets to make it more comfortable for people walking to share the street with people driving. The tour continued to the Olympic Hills Safe Routes to School project. In 2015, the program installed a new sidewalk on NE 130th St on the walking route to Olympic Hills Elementary. The voter-approved Levy to Move Seattle allows us to build 9 -12 Safe Routes to School projects every year, helping more kids and families safely walk and bike to school.


Councilmember Juarez discusses sidewalk options with SDOT’s Safe Routes to Schools coordinator, Brian Dougherty.

Next, the SDOT tour took Councilmember Juarez to a site near John Rogers Elementary, where a new sidewalk was built using stamped asphalt instead of concrete – resulting in significant cost savings that allow us to build more sidewalks where they’re needed most. With funds from the Levy to Move Seattle, SDOT plans to build 250 blocks of new sidewalks over the next 9 years – both lower-cost and traditional – for the same price as 150 blocks of concrete sidewalks.

After walking the sidewalk and discussing drainage issues in many North Seattle neighborhoods, the tour stopped at the site of the future Link light rail station at Northgate. SDOT plans to build a new pedestrian and bicycle bridge over I-5 to improve connections within the Northgate community. The stop was near Councilmember Juarez’s district office at North Seattle College.


Councilmember Juarez with SDOT’s Amanda Tse and Bill LeBorde, point to the future site of the Northgate pedestrian bridge over I-5

The tour wrapped with several stops along Linden Ave N to look at and discuss the Complete Street project completed in 2014. The project makes this neighborhood street easier and safer for everyone to get around, whether they are driving, walking, or riding a bike. The project also built a safe connection to the popular Interurban Trail making it more accessible for everyone, especially residents in the many senior retirement homes nearby.


Councilmember Juarez going over a Complete Streets plan with Deputy Director Mike Terrell and Connie Zimmerman.

The morning tour offered SDOT staff and Councilmember Juarez a chance to talk about emerging transportation issues facing District 5 and the unique needs of neighborhoods in North Seattle.

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2nd Ave Safety Project Update

Later this year, the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) plans to make several upgrades to 2nd Ave between Pike St and Denny Way. To improve the safety and efficiency of travel and bike connections in downtown, SDOT will make traffic signal improvements, pedestrian improvements, and extend the existing 2nd protected bike lane through Seattle’s dense and vibrant Belltown neighborhood.

The project will include several features aimed at increasing safety for all modes of transportation:

  • All traffic signals will be updated with new poles and signal heads. Timing improvements will increase efficiency for people walking, biking and driving through and around Belltown
  • At the left turn intersections, signals will have a designated arrow for drivers to turn left which separates drivers from people walking and biking
  • Three new traffic signals at Cedar, Clay and Vine streets will create safer turns and easier pedestrian crossings
  • A two-way protected bike lane will be added on the east side of the street, including a 3-foot buffer with planters
  • Parking will be relocated to the outside lane of the protected bike lane, similar to the existing bike lane on 2nd Ave
  • Curb bulbs on the east side of 2nd Ave will be removed to create space for the protected bike lane and buffer, with landscaping improvements and sidewalk spot repairs throughout the corridor

2nd Ave Safety Project Update 3-30-16The project is currently in design and is scheduled to begin construction in fall 2017. The protected bike lane extension is part of SDOT’s Center City Bike Network project and Vision Zero plan to end traffic deaths and serious injuries by 2030.

In the meantime, the existing 2nd Ave Protected Bike Lane is getting upgrades, including planter boxes, new traffic signals and raised passenger load zones and driveways. For more information, visit:

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