Archive for 'Transit'
To improve safety for all roadway users, The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) is lowering the speed limit on Beacon Avenue S between S Columbian Way and S Barton Street from 35 miles per hour (mph) to 30 mph.
Four school walking zones blanket nearly the entire corridor: Van Asselt Elementary, Wing Luke Elementary, Maple Elementary, and Dearborn Park Elementary. This corridor experiences high transit use, with Route 36 running every 8-10 minutes and Route 106 running every 15 to 30 minutes. Three school speed zones are located along this corridor and the walking routes to several other schools cross Beacon Avenue S. SDOT’s Safe Routes to School program will fund the cost to remove and replace the existing speed limit signs.
Beacon Avenue S is one of three main north-south corridors in southeast Seattle, including Martin Luther King Jr Way S and Rainier Avenue S. It is five miles in length with two miles already signed for 30 mph. Lowering the speed limit from 35 to 30 mph on this section of the corridor will make the speed limit consistent for the entire corridor. Speed studies confirm that a majority of drivers are already traveling at or below 30 so the new speed limit is not expected to change travel times significantly.
Most of the adjacent neighborhood is single-family residences with small pockets of retail and commercial uses, including several facilities such as churches, parks and playgrounds, and the Veteran’s Medical Center.
Lowering the speed limit Beacon Avenue S will improve safety for not only pedestrians, but bicyclists and motorists as well. The work is scheduled to be completed by April 30, 2014.[More]
Construction of the First Hill Streetcar (FHS) is moving ever closer to completion and will begin service later this year.Like virtually every other streetcar system in the world, ours will be electrically powered. However, it will be the first in the US (and only the second system in the world) to incorporate an advanced hybrid battery system that means considerably less overhead wiring and the associated benefit of significant cost savings!
Trolley buses operate with two overhead wires, one positive and one negative, while our streetcar will use its own tracks for its grounding. Heading from Pioneer Square to Broadway, the FHS will operate on its outbound route on electrical power provided by a single overhead wire which receives electricity provided by four power substations strategically located along the 2.5 mile route. On the return trip, the FHS hybrid batteries will provide the power generated through its regenerative braking along the inbound route, much of it downhill.
Even with the system only requiring the single overhead wire on the outgoing route, integrating it into the existing overhead trolley bus wiring system is a very complicated and time consuming endeavor. Both Broadway and Jackson serve a number of existing trolley bus routes, many of which make turns on and off of those arterials that require an intricate mesh of wiring (as evidenced in the photo at Pine Street). The power systems for the trolleys and streetcar are entirely separate from one another, yet both have wiring strung at about the same height.
Because streetcar wiring must be installed when the trolley wires are de-energized, the work can only be done on weekends when Metro has enough available diesel buses to substitute for the trolleys. The result has been that a number of intersections on both Broadway and Jackson have been closed on weekends this winter. The work on Broadway is nearly finished. The work on Jackson is about half complete, so will require additional weekend closures before the work is finished by April.
Stay tuned for more updates on the First Hill Streetcar.[More]
And that’s exactly what transit riders will be getting along Aurora Avenue N between Shoreline, north Seattle and Downtown when they use the new RapidRide E Line.
This Saturday Seattle will celebrate the arrival of King County Metro Transit’s RapidRide E Line. The E Line replaces Aurora Avenue Route 358, Metro’s second highest ridership route, serving 12,000 rides each weekday. This marks the first RapidRide service to appear in several North Seattle and Downtown area neighborhoods.
The E Line is part of an ongoing partnership between SDOT and Metro to improve mobility in Seattle. RapidRide service features transit lanes, transit signal priority, frequent all-day service, well-lit shelters, real-time “next bus” signs, off-board ORCA card payment, and buses with three doors and free Wi-Fi. SDOT also installed pedestrian improvements, including new sidewalks, curb ramps, crosswalks, and a new pedestrian signal (at Aurora and North 95th).
RapidRide E Line services are scheduled to operate frequently: Every 12 minutes or better throughout the day, every 12-15 minutes on weekends, and every 15-20 minutes at night. Route 358 already runs frequently, but RapidRide includes an overall 25% increase in service frequency. These additions will allow the E Line to operate as a 24-hour service.
More than 18 miles of designated northbound and southbound BAT lanes in Seattle and Shoreline have already improved travel time by getting buses through congested areas. The initial E Line schedule will shave another one to nine minutes off each trip, depending on time of day and how far a rider is traveling. Off-board ORCA card readers, expanded use of bus rear doors, and traffic signal priority will all work together to speed boarding and get buses through faster and more reliably.
RapidRide E Line is the third RapidRide service to arrive in Seattle. The C and D lines to West Seattle and Ballard started service in September 2012 and have seen ridership increase by 10-25% over the routes that were replaced.
As Seahawks fans poured into the streets of Seattle on Sunday night, we managed to, for the most part, play it safe. Maybe you’ve seen this YouTube video showing how fans in Ballard celebrated without jaywalking. Aww yeah, that’s what we like to see.
A steady stream of satiric and self-effacing Tweets resulted – check out the #HowSeattleRiots thread. Here are some of our faves:
- Took my turn at the 4 way stop instead of waving someone else through.
- When causing a slow-moving vehicle to bounce up and down, please make sure all vehicle occupants are wearing seat belts
- Talked to strangers on my @kcmetrobus ride instead of burying my nose in my @AmazonKindle
And the rioting celebration continues…
Today’s parade is expected to draw a huge crowd downtown and we’re stoked to be welcoming our Superbowl champs home!
- Starts at 11 A.M. just south of Seattle Center, near 4th Avenue and Denny Way
- Continues down 4th Avenue to S. Washington Street, then proceeds on 2nd Avenue S. to CenturyLink Field
- Ends with a rally at CenturyLink at 1:30 P.M.
- Given the influx of people in the downtown area, your best bets are going to be walking, biking, using public transit, or carpooling
- Expect significant wait times and service delays on buses and trains
- All bus routes that travel along or near 4th Avenue will be impacted. More information on Metro re-routes can be found at http://metro.kingcounty.gov/alerts/.
- And bundle up – it’s going to be chilly (temperatures expected in the mid-20s)
Have fun, be safe, and way to go Seahawks!
The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT), in partnership with the University of Washington, starts the New Year with installation of two more storefront real time information systems (RTIS) signs. The two new signs are adjacent to major bus stops on Campus Parkway in the University District at Alder Hall (near Brooklyn Street) and at Elm Hall (near 12th Avenue).
The new signs add to SDOT’s inventory of similar signs in several areas of Seattle. In 2012, SDOT posted a short article about the initiative to make transit a more convenient travel choice in Seattle.
SDOT’s RTIS signs use data from OneBusAway to deliver predicted bus arrival/departure times for routes using the stop where the sign is located. When real-time information is unavailable, the signs display scheduled arrivals. A recent article in The Atlantic Cities explains why real time transit information is a cost-effective strategy for increasing transit ridership and transit users’ satisfaction with service.
SDOT seeks to install storefront RTIS signs where there is high boarding activity and willing partners who want to help with sign installation and operation. These projects are funded by Bridging the Gap and are owned and managed by SDOT.
For more information on SDOT’s RTIS program for transit, contact Jeff Bender at 206-684-8837.
Would you like to know more about all the work done in 2013 by the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) thanks to your transportation levy dollars – Bridging the Gap (BTG)? Or learn what SDOT and BTG have planned for 2014? Like to meet new folks and find out how you can get engaged? If so, you are in luck!
The BTG Levy Oversight Committee has a meeting scheduled for January 30, 6 – 8 p.m., in the Seattle City Hall Boards and Commissions Room (L-230). 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 this Thursday for the first meeting of 2014.
For more information, please visit BTG Levy Oversight Committee website.
As the crow flies, there isn’t much distance between the Northgate Mall and the North Seattle Community College. But crossing I-5 requires using either the overpass at N 92nd Street or the underpass at N Northgate Way (N 110th Street). That’s quite a trek for those using the Northgate Transit Center – or the soon to be built Northgate Link Rail Station – between NE 103rd and NE 100th Streets.
Since it will apparently be awhile before we get personal jetpacks, building a bridge for non-motorized traffic seems like the way to go. So SDOT has hired a team of consultants to help identify the best route and bridge type, given the complex contours of the area with its on/off ramps, north and south bound lanes, express lanes, medians, embankments and swales.
The map below illustrates the Northgate area and the rough location of the bridge (in the yellow bubble at the center). The pink zone shows what would be within 15 minutes by foot of the future Northgate Link Rail Station, and the blue zone that within 15 minutes by bicycle. Also shown are the locations for other improvements called for in various transportation plans or by the community.
Briefings will be held for interested communities throughout the project; if you’d like to arrange one for your group please email email@example.com for arrangements.[More]
More than eight blocks of new sidewalk were completed in 2013. The funding for these blocks was provided as part of the Bridging the Gap Transportation (BTG) initiative, passed by Seattle voters in 2006. Since 2007, more than 99 blocks of new sidewalk have been constructed across the city. It is anticipated that another seven blocks will be built in 2014.
The 2013 BTG sidewalk projects:
- NE 125th Street between 35th Avenue NE and Sand Point Way NE, on north side
- N 90th Street between Dayton Avenue N and Fremont Avenue N, on south side
- 13th Avenue NW between NW 90th Street and Holman Road NW, on west side
- NW 90th Street between 12th Avenue NW and 13th Avenue NW, on north side
New sidewalks provide the key connection within and between our neighborhoods. They make it easier to get to school, to work and to use transit. For more information on the completed 2013 projects please visit SDOT’s Sidewalk Development Program webpage. The list of projects for 2014 will be posted soon, so remember to check back!For information on BTG and the other projects funded please visit their webpage.
Third Avenue through downtown is the city’s most heavily used transit corridor, with over 42,000 transit boardings each weekday, with riders getting on and off some 2,500 buses. Working to make this transit experience easier, quicker, and more enjoyable, the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) and King County Metro are working together to install an array of transit improvements along the corridor.
This past fall SDOT installed nine Transit Information Kiosks along the corridor. These electronic information boards allow bus riders to visually track the projected arrival times of their buses in real time through the kiosk’s digital display. Alongside the kiosks are the ORCA card readers, which allow Metro RapidRide (routes C, D, & E) passengers to pay for their rides before the bus arrives, thereby reducing the time required for boarding, and getting those commuters home just a little quicker. As of this posting, only two of the nine ORCA readers are operational, those serving the C and D Lines. The remaining seven will become operational on February 16, the day Metro begins its E Line RapidRide service on Aurora between downtown and Shoreline.
The next element of the project will be a series of improvements at the bus zone on the east side of Third Avenue between Pine and Stewart (in front of Macy’s). Construction which is currently slated to begin in February, and be completed within several months, will include:
- A Transit Information Kiosk, with ORCA card reader,
- New paving with photocatalytic material and new patterning – expanded width of sidewalk by six feet,
- A new artistic intersection treatment at Pine Street,
- The addition of new trees at the north end of the block, near the corner at Stewart,
- Expanded bus operations north 40’ in the south bay of Macy’s loading dock when not in use,
- New transit canopy,
- New pedestrian scale LED lighting to improve visibility and comfort,
- A new “street elements zone” to organize trash cans and bike racks, and
- A new red curb treatment
Macy’s will join the effort with their own improvements. For instance, they will install art panels at the loading bay, lit from above; add interest in their store windows, including partnering with artists and non-profit organizations; and add lighting that will enhance the parking garage façade and skybridge to create a “Macy’s space” on both sides of the street.
The remainder of the Third Avenue Corridor design is currently being developed. The goal is to complete construction of the Third Avenue Transit Corridor Improvements in 2016.
The Bridging the Gap (BTG) transportation levy program just wrapped up its seventh year of work. BTG is a nine-year, $365 million levy that is working to address years of deferred maintenance to aging infrastructure. Approved by voters in 2006, BTG enables much-needed work by the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT), such as roadway paving, sidewalk development and repair, bridge upkeep, and tree pruning and planting. It also supports the Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plans, the Safe Routes to School program and enhanced transit.
What has BTG accomplished over the past seven years you ask? Well, BTG has paved more than 205 lane-miles of road, constructed 99 new blocks of sidewalk and repaired 167 block equivalent of sidewalk. More than 4,729 crosswalks have been restriped; 15,300 linear feet of guardrail have been installed and 44,000 new regulatory signs have been installed and more than 9,870 intersections have received new street name signs all across the city. Add to that the 40 Safe Routes to School projects, the 185 crossing improvements made, the 5,569 new trees planted and 150 lane-miles of new bike lanes and sharrows installed and you have a lot of other work that has been completed all across the city. All this work has touched every neighborhood.
It is important to note that BTG work is supported by an appointed citizens’ Levy Oversight Committee that meets quarterly. This 15-member body monitors revenues and expenditures, and reviews program and project schedules to provide full accountability to voters on BTG activities. The committee meetings are open to the public. The group’s next meeting is scheduled for January 30, 6-8 p.m. in the Boards and Commissions Room at Seattle City Hall.
This next year will see even more work completed as SDOT strives to deliver on the promises made by BTG. For more information on BTG and the work it is doing please visit the web page![More]