Greenwood Transit and Sidewalk Project Beginning Soon

Construction is scheduled to begin in early October on the Greenwood Transit & Sidewalk Project.

Greenwood Avenue North

Greenwood Avenue North


New sidewalks, planting strips, and curbs will be constructed on the east side of Greenwood Ave N between N 92nd St and N 105th St, an important neighborhood arterial.

The addition of six foot sidewalks along with a five foot planting strip and ADA compliant curb ramps will create a much safer and more pleasant experience for pedestrians.  (Unfortunately, funding limitations prevents construction on the west side of the street, although much of this stretch already has sidewalks.)

In addition, in-lane bus islands with new shelters and lighting will be added at the intersections of N 92nd St and N 97th St (both north and southbound), permitting buses to load and unload without leaving the travel lane.

Such in-lane bus stops shorten the amount of time the bus spends at the stop, thereby increasing bus efficiency and reliability.  Other bus stop closures and relocations will improve bus stop spacing.

No changes will be made to Greenwood Avenue itself or to the existing bike lanes that run both north and southbound.

The $3.5 million transit and sidewalk project is possible with funding from the Neighborhood Street Fund Program, the Bridging the Gap Levy, and a grant from the State’s Transportation Improvement Board. The project is expected to be completed by next Spring.




For more details:


Fall has Arrived and Winter is Just Around the Corner, Let’s All be Prepared

Fall has arrived and the sunny days are getting shorter as Winter is just around the corner. This is a great time to prepare by making sure that you have alternate commute plans in place such as which buses will operate during weather events, and if you have your snow kit in your vehicle if
measurable snow falls.

The National Weather Service has predicted an El Nino winter lasting through Spring, and UW Professor Cliff Mass recently blogged about it here. Though a warmer and drier winter is predicted, preparing for the unexpected is always a good plan.

snow cars (rs)

Here’s a Vehicle preparedness Checklist:

  • Warm clothes in trunk
  • Chains or other traction devices in trunk
  • Full gas tank
  • Sand/shovel in trunk
  • Window ice scraper
  • Flares, flashlight in trunk
  • Antifreeze
  • Family emergency plan
  • Familiarity with school and daycare plans
  • Alternative shelter plans
  • Alternative transportation arrangements
  • Identified snow routes
  • Bus timetables


SDOT works closely with King County Metro Transit, the Seattle School District, local universities, hospitals, and major employers to ensure our snow-fighting work maintains mobility for people and goods, and access to the region. The snow route map shows where we will focus our snow-fighting efforts. Those streets will be treated with de-icer and plowed when the storm hits. Now is a good time to plan routes to get to work, the grocery store, child care and medical appointments.

Winter Storms – Here’s Our Plan

In Seattle, winter can bring heavy rain, high winds, ice and snow.  We’re monitoring conditions.

  • Our staff follows weather reports 24 hours a day, all year long, with a direct line to the National Weather Service and live Doppler radar feeds.
  • We use a forecasting tool developed with the University of Washington called SNOWWATCH to learn how a storm will most likely affect different neighborhoods. This information helps determine where the crews will be needed first.
  • Our computerized sensors located on city bridges, and also ground surface sensors, provide timely and accurate air and roadway surface temperatures.
  • We use real-time, live-streaming cameras to see actual conditions on key streets. You can see the camera views on SDOT’s website,


The City of Seattle takes a proactive approach, using best practices to respond to snow and ice:

  • SDOT crews use trucks fitted with plows and salt-spreaders to keep major streets clear.
  • When conditions allow, the crews pre-treat key streets and bridges with salt brine before the snow starts falling to help prevent ice from forming.
  • As the snow begins to fall, the crews continue to drive their routes, treating the roadway with salt brine or granular salt where needed. When approximately one inch of snow has accumulated, they begin plowing.
  • During a snow event, a Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) system tracks the locations of the trucks.  The Winter Weather Response Map on SDOT’s website shows where the trucks are at the current time and also which streets the trucks have already serviced. During a major storm you will be able to see the map on our website at


When Storms are Headed Our Way – We’re Preparing

We will plow major streets. These are the streets that are most important for getting to major public institutions such as hospitals and schools; the streets that are most frequently used by police, fire trucks and buses; and streets leading to Seattle’s major employers. We do not plow non-arterial streets.

  • We start preparing for winter in the summer, training staff, calibrating equipment and working with local agency partners.
  • When high winds or heavy rain are forecast, our crews are ready to remove fallen trees from the road, and to repair signs and signals.
  • Our supplies of granular salt and salt brine are ready to help keep ice from forming on main city streets and bridges.

snow plows

Update: Public Input Period Extended through October 15th on Potential Changes to Ship Canal Bridges’ Opening Restrictions  

SDOT is extending the public input period through October 15th on potential changes to the Ship Canal Bridges and opening restrictions related to them. 

SDOT is seeking comment from the maritime community, and community members who drive, walk or bike, whether the City should seek US Coast Guard approval to change current rules on when Ship Canal bridges must be opened upon request. In addition, SDOT is interested in hearing what additional restrictions might be warranted, if any.

SDOT has received a high volume of public feedback and wants to extend the opportunity. Please visit this link to share your input:

open bridge

The City owns and operates the Ballard, Fremont, and University bridges, while the Washington State Department of Transportation owns and operates the Montlake Bridge. As the Ship Canal is defined by federal law as a navigable waterway, the US Coast Guard has regulatory authority over these bridges. A number of years ago the Coast Guard granted the City the authority to keep the bridges closed on weekdays from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. (The bridges must still be opened during these hours for large commercial vessels.)

SDOT Blog _Bridge 0pening RESIZED

While the number of bridge openings has remained fairly constant in recent years, the impacts of bridge openings have become more pronounced and problematic, especially with longer morning and afternoon commute periods.

With the average bridge opening lasting approximately five minutes, hundreds of vehicles can back up for a given rush hour opening. The more cars, trucks and buses that back up, the longer it takes for them to clear. Buses run behind schedule, commuters find that it takes longer to get to work or back home, and many delayed drivers leave their motors running, spewing polluting emissions into the atmosphere.

SDOT expects to petition the Coast Guard for a change in restrictions on when these bridges must be opened upon demand but is seeking public input before doing so. Interested citizens are asked to share their thoughts with SDOT about whether expanded restrictions are warranted, and what they might look like.

As the graph below illustrates for the Ballard Bridge from August 20th to 26th, 2014, the number of bridge openings is greatest at the same time vehicular traffic is heaviest. For example, during the period from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m., there were 11 weekday bridge openings that week, or an average of two each day, and approximately 61 percent of Ballard Bridge openings that month were for sailboats.

During that same one hour period each day, some 2,600 vehicles crossed the bridge. This situation leads to backups that often extend as far south as Dravus Street and as far north as NW 65th Street. These delays take considerable time to clear, sometimes occurring just as the next opening is requested.

An illustrative graph for a one week period last August at the Ballard Bridge. The number of bridge openings is heaviest at the same time the vehicular traffic load is at its highest. For example, during the period from 6 to 7 PM, there were 11 weekday bridge openings that week, or an average of two each day. During that same one hour period about 2,600 vehicles crossed the bridge daily.

An illustrative graph for a one week period last August at the Ballard Bridge. The number of bridge openings is heaviest at the same time the vehicular traffic load is at its highest. For example, during the period from 6 to 7 PM, there were 11 weekday bridge openings that week, or an average of two each day. During that same one hour period about 2,600 vehicles crossed the bridge daily.




How to Submit a Request to SDOT? Your Help Keeps Seattle Moving!

Maintaining a first-rate transportation system in our city requires community involvement. We appreciate the communities’ time and efforts when community members contact the city with information that helps SDOT keep Seattle moving. If you have a transportation-related concern or request, here are ways you can connect with us to let us know.

Seattle 9-15

What are road related things I can report to SDOT?

Using this form, you can report the following to SDOT online:

  • Pothole locations
  • Street sign and traffic signal maintenance (damaged and malfunctioning)
  • Damaged sidewalks
  • Overgrown vegetation in SDOT-maintained public right-of-ways
  • Sidewalk or street obstructions


For a catch-all reporting system, we check out our mobile phone app Find It, Fix It for reporting when you’re on the go. Find It, Fix It also allows one to report certain concerns like graffiti or parking enforcement issues to the Seattle Police Department, or reach other city departments such as Seattle Public Utilities.

What can I request from SDOT?

In addition to reporting, you can also request various services from SDOT, including:  

  • ADA technologies
  • Safe Routes to School improvements
  • Traffic calming evaluations

To request any of these or for general inquiries, please visit our Customer Request page here.

Not sure where to report?

If you aren’t sure where to file a report or request, we are also available via phone or email.

You can call SDOT at (206) 684-ROAD (7623) or send an email to

For additional SDOT contact information, please visit our directory here.

Thank you for helping keep Seattle safe and accessible for everyone!

Noticed these around town? A guide to street colors

SDOT strives to make the roads safe for all travelers. To achieve this goal, SDOT is using roadway markings such as painted identifiers to encourage safer and more predictable travel.

These colorful street markings are meant to draw attention and promote visibility for all who use the roads, regardless of mode of transportation.

Roadway colors you may come across around the city:

Red bus lanes


These visible red “bus only” lanes are meant to provide additional cues to alert drivers that these are meant specifically for ‘transit use only’ and improve driver compliance for these bus lane restrictions. The goal of these lanes is to help make transit flow more smoothly, to help those who take transit get to where they’re going.

Green and white bike facilities

Green1 Green2

Green bike lanes and bike boxes designate a space where bicyclists can travel with general traffic in a more predictable, visible, and safer manner. The green pavement also indicates spaces in which bicycles and other traffic may cross paths. It alerts drivers, bicyclists, and pedestrians to be extra aware of each other. To learn more about bike facilities, please visit

Multicolored crosswalks


Multicolored crosswalks, like the rainbow crosswalks on Capitol Hill, are previously marked crosswalks that have been painted with unique colors and are meant to highlight a community’s culture and history or liven up an intersection crosswalk with a colorful design. This is a great way for our neighborhood communities to celebrate themselves in a creative and visual manner. For more about current crosswalks and how to request one, please visit:

Beige curb bulbs


Beige painted curb bulbs are meant to extend an existing curb and shorten the crossing distance in an intersection. The light color helps increase pedestrian visibility in locations including busy streets near schools where kids are traveling to and from.

For more information other ways we are making the roads safer for everyone, please visit our Vision Zero homepage at Please travel safely and be aware of others!

Signal Box Artwork helps keep Seattle safe and vibrant

Signal Box artwork by Melanie Cook.

Signal Box artwork by Melanie Cook.

In 1924, Seattle’s first automated traffic signal was installed at 4th Ave S and Jackson Street. Now, 91 years later, the city has more than 975 signalized intersections, each one with its own signal control box situated nearby. Usually somewhat non-descript in appearance, these boxes quietly help traffic flow smoothly through the city – but recently, some Seattle communities have turned these helpful boxes into beautiful works of art through the Traffic Signal Control Box Artwork Program. A partnership between SDOT and the Seattle Office of Arts & Culture, this program lets these boxes become canvases for area artists, and mini-exhibitions that residents and visitors can enjoy for many years.

Additionally, designs can help highlight distinct aspects of Seattle neighborhoods, and can help discourage graffiti.

In addition to commissioned paintings, art can include:

  • Photos
  • Maps of your neighborhood
  • Vinyl wraps of different designs


Art can incorporate a variety of themes, but all designs need to be OK’d by the Seattle Office of Arts & Culture before they can be installed. A word to the wise: be sure your design doesn’t include any symbols that may mimic traffic signs – artwork should not prompt any traffic confusion or reduce driver or cyclist visibility. Keep arrows, yellow diamonds and red hexagons out of any designs!

Signal box artwork by Tamera Weikel.

Signal box artwork by Tamera Weikel.

Interested in resurfacing some of your neighborhood’s traffic boxes with some new pieces of art? Visit Street Use’s pages on Traffic Signal Control Box Artwork here to learn more about installation guidelines, art proposals, and the street use permit application process.



Construction is coming to Greenwood – Community Open House Tonight!



Join Us
We are excited to share the latest news about the Greenwood Ave N Transit and Sidewalk Project at our September 14 open house event. We will provide a project updates, review what to expect during construction, and answer questions from the community.

Construction begins in early October
Construction is set to begin in early October and continue through April 2016, weather permitting.
The project includes transit and sidewalk improvements on Greenwood Ave N between N 90th St and N 105th St.


Project goals
• Improve safety for people who walk, drive, and bike
• Create a more visually appealing corridor
• Improve sidewalk access and crosswalks at intersections
• Improve safety and comfort for transit riders
• Increase predictable travel patterns for all road users

Construction impacts
• During construction, the community can expect:
• Parking restrictions
• Bicyclists merge with vehicles
• Limited use of center turn lane
• Minor detours for people who walk along Greenwood Ave N
• Limited access to adjacent properties (including driveway closures) with advanced notification
• Restricted access to/from side streets

Project details

Map of plans: click to enhance

Map of plans: click to enhance

The project includes new sidewalks, planting strips, curbs, and crosswalk markings. The project will also upgrade bus stops, closing some stops and relocating others to improve bus stop spacing through the corridor. Four new “bus islands” will keep buses in the travel lane and reduce conflicts between buses, bicycles, cars, and pedestrians. The bus islands will feature shelters, pedestrian lighting and bike racks.
This work is funded by the Bridging the Gap Levy, a Neighborhood Street Fund Grant, and a State Transportation Improvement Board Grant. The total estimated cost for this project is $3.5 million.
To learn more, visit the project webpage and sign up for email updates. We look forward to the open house tonight and hope to see you there!

Come Play in the Central District Streets on Sept. 12!

SummerParkways 3

Have you ever wondered what it’s like to safely play in the streets? On Sept. 12 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., you can! Join us as we host Seattle Summer Parkways in the Central District, where More than 40 blocks of streets will be transformed into open-street “parkways” where people can bike, play, walk and run. A three-mile route, totaling 46 blocks, will also be closed to through traffic from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. but open to local traffic. Residents can still park and access the streets.

This free, all-ages celebration will create an expansive, temporary open space where friends, families, and visitors can participate in dozens of community-based activities, from skateboard demos, to raffles, to art activities to food truck dining. Additionally, participants are encouraged to explore the open spaces by biking, running and walking along the route.

To learn more about Seattle Summer Parkways visit:














Activities will take place in four neighborhood parks: Pratt Park, Judkins Park, Garfield Playfields and Powell Barnett Park. Events include food trucks, buskers, live music, Zumba classes, Zorba Ball, Skate Like a Girl demos, bike polo and more.

Interested in getting involved? A variety of volunteer positions ranging from event set-up and tear-down to route patrols. All volunteers will receive a free lunch and a t-shirt for their help. For more information about volunteering, please visit:

Help SDOT celebrate our goal of creating safer and more accessible spaces for all by joining us at Seattle Summer Parkways. We hope to see you there!




What we’ve been up to: Mercer Corridor Project’s Substantial Completion Photo Blog

In August 2015, the West Phase of the Mercer Corridor Project reached substantial completion – meaning all major closures and improvements to the corridor are complete! All that remains is a localized closure on Roy St. and some low-key maintenance items with associated lane closures around the area, including landscaping, striping, and a few repairs. Here are a few of the key improvements throughout the corridor:









New, separated bike lanes and a widened pedestrian walkway were installed along the north side of Mercer St. in addition to a widened sidewalk on the south side. Trees and landscaping provide a buffer from the roadway. Here you can also see the expanded underpass beneath SR 99. The widened span, with elimination of the center columns, brings in more light.










Widened, two-way Mercer St at 5th Ave. N.: there are three lanes of eastbound and westbound traffic as well as updated intersections, crosswalks, and landscaping. Corners at this and all intersections have been updated to provide safe, accessible crossings for all users.



Looking south – the intersection of Dexter Ave. N and Mercer St., showing an updated configuration of traffic lanes, bike lanes, and the pedestrian crosswalk. Signals and signage at this intersection help eliminate conflicts between right-turning traffic and the many pedestrians and bicyclists who cross Mercer at this intersection.











The intersection of 5th Ave. N, Thomas St., and Broad St. has been reconfigured significantly, improving access for pedestrians at this major entrance to Seattle Center, thereby accommodating traffic volumes on Fifth Ave N and Broad Street, and separating pedestrians and delivery vehicles on the Seattle Center campus.

SDOT Seeks Input on Possible Expanded Restrictions for Ship Canal Bridge Openings

open bridgeSDOT owns and operates three bridges spanning the Ship Canal (Ballard, Fremont, and University bridges). WSDOT owns and operates the Montlake Bridge. The operation of these bridges is regulated by the US Coast Guard who authorized SDOT and WSDOT to keep the bridges closed on weekdays at 7-9 AM and 4-6 PM (except for large commercial vessels).

While the number of bridge openings has remained fairly consistent in recent years, the morning and afternoon commute peaks and traffic volumes have grown. With an average bridge opening lasting five minutes, hundreds of cars back up each time. Buses run behind schedule, emergency vehicles at times are delayed, commuters take longer to get to work or back home, and many of those motorists waiting leave their engines running, spewing polluting emissions into the atmosphere.

An illustrative graph for a one week period last August at the Ballard Bridge. The number of bridge openings is heaviest at the same time the vehicular traffic load is at its highest. For example, during the period from 6 to 7 PM, there were 11 weekday bridge openings that week, or an average of two each day. During that same one hour period about 2,600 vehicles crossed the bridge daily.

[Click to enhance] An illustrative graph for a one week period last August at the Ballard Bridge. The number of bridge openings is heaviest at the same time the vehicular traffic load is at its highest. For example, during the period from 6 to 7 PM, there were 11 weekday bridge openings that week, or an average of two each day. During that same one hour period about 2,600 vehicles crossed the bridge daily.















In response, SDOT is considering a petition to the US Coast Guard to seek a change to current restrictions. We’d propose a one year trial period for whatever expansion they might approve, after which the Coast Guard would decide whether the additional restrictions have produced sufficient benefit to justify making them permanent.

However, before SDOT files any such petition, we’re asking for feedback. Are additional restrictions warranted? If so, what would be reasonable?

We are asking individuals and/or organizations that might wish to share some thoughts to do so by Wednesday, September 30. Please send such comments to our project email address, or send them via US mail to:


Ship Canal Bridge Openings

c/o Roadway Structures

Seattle Department of Transportation

PO Box 34996 (SMT-38-00)

Seattle, WA 98124-4996


For more information, please visit: