Commuting During Summer Construction

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Construction site in Seattle.

Seattle is one of the fastest growing cities in the nation right now, which means more construction projects, cars, and crowds as we share our streets with people on everything from zero to sixteen wheels.

Summer is a great time to try an alternate commute method, such as biking or taking the bus, but it’s also peak season for road and sidewalk maintenance. The rainy season can cause delays and difficulty on construction and repairs, so projects are trying to complete work while the sun is still shining.

All this can make commuting tricky, but we’re here to help.

 

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Seattle Mayor Ed Murray and SDOT Intern Ahlaam Ibraahim at a recent Vision Zero event.

Our Vision Zero team is hard at work to end traffic deaths and serious injuries by 2030 through educational outreach like the above event, and coordinating enforcement of traffic safety laws with the Seattle Police Department. Our Levy to Move team is implementing the taxpayer approved $930 million 9 year plan to improve safety for all travelers, maintain our streets and bridges, and invest in reliable, affordable travel options for a growing city.

And, through our All Aboard partnership with King County Metro, we’re improving or expanding 85% of the bus routes in Seattle.

We’re working hard to make it easier to get around Seattle, but it’s likely you won’t be able to avoid work zones completely as our city continues to grow.

Please be patient and cautious around construction, and remember, your fellow travelers – whether they be in cars, on bikes or buses – are also navigating the same obstacles.

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Enjoy Your Seafair Weekend!

Seafair Weekend is one of the biggest, busiest weekends of the summer in Seattle and that means a LOT of people will be out and about – it’s a good time to remind people to look out for others when heading out for summertime activities.

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Whether you’re hopping a bus to the waterfront to tour a US Navy ship, biking to a friend’s waterfront home to watch the Blue Angels or packing up the family to drive down to Genessee Park to catch the hydros, here are a few reminder safety tips:

Allow Enough Time to Reach Your Destination

Plan your trip and be sure to allow enough time to get where you’re going. That usual 30 minutes to get downtown will take longer than normal because thousands of others are headed that way as well! Speeding can lead to trouble. So please slow down and be courteous.

Plan Ahead if You Plan to Partake

Help keep our streets safe by not driving while under the influence of alcohol – which remains the single biggest contributing factor to traffic fatalities – or marijuana. As part of our Vision Zero campaign, we are partnering with rideshare services Uber and Lyft to give you options for safe rides home this Seafair weekend and beyond.

Keep Your Eyes on the Road

Your phone will likely be pinging you all day long while you plan your weekend. There’s no need to check it while you’re behind the wheel (1, 2 or 4 wheels). Whether you’re driving, walking, or biking, we recommend that you focus on the road instead of other things.

Stop for Pedestrians

We are having an amazing stretch of weather (which doesn’t always happen during Seafair) and that brings more people outdoors, everywhere. As drivers, always be watchful, courteous, and remember to stop for pedestrians. Don’t forget to wave!

Headed down to Genessee Park for Seafair? Check out the map below to see which streets are closed and where parking has been restricted.2016_Seafair_StreetParking_Map newHave a fantastic Seafair Weekend!

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Madison Street Bus Rapid Transit Design Input Open House Dates: August 3, 4, 9  

Please join SDOT at upcoming open houses to learn more about Madison Street Bus Rapid Transit (BRT), which will begin construction in 2018. SDOT has worked closely with the community to design Madison Street BRT and is continuing to seek community input. Madison Street BRT will provide high-frequency, fast, reliable, and safe public transportation between First Ave and Madison Valley.

At the open houses, the public is encouraged to speak with SDOT staff and provide feedback on the updated design, including roadway and station designs, along with access improvements planned along the corridor. Open house dates are:

  • Wednesday, August 3 

5-7 p.m.

Seattle University, Campion Ballroom

914 E Jefferson St

  • Thursday, August 4

11 a.m.-1 p.m.

Town Hall

1119 8th Ave

  • Tuesday, August 9

5-7 p.m.

Meredith Mathews East Madison YMCA

1700 23rd Ave

 

To give feedback online, visit MadisonBRT.participate.online from August 2-16.

Madison Street BRT will serve the Downtown, First Hill, Capitol Hill, Central Area, and Madison Valley neighborhoods. The project will improve transit access on the corridor, especially for neighborhoods south of Madison Street that may have fewer transit options.

Madison Street BRT is the first of seven new RapidRide lines to be delivered in Seattle as part of the voter-approved Levy to Move Seattle. Service on Madison Street is anticipated to begin in 2019.

Find out more about Madison Street BRT at http://www.seattle.gov/transportation/MadisonBRT.htm.

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How do the Fremont and Ballard Bridge Openings work?

Here’s a behind-the-scenes look at the Fremont and Ballard Bridge openings, and how they work with our latest Blog Video:

(Click on 1080p 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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Join Us For a Find It, Fix It Neighborhood Walk in Belltown!

Join Mayor Ed Murray, SDOT Director Scott Kubly, and other City Department Directors and staff on Tuesday, June 28th for the Belltown Find It, Fix It Walk. The walk starts at the Belltown Community Center and there will be refreshments from 5:30-6:00pm. The walk will take place from 6:00-7:30pm.

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SDOT project managers will be at the event to discuss transportation projects and changes in this rapidly growing neighborhood, including the 2nd Ave safety project, the Pavement to Parks program, and planned transit investments.

The walk also gives neighbors an opportunity to identify and report areas that need improvement, such as overgrown landscaping, litter, graffiti and street light outages using the Find It, Fix It app. Download the app on your smart phone before the walk on Tuesday and use it to request services to fix the issues that you see.FindItFixItApp

Future Find It, Fix it Community Walks scheduled for 2016 include:

  • Roxhill – July
  • Judkins Park – August
  • Crown Hill – September
  • Georgetown – October
  • Wallingford – Mid-November

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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.

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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.

 

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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.

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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: http://www.seattle.gov/transportation/transit_greenwood.htm.

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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.

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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

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

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