SDOT is Making a Clean Sweep of Seattle’s Streets

SDOT Equipment Operator Seang Ngy is on the front lines  of the city’s efforts to keep our streets and water systems clean.  Seang drives an SDOT Street Sweeper covering nearly  30 miles on his route through the Rainier Valley. One of SDOT’s goals is reducing stormwater pollution from Seattle streets; Seang and his fellow crew members helped remove 131 dry tons of pollutants from Seattle roadways last year.

Seang Ngy after a street sweeping run through the Rainier Valley.

Seang Ngy after evening street sweeping operations in the Rainier Valley.

Since 2011, a unique SDOT – Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) partnership has sought to lessen these impacts by street sweeping arterials that directly impact water quality. Last year the street sweeping team covered well over 10,000 broom miles. In that span, 131 dry tons of pollutants were removed at anywhere from 4 to 10 times less cost than conventional water quality infrastructure. SDOT and SPU will expand from its current 33 to 43 routes in 2016.

Without intervention, pollutants like motor oil, copper, and zinc are found in the dirt and sludge located under cars would end up one of two places: 1) washed into storm drains that carry to local waters like Lake Washington; or 2) kicked back up into the air by tire action on the street. To ask about street sweeping, call (206) 684-ROAD, (206) 684-7623.

Thanks to Brian Hutchinson from SPU for contributing to this blog post.

Come Celebrate Seattle’s Newest Trail Segment Saturday March 7th!

On Saturday March 7th at 10 a.m. the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) is hosting a completion celebration and an inaugural bike ride on the West Duwamish Trail - an extension of the Duwamish Trail through an industrial sector of South Park. Everyone is welcome to join us for a hot beverage, good cheer, astute observations and a bit of exercise at 8th Avenue South and South Portland Street in South Park.

WDT_Celebration_Final

The recently completed project provides a route for people walking or biking from the intersection of S Holden Street and 2nd Avenue S (the former terminus of the Duwamish Trail) to 8th Avenue S and S Kenyon Street. It also provides the adjoining industrial neighbors a newly paved street with a drainage system where – in some segments – neither had existed previously. This combination of trail, roadway and drainage improvements resulted from the collaboration of the Seattle Parks & Greenspace Levy, Seattle Public Utilities and SDOT’s Street Maintenance Division. We are excited to share a host of photos throughout the project’s construction on SDOT’s Flickr at this link: https://www.flickr.com/photos/sdot_photos/sets/72157651136586472#.

The celebration begins at 10 a.m. and will feature remarks by Seattle City Councilmember Tom Rasmussen and SDOT Director Scott Kubly, among others. At 10:45 a.m. we’ll cut the proverbial ribbon and Cascade Bicycle Club will lead a ride both to explore the newly constructed trail and tour the street grid to the south and east where a future link to the King County Green River Trail will ultimately be built.

Even if you can’t make it to our little celebration, treat yourself to a ride along the Duwamish Trail and through South Park – a great example of a regional trail facility in an urban area.

 

More information about the project is also available on our webpage: http://www.seattle.gov/transportation/westduwamishtrail.htm

Move Seattle – Progressing towards the Seattle of tomorrow

What is Move Seattle?

Move Seattle is the Mayor and SDOT’s vision for how to integrate all of our planning for different travel modes into a holistic, 10-year strategic plan for transportation.  It builds from the Council-adopted modal plans, describing how they work together as a whole.  It includes strategic goals, near-term (3-year) and long-term (10-year) commitments for SDOT, and accountability measures, as well as a 10-year list of large capital project priorities. It is organized around Mayor Murray’s vision for Seattle as a safe, interconnected, affordable, vibrant and innovative city.

SDOT Director Scott Kubly, Mayor Ed Murray with community members at Move Seattle event.

SDOT Director Scott Kubly, Mayor Ed Murray with community members at Move Seattle event.

Delivering the following near-term actions in the next three years will help us meet our goals:

Roll out a coordinated Vision Zero program:

  • Implement 20 mph speed zones in residential areas on a neighborhood-by-neighborhood basis, starting with areas with the highest crash rates
  • Carry out 5 corridor safety projects, including on Rainier Ave S, 35th Ave SW, Lake City Way, and SW Roxbury St
  • Reduce arterial speed limits to 30 mph or lower to improve safety
  • Create a traffic safety education kit for community groups and schools to promote road safety and Vision Zero
  • Partner with Seattle Police Department to conduct routine enforcement in areas with high crash rates
  • Partner with SPD to install at least 12 new school zone cameras
  • Improve school walking routes at up to 12 locations and upgrade school zone signage at up to 15 locations each year

 

Repair critical infrastructure to increase safety:

  • Repair up to 25 blocks of damaged sidewalk each year
  • Complete construction of the Yesler Avenue over Fourth Avenue bridge replacement and begin construction of the seismic retrofit of the 45th Avenue Viaduct East Bridge Approach and the replacement of the Post Avenue Bridge
  • Begin seismic retrofit of Seattle’s remaining unreinforced bridges
  • Rehabilitate up to 5 stairways each year

 

Enhance mobility and access:

  • Synchronize the downtown signal system
  • Establish a 24-hour Traffic Management Center to better manage traffic and incident response 24/7
  • Implement adaptive signal control along the Mercer Corridor, Denny Way, and 23rd Avenue
  • Develop an iconic Seattle transit map to make Seattle’s transit system easier to understand
  • Expand Transit Screen displays to 20 buildings to improve access to transportation information
  • Partner to design and launch a real-time multimodal travel and wayfinding app

 

Improve transit and maximize bus service and ridership growth:

  • Implement “Always on Time” bus routes by focusing transit capital improvements on the routes that serve most Seattle residents
  • Ensure that 75% of Seattle households are within a 10-minute walk of bus routes with service every 15 minutes or better
  • Install red bus-only lanes and transit priority improvements at pinch points and implement targeted enforcement to ensure bus-only lanes operate effectively
  • Upgrade bus stops and stations by implementing a street furniture program and adding real-time information signs and better lighting to busy bus stops
  • Begin construction of bus rapid transit on Madison Street
  • Begin construction of the Center City Streetcar Connector and the Broadway Extension on Capitol Hill

Bump up Seattle’s bikeability:

  • Install 1,500 bike parking spaces over the next three years
  • Encourage businesses to install bike racks in the right of way and work with building owners to increase quality off-street bike parking
  • Enhance bicycle commute programs available to employees

 

How were the strategic goals in Move Seattle established?

The five strategic goals in Move Seattle are consistent with Mayor Murray’s vision for Seattle:  A safe city, and interconnected city, an affordable city, a vibrant city, and an innovative city.  The document discusses how SDOT’s actions and investments will advance those larger city goals.

How did you prioritize the projects in Move Seattle?

The Seattle Department of Transportation rigorously prioritizes the large capital projects it recommends to City Council and the Mayor as part of the budget every year. This same prioritization process was used for the projects in Move Seattle.  Looking at factors as diverse as safety data and economic development potential, critical maintenance needs and potential to improve key transit, bike or freight routes, a list of 17 large capital projects over the next 10 years is proposed in the plan.

What was the public process for Move Seattle?

Move Seattle is a mayoral initiative that builds on adopted City policy in the modal master plans and other documents, such as the Seattle Comprehensive Plan. While the Move Seattle initiative did not have an individualized public engagement campaign, the policies it integrates were all subject to extensive public feedback and Council adoption.

Is Move Seattle the same as a potential Bridging the Gap transportation levy renewal?

No. The vision outlined in Move Seattle is much broader than what can be achieved through a transportation levy and involves many different sources of funding including grants, partnerships and other revenues sources. A replacement source of funding for the Bridging the Gap levy will be necessary, but is not sufficient, to realize the full vision in Move Seattle. Staff at SDOT are working closely with the Mayor’s office on planning for a transportation levy, and will have more information to share on that separate subject in the coming weeks. For more information: http://www.seattle.gov/transportation/moveSeattle.htm

Access Seattle fixes unpermitted sidewalk blockage!

People walking along a sidewalk on the west side of E Union Street, near 24th Avenue, had to make an abrupt stop today when they saw this:

West side of E Union Street between 25th and 24th avenues – morning of February 27, 2015

Some concerned folks Tweeted our City Traffic Engineer, who immediately alerted our Street Use Division. Right then Permit Services gave the contractor a notice to “open the sidewalk immediately,” while inpectors were dispatched to confirm that the unsafe and unpermitted condition was rectified. In less than three hours the E Union Street walkway up the hill toward 24th Avenue was open…

West side of E Union Street at 24th Avenue – afternoon of February 27, 2015

Seattle Department of Transportation inspectors, permit reviewers and Construction Hub site coordinators are all working to keep Seattle mobile. It’s our Access Seattle initiative and we thank you for being a part of it!

 

Safe Routes to Mercer Middle School Update

As a member of the Safe Kids Seattle Coalition, SDOT began working with Mercer Middle School in 2012. A traffic circulation plan was developed for the school, a pedestrian and bicycle safety workshop was held for parents and staff, students who walked and biked to school received prizes and were entered into a drawing for a new IPod Shuffle, and sidewalk improvements were completed that made it easier to walk and bike to school. Additional projects were also identified by staff and students that would make it easier and safer to walk and bike to school. As SDOT closed out the program at Mercer in 2012, we applied for a grant from the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) Safe Routes to School program and crossed our fingers that we would be able to return to Mercer in the future to complete some of those additional projects that the school community identified.

A walking audit led by Safe Kids Seattle included parents, staff, and neighbors, identifying the school’s top traffic safety concerns.

A walking audit led by Safe Kids Seattle included parents, staff, neighbors, identifying the school’s top traffic safety concerns.

Recently, SDOT was awarded that grant from WSDOT which allowed us to return to Mercer Middle School with a second Safe Routes to School program. The campaign was kicked off in the fall of 2014 with our partners in the Seattle Safe Routes to School Partnership. A walk and bike audit was conducted where parents and children received disposable cameras and took notes to document their findings. A report is being produced to document those findings. Additionally, an after-school bike club is being formed; a 6-week bike safety program will be offered to all students and staff; and a one-hour assembly featuring bike arts and safety skills is planned.

There’s also funding to build one of the projects that was identified as a top priority during that first Safe Routes to School program in 2012. A new shared-use path will be constructed along Jefferson Park providing a safer, more direct connection for kids walking and biking between the school, the Beacon Food Forest and North Beacon Hill neighborhood. The project will improve safety by providing an off-street trail as an alternative to walking or biking along busy traffic on 15th Avenue S. The new path will also serve as a connection between two neighborhood greenways. The project will achieve 100% design in March with construction planned to begin in late 2015.

Mercer Trail: A new shared-use path will be constructed along Jefferson Park later this year.

Mercer Trail: A new shared-use path will be constructed along Jefferson Park later this year.

In addition to funding from WSDOT, this program is supported by local matching funds provided by the School Speed Zone Safety Camera revenue.

For more on Safe Routes to Mercer Middle School: http://www.seattle.gov/transportation/SafeRoutesMercerMiddle.htm

SR 520 Montlake Boulevard Sidewalk Closures

Rushing to catch the bus or just going for a stroll on Montlake Boulevard? Get ready for several sidewalk detours during the next six to eight weeks. Crews working for the Washington State Department of Transportation’s SR 520 West Approach Bridge North Project are getting ready to build wider, smoother sidewalks and new pedestrian islands along Montlake Boulevard East near SR 520. Work will occur in various locations along Montlake Boulevard East.

The work will take place in three sequential phases, described below. The first phase will begin as soon as Monday, March 2nd and each phase is expected to take two to three weeks to complete.

  • Phase 1: Sidewalk closed along the east side of Montlake Boulevard East to the north and south of East Hamlin Street.
  • Phase 2: Sidewalks closed at the northeast and southeast corners of the Montlake Boulevard East and East Lake Washington Boulevard intersection.
  • Phase 3: Sidewalks closed at the northwest and southwest corners of the Montlake Boulevard East and East Lake Washington Blvd intersection. The crosswalk across the westbound on-ramp to SR 520 will also be closed at this time.

 

The graphic below illustrates the locations of the closure during Phase 1 and some common pedestrian detours to avoid them. For those who can handle stairs, the stairs leading to the SR 520 freeway transit stop can serve as a shortcut when the crosswalks at the Montlake Boulevard East and East Lake Washington Blvd intersection are inaccessible.

SR 520 Sidewalk Detours Map

SR 520 Sidewalk Detours Map

To get the most current information about the current construction activities check out the What’s Happening Now? site for the SR 520 – West Approach Bridge North Project.

Big infrastructure for the Seawall Project is installed at Waterfront Park

If you haven’t visited the waterfront recently, you might notice some changes near Waterfront Park as the Seawall Project continues construction. Over the next few weeks, large sections of the new seawall will be installed in this location. This location is adjacent to Waterfront Park, which provides a unique opportunity to view seawall construction up close. Stop by and see this once-in-a-lifetime project unfold.

Onlookers peer through the fence to view seawall construction at Waterfront Park

Onlookers peer through the fence to view seawall construction at Waterfront Park

Face panels are in place at Waterfront Park

Last week, the seawall face panels were installed at Waterfront Park. The new face of the seawall includes different texture designs that provide a surface for algae and other marine organisms to attach, providing food for migrating salmon.

A new face panel is lowered into place at Waterfront Park. Each panel weighs 18,000 pounds!

A new face panel is lowered into place at Waterfront Park. Each panel weighs 18,000 pounds!

The new seawall face panels installed at Waterfront Park feature a cobble stone design.

The new seawall face panels installed at Waterfront Park feature a cobble stone design.

 

 

 

 

Marine mattress installation this week

Marine mattresses will be installed later this week in front of the new seawall adjacent to Waterfront Park. These rectangular, plastic mesh bags filled with stone provide an improved, shallow nearshore habitat for migrating salmon and other marine life. With light filtering down to the water through the new glass blocks in the sidewalk overhead, these marine mattresses will promote the growth of vegetation along this corridor as well.

Marine mattresses were installed south of Colman Dock last winter.

Marine mattresses were installed south of Colman Dock last winter.

Each marine mattress is constructed off-site, and the mesh bags include several compartments that are filled with various-sized rocks which provide a more favorable substrate for habitat growth. The plastic mesh is hand-braided together to close the bags, and then the marine mattresses are trucked to the site for installation.

Left – stones are scooped into the marine mattress mesh bags; Right – once full, a worker hand-braids the mesh bag closed.

Left – stones are scooped into the marine mattress mesh bags; Right – once full, a worker hand-braids the mesh bag closed.

Next up – Zee panels

After the face panels and marine mattresses are in place, the zee panels will be installed. These large, zee-shaped concrete panels will hold the sidewalks that contains the embedded glass blocks. Get a sneak peek at this work by watching this video of zee panel installation south of Colman Dock!

Zee panels have been precast off-site and are ready to be installed at Waterfront Park.

Zee panels have been precast off-site and are ready to be installed at Waterfront Park.

For more information about seawall construction, visit the Seawall Project website. If you have questions, email (seawall@waterfrontseattle.org) or call the 24-hour hotline 206-618-8584.

New Bike Leaning Rails and Improvements Installed at Burke-Gilman Crossing!

Hey Bikers and Trail Users,

The new Bicycle Leaning Rails have been installed at 25th Avenue NE and NE Blakeley Street along the Burke-Gilman Trail crossing, and are ready to use!

These rails and foot rests allow riders to rest an arm and/or foot when waiting at the trail intersection. Crews working for SDOT began installing the foot rests and rails last week in addition to the new wider bike-and-pedestrian friendly Curb Ramps. Please check out our latest Blog Video below:

Improvements to this intersection include:

  • Upgraded curb ramps to be compliant with current Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) standards.
  • Signal modifications for the new protected bicycle/pedestrian phase for the south crossing on the Burke-Gilman Trail with bicycle icon signal heads and push buttons are in the works and are expected to be finished by the end of March.
  • Signal modifications to accommodate a new right-turn only pocket and protected turning phase on the west side of the intersection for eastbound motorists on NE Blakeley Street are also in the works and are expected to be finished soon.
New Bike Leaning Rail open and being used.

New Bike Leaning Rail open and being used.

New Wider ADA Curb Ramps.

New Curb Ramps at 25th Avenue NE and NE Blakeley Street.

 

The Bike Leaning Rails are already used in places like Copenhagen, Denmark and Chicago, and allow bicyclists to rest their foot and have something to hold onto for balance while waiting at the traffic light rather than using traffic light posts or other poles around them.

 

 

The rails also help align bike riders to one side of the trail so the sidewalk is kept clear for pedestrians, making it safer for all to cross the street.

We’ve also made improvements to the intersection of 30th Avenue NE and the Burke-Gilman Trail by building a raised crosswalk that alerts drivers of this crossing with the intent of slowing vehicle speeds. Raised crosswalks also help improve visibility between motorists and pedestrians and help maintain a level crossing for people biking, walking or with disabilities.

Crew Adrian and Jonathan Install Leaning Rail.

Installation Crew Adrian and Jonathan set new Leaning Rail.

This project is the first of its kind in Seattle; SDOT will be evaluating potential future sites.

Biker and Signs KeeperYou can learn more about this project by visitingwww.seattle.gov/transportation/UnionBlakeleyImprovements.htm.

SDOT WMBE Program holds Working with SDOT 101

Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) held its first session of the Working With SDOT 101 Outreach Event series on February 10, which is held quarterly at the Seattle Municipal Tower. The first session brought over 40 Women- and Minority-owned Businesses (WMBEs) together with a dozen SDOT staff members to share information on how to find contracting work with the City of Seattle. Highlights of the event included an hour-long networking session between firms and staff, and technical assistance for the Seattle Online Business Directory.

SDOT WMBE Advsor Edson Zavala facilitates "Working With SDOT 101" Outreach Event

SDOT WMBE Advisor Edson Zavala facilitates “Working With SDOT 101″ Outreach event.

SDOT WMBE Program Outreach session

SDOT WMBE Program Outreach session.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Seattle Department of Transportation’s Women- and Minority-owned Business Enterprises (WMBE) Program promotes equity in contracting through the inclusion of small and historically underutilized businesses on transportation projects. Mayor Murray affirmed the City of Seattle’s commitment to promote race and gender equity in contracting through Executive Order 2014-03 Equity in City Contracting.

The Executive Order directs departments to “Increase the opportunities for women and minority owned businesses (WMBEs), and to provide a welcome and responsive environment for all businesses that support such efforts.” The SDOT WMBE Program promotes the participation of women and minority owned businesses (WMBEs) on department contracts, fosters internal support for the program, and facilitates outreach within the community to increase WMBE inclusion.

WMBE Program Crew working on SDOT project.

WMBE Program Crew working on SDOT project.

This event is the first in a series of targeted outreach initiatives for SDOT to increase the inclusion of WMBE firms. To learn more about the SDOT WMBE Program, please visit our website at: http://www.seattle.gov/transportation/wmbe.htm.

Parklets and “Streateries”

Pilot Parklets and Streateries!

Seattle’s Pilot Parklet Program has been a great success since its launch in early 2013, and we have received positive feedback from communities all over Seattle telling us how much they have been enjoying their new gathering spaces. As a result, we are pleased to announce that we are crossing out the “pilot” part of the parklets program and are making parklets permanent!

February 21, 2015 grand opening of the Uptown Cinemas parklet in Queen Anne.

February 21, 2015 grand opening of the
Uptown Cinemas parklet in Queen Anne.

So now that the parklets program is here to stay, we’re inviting a new round of businesses and community groups to apply for a spot in the program. And, as part of our latest call for new applications, we’ve created space in the program to try out a new type of parklet – the “streatery.” What’s a “streatery”? Think of a streatery as a sidewalk café nestled within a parklet. Do you own a restaurant or café and want to provide outdoor seating for your customers? A streatery can function as café seating with table service during some times of the day or year, and as a regular parklet whenever the additional seating isn’t needed. Streateries can be an especially great option for business in areas with narrow sidewalks.

Do you have an idea for a great new space in your neighborhood? Pitch us your idea by applying to host your very own parklet or streatery. All you need to apply is:

  • The application form
  • Three letters of support from your community (four for a streatery)
  • A simple site plan showing the ideas for your parklet or streatery
  • A few photos of the proposed location

 

After seeing all the creative designs that came in last year, we’re excited to see what great designs you come up with for this round!

For more information on designing, permitting, and building a parklet or streatery, check out our updated Parklet Handbook and Streatery Supplement. Keep in mind that all application materials must be emailed to parklets@seattle.gov by 5:00p.m. on March 20, 2015, and that parklet hosts are responsible for all costs, including design, construction, and ongoing maintenance.