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:



Join us: Vision Zero Vigil and Procession tonight


This Friday evening, we invite you to join the City of Seattle and community partners at the Vision Zero Vigil and Procession. The event serves as a memorial to mark the one-year anniversary of Sher Kung’s death while biking to work on 2nd Ave downtown, and to honor all those who have died or been seriously injured in traffic collisions over the past year.

Beginning at 5 p.m. family members, friends, city leaders, and safe street advocates will gather for a brief speaking program at Benaroya Hall’s Garden of Remembrance at 2nd Ave and University St, located steps from where Ms. Kung passed away. A walking and biking procession down 2nd Ave to from University St to Yesler Way, ending Occidental Park will follow.

The event is part of Vision Zero – Seattle’s plan to end traffic deaths and serious injuries by 2030. We can, must, and will do more to make Seattle’s streets safer for everyone.


We hope to see you there.

Savor Summer With a Play Street

As fall draws near, we notice our evenings getting a little shorter and our shadows a bit longer. Your thoughts may begin to drift from swimming and sunbathing to putting on your favorite pair of slippers and sipping hot chocolate by the fire. Outside, the wintry breezes…wait a minute! Summer’s not over yet! So before you put your favorite Christmas album on the stereo, how about savoring these beautiful summer evenings by hosting your very own Play Street?

In case you aren’t familiar with Play Streets, they are like temporary community block parties hosted by neighborhood residents. With a free permit, hosts are able to temporarily close a block-long section of their neighborhood street to through-traffic, and open it to people, thereby creating a pop-up community gathering space.  As communities all over Seattle have discovered, Play Streets offer an unparalleled opportunity to bring neighbors together and provide kids and adults with room to play, exercise, socialize, and enjoy the outdoors.

You and your neighbors can do pretty much anything in a Play Street: ride bikes, play lawn games, do yoga, have a dance party, host a barbeque – you name it. At one recent Play Street, there was even a giant squirt gun fight! (See the KUOW story on this Play Street, complete with pictures of all the aquatic fun, here.)

Are you interested in hosting your own end-of-summer Play Street party? It’s easy! First, make sure your street fits the following four criteria:

  1. The Play Street should be no more than one block long.
  2. The street should be a non-arterial street (click here to learn your street classification).
  3. There must be clear visibility from each intersection.
  4. The play street must have neighbor support.

Then, if your street meets the above criteria, fill out the short application here. As soon as your application is approved, you’re ready to start inviting your neighbors to your new Play Street.

Need some inspiration for what to do with your new community space? Here’s a video produced by SDOT that features some Play Street activities, and interviews with Play Street hosts and SDOT staff:

We look forward to hearing about what you and your neighbors plan to do in your Play Street!

If you’d like to learn more about what a Play Street can offer, check out SDOT’s other videos on Play Street instrument making, bike rodeos, and craft making, and visit the Play Street website here.

Last Call for PARK(ing) Day Applications!

Last Call for PARK(ing) Day Applications!

Here at SDOT we’re all getting excited for PARK(ing) Day 2015, and there are only TWO DAYS until applications are due! All PARK(ing) Day application materials must be received by August 28, so it’s time to start thinking big. This is Seattle’s 9th year participating in PARK(ing) Day, and we’ve extended the hours so more people can join in on the fun! Pop-up parks can be open from 10 AM to 7 PM on Friday, September 18.

PARK(ing) Day is the perfect time to make your dream mini-park a reality. What sort of park do you want to see in Seattle? What types of ideas, topics, mantras, or experiences do you want to bring awareness to? Parks can be spaces for reflection, creativity, and solace from the work environment, and of course, places for play! PARK(ing) Day 2014 was our biggest one yet with over 50 pop-up parks, but we want this year to be even bigger!

So…don’t be afraid to get a little goofy on PARK(ing) Day!

PARKing Days Last Call

Feel free to sit back and relax!

PARKing Days Last Call2

But whatever you do, build, and create for PARK(ing) Day, don’t forget to have fun!

PARKing Days Last Call3

Are you ready? Send your PARK(ing) Day applications to by August 28, and show Seattle how wildly a few feet of pavement can transform for a day.

For additional information on PARK(ing) Day guidelines as well as application requirements, visit:


Seattle Welcomes New Metro Electric Trolley Buses

SDOT is pleased that King County Metro riders are getting around in the new electric trolleys in downtown Seattle and nearby neighborhoods. You may have seen, or been on one of the new purple-accented electric trolleys that serves Seattle. King County Metro introduced the first completely new state-of-the-art electric trolleys in nearly 30 years this month.

The new trolleys are quiet, energy-efficient and emissions-free and use an estimated 20 to 30 percent less energy than the current electric trolley buses. They have regenerative braking that puts energy back into the trolley.

metro-electric-trolley2The first five of 174 replacement trolley buses went into service last week and the remaining trolleys will be phased in over the next two years. The new trolleys have the ability to go off-wire for short distances to detour around construction zones and other obstacles and stay on schedule. The buses also have passenger-activated back doors for easier exiting, air conditioning and low floors for easier boarding and exiting.

For useful travelers information, here’s SDOT’s Getting Around Seattle link.





Helping contractors and developers be good neighbors

Crane soaring above 5th Avenue and Columbia Street downtown

Crane soaring above construction at 5th Avenue and Columbia Street downtown

Our city is developing at a rapid pace, as most people can tell just walking around Seattle.  There’s no shortage of cranes soaring up into the air or scaffolding erecting up from the ground. The development and population boom is not expected to end anytime soon; and though some say a growing city is better than a dying one, growth challenges remain. To help keep pace with the growth surge and stay ahead of impacts our construction management and coordination approach is changing; with continued improvements that help contractors and developers to be good neighbors in the communities they impact.


We now assess all public and private construction holistically in areas where development is highly concentrated (construction hubs) often leading to pre-construction or on-site changes that significantly improve access. An example is work with a contractor at 2nd and Pike downtown to create better bicycle access. Sellen Construction agreed to modify the construction plan and build a protected 2-way bike path so that cyclists did not have to abruptly merge with motor vehicle traffic or dismount through heavy pedestrian traffic. Modifications like that happen often in hub areas where the city has site coordinators assessing impacts almost daily. We also keep lines of communications open, open, open – meeting regularly with contractors; posting hub area  construction information online.


Bike lane solution at 2nd & Pike downtown

Bike lane solution at 2nd & Pike downtown

The long-term goal is to have consistently prepared permit applicants and well-coordinated construction projects before problems ever have a chance to set in. To get there SDOT is continuing to evolve, working with contractors and developers earlier in the pre-construction phase. We are also providing new tools to identify and reduce potential impacts to surrounding neighborhoods and make it easy to do the right thing. The following improvements are now in place or coming later this month:


  • Construction Management Plan (CMP) template and guide—Now required for projects that significantly impact public right of way; requires plan for entire course of a project for traffic management, noise mitigation, pedestrian circulation, parking, etc..
  • Multiple Site Plan Templates—Available both online and at the counter to support thorough assessment and management of construction use of the right of way.
  • Online permit applications—Fillable PDF forms designed to be more intuitive and interactive.
  • One-on-one Pre-Application Appointments—Now available for complex permit applications.
  • Channelization Sketch Map—Online tool to help permit applicants create Traffic Control Plans; launching August 31, 2015 along with the following elements:
    • Project Summary Correction Notice—Comprehensive early project planning assessment to help identify and resolve problems.
    • Streamlined Permit Applications—Connecting information across multiple permit forms for improved efficiency.
    • Concept-to-completion coordination—Strategy for consistent ROW management.


Our increasingly integrated services are making us more nimble. We are focusing on improved pedestrian access around construction with swift and certain enforcement for bad actors. We are asking more of contractors and developers, but we are giving more in the form of early planning tools and guidance. Best practices and new standards are emerging, but not without support that in the long-run will fuel more efficient building. The benefits of our strategy may take some time to fully emerge, yet we fully expect improvement and are energized to continue.


We want to work together to reduce potential right of way conflicts; streamline permitting; and mitigate community impacts. By engaging consistently and earlier in pre-construction we all become better city stewards—and building Seattle well helps us all.

SDOT is Evaluating over 21,000 Curb Ramps

This past June, SDOT surveyors were sent throughout the City to begin measuring and assessing existing Curb Ramps, about 21,000 of them!

Curb Ramp Inspection1So you ask,”What’s a Curb Ramp?” Curb ramps are located at intersections to facilitate wheelchair, bicycle, and pedestrian street crossings. Curb ramps are sloped areas, typically located on corners at intersections that provide access from the street grade to the sidewalk. The goal of the curb ramp program is to improve access to Seattle’s network of sidewalks and walkways, particularly those for whom mobility is limited.

Curb Ramp Crosswalk

Whether the curb ramps were built last week or 30 years ago, the goal is to gather data on all existing curb ramps to help determine areas that may need improvement sooner rather than later.The City of Seattle is excited to evaluate City programs, activities, and services provided to the public and identify barriers that may prevent access to persons with disabilities. For SDOT, that means sidewalks, street crossings, curb ramps, and any other pedestrian facility available.

SDOT will be measuring many different aspects of curb ramps, including the slope, the width, and other physical traits that may affect accessibility. When the information has been collected, SDOT will be able to analyze ramp conditions all over the City. Being able to review these existing conditions will help SDOT to prioritize curb ramp improvements in the future in collaboration with the Pedestrian Master Plan.

Curb Ramp Inspection4

If you have any questions about the curb ramp evaluation, we encourage you contact SDOT’s Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) Coordinator,  Michael Shaw. He can be reached at (206) 615-1974 or by email at


Join Us to Discuss Third Avenue Transit Corridor Improvements

SDOT appreciates your help last fall when you helped us create a list of potential improvements to Third Avenue. We are inviting you to meet us on the street to hear about design updates and share your thoughts.

Here are the dates, we look forward to seeing and hearing from you:

  • Monday, Aug. 31 – 3-6 p.m. on Third Avenue between Battery & Bell streets
  • Wednesday, Sept. 2  – 3-6 p.m. on Third Avenue between Pike & Union streets
  • Thursday, Sept. 3 – 11 a.m.-2 p.m. on Third Avenue between Yesler Way & S Washington Street

Third Avenue is downtown Seattle’s most heavily used transit corridor. More than 2,500 buses travel the corridor every weekday and about 42,000 people board at bus stops on the corridor each day. Thousands of visitors, workers, shoppers and area residents also use Third Avenue daily.

Third Avenue


To help create a positive and inviting environment for transit users and pedestrians, the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) and King County Metro Transit are working together to make the corridor an inviting, accommodating, safe and attractive place where people want to be.


The Third Avenue Transit Corridor Improvements Project will complement and be coordinated with the many other improvement projects underway in the downtown area.

Seattle Department of Transportation: Third Avenue Transit Corridor ImprovementsThe Third Avenue Transit Corridor Improvements Project is part of a larger plan to create a vibrant, safe and thriving Third Avenue. It will improve transit function and create a more welcoming urban environment along the corridor between Denny and Jackson streets. The project has extended transit priority measures approximately .75 miles north through the Belltown neighborhood.3rAveMap1014

For more information:

SDOT Contacts:


KC Metro Contacts: