Crews Complete 1,000 Repairs on Neighborhood Streets

SDOT paving crews have been hard at work preparing neighborhood streets for our 2016 microsurfacing project.

As described in an earlier blog post, microsurfacing extends the life of streets that are in good condition by protecting the pavement from the impacts of water and the sun.

SDOT plans to microsurface over 60 lane-miles of streets this summer including some in South Beacon Hill, Lake City and the Matthews Beach area. Click here for 2016 locations. While these streets are generally in good condition, over time they have developed potholes and worn areas, and these imperfections need to be repaired for the microsurfacing treatment to be effective.

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Patches of pavement needing repair.

SDOT staff evaluated all the streets to be microsurfaced this year and identified the locations where focused, relatively small repairs were needed for the entire block to be in good condition. Crews then went to work filling potholes, replacing small patches of worn or damaged pavement, repairing eroded street edges and sometimes repaving strips of pavement up to a block long.  The type and size of the repairs vary greatly, and each location requires a response tailored to the situation.

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Before and after prep work.

After many months of work, our crews are almost done with this project, so we tallied up the number of individual repairs they made.

MOD7Thank you, SDOT crews, you completed over 1,000 focused repairs on neighborhood streets!

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Completed repairs in preparation for microsurfacing.

We’ll be ready for microsurfacing to start in late July!

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Join the Conversation on Affordable Housing

In the last five years, Seattle rents have increased 35% and the homeless population has approached 3,000. “We are facing our worst housing affordability crisis in decades,” says Mayor Murray. “My vision is a city where people who work in Seattle can afford to live here… Together, HALA will take us there.” HALA, the Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda, is a set of strategies intended to address this crisis from all sides. The City is relying on public input to move these strategies from ideas to reality, and would love to hear your input.

Get Engaged!

You may wonder, what does this have to do with transportation? Housing and transportation are two sides of the same coin. Where housing is dense, transportation needs are greatest. The City of Seattle is experiencing unprecedented growth and is working hard to ensure that housing and transportation can keep up. To create a road map that addresses the diverse needs of Seattle, we are seeking your input to shape how growth occurs, how transportation options serve our neighborhoods, and how our city will look in the future.

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The HALA Team has created a new online conversation called “Consider it” where you and your neighbors can engage in dialogue around the City’s HALA proposals. When you go to the site, you’ll see a list of topics, proposals, and community comments. If you want to join the conversation, you’ll be prompted to create an easy log-in. New ideas will continue to be added to the site, so be sure to check back in periodically. The City is committed to listening to our community and using your feedback to shape the policies and practices designed to make our city more affordable and livable.

Community member comments from a HALA Open House meeting in November 2015.

Community member comments from a HALA Open House
meeting in November 2015.

This is civic engagement at work—join the conversation!

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Improvements Coming to the 6th Ave W Shoreline Street End

Seattle has 149 streets that end at the water’s edge. And while cars must stop when the road does, the areas between the end of the pavement and the water are often valuable spaces for community to gather and for wildlife to thrive. They are places where neighbors can meet, access the water, launch a kayak, or just sit and enjoy the view. One by one, SDOT’s Shoreline Street End Program is working to preserve and improve these unique community assets.

The next shoreline street end improvement project is planned for the north end of 6th Ave W in Queen Anne. Just steps from the Ship Canal Trail, this street end is easily accessible by foot, bike, or car (or kayak!).

The yet-to-be-improved 6th Ave street end.

The yet-to-be-improved 6th Ave street end.

Proposed improvements for the street end include enhanced native habitat plantings, rain gardens, improved kayak access, and new informal seating. Construction and planting are expected to begin sometime late this fall, and below is a sketch of what is planned for the site.

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Are you interested in hearing more about this project? Would you like to provide feedback on the proposed design? SDOT will be providing a brief overview of the project proposal at the Queen Anne Community Council meeting on July 6th at 7:30pm at the Queen Anne Manor (100 Crockett St).  Please join us to learn more and share your thoughts. In the meantime, feel free to contact our Shoreline Street Ends Program Coordinator, Diane Walsh, at diane.walsh@seattle.gov with any questions you may have.

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Get a (Discounted!) Safe Ride This Pride Weekend

Seattle will be celebrating our Pride this weekend, and helping you to get home safe afterward.

Whether you’re enjoying events throughout Capitol Hill on Saturday, or the parade through downtown and Seattle Center celebrations on Sunday, enjoy discounted rideshare services all weekend long

rainbow discount

This weekend our city will be celebrating Pride and showing support for the LGBTQ community. We’ll also be remembering those who’ve lost their lives in the struggle for equality, whether in the 1969 New York Stonewall riots or earlier this month in the Orlando Pulse tragedy.

As part of our city’s commitment to keeping everyone safe, Seattle has partnered with Uber and Lyft to offer discounted rides so you can get home, or to your next party, without incident.

Photo caption: People using a rainbow Community Crosswalk on Capitol Hill as the First Hill Streetcar goes by on Broadway.

Photo caption: People using a rainbow Community Crosswalk on Capitol Hill as the First Hill Streetcar goes by on Broadway.

Seattle is consistently recognized as one of the safest cities in the country, but on average, impaired driving still contributes to 30% of fatal car crashes each year. We want that number down to zero – Vision Zero is our plan to end traffic deaths and serious injuries by 2030. So this weekend, while you’re having fun celebrating Pride and standing up for equality, take a stand for safe streets as well by getting a ride instead of driving under the influence. We also encourage you to take transit, grab a cab, or carpool with a sober friend.

Get your rideshare discount codes here, and stay safe while celebrating.

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Staff ‘Walk and Talk’ with Neighbors about the 2nd Ave Safety Project

Staff with the 2nd Ave Safety Project recently invited neighbors in Belltown to walk along 2nd Ave to learn about the final project design. The walk led them to several locations along 2nd Ave between Bell St and Broad St, sparking discussions about the safety improvements coming to 2nd Ave when construction starts later this year.

2nd Ave walk and talk

SDOT staff walk along 2nd Ave with neighbors (and their dogs!) to discuss the project’s final design.

Discussion on the walk included new traffic signals, new street trees and the design of the new protected bike lane (PBL) that will be added from Pike Street to Denny Way. Neighbors also learned about how some curb bulbs will need to be removed and how the design uses special features – such as raised or colored pavement – to indicate areas where cars are pulling out of driveways or pedestrians are loading and unloading. These features are designed to improve safety for everyone.

2nd Ave load zone

Example of a passenger load zone that will be built in several locations on 2nd Ave in Belltown.

Construction of the 2nd Ave Safety Project will begin this fall and the new protected bike lane is scheduled to open in mid-2017.

Thank you to everyone who participated in the 2nd Ave walk and talk event!

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Preserving a “Best In City” Scarlet Oak

SDOT’s Urban Forestry tree crew has begun work to preserve an enormous scarlet oak (Quercus coccinea) in the Wedgwood neighborhood in north Seattle. This huge tree is one of a handful of trees in the right of way designated as a Heritage Tree.  The Heritage Tree Program is a partnership between the City and PlantAmnesty to recognize outstanding trees based upon the following characteristics:

Specimen: A tree of exceptional size, form, or rarity.
Historic: A tree recognized by virtue of its age, its association with a historic structure or district, or with a noted person or historic event.
Landmark: Trees that are landmarks of a community.
Collection: Trees in a notable grove, avenue, or other planting.

Not only is this scarlet oak a Heritage Tree but this specific tree is also classified as “Best in City” and was featured in an online article in Wedgwood in Seattle History.

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The scarlet oak at 38th Ave NE and NE 77th St in north Seattle.

In April, SDOT was made aware that the trunk of this tree sustained a crack in it, likely during the windstorm in mid-March. SDOT decided to take this extraordinary approach to help demonstrate that preserving large trees is the most important management strategy to meeting our tree canopy goals.

Urban Forestry Manager Darren Morgan says this tree provides tremendous benefits to the community every year and is an icon in the neighborhood.  During the work planning process, several neighbors approached the SDOT team to share their thanks for the tree preservation efforts.

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SDOT Tree Crew Supervisor Joe Markovich oversaw installation.

SDOT Urban Forestry will be installing a cabling and bracing system including hard-to-source materials from Seattle City Light’s warehouse. Portions of the system are rated at 54,000 lbs. tensile strength in order to provide significant reduction in risk. SDOT is committed to performing an annual inspection of the cabling system and will make adjustments to the system and/or the tree as needed to ensure the system continues to provide the intended benefit.  SDOT estimates that the system could add 10 years or more to the life of this otherwise healthy and vigorous tree.

The mission of SDOT’S Urban Forestry division is to administer, maintain, protect, and expand the City’s urban landscape in street right-of-ways for Seattle residents and businesses so that economic, environmental, safety and aesthetic benefits are maximized. For more information about Urban Forestry, check out their webpage here.

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Advancing Equity at SDOT

This past year marked several important milestones for SDOT. It was the first full year under new SDOT Director Scott Kubly and Women and Minority-Owned Business Enterprises (WMBE) Program Manager Edson Zavala. New leadership brought a renewed focus and direction for our equity and inclusion practices. Over the next nine years, the Transportation Levy to Move Seattle will give us an opportunity to include more people and businesses as we implement Seattle’s transportation vision.

The work undertaken by SDOT creates a significant footprint in our community. As such, we are in the unique position to leverage our purchasing power to further our community’s values around diversity and inclusion. The WMBE Program promotes opportunities for women and minority business owners within department contracts, fosters internal department support, and facilitates outreach within the community to increase WMBE inclusion.

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SDOT Director Scott Kubly speaking at a WMBE Working With SDOT event, March 2016.

The new vision for the WMBE Program continues to challenge existing practices to better align with the City’s commitment to equity. The department has risen to the challenge by enacting bold new strategies that change the way we do business in the development and delivery of transportation projects.

Key highlights include:

  • An increase in payments to WMBE businesses in consulting and purchasing
  • Meeting our 2015 12% consultant goal, and challenging ourselves for a greater 15% goal in 2016
  • Marked improvement toward our purchasing goal
  • Heightened WMBE accountability through newly implemented tracking
  • Internal training such as the SDOT WMBE Advocate series to teach staff how to promote equity and inclusion
  • External outreach efforts such as the Working with SDOT and multilingual Introduction to SDOT Workshops
  • Providing advance notice of contracting opportunities
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Bilingual materials from a WMBE Introduction to SDOT workshop, March 2016.

We still have work ahead of us. While we are making strides toward inclusion, further efforts are needed to embed an equity lens into our work process and strengthen our commitment to inclusion of women and minority-owned businesses.

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A WMBE Working With SDOT workshop, October 2015.

To further solidify our commitment to equity, we are establishing the Office of Equity and Economic Inclusion (OEEI) within SDOT. The SDOT OEEI will facilitate our department’s commitment to race and social justice as well as equity in contracting. OEEI will work to ensure opportunity and fairness for all engaged in and affected by SDOT’s work.

For more information, please contact Edson I. Zavala, Manager of the Office of Equity and Economic Inclusion (OEEI) at edson.zavala@seattle.gov or (206) 684-7949.

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Help Keep Seattle Truckin’

Seattle is deciding the future of how trucks will get around our city, and the Freight Master Plan provides us with an opportunity to help move goods efficiently and safely through the city. Local residents, businesses, freight companies, manufacturers, and community councils have weighed in – now we want to hear from you!

Freight Master Plan

Forty percent of jobs in Washington are tied to freight related activity, and that includes more than just next day deliveries from online shopping. The medicine for hospitals, the groceries for stores, the gas for cars, even the beer at your favorite bar all depend on Seattle’s network of planes, trains, ships, and trucks.

How your fish and chips travels by freight

How your fish and chips travels by freight

As Seattle continues to grow, the amount of goods moving on our streets is expected to increase over 60 percent over the next 20 years. To support this growth, and keep traffic flowing, we’ve drafted a Freight Master Plan designed to:

  • Grow our economy
  • Improve safety for everyone on the road
  • Connect industrial areas, business districts, and transportation hubs
  • Maintain and improve our roads
  • Protect communities who live near freight corridors
  • Cut down on harmful pollution

To reach these goals, we’ve proposed a number of ideas, ranging from redesigning intersections and restricting idling to improving loading zone enforcement and implementing new emissions reduction technologies. In addition to city funds, these efforts will be supported by the Levy to Move Seattle, the Port of Seattle, the State of Washington, and federal grants.

First Avenue and Pike Street

First Avenue and Pike Street, looking east up Pike Street. Source: Seattle Municipal Archives Photograph Collection

Our city has come a long way since the above photo from First and Pike a century ago, and we need a freight plan that makes sense with modern demands. We want to hear your ideas of how we can keep goods moving, keep streets safe, and keep Seattle green today and in the future.

Read the full proposal here, and be sure to send your comments to FreightMasterPlan@seattle.gov by July 8, 2016.

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New Central Area Crosswalks Coming Soon!

Crosswalk Photo_Alex Garland

Existing community crosswalk at MLK Jr Way & Alder St. Photo credit: Alex Garland and capitolhillseattle.com

Community crosswalks showcase a neighborhood’s unique culture and history, or just liven up an intersection with artistic and colorful stripes. They’re requested by the community and developed with lots of input to make sure they reflect the neighborhood’s values.

In February, we formalized a community crosswalk in Pan-African colors at Martin Luther King Jr Way and Alder St.  Since then we’ve worked with community members on a plan to add 10 more throughout the Central District; and upgrade the existing one to match the new design shown below.

CD Crosswalk flag

We hope you enjoy this new feature. Learn more about the Community Crosswalks program here.

Phase I – Scheduled for installation during the month of June.

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Phase II – Scheduled for installation with the completion of the 23rd Ave Corridor Project.Phase_2_Map

Existing crosswalks will be removed over a period of one to two days and replaced with temporary materials. New crosswalks will be installed one by one starting with the Martin Luther King Jr Way and Alder St intersection throughout the month of June as weather allows.

Questions? Contact walkandbike@seattle.gov about crosswalk design. Contact Kenny.Alcantara@Seattle.gov or (206) 233-7103 about construction.

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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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