Keeping people moving around the waterfront during seawall construction

If you haven’t been to the waterfront lately, you might not be able to recognize it. Seawall construction is in full swing, and replacing this important piece of infrastructure is no small task. Despite all the activity, the waterfront is open and accessible, and keeping vehicle and pedestrian traffic moving is a priority.

Seawall excavation near Waterfront Park

Seawall excavation near Waterfront Park

Cars and trucks

In November 2013, a temporary roadway was installed under the Alaskan Way Viaduct to keep one of the city’s main arterials humming, despite the active construction taking place just to the west. The new roadway has helped minimize disruptions to cars, trucks and other vehicles moving north and south along the waterfront. Need a place to park? Be sure to check out to find parking lots and rates near the waterfront.

Bikes and peds

Bikes and pedestrians are important, too! A multi-use pathway along the west side of the viaduct keeps pedestrians and bicycles moving to and from their favorite destinations. The path, directly adjacent to the work zone, also gives travelers on foot and two wheels a front-row seat for construction.

Additional signage and wayfinding have been installed all along the construction zone to help travelers of all modes safely navigate the project area.

12-17-14 Pedestrians


Learn more!

Recently, people were able to get an insider’s look at this historic construction project on a walking tour with the Seawall Project Street Team! They learned about the seawall design and peeked through the fence to see construction in action. We’ll continue to host tours of the project each month, so check our website to learn more.

12-17-14 Tours

For more information about seawall construction, visit the Seawall Project website, If you have questions, email the Seawall Project ( or call the 24-hour hotline (206.618.8584).

Solid Gold! Seattle is Bike Friendly

Great news for the City, and its work on making bicycle riding a great travel option for all ages and abilities. Seattle’s designation as a Gold Level Bicycle Friendly Community was recently renewed by the League of American Bicyclists. Seattle is part of a select group of 335 communities in all 50 states (Washington ranks #1) that is committed to improving health, safety, and quality of life, by implementing projects and programs that support bicycling. Seattle is among 21 Gold communities nationwide, four cities nationally have reached Platinum designation (Davis, Boulder, Fort Collins and Portland). We’ll continue to work towards this goal.

“Visionary community leaders are recognizing the real-time and long term impact that a culture of bicycling can create,” said Andy Clarke, president of the League of American Bicyclists. “We applaud this new round of communities for investing in a more sustainable future for the country and a healthier future for their residents.”  More information about the program is available here.

The league was especially interested in Seattle’s commitment to equity, as reflected in the 2014 update of the Bicycle Master Plan. Seattle was asked to write a guest post for the News—the League blog— to share more about the importance of equity in our planning and project delivery processes, which you can find here.

Rainier Vista Traffic Safety Play Street - Oct.  2014

Rainier Vista Traffic Safety Play Street – Oct. 2014

Pronto Cycle Share Keeps rolling through the Holidays and the New Year, Groupon Alert!

With just over two months under its chain, Pronto continues to gain momentum as they roll into and through the holiday season. Pronto is Seattle’s first bike-share service designed to serve commuters, and has 500 bikes located at 50 stations with 24-hour access and is currently offering a Groupon. Riders can use the service as a worry-free travel option and won’t have to to worry about locks, bike maintenance or repair, as a part of their cycle share service.

Pronto bikes have seven speeds, a bell, front and rear flashing lights, and a front rack. Pronto also supplies a helmet—freshly-cleaned rentals are free to borrow at every station.

30 cost-free minutes is provided, and their annual memberships and 24-hour passes let riders take out bikes as often as they want within that time frame, but riders will want to find a docking station every 30 minutes (to avoid usage fees).

Here’s a link to their website.

Pronto 12-17-14


First Hill Public Realm Action Plan open house at Town Hall on January 7th at 5pm, Public feedback wanted!

First Hill’s growing residential population, cultural institutions, and influx of workers warrants high quality public spaces that meet mobility and recreational needs. The current First Hill neighborhood plan (from 1998) recognizes this need for open space in this bustling, downtown-adjacent neighborhood, but despite efforts to advance this goal, land acquisition has proven to be challenging. For this educational open house, city staff will be present to discuss open space concepts and implementation strategies for these innovative open space proposals. Moving beyond land acquisition, the plan incorporates street spaces and private development to create a greener, more walkable neighborhood.

12-17-14 First Hill_Interim Intersection_Perspective


Wednesday Januray 7th, 2015 at 5 p.m. at Town Hall 1119 Eighth Avenue.

Presenters include Susan McLaughlin, Urban Designer/Project Manager at Seattle Department of Transportation; Donald Harris and Chip Nevins, Department of Parks & Recreation, Property and Acquisition Services; Lyle Bicknell, Principal Urban Designer with the Department of Planning & Development; and Alex Hudson, Coordinator for the First Hill Improvement Association.

Thanks to a mild winter, bicyclists are getting around without dealing with extreme wintry weather

“Oh, the weather outside is frightful”… Actually, the weather has been very favorable for biking here in the northwest this past fall and winter. Mother Nature has provided us with mostly decent conditions; the mild weather has also allowed Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) crews to complete work on the many Bridging the Gap (BTG) bike projects across the city. BTG is the nine-year, $365 million transportation initiative that was passed by Seattle voters in 2006. It provides key funding for many projects across the city including implementation of the Bicycle Master Plan.

Freshly restriped Bike Lane

Freshly restriped Bike Lane

2014 has been a solid year for BTG cycling projects across the city and SDOT crews have wrapped their work. This year four miles of neighborhood greenways were installed, 60 miles of bike lanes and sharrows were restriped, 25 miles of bicycle route signage and more than 500 bicycle parking spaces were installed at key locations across the city. In addition, SDOT crews inspected 40 miles of trail across the city was inspected and made improvements to 10 key locations. All this work helps make bicycling in Seattle easier and more accessible to everyone.


New Bike Route signs

New Bike Route signs

So get out, take advantage of this unseasonably nice weather we are seeing and enjoy the many new projects completed by SDOT this year. We look forward to enhancing mobility in the coming new year by continuing more Bridging the Gap projects.

urban treespeeps at Fremont BrdgRESIZE

BTG funding provides maintenance to Seattle’s roads, bridges, stairways, sidewalks and bike facilities with the goal of making it easier for all users to get around the city more easily and safely. For additional information on BTG and the work it does please visit the web page.

Getting around with help from the holiday construction moratorium in Seattle

Seattle Department of Transportation generally does not allow construction work during the winter holidays in streets or sidewalks located in the Downtown Retail Core and in Pioneer Square. This ban on construction helps Seattle businesses during the peak shopping season and reduces traffic congestion during this busy time of year. The moratorium period is from Thanksgiving Day through January 1. Exceptions are allowed for emergencies and for special conditions authorized by the Director of the Seattle Department of Transportation.

Blog Map for 12-5-14


The boundaries of the two areas are: Central Retail Shopping District: Seneca Street, 1-5 Freeway, Denny Way, Virginia Street and 1st Avenue; Pioneer Square District: Columbia Street, 2nd Avenue, 2nd Avenue South, South King Street and Elliott Bay.


For more information, call 684-ROAD (7623).

More Dynamic Message Signs coming to Seattle to keep Motorists informed

SDOT, like other transportation agencies throughout the nation, is using technological advances to better inform motorists of road conditions, giving drivers information they can use to consider the best route to reach their destination, or just how long it may take to get there.

Dynamic Message Signs, are large overhead message boards that inform motorists of traffic problems ahead. These signs can also recommend alternative routes, limit travel speed, warn of duration and location of problems, or simply provide alerts or warnings. Strategically located traffic cameras throughout the city are monitored in SDOT’s Traffic Management Center, and inform staff of conditions and issues that warrant a sign message.

DMS at Terry Avenue and Mercer Street

DMS at Terry Avenue and Mercer Stree

While dynamic message signs are probably more commonly visible to motorists on I-5, SDOT has two dozen already constructed at key locations throughout Seattle and will soon be adding another seven. Needing to be big to be visible to passing motorists, the new signs will be approximately 17 feet wide, seven feet tall, and placed about 19 feet above the roadway.

The seven signs are slated for construction in the summer of 2015. Each location will take about a month to complete, although construction is likely to occur in spurts as different crews complete different aspects of installation. The seven locations for the next grouping of these dynamic message signs are at:


  • Above the northbound travel lanes of First Avenue South, just north of Royal Brougham Way (the street that runs east/west near Safeco and Century Link Fields)
  • Above the northbound travel lanes of Fourth Avenue South, south of Seattle Boulevard South, where I-90 touches down on Fourth (also close to the stadiums)
  • Above the southbound travel lanes of Elliott Avenue West at Harrison Street (the intersection that has long been home to the Shanty Café)
  • Above the southbound travel lanes of Elliott Avenue West just south of West Prospect Street (the street with the Amgen-Helix Campus pedestrian overpass)
  • Above the southbound travel lanes of Fifth Avenue a little north of Lenora (about a block north of the Westin Hotel)
  • Above the northbound travel lanes of Rainier Avenue South at South College Street (just south of where Rainier intersects with 23rd Avenue South)
  • Above the northbound travel lanes of 24th Avenue East at East Lee Street a block south of East Galer Street, which has a traffic signal


The dynamic message signs and traffic cameras are key components of what is commonly known as Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS). To find out more about how SDOT is taking advantage of the Next Generation ITS, visit our webpage located at

Help SDOT Create More Safe Routes to School

As previously highlighted here on the blog, we’re in the process of reviewing each aspect of our Safe Routes to School program with a diverse work group including administrators from Seattle Public Schools, parents, teachers and our government partners. Early next year we’ll introduce new pedestrian and bicycle safety education and encouragement programs along with revised enforcement commitments in our school zones. Another substantial component of this work is to continue to improve the built environment to better link parents, teachers and students to schools. And we need your help!

We want to know where people are speeding, where people fail to stop for pedestrians or where crossing and/or sidewalk improvements are needed. And we’ve developed an online tool to help collect this information. The feedback you provide will be used to prioritize future infrastructure investments, enforcement activities, and educational outreach. In fact, SDOT will develop conceptual designs for 12 locations selected through this exercise and we will build each of these improvements over the next few years.

Follow the link below to share your thoughts with SDOT using our wikimap:

Seattle’s School Road Safety Action Plan Wikimap

How can we help improve your route to school? Tell us via the wikimap.

How can we help improve your route to school? Tell us via the wikimap.

The comment period ends on January 9th so there are just a few weeks to provide feedback.

Thanks for your help, Seattle!




Meet Kyle Rowe, SDOT Pedestrian and bicycle transportation planner

On the SDOT blog, we often feature safety improvements and innovative ideas and projects. But, you may be curious about the people behind those ideas.

Following our recent blog post about Seattle’s First Bicycle Leaning Rails, we wanted to highlight one of our SDOT employees, Kyle Rowe, who actually helped design (from scratch!) the bicycle leaning rail for the City. With a nod to the bicycle leaning rails used in Copenhagen, Kyle worked with his fellow SDOT colleagues to determine the size and dimensions, materials, functionality and look for these rails. In addition to providing a place to stop, the leaning rail will also feature a push button that bike riders can use to trigger a crossing at the traffic light. The leaning rail will make a busy intersection safer for everyone using it.

Kyle Rowe1

Kyle is a project lead for bicycle, pedestrian and other safety improvement projects in SDOT’s Traffic Management division. Those handy City of Seattle bike maps? Yep, Kyle is one of the key people in charge of updating and producing those every year. Ever seen or used a “bike corral” to park your bike? Chances are, Kyle helped get it installed. Kyle also helps implement the projects identified in the City’s Bike Master Plan and Pedestrian Master Plan to improve safety, mobility and accessibility throughout Seattle.

We’re looking forward to sharing more of the faces and stories behind SDOT’s everyday work.

Completing Connections – New and improved SR 520 West Approach North Bridge Project Update

The new and improved SR 520 is coming to Seattle, with work continuing to the complete the anticipated connection.  WSDOT is building the West Approach Bridge North Project (WABN) that will be nearly as long as the new floating bridge itself. The Project addresses the vulnerability of the existing west approach bridge’s hollow columns which could fail during a significant earthquake. The  new West Approach North Bridge will be a seismically sound structure, built to modern earthquake standards.

The new, 1.2-mile-long replacement will carry three westbound lanes of traffic (including a new HOV lane) from the new floating bridge to Seattle’s Montlake Boulevard interchange. The new bridge section is expected to open to drivers in 2017, about a year after the new floating bridge is completed. The new bridge section will  have a 14-foot wide cross-lake path for pedestrians and bicyclists that will stretch from the Eastside to Montlake.

SR  520 Blog Pix 12-10-14

WABN will have wider, safer lanes, and shoulders that allow vehicles to pull off the road in the case of a breakdown.

SR 520 Blog Pix2 12-10-14

WABN will complete the bicycle/pedestrian connection across Lake Washington with a new, 14-foot-wide regional shared-use path.

SR 520 Blog Pix3 12-10-14

WABN will extend transit/HOV lanes from the Eastside across Lake Washington to Montlake.

SR 520 Blog Pix 4 12-10-14

WABN’s new shared-use path will include “belvederes,” or viewpoints, for resting and enjoying the views.