Happy Independence Day, Have a safe Fourth of July Weekend!

City of Seattle offices are closed Friday, July 3 in observance of Independence Day; On-street parking is free in Seattle on Saturday for the July Fourth holiday.

Tens of thousands of people will gather around the shores of Lake Union Saturday and tens of thousands of others will be perched on the hills across Seattle get a view of the fireworks.

fireworks

In neighborhoods and parks throughout the city, friends and families will gather for parties big and small that may go late into the evening.

Whether you’re traveling by foot, car, bike, or scooter it’s extraordinarily important to look out for others when traveling. Here are a few safety tips to ensure that this Fourth of July is all about freedom:

Allow Plenty of Time to Reach Your Destination

Plan your trip and be sure to allow enough time to get where you’re going. Speeding is not going to get you anywhere faster and will most likely cause trouble on our streets. Remember, thousands of people will be out and about. So please slow down and enjoy the summer scenery!

Plan Ahead if You Plan to Drink

Help keep our streets safe by not driving while under the influence of alcohol, which remains the single biggest contributing factor to traffic fatalities, nor driving while under the influence of marijuana. If your plans include some partying, be sure to make your transportation plans before you have that first adult beverage. Take a cab/car service or a bus, choose a designated driver, or sleep it off at a friend’s house. Just don’t get behind the wheel. The Seattle Police Department is deploying extra DUI patrols this weekend to arrest those who make the poor choice of driving intoxicated.

Focus on the Road

There’s no doubt that your phone will be chirping all day long as you coordinate activities and post those super patriotic selfies to the web. Whether you’re driving, walking, or even biking, we recommend that you focus on the road instead of other things. Remember, people will be absolutely everywhere this weekend. Make sure you look out for others.

Stop for Pedestrians

The weather is perfect, and, as mentioned a few times above, people are everywhere. As drivers, be sure to always stop for pedestrians. It’s really quite simple.

Have a Safe and Fun Fourth of July weekend!

Waterfront reopens today as Seawall construction takes a Summer break

The weather is warm and Seattle’s waterfront is bustling with activity as Seawall Project construction takes a summer break between Pike and Madison streets. Starting today, businesses closed since October 2014 to accommodate construction are now open at historic piers 54, 55, 56 and 57. The seawall is complete adjacent to Waterfront Park, and nearly 70 on-street parking spaces are available in between the Seattle Aquarium and Pier 57.

The piers have reopened and the seawall is complete adjacent to Waterfront Park.

The piers have reopened and the seawall is complete adjacent to Waterfront Park.

Nearly 70 on-street parking spaces are now available adjacent to Waterfront Park.

Nearly 70 on-street parking spaces are now available adjacent to Waterfront Park.

 

The view from below the sidewalk of the completed seawall adjacent to Waterfront Park, including the new seawall face, habitat shelves, marine mattresses and overhanging light penetrating sidewalks.

The view from below the sidewalk of the completed seawall adjacent to Waterfront Park, including the new seawall face, habitat shelves, marine mattresses and overhanging light penetrating sidewalks.

Seawall Promenade

This summer, you can access your favorite businesses and attractions from a temporary, park-like pedestrian promenade from University to Madison streets. In this area, you’ll find plenty of special activities including street performers, ping pong tables, and more! Parts of the in-progress Seawall are open for viewing through the excavated areas adjacent to the promenade. Businesses on piers 54, 55, 56 and 57 are open and accessible via pedestrian bridges that span the seawall work zone.

A pedestrian promenade is now open along the central waterfront.

A pedestrian promenade is now open along the central waterfront.

Bridges provide access to the piers, where businesses have reopened.

Bridges provide access to the piers, where businesses have reopened.

Construction will continue near Colman Dock throughout the summer, between Madison Street and Yesler Way. Check out the most recent project flyer for more information.

 

Take a self-guided seawall tour

This summer’s construction hiatus provides an once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see portions of seawall assembly at various stages of completion from Union to Madison streets. When seawall construction is complete in 2016, most of the massive seawall support structure will be covered up by soil, pavement and concrete. Throughout the summer, visitors to the waterfront can learn more about one of Seattle’s most critical pieces of infrastructure via a self-guided tour that provides educational information and unique insights about the Seawall Project.

Keep an eye out for self-guided tour banners – like this one – along the waterfront and learn more about seawall construction.

Keep an eye out for self-guided tour banners – like this one – along the waterfront and learn more about seawall construction.

Post your #SeawallSelfie

Visit the waterfront this summer and snap a photo of you and your friends or family. Tag your photos with #seawallselfie and post them on Facebook or Twitter. We’ll share our weekly favorites!

Come on down to the waterfront this summer, snap a #seawallselfie and share with the Seawall Project on Facebook or Twitter!

Come on down to the waterfront this summer, snap a #seawallselfie and share with the Seawall Project on Facebook or Twitter!

Seawall Project – Summer 2015

Photo8 

Learn more!

For more information about seawall construction, visit the Seawall Project website, or visit the self-guided tour online. If you have questions, email (seawall@waterfrontseattle.org) or call the 24-hour hotline (206.618.8584).

 

Levy to Move Seattle – A Recap and What’s Next

TransportationLevyDesign

In late June, the Seattle City Council’s Special Committee on Transportation Funding voted on over a dozen amendments to the Levy to Move Seattle legislation Mayor Murray sent their way in May. The city council then voted unanimously on June 29 to place the levy on the November ballot.

This is a major milestone in the Levy to Move Seattle’s life (it kind of reminds us of the process of a bill becoming a law…oh Schoolhouse Rocks…but we digress). We’d like to take a moment to recap the process for how we got here.

This past March, Mayor Murray announced a new strategic vision for transportation – Move Seattle. Move Seattle integrates the long-range plans that we’ve put together with the public – walking, biking, transit, and now freight ; each one sets a vision for our transportation system  over the next 20 years.

Each modal plan went through many months of public discussion and engagement. For example, from 2012 to 2014 we worked with the public to update the Bicycle Master Plan. Staff attended dozens of community meetings, district council discussions, and hosted open houses and online meetings. We conducted a statistically valid phone survey with 600 interviewees, received over 3,500 responses to an online survey and learned about thousands of routes via an online mapping tool. All of this helped us understand what improvements residents wanted and where they would like to ride but currently don’t. Through this work we heard from thousands of people throughout the city, providing key input into the plan and ultimately shaping this year’s levy package.

As we work to realize the vision set forth in each plan, as individual projects get started, they go through their own outreach and design processes. Through Move Seattle, we’ve been able to bring all our plans together, so we can work toward building a safe and connected system that works well for all people, whether they walk, drive a car, take transit, bike or move goods.

On the heels of the Move Seattle announcement, the Mayor unveiled a proposal for a new transportation levy to replace the expiring Bridging the Gap levy (which expires at the end of 2015). In developing the draft proposal for the levy, we drew from the Move Seattle project list (this list came from applying the prioritization criteria found in each plan).

Over the course of about 45 days, we took this draft proposal out to over 35 community groups, hosted tables at farmers markets, held coffee hours, conducted traditional open houses, and had one meeting in a local bar. We also engaged with community stakeholders via roundtable sessions with Mayor Murray and our director, Scott Kubly. This helped us hear directly from representatives of immigrant and refugee communities, transportation advocates, neighborhood leaders, and communities of color.

LevyOurVision

Graphic recording of ideas captured at one of our open houses – March 29 at the New Holly Gathering Hall in southeast Seattle.

What we heard in our outreach – in over 8,000 public comments submitted through an online survey and in-person discussions – were three clear community priorities:

  1. Safety is a top goal
  2. People want better access to transit, and they want buses to be more reliable
  3. People want more investments in making Seattle a more walkable city

We used public feedback to rework the proposal, and in May 2015, Mayor Murray announced a final proposal that included new elements to directly reflect what we heard:

  • Funding for the Accessible Mount Baker and Fauntleroy Way Boulevard projects
  • More funding for transit investments
  • Increased investment in new sidewalks

The size of the levy also increased, from $900 million to $930 million over nine years, due in part to growth assumptions (increases in population and property values) and the City’s ability to direct additional estimated revenue to the levy versus the City’s General Fund for all services.

And that brings us back to today. We want to thank everyone for participating and helping to shape the levy. Whether you emailed us with comments or ideas, or maybe you sat in on a coffee hour or community meeting, or stopped to chat at a farmers market – we value your time, and we’re continually looking for creative ways to reach and engage people.

If you have any questions about the Levy to Move Seattle, please contact the Levy outreach lead, Allison Schwartz, at allison.schwartz@seattle.gov or (206) 386-4654. You can also learn more at www.seattle.gov/LevyToMoveSeattle.

Mercer Corridor Project – A Healthy Community is an Informed Community

A construction project on the scale of the Mercer Corridor Project (MCP) requires significant engagement with the countless individuals, businesses, and communities that are influenced by construction activities. As the MCP moves toward substantial completion later this summer, the outreach team continues to keep the neighborhood informed about everything from the overall schedule to details about specific closures. SDOT works diligently to keep commuters, residents, and business owners up to date to ensure our growing communities remain vibrant and healthy. Being knowledgeable of closures and alternative ways to get around and aware of one’s surroundings will help keep everyone safe in the Uptown and SLU communities.

SDOT’s commitment to keep you informed

The outreach team coordinates with the engineering, construction, and SDOT management crews to translate construction activities into understandable language for the community: what’s going to be closed, and when. They’re also sure to keep track of major events in the SLU, Seattle Center, and Downtown areas to minimize conflicts with race routes and other major construction closures. The team then sends this information out to the community through different pathways including email lists, notifications to neighborhood groups, media releases, and updates to the MCP website. Over the course of the project, the outreach team has sent out more than 1,000 email updates, neighbor notifications, and stakeholder outreach notices.

Don’t let construction stop you from enjoying all the community has to offer!

As you walk to Citizen Coffee, catch a show at McCaw Hall or Key Arena, visit the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Visitor Center, or shop for midnight snacks from QFC, make sure you are aware of the latest construction notices that can be easily found on the project website: http://www.seattle.gov/transportation/mercercorridor.htm

Day-Seattle-Skyline_800x

If you’re unsure of the best route to navigate your way from point A to point B, feel free to give us a call on our project hotline (206) 419-5818. We’re always happy to help!

Building Healthy Communities 6-30-15SDOT and our crews look forward to the progress and completion of construction in 2015 and thank you for your patience during construction.

 

For up-to-minute construction updates join our project email list at: http://www.seattle.gov/transportation/mercercorridor.htm or call the 24-hour construction hotline at 206-419-5818.

 

Building Healthy Communities with… SIDEWALKS!

From 2007-2013, SDOT noted an increase in children walking and biking to 26 of 28 schools evaluated in Seattle.* We’re working to continue this trend!

SDOT is helping to build healthy communities by participating in the national Safe Routes to School Program, focused on engineering and education projects to offer children in dense suburban areas safe and walkable routes to school.

KidsandBikes

Walking and biking to school on safe streets is always a good thing.

 

Two recent studies found walking to school associates with higher overall physical activity and other benefits that include:

 

  • Weight and blood pressure control
  • Bone, muscle, and joint health and maintenance
  • Reduction in the risk of diabetes
  • Improved psychological welfare
  • Better academic performance

 

Starting on June 29, SDOT will kick-off construction on three sidewalk projects in north Seattle:

 

  • 20th Avenue NE near Sacajawea Elementary School
  • 3rd Avenue NW near Viewlands Elementary School
  • NE 77th Street near Thornton Creek School

 

These projects are part of SDOT’s Pedestrian Master Plan and Safe Routes to School Program to make each route safer and improve the walking experience for all, including students at nearby schools.

BikesAtSchool

Bicycles at a local Seattle school.

Improvements include new sidewalks and curb ramps, revamped crosswalks and additional efforts to promote safe driving. Construction will conclude before school starts on September 8, just in time for that first walk to the classroom.

For updates on schedule and contact information visit the project web pages:

 

*Annual count by Seattle Public Schools

Construction Management Plans for ROW Impacts – COMING JULY 6

As the construction surge continues it’s increasinglyCMP blog photo2 challenging for construction projects to maintain access for motor vehicle, bicycle and pedestrian travelers. But one practice that has proved beneficial is the early creation and collaborative review of a comprehensive Construction Management Plan, or CMP.

When developers and contractors create CMPs and work with the City of Seattle to identify potential conflicts up front, projects run more smoothly. That’s why SDOT will soon be asking for CMPs from most mid- to large-sized projects that significantly impact the public right of way.

So what is a Construction Management Plan? A CMP is a pre-permitting document that clarifies how construction will be managed over the entire course of a project. It includes plans for traffic management, noise mitigation, pedestrian circulation, and parking.

Projects involving a State Environmental Protection Act (SEPA) review have always had to submit a CMP; as of July 6, 2015 those that significantly impact the public right of way will also need to submit a CMP at least two months prior to construction.

Since a CMP helps contractors and SDOT identify potential problems before construction begins, this new requirement will not only help keep the right of way usable for the public, it will also help save developers and contractors time and money. Small residential projects on non-arterials are not likely to require a CMP, but any project that either (1) significantly impacts the right of way, or (2) triggers a State Environmental Protection Act (SEPA) review, will require submission of a CMP before a Street Use permit will be issued.

Keep an eye out for details regarding CMP requirements, templates, and timelines when we launch our new CMP webpage on July 6.

If you’d like to inquire as to whether your project will require a CMP, or if you’d like to schedule a CMP coaching appointment, please contact the Street Use Applicant Services Team at sdotpermits@seattle.gov, or 206-684-5283. Also, feel free to visit our Permit Services Counter on floor 23 of the Seattle Municipal Tower at 700 5th Ave.

Live from Lake City: Construction Update at Lake City Way and 24th Avenue NE

 

Crews are busy preparing the subgrade for drainage and sidewalk improvements.

Crews are busy preparing the subgrade for drainage and sidewalk improvements

The city continues their work to transform the intersection of Lake City Way NE and 24th Avenue NE. As noted previously here on the SDOT blog, this project will overhaul this intersection and provide new pavement, sidewalks, curb ramps and traffic signal controls. The changes will improve the safety for all users of these streets. When finished, drivers, pedestrians, and bicyclists will notice the significantly improved sidewalks and transit stop. Construction is expected to be complete in another 30 to 45 days.

Thanks to the outstanding summer weather, our contractor is making quick work. New curb ramps have been constructed on the east side of Lake City Way and excavation for the extensive sidewalks on the west side of the roadway is nearly complete. Over the next few weeks, crews will complete sidewalk construction and prepare foundations for new traffic signal mast arms.

New curb ramps on the east side of Lake City Way.

New curb ramps on the east side of Lake City Way.

This project was identified by the residents and business owners that have guided the Lake City Way Traffic Safety Project. SDOT and our partners will continue to implement priority projects for the next several years along this corridor.

 

Bike share your way around town!

Bike share can help you get around town faster and easier.

Bike share can help you get around town faster and easier.

If you need to make a quick trips on Seattle streets, consider signing up for bike share, an innovative program allowing users to take short trips easily without owning their own bike.

Pronto Cycle Share provides a fleet of specially designed and durable bikes found in docking stations located throughout Seattle. With this program, you can borrow a bike any time you like. The program is best for short trips – typically less than two miles.

Bikes can be picked up and returned to any station, creating an efficient network with many connection points, departures and arrivals.

One of the many bike share locations around the city-- 2nd & University.

One of the many bike share locations around the city– 2nd & University.

Bike share complements Seattle’s transit and light rail systems. In cities like Seattle, up to 50% of bike share trips are to or from public transit stations. In Seattle, bike share is used by commuters and tourists, for rush hour commuting, work or errand running, or moving among the city’s variety of attractions.

For more information on how to get involved, visit SDOT’S bike share page here.

When you don’t live near a bus route….

A Vanpool or Van Share may be the solution to your commute if there is no public transit near your home or near your workplace. Sharing a van is a convenient and cost-effective for the everyday commuter. You can use HOV lanes on the freeways, save money on gas and parking, and can shorten your commute instead of driving solo.

Metro Vanpool_Flickr_Oran Viriyincy

Van Shares you could be using!

Five or more people can form a Vanpool or Van Share. Vanpool participants share a flat monthly cost based on round trip distance and the number of people in the van. Van Share riders pay $185 each month, split among all riders. Gas, insurance and maintenance are all paid for both.

When you form a Vanpool, one person can act as driver and bookkeeper, but it’s nice if more people share these roles. You’ll enjoy discounted parking in some areas as well.

Van Shares are like Vanpools except they are limited to 20 miles round trip and must connect with transit, ferries, or trains for one leg of the trip. For example, you could use the Sounder commuter rail to arrive at King Street Station, and then pick up a Van Share in the garage and drive to your work outside of downtown.

RSO Vanpool Bike (48)

You can get help finding members for your van or attend a “ride share meetup” in your area this summer.

For more information on Vanpools and Van Shares, visit us here or call (206) 625-4500.

Proposed Protected Bike Lane in Fremont: We need your help!

ProtectedBikeLane34th

You have an opportunity to provide input for a new protected bike lane segment along N 34th Street in Fremont!

More than 100 people bike on N 34th Street between the Burke-Gilman Trail and the Fremont Bridge during the peak morning and evening weekday hours. Currently, bicyclists share the road with people who drive vehicles.  There is an eastbound bike lane between Evanston Avenue N and Fremont Avenue N.

SDOT is proposing to extend the existing bike lane along N 34th Street from Evanston Avenue N to Phinney Avenue N.  We would convert it to a two-way protected bike facility that would accommodate people of all ages and abilities and provide a connection between the Burke-Gilman Trail and the Fremont Bridge. The existing parking configuration will not change.

MapProtectedBikeLane

Map of proposed changes on 34th between Evanston Avenue N and Phinney Avenue N.

This project is funded as part of the Bicycle Master Plan.

Please provide any feedback you have by June 26th to the project manager, Howard Wu at howard.wu@seattle.gov.