President’s Day Holiday

In observance of President’s Day, City of Seattle offices are closed on Monday February 16th.

On-street parking is free in Seattle on February 16th, Happy President’s Day!

Mount Rushmore

Mount Rushmore


Another Parklet in Opening in Seattle…And Big Program News on February 21

Mark your calendar now—Seattle’s sixth parklet will open in Uptown at SIFF Cinema at 511 Queen Anne Ave N, on Saturday, Feb. 21 at 1:30 p.m. Mayor Murray and SDOT Director Scott Kubly will join the parklet hosts and others from the community for the grand opening and a special announcement about the future of parklets in Seattle. We’d love to see you there, so plan to swing by to check out the new parklet and share some coffee and snacks. The parklet will feature colorful seats, a mini library, and bike parking and is located at Queen Anne Avenue North and Republican Street.

The Uptown Parklet is now under construction

The Uptown Parklet is now under construction

Our newest parklet is hosted by the Uptown Alliance, and will be the sixth installed in Seattle. Parklets are small community gathering spaces built in a couple of on-street parking spots and are a cost-effective way to activate streets, create more vibrant neighborhoods, and promote economic vitality.

This rendering gives an idea of what you can expect to see on February 20.

This rendering gives an idea of what you can expect to see on February 21.

Are you interested in hosting a parklet? Well, you’re in luck! We’ll have much more to share about the next phase of the program—including a brand-new twist on parklets—on February 21.

Curious how well parklets are working in Seattle? Check out some of the data we’ve gathered throughout the pilot program:

Parklet Program data

Parklet Program data

For more information on the Seattle Parklet Pilot Program:

SDOT Crews Taking (and Building) Steps to Reconnect Neighborhoods Update!

Back in December we shared our first SDOT video post featuring SDOT crew (Kurt and Brett) working hard to replace and build a new stairway that would reconnect South Grand Street from Bradner Place at the top of the hill to South Grand at 28th Avenue South.  The stairway is now open and permanent steel handrails will be installed soon.

Now neighbors and families with children can easily get to and from Bradner Gardens Park and the community P-Patch above the stairway to the east, to nearby Colman Playground and other nearby parks below the stairway to the west. This and other SDOT projects are working to improve the infrastructure, and enhance mobility throughout the city.


New Stairway Facing East


New Stairway facing West

New Stairway facing west









Here’s the original video post from December:

The original stairway was built in the 1930’s and was steep, narrow, and overgrown with trees and bushes making it look like what was described as a “hobbit hole”.

The task of making a new wider stairway that is up to modern code required clearing the overgrown tree canopy above and around the entrance at the top, demolishing and recycling the old stairway, and then widening the path, then creating a landing after the first twenty steps to project the stairway out from the hillside which decreased the angle and steepness of the stairway.

Stairway Pix 4

New stairway – in progress

SDOT carpenters Kurt and Brett are part of two person crews who work on these projects from start to finish. This involves clearing of foliage, demolition, engineering and framing of the new stairway for concrete pouring, and building the rails to ensure a safe, accessible new stairway.

Stairway Pix 8

Stairway before

Stairway Pix 2

Stairway in progress

The Bradner Place stairway project started in November and is expected to be completed by February, we’ll bring you an update once it completed.

Stairway Pix 3

Vision Zero Seattle – A Vision for Safer Streets for All

Seattle is one of the safest cities in the country. We’re also the fastest growing major city in the country. The good news is that crashes are trending downward. But last year, 15 people died in traffic collisions. In 2013, 23 people died. Every year, close to 155 people are seriously injured and more than 10,000 crashes occur. That’s nearly 30 crashes every day. The emotional impact this has on families, friends, and the broader community is unspeakable. And there are significant economic consequences as well.

We can do better. We must do better.

That’s why today, Mayor Murray and other city leaders announced Vision ZeroSeattle’s plan to end traffic deaths and serious injuries by 2030. Vision Zero is a worldwide movement that calls into question the inevitability of death and injury on our streets. With today’s announcement, Seattle is making a clear statement that death on our streets is unacceptable and preventable, and we’re going to do something about it.

Vizion Zero

Seattle’s actions moving forward in 2015 focus on three key pieces:

  1. Roadway design that takes human error into account and creates a safer, more predictable environment for all travelers.
  2. Targeted education and public engagement that empowers people to make better decisions
  3. Data-driven enforcement that targets high crash areas and key behaviors


Specific actions include:

  • Lower speed limit to 20 MPH on neighborhood streets (non-arterials)
  • Lower arterial speed limits
  • Targeted safety improvements on high collision corridors, paired with enforcement to reduce speed, impairment, and distraction
  • Re-enforcement patrols to reward good behavior
  • Expanded photo enforcement program
  • Community partnerships to expand education and enforcement efforts


These are tried and true strategies that work. We see them working here in Seattle, and want to apply them more, so we can improve safety for all travelers, especially as our city continues to grow.


Today, Mayor Murray launched Vision Zero at the Lake City Library where we’re putting these tactics to work. The neighborhood streets surrounding the library will soon become a 20 MPH Zone — a new strategy to bring a higher level of safety near places like schools and parks. We’ll accomplish this by using low cost measures like signs and pavement markings.

20 MPH Zone near Olympic Hills Greenway

20 MPH Zone near Olympic Hills Greenway

This 20 MPH Zone is near the recently completed Olympic Hills Greenway – a new facility where we’ve added speed humps, sharrows, and crossing improvements to improve safety for people walking, biking, and driving. And to the south, we’ve got the recently overhauled NE 125th Street.


Just to the east, on busy Lake City Way, we’ve partnered with residents and the State to bring extra patrols and safety education to the corridor. Data-driven infrastructure investments will significantly enhance the built environment, reduce collisions and improve conditions for everyone.

Lake City Way NE

Lake City Way NE

This is Vision Zero.

Learn more about Vision Zero at

Mercer Corridor Project – The Importance of Improving Infrastructure

The Mercer Corridor Project West Phase is progressing toward completion later this year. After a few years of construction in the Mercer Corridor, with associated restrictions in mobility for all modes, Mercer Street, with new lanes, concrete pavement and sidewalks, and separated bike lanes will be fully operational.

West Mercer Update

Mercer Corridor Aerial Concept

The Mercer Corridor links I-5 to Elliot Ave. W and is one of the most critical east/west routes in the city serving tens of thousands of travelers and freight haulers every day in Seattle’s fastest growing neighborhood. Prior to construction, the Mercer Corridor was a one-way eastbound arterial (Mercer St.) with an indirect westbound route that caused delays and created conflicts between vehicles, pedestrians and bicyclists. In addition, the Mercer Corridor had an inadequate pedestrian environment, with narrow and aging sidewalks, no separate bicycle lanes, and obsolete traffic signals. Each of these issues was addressed as part of the Mercer Corridor Project design. The Mercer West Project will:

Widen Mercer Street to create a two-way arterial with three lanes in each direction across SR99:

  • Affects 37,000 daily drivers heading west from I-5
  • Reduces vehicle miles traveled (VMT) which leads to reduction in Greenhouse Gas Emissions
  • Provides direct truck connections between I-5 and the Ballard-Interbay Manufacturing and Industrial Center.
  • Provides a connection between the SR 99 Bored Tunnel and neighborhoods west of SR 99.
  • Reduces conflicts between vehicles, bicycles, and pedestrians.
Mercer Street facing East

Mercer Street facing East

Upgrade signals

  • Will adapt to changing traffic conditions
  • More energy efficient
Mercer Street at 5th Ave

Mercer Street at 5th Ave

Improve pedestrian mobility and access

  • Creates safe convenient crossings at intersections on Mercer and Roy streets, and brings crossings into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
  • Widens sidewalks on Mercer St. across SR99
  • Removes major conflict points between turning traffic and pedestrians.


Improve bicycle mobility and access

  • Creates a continuous bicycle connection from Fairview Ave N to Queen Anne Ave N with bicycle lanes on Valley and Roy streets and a separated pathway on Mercer across SR 99.
  • Provides the first block of future separated bike lanes on Fifth Ave N between Mercer and Denny Way.


Replace aging infrastructure

  • New concrete pavement on Mercer St.
  • New Sixth Ave N connecting Mercer to Harrison St, as well as the SR 99 Tunnel.
  • Replaces the SR99 bridge over Mercer St, bringing it to current seismic standards.
  • Reinforces the retaining wall on the north side of Mercer St.
  • Installs energy-efficient LED street lights
  • Replaces 80-115 year old water and sewer mains
  • Installs new stormwater detention facilities and treatment facilities to protect Lake Union
  • Undergrounds the 115 kV Broad-University Transmission Line
  • Installs Distribution System Capacity Enhancements for Seattle City Light’s customers


Although construction has been lengthy, the Mercer Corridor Project is an investment in our economy and our future. The Mercer Corridor Project improvements will support the 38,000 new jobs and 18,000 new households expected in the area by 2024.

The projected benefit of the Mercer West Project attributed to the investment in new infrastructure is estimated to be $100 M to $350 M over the next 25 years. The cost-benefit analysis is summarized in the Federal Highway Administration TIGER IV Grant Application, which is located on the project website:

SDOT 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: or call the 24-hour construction hotline at 206-419-5818.

A Seawall Update: Jet Grouting, It’s providing a strong foundation

The existing seawall has protected Seattle’s waterfront for more than 70 years, but time and a harsh marine environment have weakened this vital piece of infrastructure, which is currently being replaced.

Cross-section of the existing seawall, including the timber piles and relieving platform

Cross-section of the existing seawall, including the timber piles and relieving platform

The seawall structure is more than just the concrete face at the edge of the water. An estimated 20,000 old growth timbers were driven into the soil to build the old structure. In some locations, such as near the historic piers, the wall is approximately 60 feet wide. The new seawall will utilize a method called jet grouting to stabilize the existing soil behind the seawall face.

Cross-section of the new seawall structure, including jet grout columns

Cross-section of the new seawall structure, including jet grout columns

What is Jet Grouting?

Jet grouting is a soil improvement technique that is the primary foundational element of the new seawall. Jet grout makes soil stronger by drilling into the ground and injecting grout, which mixes with the dirt below to create columns of stabilized soil. The columns are arranged in a honeycomb pattern, and extend approximately 50 to 60 feet below the surface of an excavated pit.

Excavation reveals the relieving platform of the original seawall

Excavation reveals the relieving platform of the original seawall

Excavating down to the existing seawall

Prior to stabilizing the soil, a large pit is excavated down to the relieving platform of the existing seawall. Once excavation is complete, the relieving platform is removed and the tops of the existing timber support structure are identified and surveyed to avoid conflicts with jet grout installation. The timber support structure from the existing seawall will remain in the ground, entombed in the jet grout columns.

Surveyors confirm the location for jet grout column installation near Waterfront Park

Surveyors confirm the location for jet grout column installation near Waterfront Park

Jet grouting continues on the central waterfront

As the Seawall Project works north to south, jet grouting is currently under way near the historic piers and was recently completed near Waterfront Park. When the project is finished, nearly 3.1 million cubic feet of grout and 6,000 columns will be placed in the ground, providing a stable seawall foundation for years to come.

A jet grout rig drills columns near the historic piers]

A jet grout rig drills columns near the historic piers

Learn more!

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

You’re Part of Access Seattle

Have you heard of Access Seattle? You’ve likely seen its results in the form of better access around construction sites, with much of the assessing and coordinating done before construction begins. The effort to keep Seattle mobile and thriving during construction booms involves the Construction Hub Coordination Program and works in part because of you —  eyes on the street.

Site Coordinators are out regularly in the hub areas, partnering with Street Use inspectors across the city, to identify and help resolve infractions and hazards. More identified hubs are expected soon, but SDOT’s Street Use staff respond to access concerns regardless of location. Many concerns are raised by you – the collective community experiencing construction impacts where you live, work and travel. To collaborate more with you, save the email to your mobile phone and email when/if you see things like the examples below. If the area in question is not in a currently identified Hub, we’ll let our inspectors know what’s up!

Poor signage and pathways near 1601 N 34th Street

Poor signage and pathways near 1601 N 34th Street


Unpermitted queuing on 11th Avenue in Capitol Hill



Unapproved traffic control near 1414 10th Avenue on Capitol Hill

All of the infractions shown above were rectified by the Access Seattle team–Construction Hub staff and Street Use inspectors–from requiring long-idling construction vehicles to leave unpermitted areas to issuing citations and working with the contractor to immediately improve the traffic control set-up. Some fixes are small, like adjusting sidewalk signage to clear the pedestrian pathway (see below) that that the first photo in our story depicts.

Pedestrian pathway cleared, near 1601 N 34th Street

Pedestrian pathway cleared, near 1601 N 34th Street

Pedestrian safety is a priority, with our Access Seattle staff always working to improve pathways.

N Northlake Place near 1601 N 34th St

N Northlake Place near 1601 N 34th St

Pedestrian pathway installation where fencing at 665 King St had blocked access

There are of course many examples of great construction site management and contractor efforts to lessen the impacts of their work on the community. We’ll talk about that in weeks to come, along with more infraction highlights and their remedies.


In the meantime, know that Access Seattle is always working for you, negotiating for things like better pedestrian access when a project proposes closing sidewalks entirely; bringing multiple projects together to talk about ways to contribute to neighborhood needs, like street parking; or arranging for methods to improve project sites to lessen negative impacts like littering and tagging.


As you can imagine, there are a lot of sites across Seattle needing TLC/enforcement, but we’re also trying to build capacity to respond. Our small but nimble team is on it, and looking to grow with you.

City of Seattle Seeks Proposals for Coordinated Street Furniture Program

The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) is seeking to improve the streetscapes of downtown Seattle and South Lake Union, and has issued a request for proposals (RFP) for a Coordinated Street Furniture Program. The program’s goal is to enhance the public right of way through high quality street furniture and a higher level of maintenance while also improving pedestrian circulation and safety.

Qualified companies are invited to offer their proposals for the design, fabrication, supply, installation, operation, maintenance and repair of coordinated street furniture located in the public right of way in downtown Seattle and South Lake Union.

The City expects the Coordinated Street Furniture Program will provide:

Kiosk Example elsewhere - (not intended to represent design or potential advertising in Seattle).

Kiosk Example elsewhere – (not intended to represent design or potential advertising in Seattle).

  • An enhanced public realm experience for pedestrians, transit riders and visitors.
  • Improved comfort and usability of public gathering spaces, transit stops and stations, and public information systems, such as wayfinding.
  • A new variety of publicly accessible facilities and removal of “clutter” in the public realm.
  • Ongoing maintenance and cleanliness of all street furnishings in the program and areas around those furnishings.
  • A share of created advertising revenue to support further streetscape enhancements, center city transportation projects, safety upgrades or other needs.

The Coordinated Street Furniture Program may include, but is not limited to, transit shelters, informational kiosks, consolidated refuse receptacles and seating elements. If approved by the Seattle City Council, limited advertising may be permitted on selected street furniture.

Information Kiosk example elsewhere - not intended to represent design or potential advertising in Seattle.

Information Kiosk example elsewhere – (not intended to represent design or potential advertising in Seattle).

Transit Shelter Example elsewhere - (not intended to represent design or potential advertising in Seattle).

Transit Shelter Example elsewhere – (not intended to represent design or potential advertising in Seattle).


The program would provide new street furnishings and amenities in downtown Seattle and South Lake Union in addition to direct revenue to the City. The program vendor would maintain the furnishings as well as the streetscapes surrounding them, which would generate cost savings for the city and, possibly, for King County Metro as well. A coordinated street furniture program has the potential to generate $4-7 million of new revenue annually.

As part of this program, the City seeks exceptional design quality that complements the urban environment, functionality of the elements, and safe and accessible placement of street furniture. All elements of the Coordinated Street Furniture Program will occupy public space and will be maintained and serviced by the successful vendor. The full request for proposal can be found at:

Beacon Hill Safety Improvements Underway

The North Beacon Safety Connections Project is making safety improvements on Beacon Hill for pedestrians and bicyclists, including students and families traveling to and from Beacon Hill International school. Please checkout our Blog Video below featuring Safe Routes To School Coordinator Brian Dougherty with his update.

Beacon Hill International School

Beacon Hill International School

Beacon Ave Sidewalk

Beacon Ave Sidewalk

North Beacon Safety Map - click to view largerSDOT crews are building a new redesigned intersection south of the school at Beacon Avenue South and 14th Avenue South. The new intersection will have:

  • An all-way stop with marked crosswalks on all sides.
  • Curb ramps and curb extensions at all corners of the intersection which reduces the pedestrian crossing distance.
  • A raised crosswalk in the south portion of the intersection which will encourage slower vehicle crossing speed.

The intersection is also being realigned so that southbound motorists on 14th Ave South must turn left or right at Beacon Avenue South, except bicycles.  The change will reduce cut-through traffic on 14th Avenue South and will improve visibility and safety for people crossing the street.

Beacon Avenue Sidewalk2

Beacon Avenue Sidewalk Construction

Beacon Ave South

Beacon Ave Construction

This project is a part of Safe Routes to School an organized national effort to make it easier and safer for students to walk and bike to school. SDOT supports this effort by funding engineering improvements, education, and encouragement campaigns at public and private schools throughout Seattle.

Family walking on 14 Ave S

Family walking on 14 Ave S

Keep Kids Safe Sign at Beacon Hill Intl. School

Keep Kids Safe Sign at Beacon Hill Intl. School

There has been a dramatic decrease of children walking and bicycling to school over the past several decades. Parents dropping their kids off at school in cars contribute to morning traffic jams in our communities that impact everyone. The good news is walking and biking to school has increased at 26 of 28 schools evaluated in Seattle from 2007 to 2013.

In addition to the intersection work, SDOT has built a new continuous sidewalk on the northeast side of Beacon Avenue South, that runs west to South Holgate Street.  The new sidewalk, curb ramps, and an uphill bike lane connect the North Beacon Hill business district to the Mountains to Sound Trail to the west, which helps improve the connection between Beacon Hill and SODO.

Beacon Ave S westbound towards South Holgate St

Beacon Ave S westbound towards South Holgate St

SDOT crews are working hard to enhance safety and mobility, and improve our infrastructure.  This project is funded by the nine-year voter approved Bridging the Gap Levy, Safe Routes to School, Sidewalk Development Program, and Washington State Transportation Improvement Board.

We would like to thank the community for their patience as we work to complete this project which will make it safer and easier for kids, neighbors and families to get around on Beacon Hill.

One more day to add your Madison Corridor Transit Study Input

One more day to add your input by taking SDOT’s online survey for the Madison Corridor Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) Study, the survey ends February 5th. 

The Study is developing a concept design for BRT from Colman Dock to Martin Luther King Jr. Way and will examine two alternatives to evaluate travel-time savings, traffic impacts, ridership projections, and parking impacts in the coming months.

Madison Street facing west.

Madison Street facing west.

The 2.1-mile corridor runs from Colman Dock east to 23rd Avenue and will improve access to ferries, Third Avenue transit, First Hill medical facilities and housing, Seattle University, the Central district, Link Light Rail, and the First Hill Streetcar.

Madison Street Cooridor Map

Madison Street Cooridor Map

You can request paper copies of the survey directly from SDOT, by emailing or contacting Sara Walton at 206-386-4645.

For more information on the Madison BRT study, visit the project website.