From Pavement to Parks

Last summer, SDOT began exploring the idea of converting underutilized portions of city streets into vibrant community spaces. These projects, known as Pavement to Parks projects, are designed to both increase roadway safety and bring communities together using low-cost, adaptable treatments. With density increasing all around the city, these small parks offer increasingly vital space for socializing and enjoying the outdoors. To learn more about the details of our Pavement to Parks program, you can visit our Pavement to Parks program page here.


Intersection of University St, E Union St, and Boylston Ave in First Hill

For years, similar projects have been met with great success in cities such as San Francisco, Philadelphia, and New York. Not surprisingly, we are already seeing the same kinds of success with the projects installed in our own city! Successful projects have already been installed in Seattle’s First Hill, Phinney Ridge, and Ballard neighborhoods, and a new park in the Rainier Vista neighborhood will soon be on its way.

To raise awareness around the proposed Rainier Vista project, SDOT’s Street Use division recently co-hosted a community event with local residents at the proposed project site at S Genesee St between Jill Place S and 29th Ave S.  The installation would reduce traffic speeds in the neighborhood, provide more play space for kids (and adults!), and allow for future community gatherings like the one shown in the photos below.


April 2016 Rainier Vista community event.

Dancers.street view

Dance performance at the April 2016 Rainier Vista community event.

At April’s event, Street Use staff talked to the community about what, specifically, residents envision for repurposed street space. Roughly 150 people were in attendance, and we got feedback from over 100 of them! We are currently working with the Seattle Housing Authority, Rainier Vista Traffic Safety Committee, and local residents to incorporate the neighborhood feedback into the concept design, and will then present the design to the community.

If you have an idea for a Pavement to Parks project in your neighborhood, or if you would like to provide feedback on an existing or proposed project, please contact Susan McLaughlin at or 206.733.9649. We look forward to hearing your ideas!

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New Expanded RapidRide C Line service to South Lake Union Celebrated with Rain-activated Art

The extension of the new RapidRide C Line to South Lake Union began in March, thanks to Seattle voters who approved Proposition 1 that gave the city of Seattle funds to expand weekday in-city bus service.

C Line Bus

In addition to service expansion, bus riders waiting along the new line will get to see special artwork on the sidewalks – when it rains.

Westlake & Denny (1)

Rain-activated artwork installed at Westlake and Denny.

SDOT worked with Rainworks, a Seattle start-up that takes advantage of our weather by installing rain-activated artwork on sidewalks that’s sure to surprise and delight riders waiting for Metro buses in West Seattle, Belltown and South Lake Union.

Scott Kubly helping out with placing the stencil

SDOT Director Scott Kubly helps place the stencil to install rain-activated art.

The art installations give riders a positive message when it rains as they wait for the new RapidRide C Line to South Lake Union, which was extended via Westlake Avenue.

3rd & Virginia (2)

The finished product at 3rd Avenue and Virginia Street – made visible by rain!

Other improvements to the new RapidRide C Line to South Lake Union:

  • More service on Route 40, operating every 9-15 minutes
  • More peak time service for Route 70
  • More service and shorter route for Route 8
  • Dedicated transit lanes on Westlake Ave N
  • Transit stop upgrades

C Line

To see when Seattle Mayor Ed Murray celebrated the first day of service expansion on the new RapidRide C Line to South Lake Union, go here.

Fore more on Metro Transit options.

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Westlake Cycle Track is Nearly Halfway Done

SDOT’s Westlake Cycle Track Project is reaching the halfway point! The protected bike lane along Westlake Avenue North will provide a safer place for people riding bikes, walking and driving, while improving connectivity and accessibility for all travelers in the Westlake area.

Construction recap – from January to May

Westlake before cycle track construction

An early photo of the Westlake corridor before construction began in January.

Construction of the protected bike lane began in January this year and is separated into four phases. Phase 1 and Phase 2 are on the north end of the corridor and are nearly complete.

Westlake completed section

Completed section of the protected bike lane in Phase 1 in the north end of the corridor.

Our construction team is coordinating with Westlake businesses and residents to minimize construction impacts as they work to finish the project as safely and efficiently as possible.

Westlake work near Railroad Park

Work on the protected bike lane continues near Railroad Park in Phase 2.

Our crews are making progress on Phase 3 in the south end.

Westlake Phase 3

Forming for the protected bike lane in Phase 3 in the south end of the corridor.

This Friday, May 6, from 7 – 9 a.m., keep an eye out for volunteers from Cascade Bicycle Club and the outreach team on the north end of the corridor. We’ll help guide people riding bikes to enter the first half of the protected bike lane. We will also be promoting safety education for all users.

The Westlake Cycle Track is scheduled to be complete in summer 2016, so get those bikes ready and sign up for email updates to stay up-to-date on construction progress!

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We Want to Hear from You about a Proposed Restricted Parking Zone in Ballard

SDOT received a request from the Central Ballard Residents Association to create a new Restricted Parking Zone (RPZ) on residential streets around the Ballard business district.  We’d like to hear from residents, employees, and visitors in Ballard about how adding RPZ restrictions might affect them.

Here is a link to the survey to provide your feedback.

What is an Restricted Parking Zone?

An RPZ is meant to ease parking congestion in residential neighborhoods, while balancing the needs of all people to use the public right of way. RPZs help neighborhoods deal with parking congestion with signed time limits and vehicles displaying a valid RPZ permit are exempt.

What is the RPZ being proposed? (See Map)

RPZ Ballard

We are proposing an RPZ with the following restrictions:

• The gray area on the map highlights where residents would be eligible for permits.

• SDOT would install RPZ signs on the solid blue lined blocks, limiting vehicles without RPZ permits to 2-hour parking Monday – Friday, 7 AM – 8 PM. We are proposing RPZ signs on one side of the street only, to balance a variety of on-street parking demands.

• All blocks with RPZ signs would be subject to signed parking restrictions and residents within the gray area would be able to purchase permits (currently $65 for two years)

• We do not install RPZ signs next to ground floor retail or other non-residential uses. Many of the blocks in this area already have paid or time-limited parking; this RPZ proposal will not change those signs or regulations.

Why are these changes being proposed?

In the fall of 2014, SDOT received an RPZ review request from the Central Ballard Residents Association. In mid-2015 we made changes to Ballard commercial area on-street parking. In September 2015 we studied parking in the area shown and found street parking to be on average 93% full during the day, with over 35% of vehicles not belonging to residents. The goal of the proposed RPZ would be to limit all-day parking by non-residents, decrease parking congestion and circling within the neighborhood, and make it easier for residents to find parking near their homes.

Comments or questions?

To provide feedback on this proposal, complete a brief survey by May 31, 2016.

Send additional comments or questions to Ruth Harper at (206) 684-4103 or

Learn more about the RPZ program and the Ballard RPZ request.

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Curb Ramp Design: Not as Simple as it Seems

SDOT recently presented to the Northwest Universal Design Council on features that make an intersection accessible to all pedestrians. One topic was the complexity of curb ramp design, especially in Seattle where the hills and terrain can create some significant challenges.

Curb ramp construction is not a simple process where a contractor simply builds a sloped ramp; it takes an engineer much time and effort to figure out how to build a ramp that meets design standards, and is usable to pedestrians while addressing potential site constraints.

The first item that may be considered: what makes the most sense for curb ramp installation and crosswalk alignment at an existing intersection.

curb ramp design

Aerial View of Intersection to be Improved

Existing crossings that are generally parallel to the curb lines are shown in red. Due to the dramatic skew of the intersection, crossings would be very long. After review by a traffic engineer, a better location for curb ramps was found that would accommodate much shorter crossings, shown in green.

Before design can begin, it is likely necessary for a surveyor to visit the location to provide dimensional information and identify any potential conflicts within the area, such as trees or utility structures. This information can then be put into computer aided-design (CAD), which provides a 3-dimensional image so the designer can begin planning the curb ramp.

At this particular corner, the designer is faced with a number of challenges – the most daunting being the heavy roadway slope.

3d design2

Steep Roadway Slopes and Limited Available Right of Way

Knowing the elevations of the curb, the designer can determine if it is possible to construct a ramp that satisfies all of the design criteria. If not, it is SDOT’s responsibility to construct a ramp that is accessible and usable to the maximum extent feasible (MEF).

When the designer has determined the best possible design given the existing site conditions, the CAD drawing is completed, printed, and distributed to the contractor for construction. curbrampdesignPlanSheet

While there is no shortage of challenges when building curb ramps, SDOT, contractors, and the community work together to construct an accessible pedestrian network for all.

If you have any questions about accessibility within the Seattle public right-of-way, we encourage you contact SDOT’s ADA Coordinator, Michael Shaw. He can be reached at (206) 615-1974 or by email at

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Share Your Thoughts on Transportation Improvements in Ballard

Ballard has become one of Seattle’s most popular and fastest-growing neighborhoods. Featuring great places to live, shop and play, it is also home to many maritime and industrial jobs. As the neighborhood grows, it is important to identify and prioritize ways to make it easier to walk, bike and ride transit so that people and goods can keep moving. On Monday, May 2, we’re hosting a public meeting at Pacific Crest School, 600 NW Bright St, from 6 to 7:30PM get input on a series of transportation improvements with this objective in mind.

In 2014, we gathered input on how to make 17th Ave NW safer and more comfortable for people walking and biking, and constructed a neighborhood greenway in 2015. At that time, we promised to consider how to connect the greenway to the protected bike lane on NW 45th Street and ultimately, the Burke-Gilman Trail. Since 2014, a bus-only lane on 15th Ave NW between Leary and Market was proposed to help keep RapidRide reliable. The project included a traffic signal at NW 53rd St. We’d like to take advantage of the future signal to connect 17th Ave NW via a neighborhood greenway to the Burke-Gilman Trail.


It is important that we hear from the community as the greenway route develops. The block of NW 53rd St between 15th and 14th Ave NW has a lot of industrial characteristics, including a high number of truck deliveries by large trucks. Magazines are distributed around the city to mom and pop stores from this location; fire equipment dispersed; automobile oils and other products developed; and aircraft interiors produced.


Furthermore, as housing is being built and people move into Ballard, the lack of controlled crossings along 15th Ave NW has become apparent. People in the community are telling us that there are many destinations in East Ballard they would like to walk and bike to, including: Gilman Playground, craft breweries, preschools, gyms and businesses where they work and shop.

Right now, people walking and biking must head to Leary or Market to cross 15th Ave NW using a traffic signal. This can lead to unpredictable behaviors, like jaywalking. The addition of a new crossing on 15th Ave NW and an east-west neighborhood greenway can go a long way in meeting our Vision Zero goal of zero traffic-fatalities and series injuries while connecting neighborhood destinations.


We hope to see you at our Monday meeting. If you are unable to attend, meeting materials and comment sheets will be posted on our web page.

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Getting Seattle Streets Ready for Summer

The Maintenance Operations Division of SDOT is responsible for keeping street pavement clean and in good repair. Part of that job involves microsurfacing selected residential streets each summer, to seal out water and sun to extend the life of the pavement.

Similar to painting a house, microsurfacing applies a thin protective layer to the surface which helps keep the material underneath in good shape.  However, for this preventive maintenance to be effective, the material you’re protecting must already be in good shape, unlike the streets shown below.


Preparation of the surface, such as identifying holes or structural damage that needs to be repaired before you paint, is necessary for a successful job.

This spring, SDOT paving crews are making spot repairs to streets that have damaged spots in South Beacon Hill, Lake City/Meadowbrook and Lake City/Matthews Beach.  Our crews are preparing these streets for microsurfacing by filling potholes, repairing eroded street edges and replacing damaged sections of pavement.


A city street before and after microsurfacing – quite a difference!

In addition, SDOT is working with property owners to trim back tree branches hanging over the street that would block microsurfacing equipment and other vehicles.  When this prep work is complete, these streets will be ready for microsurfacing this summer.

See a short video on microsurfacing here.

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2016 Neighborhood Street Fund Applications Are In!

The City’s Neighborhood Street Fund (NSF) supports communities by providing funding for transportation projects identified by the community.  The 2016 NSF applications are in! 140 applications came in from across the city for all types of projects from new sidewalks to festival streets. Compared to the last round in 2013, this is a 63% increase in applications! By neighborhood (some applications included more than one neighborhood) the numbers are:

District Council Applications Received
Ballard 10
Central Area 6
Delridge 16
Downtown 13
East 15
Greater Duwamish 8
Lake Union 7
Magnolia / Queen Anne 8
North 12
Northeast 11
Northwest 16
Southeast 22
Southwest 6


Boundaries of Seattle’s 13 Neighborhood District Councils

The NSF program is supported by the Levy to Move Seattle approved by voters in 2015. The 9-year, $930 million Levy to Move Seattle provides funding to improve safety for all travelers, maintain our streets and bridges, and invest in reliable, affordable travel options for a growing city. The levy provides $24 million over the next 9 years to select, design, and construct neighborhood projects identified by the community.

Curious what projects are being considered in your neighborhood?

In May each Neighborhood District Council will review the projects in its boundaries and choose five projects to move forward into the conceptual design phase. You can see a map of each district council here ( and find your neighborhood’s District Coordinator here ( If you’re are interested in learning more about the applications, consider attending your district council’s May meeting.

NSF 4-28-16

One NSF project built a new sidewalk extension and planting area on Maynard Ave S in the International District

What Next?

After each Neighborhood District Council chooses 5 projects they will forward these picks to SDOT for evaluation and refinement.  This summer SDOT will develop a cost estimate and conceptual design, working with applicants as needed to refine the project or find alternative solutions. With this new information each district council will rank the 5 projects and send them to the Move Seattle Levy Oversight Committee. The committee evaluates the projects and makes recommendations to the Mayor and City Council who select the projects that will receive NSF funding. From there, projects will be designed in 2017 and constructed in 2018.

Learn More About:

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How You Can Help Encourage Safe Routes to School

With our recent completion of the Beacon Hill Trail, the first Safe Routes to School (SRTS) project in that neighborhood in 2016, SDOT provided a safe off-street option for kids walking and biking to school.

Now, SDOT is offering free incentives to help you encourage more kids to walk and bike to school in your neighborhood.

Kids Crossing

These fun, free incentives include stickers, temporary tattoos, wrist bands, and hand stamps to give out during your campaign. Public and private schools and PTA’s within Seattle city limits are all welcome to request packages.


Schools and PTA groups can request a free incentive package by visiting our incentives page and filling out an order form. Or you can stop by Feet First, Monday through Wednesday, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., to pick up an order in person.

049044Incentive packages include:

  • Option A: An assortment of stickers, temporary tattoos, wrist bands, and hand stamps
  • Option B: 1,000 stickers
  • Option C: 1,000 temporary tattoos
  • Option D: 2 hand stamps
  • Option E: 1,000 wrist bands

Haven’t started a walk and bike to school campaign at your school yet? Not a problem. For more information on how to start one, refer to our Safe Routes to School Campaign guide.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the project coordinator, Ashley Rhead at

Added bonus: these free incentives for your Safe Routes to School campaigns come just in time for Bike Month coming up in May!

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Improving Seattle One Street End at a Time

Seattle is surrounded by water – Lake Washington, Lake Union, Puget Sound, and other waterways – resulting in more than 200 miles of magnificent shoreline.


That much shoreline also means that 149 public streets in Seattle end on waterfronts.  These “shoreline street ends” are precious community assets that should be preserved for public use – that’s where SDOT’S Shoreline Street Ends program comes in.

Our latest project began in late 2015, when community members approached the City of Seattle hoping to organize a cleanup and restoration of the E Highland shoreline street end in Madison Park. The result has been an ongoing collaboration between community members, our Shoreline Street Ends program, Seattle Public Utilities’ Tree Ambassador program, and SDOT Urban Forestry – and the results have been amazing!

As you can see in the before-and-after photos below, their work has truly transformed the space.

Highland SSE before after

So far, volunteers have held two official work parties, one in February and one in March, and with 21 volunteers on hand at the first party, and 28 at the next, the volunteers have accomplished quite an impressive amount.  In roughly six hours of worktime they have managed to, among other improvements, remove 15 cubic yards of weeds and invasive plants such as Himalayan blackberry and English ivy, spread 10 cubic yards of mulch for weed suppression and erosion control, and recover seven full trash bags of garbage from the site!

Highland work party

Additional  improvements are coming soon, and a third work party is scheduled for May 8th at which volunteers plan to finish blackberry removal and spread additional mulch. You can expect more updates to be posted here as this exciting project progresses.

Interested in helping improve this street end or one in your neighborhood? Please contact Diane Walsh at

Would you like to learn more about the Tree Ambassador volunteer program? Please feel free to email the program organizers at


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