New public space on Lake Washington in Laurelhurst

The public access point where 51st Avenue NE in Laurelhurst ends at Lake Washington is now a more approachable environment. The beautiful new look was constructed in less than three months by the Seattle Conservation Corps. This work is part of the Shoreline Street Ends Program to improve public access to waterways.

BEFORE: Shoreline Street End at 51st Ave NE

BEFORE: Shoreline Street End at 51st Ave NE

AFTER: New Shoreline Street End public access improvement at 51st Ave NE

AFTER: New Shoreline Street End public access improvement at 51st Ave NE

The improvements at 5st Avenue NE included clearing and grubbing to create a usable gathering space with a picnic table and water viewing area. You can view the project design at this link. Design elements listed below not only address equitable waterway access; they also support native tree and plant species.

  • Creating an entry to the street end
  • Removing overgrown vegetation and weeds
  • Constructing a curb ramp per Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) standards
  • Planting new, native vegetation
  • Installing timber steps to the water
  • Replacing two parking spaces with new bicycle racks

Nearly 150 public streets in Seattle end on waterfronts. The current project is to improve nine of those–one being 51st Avenue NE. For more information on the other eight street ends we’re working on or the Shoreline Street Ends Program, contact the team at or call 206-615-0925.

Building more than the Seawall: Updating Utilities on the Waterfront

The Seawall Project is replacing the aging seawall along Seattle’s central waterfront.  A guiding principle for the project is to put the shoreline and innovative, sustainable design at the forefront. The goals are to bring people to the water’s edge to experience the water and ecology of Elliott Bay, to improve shoreline ecology while preserving and enhancing maritime activities, and to reflect Seattle’s commitment to sustainability and innovation. An important part of this project is replacing the central waterfront’s utilities making this one of the city’s largest utility projects.


 75 years’ worth of utilities to replace and update

The central waterfront is home to many critical utilities, not only to serve the piers but to reach a broad local and regional network. Large stormwater and combined sewer overflow systems, high voltage electrical systems, steam and high capacity natural gas lines, water and sewer mains, as well as several telecommunications providers’ networks all create a complex network of utilities under the street and below the piers. Nearly 75 years of additions and changes have resulted in crisscrossed utility services, and the passage of time means that some of these utilities were not always well documented. When designing the new seawall, it has been critically important to locate and identify all of these utilities to ensure that critical services were not impacted by seawall construction.

An example of the under pier utility network prior to seawall construction

An example of the under pier utility network prior to seawall construction

Bridging the work zone – Temporary utilities

Many of the existing utilities were unavoidable in the path of construction and needed to be temporarily relocated to keep the lights on a water running. At several locations along the construction zone, the project built several utility “bridges,” to allow temporary utility connections to span the large excavation pit. These bridges help ensure the project not only maintains utility service, but also simplifies the amount of obstructions the project must work around during construction.

Seawall Trio

This temporarily utility bridge near Pier 56 supports several utility services that cross the work zone to reach the piers (Photo left top).  Pipes and conduits fan out from the utility bridge to serve the piers (Photo top right). A temporary sewage pump station is suspended from a pier, and designed to work while completely submerged in water (Photo bottom left).


After construction – installing final utilities

Once seawall construction is complete, temporary utilities will be disconnected and reconnected to permanent services. The new seawall was designed with over 100 utility “knock-outs”, or built-in holes, that allow permanent pipes and conduit to pass through the wall to reach the piers.

The new wall face is designed to accommodate the many important utilities on the waterfront

The new wall face is designed to accommodate the many important utilities on the waterfront

Each face panel also includes at least two knockout locations for any unplanned future utilities. When the work is complete, the new design will accommodate the existing and future utility service needs, providing another critical foundation for the future waterfront.

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).

SDOT is Installing 10 New Taxi Stands and Wants Your Location Suggestions

SDOT is installing 10 new taxi stands through 2015 and we’re looking for input on where they should go. Taxi stands are dedicated curb spaces where only taxis can wait. Taxi stands are a predictable way for people to know where they can catch a taxi downtown and throughout the city’s neighborhoods. If you have ideas on new locations for taxi stands, there are two ways that you can provide input. Please select whichever option is easiest for you. Please checkout our latest Blog Video below.

Possible New Taxi Stand additions available to Ballard and South Lake Union neighborhoods

New Taxi Stand additions available to Ballard, South Lake Union and other neighborhoods

You can suggest a new taxi stand location using this map. The map includes the existing taxi stand locations in red. To suggest a new location:

  1. Zoom into the location
  2. Click the Editor Button in the top left
  3. Click on the taxi symbol  on the left
  4. Click on the map where you would like to recommend a new taxi stand
  5. Fill in the information in the pop-up box to tell us why you’re recommending this location.
  6. When finished, click on the small “x” in the upper right corner of the pop-up box to save your recommendation on the map


If you’d prefer to send your ideas directly, you can also contact Kiersten Grove at or call 206.684.4653. Please include the street name, the nearest cross street, and which side of the street you’d suggest.

We’re asking for suggestions by April 20, and after that we can begin looking into the feasibility of specific locations.  We’ll follow up with additional communication throughout the spring and will be installing the new taxi stands in the summer. Thanks for taking the time to share your ideas!

Seattle Downtown Traffic Signal Re-Timing Project

Do you feel you need to wait too long or that you stop too often for traffic signals in downtown Seattle? If so, you might be interested in this on-going Seattle downtown traffic signal re-timing project.

Traffic Signal re-timing2

2nd Avenue

Seattle’s signal lights were timed around 10 years ago, but rapid growth, significant construction activity, fast growing employment, increased biking and walking activity, and special events have caused new bottlenecks that can result in abrupt traffic backups throughout the city.

Second Avenue at University Street

2nd Avenue at University Street

Seattle Department of Transportation is studying overall metropolitan traffic patterns to determine the most efficient way to optimize 300 signals in the Central Business District. Traffic signal retiming is one of the most cost-effective ways to reduce delays for people driving, biking, and taking transit, thereby making our downtown streets safer and more efficient. Comprehensive signal retiming programs have documented benefits of 7 to 13 percent reduction in overall travel time, 15 to 37 percent reduction in delay and 6 to 9 percent fuel savings (Institute of Transportation Engineers, 2009).

The purpose of this project is to develop and introduce enhanced signal timing models that respond to real-time traffic volume fluctuations, incidents, special events and traffic condition on freeways. A unique element of this project is the inclusion of a system that will change signal timing patterns in response to current travel time data. This will improve travel times, freeway access, transit speed and reliability.

Downtown Traffic Retiming Map

Downtown Traffic Retiming Map

SDOT plans to implement and fine-tune the new signal timings at the end of 2015 and expects drivers to see an improvement in travel times through downtown at the beginning of 2016.

Streetcar Testing Media Tour – Video Clip

SDOT Director Scott Kubly, Mayor Murray, and Sound Transit hosted a media tour of the new streetcar maintenance facility marking the start of testing of the First Hill Streetcar and showcasing its first car and everything is moving along.

Check out this brief video clip:

Streetcar video

First Hill Streetcar Testing

First Hill Streetcar Testing

SDOT Director Scott Kubly shared progress towards start-up of this new transit service and the mobility enhancements the streetcar system will provide to the community and visitors in Seattle. There will be more updates and photos posted soon.


Seattle is Growing…and so is Access

Seattle is booming. Right now there are approximately 100 active and upcoming construction projects in downtown; 129 current and upcoming projects across four hub areas outside of city center; and one very busy Access Seattle team.


The effort that began nearly one year ago is a big step for the City of Seattle—managing construction impacts holistically across all projects, public and private. That big step has met with appreciation, profound need and budget approval to hire a third site coordinator.


The Access Seattle Construction Hub Coordination program kicked off in 2014 with two site coordinators: Ken Ewalt and Wayne Gallup. They meet regularly with contractors, area residents and business owners to identify and resolve construction conflicts. They’ve become pretty well-known as hard-working honest guys dedicated to problem solving—from collaboration and guidance to enforcement and follow through. Joining them just this week is Jack Bighorse, direct from private sector work as the resident engineer for the Mercer West Project.



Jack Bighorse is new to SDOT but not new to the work. For Mercer West he was responsible for coordinating all private and public projects in and around the site. He has 20+ years of construction management and inspection services experience and has worked on numerous projects including the SR 99 Bore Tunnel, I-90 Homer Hadley Bridge, Sound Transit I-5 Pike/Pine and the Alaskan Way Viaduct Tunneling project. Suffice it to say he can hit the ground running and we may quite literally need that—it’s busy out there!


The Access Seattle Site Coordinators are working to be single points of contact for efficient, clear communication. Some businesses have told us they’ve come to see Ken and Wayne as family, working together for fair results. Now, just as we welcome Jack to the fold, Wayne will be out for one month to spend time with his family out of state. So we’re not quite at 3…but we will be by April 27, 2015. In the meantime, welcome Jack; be aware that Jack and Ken will be sharing duties across all hubs the next four weeks; and let us know what questions you have about our growing team and critical effort to limit cumulative construction impacts. You can reach us at:


If you’re not very familiar with Access Seattle and its Construction Hub Coordination Program, check out some of these blog posts. Keep reading and we’ll keep working to Move Seattle!

SDOT Grants for Projects that Encourage Walking and Biking to School

Did you know SDOT’s Safe Routes to School program provides funding to any K-12 public school, private school, non-profit, or PTA for projects that encourage kids to walk or bike to school safely? The Mini Grant program has been supporting grass-roots efforts at increasing safe biking and walking since 2009.

Take, for example, Denny International Middle School’s Bike to School program. Last year the Denny PTSA hosted donut and fruit days for kids who biked to school, handed out lights, reflectors and gloves during the winter months to keep kids safe on their bikes, kept kids hydrated with water bottles during warmer months, and made sure kids knew how to bike safely all year round by broadcasting safety information.

Last May the PTSA hosted their annual Denny-Lincoln Classic family bike ride and doubled their attendance! They handed out snacks and student-designed t-shirts to all participants and made sure to give each bike a thorough check through the A (air), B (brakes), Cs (chains). The student bike riders wound their way through the neighborhood down to Lincoln Park and were joined by the West Seattle Bike Connections group, Denny M.S. staff, and Principal Jeff Clark. The ride ended with a barbeque and prizes at the park. What a fun day!

Safe routes

Denny International Middle School students/staff joined by West Seattle Bike Connections group.

If you have a great idea you’d like to make a reality at your school, we can help you make it happen. There are two chances every year to apply for funding: April and October. The application is simple, just tell us what you plan to do and how that will improve safety at your school and encourage more kids to bike and walk. Send in a letter of support from the school principal and your application is complete!

For more information visit: For questions, contact or 206-684-7577.

Official Streetcar On-Street Test and Tour Today

SDOT Director Scott Kubly, Mayor Murray, and Sound Transit are hosting a media tour of the new streetcar maintenance facility marking the start of testing of the First Hill Streetcar and showcasing its first car today.

First Hill Streetcar Testing

First Hill Streetcar Testing

SDOT Director Scott Kubly shared progress towards start-up of this new transit service and the mobility enhancements the streetcar system will provide to the community and visitors in Seattle. There will be more updates and photos posted soon.


Georgetown Bites Celebrates the Colorful Cuisine of Historic Georgetown Saturday 3/28

SDOT recently began work on Georgetown Festival Street. So what is a festival street? It’s a public place that has been designated for recurring temporary closure to vehicular traffic use for the purpose of pedestrian-oriented special activities.

The Georgetown Festival Street will be on 12th Avenue S between S Vale (All-City Coffee) and S Bailey Streets (at the end of the block – past the overpass). It will also include S Vale Street between 12th Avenue S and Airport Way S.

As you all might know the Georgetown industrial arts corridor is home to some of Seattle’s most distinguished culinary attractions. From boutique breweries to chocolate confections, decadent burgers to gourmet delis, soda fountains to yogurt factories, Seattle’s oldest neighborhood is also its most sumptuous.

Here’s a heads up on a Saturday event celebrating Georgetown:

Georgetown Bites: A Taste of Georgetown offers delicacies from 28 diverse drinking and dining establishments on Saturday, March 28 from 11:00 AM to 6:00 PM. For only $20 patrons can purchase five tickets redeemable for special offers throughout the neighborhood, Additional tickets are available for $5 each. Tickets will be sold at the Georgetown Bites booth at the Georgetown Trailer Park Mall from 11:00 AM to 5:00 PM the day of the event.

Gtown Bites

The food and hospitality industry played a pivotal role in Georgetown’s remarkable revitalization over the past decade. Early producer Georgetown Brewing (maker of the popular Manny’s Pale Ale) has been joined by Ellenos Yogurt and Fran’s Chocolates (favored by America’s first couple Barack and Michele Obama and celebrity chef Bobby Flay.) Pioneering dining and nightlife establishments like Jules Maes Saloon, one of the region’s oldest taverns, along with nearby Nine Pound Hammer, Stellar Pizza, and Smarty Pants have attracted a growing array of alluring restaurants, bars, and cafes including Zippy’s Burgers, Via Tribunali, Georgetown Liquor Company, Brass Tacks, Square Knot Diner, All City Coffee, Hallava Falafel, Flying Squirrel, Star Brass Lounge, Hitchcock Deli, and many more.

Georgetown Bites also marks the official groundbreaking for the Festival Street project, creating a pedestrian and arts friendly plaza in the heart of the Georgetown business district with funding from Seattle’s Bridging the Gap program. This attractive amenity will be christened at the 9th annual Georgetown Carnival arts festival on Saturday, June 13.

The public is invited to experience the historic Georgetown neighborhood while sampling some of Seattle’s most creative cuisine.  For a map of participating businesses and related information, visit:

Gtown Bites2