Pike Street Pedestrian Pilot Update

DSCF4573In August 2015, SDOT’s Street Use Division collaborated with the Seattle Office of Economic Development (OED), Seattle Police Department (SPD), Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce, and Capitol Hill Eco District to pilot a series of temporary, pedestrian-only closures of Pike Street on Capitol Hill. The closures, aimed at making the streets more vibrant and ped-friendly, were held on three consecutive Saturday nights between Broadway and 12th Ave. In addition to making the streets pedestrian-only for a few hours, on-street programming such as live music, yoga classes, and dancing was also provided.

Yoga class on Pike Street

Yoga class on Pike Street

To help us determine whether the closures were successful, and to gauge whether they should occur again in the future, we conducted a rigorous study that included pedestrian counts, interviews and surveys, and site observations. The results of our study have now been analyzed and some of the major findings include:

    • 25,000-30,000 people walked through the closure area on an average night
    • Sidewalk locations that are normally pedestrian chokepoints saw significantly decreased congestion during the closure nights
    • 82% of visitors to the closure area were from Seattle, 86% didn’t drive alone, and 72% went to multiple locations or participated in multiple activities throughout the night
    • ​In post-pilot surveys, 66% of all respondents said that they’d like to see future closures

If you would like to read our full report of findings and recommendations, please view our newly released Pike St. Pedestrian Pilots Data and Recommendation Report.

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SDOT and OED will be also be hosting community workshops in Spring 2016 to discuss the results from our pilot study, and to explore options for future programming. The exact times and locations will be announced shortly – so please stay tuned!

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Levy to Move Seattle: Before and After Safety Improvement

In the first 100 days of 2016, SDOT has completed more than three dozen safety, maintenance and repair, and congestion relief projects, all funded by the $930 million Levy to Move Seattle.

The completed projects include new bike parking spaces, transit improvements for a Rapid Ride line and repairs to two pedestrian stairways. Photos of the stairway rehabilitation project at South Park at 12th Ave S and S Trenton St highlight just one of the many transportation improvements being made around the city.

Move Seattle BeforeAfter Stairway

Pedestrian stairway project at 12th Ave S and S Trenton St. The photo on the left was taken last July. The photo on the right was taken April 6, 2016.

The levy was approved by voters in November 2015 and provides funding to improve safety for all travelers, maintain streets and bridges, and invest in reliable, affordable travel options for our growing city.

See a list of completed projects using Levy to Move Seattle dollars here.

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SDOT Hosts North Seattle Walking Tour With Newly-Elected Councilmember Debora Juarez

SDOT recently led a tour of several Council District 5 transportation projects with newly-elected Councilmember Debora Juarez. The purpose of the trip was to familiarize Councilmember Juarez with a selection of SDOT projects and to learn about her priorities for the district.

The tour started along the recently-completed Olympic Hills / 27th Ave NE Neighborhood Greenway. Greenways improve safety for all ages and abilities by reducing speeds on neighborhood streets to make it more comfortable for people walking to share the street with people driving. The tour continued to the Olympic Hills Safe Routes to School project. In 2015, the program installed a new sidewalk on NE 130th St on the walking route to Olympic Hills Elementary. The voter-approved Levy to Move Seattle allows us to build 9 -12 Safe Routes to School projects every year, helping more kids and families safely walk and bike to school.

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Councilmember Juarez discusses sidewalk options with SDOT’s Safe Routes to Schools coordinator, Brian Dougherty.

Next, the SDOT tour took Councilmember Juarez to a site near John Rogers Elementary, where a new sidewalk was built using stamped asphalt instead of concrete – resulting in significant cost savings that allow us to build more sidewalks where they’re needed most. With funds from the Levy to Move Seattle, SDOT plans to build 250 blocks of new sidewalks over the next 9 years – both lower-cost and traditional – for the same price as 150 blocks of concrete sidewalks.

After walking the sidewalk and discussing drainage issues in many North Seattle neighborhoods, the tour stopped at the site of the future Link light rail station at Northgate. SDOT plans to build a new pedestrian and bicycle bridge over I-5 to improve connections within the Northgate community. The stop was near Councilmember Juarez’s district office at North Seattle College.

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Councilmember Juarez with SDOT’s Amanda Tse and Bill LeBorde, point to the future site of the Northgate pedestrian bridge over I-5

The tour wrapped with several stops along Linden Ave N to look at and discuss the Complete Street project completed in 2014. The project makes this neighborhood street easier and safer for everyone to get around, whether they are driving, walking, or riding a bike. The project also built a safe connection to the popular Interurban Trail making it more accessible for everyone, especially residents in the many senior retirement homes nearby.

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Councilmember Juarez going over a Complete Streets plan with Deputy Director Mike Terrell and Connie Zimmerman.

The morning tour offered SDOT staff and Councilmember Juarez a chance to talk about emerging transportation issues facing District 5 and the unique needs of neighborhoods in North Seattle.

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Seattle Welcomes BMW ReachNow Car Share!

The City of  Seattle was represented at BMW’s ReachNow car share service launch event in Capitol Hill today. The car share is the second free floating car share service in Seattle. ReachNow has been issued permits for a fleet of  370 vehicles  that are made up of BMW 3 Series, Mini Cooper or the electric i3 cars that can use on-street paid parking and zone parking spots in Seattle.

In January 2015, the Seattle City Council expanded the free-floating car share program. Based on data from a 2015 annual free-floating car share survey, car share vehicles have been shown to take up a relatively small amount of business district on-street parking and the vehicles typically turn over more frequently, allowing other uses of and consistent customer and visitor access to the curb space.

BMWs lined up

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SDOT Director Scott Kubly (left) listens as Deputy Mayor Joncas chats with the audience.

BMW Board member Peter Schwarzenbauer thanked Deputy Mayor Kate Joncas, SDOT Director Scott Kubly and Council member Mike O’Brien, who chairs the Transportation Committee, for their work in bringing this new transportation option to Seattle.

SDOT Director Scott Kubly,  Deputy Mayor Kate Joncas and BMW's Peter Schwarzenbauer.

SDOT Director Scott Kubly, Deputy Mayor Kate Joncas and BMW’s Peter Schwarzenbauer.

Car share services are just one way to get around the city. For more information on car share services, go here.

Seattle has a lot of other options for getting around – walking, biking, transit, driving and ridesharing. Check out some of the tools available in our Way To Go Program and find out how to get where you’re going!

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Making old new again: The Rehabilitation of the Yesler Way Bridge

Built in 1910, the Yesler Way Bridge is one of the oldest permanent steel roadway bridges in Seattle. It plays a key role in connecting residents, commuters, workers, and businesses to Pioneer Square, the Chinatown/International District, and Downtown.

Throwback of the Yesler Bridge

Yesler Way Bridge over 4th Ave S under construction in 1910

To improve safety and reliability, while maintaining its historical significance, we spent the last two years working with the Pioneer Square Preservation Board and the community on a plan and design to rehabilitate the bridge. Now we are ready to start construction (as soon as next month)! Construction will continue through fall 2017. During construction, the Yesler Way Bridge will be closed to all vehicle, bicycle, and pedestrian traffic.

To prepare the community for construction, we’ll be hosting an open house on Tuesday, April 12, 2016, from 4-6:30 PM at Yesler Community Center (917 E Yesler Way). It’ll be a great way to learn about construction impacts, detours routes, and talk with project staff.

Map of Yesler Bridge

Planned closures during Yesler Bridge construction

For the latest information on the Yesler Bridge Rehabilitation Project, check out our factsheet or visit our website. If you have any questions, get in touch with us at YeslerBridge@seattle.gov or (206) 684-8684.

 

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Planting a PBL

Our 2nd Ave protected bike lane (PBL) is a work in progress, and tonight we’ll be adding a new feature – 158 new planter boxes! They’ll help further separate the bike lanes and the travel/parking lanes. And they look a lot nicer than the plastic delineators.

Check out these photos and many more on our Flickr page:

Empty Planters

Empty planters lined up and ready to be filled

 

Filling the Planters

It takes 33 cubic yards (at 2,000 lbs. per cubic yard!) of dirt to fill these up

 

Planters

More Plants for the Planters

Plants on the SDOT truck

Installation will be phased in over April with the goal of being done in time for May (bike month!). After we install these planters we’ll continue to monitor the health of the plants and replace them as needed. The planters are self-watering and our alley-flushing truck will fill the planters May through September.

Plants on Truck

In addition to adding these awesome planters, we’re extending the project north into Belltown. Learn more at www.seattle.gov/transportation/2ndavepbl.htm.

Planters

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Pavement to Parks Project Now Open Along the 17th Ave NW Greenway!

17th_Dock_Before_After

SDOT crews have recently finished work on the Pavement to Parks project at the intersection of 17th Ave NW and NW Dock Pl in Ballard. The project repurposes excess intersection space to
improve safety for users of the 17th Ave NW Greenway while also providing a new public open space for the Ballard community.

SDOT worked with Groundswell NW and local residents on a community-driven process to determine how this intersection would be improved with a short-term, adaptable treatment. The Pavement to Parks space includes planters, large boulders for play and seating, and a kiosk that will feature project information and local artwork. Like all Pavement to Parks projects, the 17th Ave NW & NW Dock Pl space is an “interim” improvement testing the use of open space before longer-term street modifications can be made. Groundswell NW has been awarded an $86,000 Neighborhood Park and Street Fund (NPSF) grant to bring additional amenities and more permanent treatments to this space. In the meantime, SDOT will be evaluating the project to see how it’s being used and how it’s serving the adjacent greenway.

Pavement to Parks projects are a part of SDOT’s new Adaptive Streets Program, which uses low-cost, quick, and adaptable treatments to enhance streets and public spaces before permanent changes are made. Four more Pavement to Parks projects are slated for completion this year, along with 15 other “tactical projects” to improve pedestrian safety using similar treatments.

To learn more about the Adaptive Streets Program, visit http://www.seattle.gov/transportation/adaptivestreets.htm or email susan.mclaughlin@seattle.gov.

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2nd Ave Safety Project Update

Later this year, the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) plans to make several upgrades to 2nd Ave between Pike St and Denny Way. To improve the safety and efficiency of travel and bike connections in downtown, SDOT will make traffic signal improvements, pedestrian improvements, and extend the existing 2nd protected bike lane through Seattle’s dense and vibrant Belltown neighborhood.

The project will include several features aimed at increasing safety for all modes of transportation:

  • All traffic signals will be updated with new poles and signal heads. Timing improvements will increase efficiency for people walking, biking and driving through and around Belltown
  • At the left turn intersections, signals will have a designated arrow for drivers to turn left which separates drivers from people walking and biking
  • Three new traffic signals at Cedar, Clay and Vine streets will create safer turns and easier pedestrian crossings
  • A two-way protected bike lane will be added on the east side of the street, including a 3-foot buffer with planters
  • Parking will be relocated to the outside lane of the protected bike lane, similar to the existing bike lane on 2nd Ave
  • Curb bulbs on the east side of 2nd Ave will be removed to create space for the protected bike lane and buffer, with landscaping improvements and sidewalk spot repairs throughout the corridor

2nd Ave Safety Project Update 3-30-16The project is currently in design and is scheduled to begin construction in fall 2017. The protected bike lane extension is part of SDOT’s Center City Bike Network project and Vision Zero plan to end traffic deaths and serious injuries by 2030.

In the meantime, the existing 2nd Ave Protected Bike Lane is getting upgrades, including planter boxes, new traffic signals and raised passenger load zones and driveways. For more information, visit: http://www.seattle.gov/transportation/2ndavepbl.htm

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REMINDER: Right-of-Way Permit Rates Are Changing

SDOT Street Use right-of-way permit rates are changing this Thursday, March 31.

In the midst of Seattle’s development surge, right-of-way permit rates have remained the same for five years in a row. This has led to deferred service enhancements and backlogs as Street Use Permit Services now reviews, inspects, and issues approximately 32,000 permits per yearThe new rate model follows many months of outreach, assessment, and modeling to address our city’s rapid growth and increasing construction density. It will reward well-prepared applicants, and represents a move from use-based permitting to project-/service-based permitting. Associated updates to SDOT Street Use permit review, inspection, and issuance processes also give us the opportunity to improve technology, staff levels, and efficiencies based on service needs.

Please note that as we transition to the new rate model, the following temporary permitting service interruptions will occur:

rate_model_info_box

With the new rate structure in place, most construction-use projects will save money. For example, small projects commonly include at least Use Codes 31, 44, and 47—at $146 per use. With the new project/service-based approach, the same project would pay a single $305 base permit fee covering multiple use types.

new_old_rate_table

Projects that plan ahead will most likely pay less, getting review and inspection services for multiple uses under one project permit. We are also reducing the permit fee for residential-dumpster and portable-moving-container permits, saving homeowners money. Plus, inspections for those permits will now be discretionary, only occurring if a problem warrants inspection.

This new rate structure goes into effect this Thursday, March 31.

To learn more about the coming changes, see this information sheet and view this presentation that was shown at SDOT workshops in February.

Still have more questions? Please contact us at SDOTPermits@seattle.gov.

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Seattle Bicycle Advisory Board seeks 2 new members

Do you love biking? Want to make it easier and safer for people of all ages and abilities to get around Seattle by bike?

Bicycle Sundays are for everyone!

Then this may be the opportunity for you! The Seattle Bicycle Advisory Board (SBAB) is now accepting applications for two new members to help advise the City on the concerns and needs of our growing bicycling community.

Who is SBAB?

The volunteer board was created in 1977 by our City Council and they help carry out Seattle’s Bicycle Master Plan – our 20 year blueprint to make it easier to decide to ride a bike. Here are a few other tasks that members do:

  • Advise the Mayor and the City Council
  • Participate in planning and project development
  • Evaluate policies
  • Make recommendations to all city departments
  • Meet every first Wednesday from 6 – 8 PM at Seattle City Hall

 

How do I qualify for this position?

Mayor Murray and the City Council are committed to promoting diversity in all of our boards and commissions. All persons are encouraged to apply. Board members serve a two-year term, with an opportunity to serve a second term. The current board consists of a variety of people who ride bikes, from casual weekend riders to year-round commuters.  Seattle City employees are exempt from being SBAB members .

Where do I sign up?

Follow these steps, and you might be chosen to be one of the new SBAB members:

  • Submit your resume and cover letter (explain your interest) to nicole.freedman@seattle.gov.
  • Use “SBAB” in the subject line
  • No internet access? No problem. Just call Nicole Freedman at (206)684-4690

Thank you for your interest in our bicycling community!

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