Yesler Way Bridge Rehabilitation is Underway

Built in 1910, the Yesler Way Bridge is one of the oldest permanent steel roadway bridges in the city of Seattle. The rehabilitation work is to improve safety and reliability while preserving the bridge’s historical elements. The work will last through the fall of 2017.

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Looking north at Yesler Bridge from 4th Avenue.

The first phase of the project is demolition and removal of the entire structure.  The pictures below show the now closed construction zone.

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Looking at Yesler from the northwest, then looking to the northeast.

While the bridge is under construction, the bridge will remain fully closed along Yesler Way and Terrace Street.  At a few points during construction, 4th Avenue will also be closed during evenings and weekends for public safety.

In addition to structural improvements, the stairwell on the north side from Yesler down to 4th Avenue will also be replaced and safely lit for pedestrians.  New energy efficient lighting will be installed underneath the bridge deck itself, improving visibility for drivers.

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Yesler Way Bridge is vital in connecting residents, commuters and businesses in the surrounding  neighborhoods. In addition to providing a major east/west connection across I-5, the bridge displays unique and historic design elements including decorative pedestrian railings, parabolic and circular features of the exterior “fascia” girders, and ornamental capitals and casings, all of which will be preserved in the rehabilitation.

Much of the bridge structure will be replaced as well as the entire western bridge abutment. When finished, the structure will be less vulnerable to earthquakes and have greater vertical and horizontal clearances for traffic passing underneath.

For more information on the Yesler Bridge Rehabilitation Project, please visit: http://www.seattle.gov/transportation/yeslerBridge.htm.

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Share Your Ideas for Pike Street on June 14 from 5-7 p.m.

Have thoughts about how Pike St could look and feel? Maybe you’ve got some ideas about what could happen in the street to make it better to move, hang out, and interact.

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Your Design Input Wanted for the South Lander Street Bridge Project

SDOT is going ahead with plans to build a bridge over South Lander Street between 1st and 4th avenues south to improve traffic, rail operations, and safety in the SODO neighborhood. At this early phase in the design process, we want to hear from you.

Learn more about the project and share feedback on key design features at our South Lander St Bridge Project Open House on Wednesday, June 8, 2016, from 4 to 6 p.m. at Metropolist located at 2931 1st Ave S in Seattle.

If you can’t make it to this Open House, you can visit our online open house, available from June 6 -17 at landerbridge.participate.online.

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South Lander St includes a crossing of four railroad tracks, which creates safety risks and traffic delays.

South Lander St is an essential east-west corridor in Seattle’s SODO neighborhood. Every day, the street serves freight, commuters, pedestrians, and bicyclists, as well as King County Metro buses and the Port of Seattle.

The corridor includes a crossing of four railroad tracks, which pose a safety risk and can cause traffic delays. Train crossings result in the road being closed more than 4.5 hours per day, impacting the mobility of tens of thousands of people and severely affecting access to port and local manufacturing facilities. South Lander St creates direct connections to facilities critical to our economy at the Port of Seattle, which contribute to 75,000 existing jobs and an additional 25,000 jobs that are forecasted by 2040.

The project may sound familiar – it went through preliminary design in 2007, but was put on hold. Thanks to the voter-approved Levy to Move Seattle, this project is moving forward again. Our transportation system has changed since 2007 and SDOT engineers are reevaluating the project’s previous design concepts to ensure the safest and most effective solution. 

For more information about the S Lander St Bridge Project, visit the project website. Email lander_bridge@seattle.gov to join our email list.

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Seattle Summer Parkways to transform City Streets into “Park” Ways

Seattle Summer Parkways returns this summer in August and September, and features three separate days of special events in three iconic neighborhoods: Rainier Valley, West Seattle and Ballard.

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Hosted by the Seattle Department of Transportation, Seattle Summer Parkways will transform streets into open-street “parkways” where people can bike, play, walk, run and experience neighborhoods in unique and inviting ways. Based on the success of last year’s inaugural event, thousands of neighbors, families and kids are expected to participate in this summer’s community-based activities, live music and recreation.

The 2016 Summer Parkways lineup includes:

  • Saturday, August 13: Rainier Valley, 12:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Kick-off festivities will celebrate with existing events including the Big Day of Play, Rainier Valley Heritage Festival, Hillman City Car Show, South Seattle Community Picnic and dozens of community partners, to bring safe streets and sunny fun to the south end. This route will highlight some of the Valley’s beautiful and vibrant areas including Rainier Valley Playfields, Columbia City, Columbia Park, Hillman City, Brighton Playfields and Othello Park.

  • Saturday, August 27: Ballard, 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

The second event in the series will bring the fun back to Ballard! In partnership with the Sustainable Ballard Festival, Seattle Parks and Recreation and dozens of community partners, a variety of activities will take place along the route of Ballard Commons Park, Ballard Corners Park, Salmon Bay Park, Loyal Heights Community Center, Sunset Hill Park, Bergen Place Park, and the myriad shops and businesses along Ballard Avenue NW.

  • Sunday, September 25: West Seattle, 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

The final event will celebrate the conclusion of summer with a community party on Alki Beach! In partnership with Orca Running, Seattle Parks and Recreation, the Beach Creeps Bicycle Club and dozens of community partners, the route will highlight activities throughout Alki Beach Park, the Alki Trail, Don Armeni Park, Alki Community Center, and the myriad shops and businesses along Alki Avenue SW.

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Participation is free, and those who want to host an activity in their neighborhood can fill out an online application. Volunteer positions are also available, ranging from intersection management and community ambassadors, to route patrols and mobile bike mechanics.

For sign-ups, route maps and more information, please visit: www.seattle.gov/summerparkways and follow Seattle Parkways on Facebook and Twitter @SeattleParkways #SeattleSummerParkways.

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Construction Coordination in the City

Seattle continues to grow rapidly, as you might notice by the number of construction cranes along our skyline. SDOT manages private construction projects across the city within “Construction Hubs” – the downtown core, South Lake Union and Capitol Hill areas – through a program called Construction Coordination.

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Here are some of the ways Construction Coordinators and Inspectors keep people moving through the city:

  • Evaluating right-of-way impacts during individual projects and for all projects within each Hub
  • Coordinating and consolidating temporary closures, detours and routes
  • Maintaining access to and through impacted areas
  • Facilitating dialog between contractors and the community/businesses
  • Acting as one point of contact to respond and resolve construction related issues in real time
  • Helping public agencies and private contractors work cooperatively to optimize mobility in impact areas
  • Holding regular stakeholder meetings to notify business and neighborhood groups of upcoming development and right-of-way impacts

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PEDESTRIAN MOBILITY AROUND WORK ZONES RULE FINALIZED

The revised SDOT Director’s Rule for Pedestrian Mobility Around Work Zones is now official, with standards to make it easier and safer for people to walk in Seattle. The new standards took effect in January 2016 for new projects.

The rule includes:

  • New standards on the types of materials to be used and their placement
  • Direction on creating well-maintained pathways and clear signage
  • More details on meeting American with Disabilities Act requirements
  • All categories under SMC Title 15 Street and Sidewalk Use

SDOT will work with existing projects and new 2016 construction to help ensure safety and mobility for people walking near work zones.

INSPECTIONS

All construction permits issued by SDOT’s Street Use Division are subject to inspection. Inspections are required to ensure that all conditions of the permit have been met and that the public’s safety, mobility and interests are preserved. Street Use inspectors also respond to and investigate citizen inquiries about unsafe conditions or construction activity in the right of way. See more information about SDOT Street Use Permits here. 

If you have a construction related access question, please contact SDOTConstructionHub@seattle.gov.

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New Vision Zero Dashboard Coming Soon!

Vision Zero is excited to have worked closely with the University of Washington Information School  to make collision data more interactive and accessible to everyone.  Educating people about what is happening in their neighborhood and citywide streets is one of the key elements to making Vision Zero successful.  Collision data is also one of the driving factors that we use to determine the engineering treatments and level of investments we make towards a safer transportation infrastructure.

Last night at the UW Information School Capstone event, more than 300 students presented on projects where they were presented with a problem and developed a solution to an information challenge for a client in a community.

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Currently, many years’ worth of collision data is publicly available at data.seattle.gov  and the Vision Zero dashboard is currently located in performance.seattle.gov

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The new website will be available soon for everyone to use and learn more about the police reported collisions that have happened in your area.  Here’s a preview of what’s to come:

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Vision Zero Logo

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Welcome to the SDOT Sign Shop!

Our dedicated SDOT sign shop staff invited us in to see all the different things they do to help travelers find their way and keep us all going in the right direction.

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Meet Robin Ford. He has been the Crew Chief for the City of Seattle sign shop for about a year. Ford’s crew (all three of them!) produces all of the signs in our city. The signs they create range from street name and traffic control, to those custom designed “welcome to the neighborhood” signs. His team focuses on providing the city with a fast turn-around on production.

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The old process for manufacturing the signs was to screen print them onto metal or wood. Screen printing was useful for bulk production, but the process took time. Each pigment needed to be laid onto the design one at a time. Once the design was printed onto the material, setting the signs aside to set took about 1-2 hours. Ford hasn’t screen printed in 6 months. IMG_3010IMG_3013

Today, they use digital printers and plotters for a speedier method of production. The digital printers use an adhesive material for easier application. UV coating is then placed over the designs to secure its longevity. These printers also allow printing on reflective material, warranted for 10 years.

Plotters cut designs out of vinyl materials to be placed on the metals.

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Here’s a link to our previous post about sign replacement: http://sdotblog.seattle.gov/2014/11/24/bridging-the-gap-2014-signage-work-nearly-complete/.

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The next time you’re driving, walking, or taking the bus through our streets, stop to admire the work of our sign shop crew. If you want to view other photos that were taken on this tour, check out out Flickr.

Have you ever wondered what SDOT does with those old street names signs? Wonder no more! As noted in previous blog posts, various street name signs – named and numbered – are available through the City of Seattle Fleets and Facilities surplus warehouse.  An updated list of available signs ranging in price from $5 – 15 is posted on the web. Please see details and contact the warehouse directly if you are interested in purchasing a sign. Holiday shopping? The signs are great gifts for the person who has everything in life or is looking for a new creative project!

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Key Repairs Serve South Park’s Industrial Community

South Holden Street is the gateway to the extensive industrial area in the South Park neighborhood. This busy street carries a constant flow of heavy trucks, Metro buses and connects highways SR 509 and SR 99 to South Park’s industrial businesses. Years of wear and tear had naturally taken their toll and filling potholes was no longer effective, so this month SDOT repaved the busiest three blocks of S Holden St.

SDOT crews worked all day on a Saturday to get the job done without impacting the businesses that rely on this street every weekday – with remarkable results.

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Before and after the repairs on S Holden Street show a major improvement.

This project was funded by SDOT’s Arterial Major Maintenance (AMM) program, which maintains our busiest streets through strategic small scale pavement repairs to key locations in greatest need of repair.

SDOT and Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) are planning a much larger project on these same blocks of S Holden St in the next few years which will include drainage infrastructure and permanent street repairs.  SDOT determined that this key freight street should not wait years before being repaired, so this month’s repaving job provided a strategic, relatively low cost interim repair which vastly improved the street condition before the extensive SDOT/SPU project happens in a few years.

See more information on our Street Maintenance Program.

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Find It, Fix It Community Walks

Find It, Fix It Community Walks are opportunities for residents to meet with the Mayor, city officials, police and other neighbors to discuss neighborhood projects and identify areas that need improvement, such as overgrown landscaping, litter, graffiti and street light outages.

The first walk of the year is on Tuesday, May 31, and residents are invited to join Mayor Ed Murray and SDOT Director Scott Kubly in the Aurora-Licton Springs neighborhood in north Seattle.

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Residents will get a chance to ask questions and hear about neighborhood projects including the Greenwood-Licton Springs Safer Streets Project, the Northgate Pedestrian and Bicycle Bridge over I-5 that will connect to the future light rail station, the paving and safety project on Meridian Avenue and other projects funded by the voter-approved Levy to Move Seattle.

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Future Find It, Fix it Community Walks scheduled in 2016:

  • Belltown – Late June
  • Roxhill – July
  • Judkins Park – August
  • Crown Hill – September
  • Georgetown – October
  • Wallingford – Mid-November

On Find It, Fix It Community Walks, you can use the city’s Find It, Fix It app to report concerns. If you can’t make it to any of the scheduled walks, you can download the app and report neighborhood issues that way.

Find it Fix it appFind It, Fix It Community Walks were initiated in 2014 by Seattle Mayor Ed Murray, as a series of Mayor-led walks that help to improve neighborhoods one block at a time.

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Major Signal Retiming Improves Traffic Flow on Key Center City Corridors

SDOT today released the initial results of its recently completed traffic signal retiming project in the downtown core. A comparison of travel times before and after the Next Generation Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) Center City Signal Timing Project was implemented shows notable travel time reductions as well as more consistent travel times on downtown streets. These signal timing improvements, completed and modified over the past several months, join recent transit, walking and biking enhancements to improve travel through Seattle’s Center City.

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Below is a snapshot of weekday travel times from March 2015 (before signal retiming) to March 2016 (after):

  • Central Business District:
    • Fourth Avenue northbound from Jackson Street to Virginia Street:
      • Peak morning times improved 6% or by 25 seconds.
      • Peak afternoon times improved 36% or by 3:09 minutes.
      • Overall improved 19% or by 1:25 minutes.
    • Third Avenue southbound from Stewart St. to Yesler Way (a main commute transit route):
      • Peak morning times improved 4% or by 19 seconds.
      • Peak afternoon times improved 11 % or by 1:14 minutes.
      • Overall improved 5% or by 28 seconds.
  • Denny Way Corridor:
    • Denny Way eastbound from Western Avenue to Dexter Avenue:
      • Peak morning times improved 9% or by 20 seconds.
      • Peak afternoon times improved 24% or by 1:41 minutes.
      • Overall improved 11% or by 33 seconds.
  • Additional travel time reductions during off-peak hours:
    • Northbound Fourth Ave from Jackson St to Virginia St improved by 39 seconds.
    • Southbound Second Ave from Denny Way to Stewart St improved by 3:32 minutes.

SDOT implemented its Next Generation ITS Center City Signal Timing Project in December 2015 and completed work in January 2016. The project divided downtown Seattle into zones and retimed traffic signals in each zone, such as the Central Business District (CBD), Pioneer Square, Belltown, and the Denny Way Corridor.

Highlights of the ITS project:

  • Retimed 260 traffic signals in the downtown core.
  • Divided the existing traffic signal system into a multi-zone network, allowing SDOT greater flexibility to control signal timings for different sections of the network while keeping other zones constant.
  • Adjusted pedestrian crossing times at every downtown intersection to meet current national standards and increase the time pedestrians have to clear intersections before vehicles start moving.

The cost of the signal project was $1.35 million, paid for using REET (Real Estate Excise Tax) funding. Comprehensive signal retiming programs have documented benefits of a 7% to 13% reduction in overall travel time, a 15% to 37% reduction in delay and a 6% to 9% fuel savings (Institute of Transportation Engineers, 2009).

In addition to its major signal timing project, SDOT has made a number of other transportation improvements to keep people moving in downtown Seattle:

The extension and splitting of the RapidRide C Line to South Lake Union and the RapidRide D Line to Pioneer Square was funded by the City of Seattle and began in March of 2016. These changes were designed to improve the reliability of the two lines, which carry more than 21,000 riders each weekday, while connecting riders to growing employment markets.

Thanks to this investment and on-street improvements, C Line on-time performance increased from 80.7% in April 2015 to 84.9% in April 2016. D Line on-time performance increased from 81.4% in April 2015 to 86.7% in April 2016. As a result, for the same time period:

  • C Line ridership increased 27%, about 2,300 new daily rides; and
  • D Line ridership increased 23%, over 2,600 new daily rides. 

The Second Avenue Protected Bike Lane (PBL) was upgraded in April 2016 between Denny Way and Pike Street to improve safety and efficiency for people biking, walking and driving. The project included new traffic signals with dedicated left turns, planter boxes to clarify and buffer the bike lane, and raised driveways to encourage travelers to look out for each other. After the initial PBL installation occurred on Second Avenue the rate of bicycle collisions dropped by 82% and the rate of serious bicycle collisions (involving an injury or fatality) dropped by 79%.

In addition to these transportation improvements, the Director’s Rule for Pedestrian Mobility In and Around Work Zones provides ongoing safety standards for pedestrians around construction zones in Seattle. The Director’s Rule took effect January 1 and makes navigation around construction sites easier and safer for everyone, including those with disabilities. Important standards outlined in the new rule include the requirement that contractors use solid, cane-detectable barriers instead of cones to define the outer edge of pedestrian reroutes, that clear and consistent signage be used, that specifications for meeting ADA sidewalk ramp requirements are met, and that sidewalk and lane closures are only used as a last resort.

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