• Second Avenue Protected Bike
    Second Avenue Protected Bike
  • W Emerson Overpass Repair Project
    W Emerson Overpass Repair Project
  • Mercer Corridor Project construction progress October 23, 2014
    Mercer Corridor Project construction progress October 23, 2014
  • Signals and signs in the Queen Anne neighborhood
    Signals and signs in the Queen Anne neighborhood
  • New stairway @ Lakeside Ave S and S Jackson St.
    New stairway @ Lakeside Ave S and S Jackson St.
  • blog_sumsts

Happy PARK(ing) Day!

You’ve waited an entire year, and it’s finally here! Today is PARK(ing) Day, the annual event when people around the world temporarily convert on-street parking spaces into pop-up parks for a few hours. PARK(ing) Day began in 2005 and raises awareness about the importance of a sustainable, livable, and healthy city.

Between 9:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. today, Seattle will have 50 new parks, each offering a fun and unique way for people to experience a parking space. The pop-up parks include creative furniture, board games and lawn bowling, art installations, trees and landscaping, books and pianos, and much, much more.

You’ll find PARK(ing) Day parks from Lake City to Rainier Beach and from Ballard to West Seattle. There are also groups of parks in South Lake Union, Capitol Hill, and downtown Seattle.

And, because we love PARK(ing) Day as much as you do, we’ll be hosting two pop-up parks of our own today! One park will be on King St, between 5th Ave and 6th Ave (pictured below), and the other will be on Madison St, at Boren Ave. Come by our International District location to hang out, design your own street with Legos, get creative with Build-It disks, and learn more about what SDOT is doing to keep you safe and activate our streets. If that’s not enough to tempt you, we’ve got plenty of free swag (see the awesome superhero capes?), so come hang out with us!

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An interactive map of all the parks—along with a short description of what’s happening in each one—is available on the PARK(ing) Day website. Follow us on Twitter today for regular updates on PARK(ing) Day activities, and use #seaparkingday in your own tweets so we can see where you’ve been, too.

And while we’re talking about parks in parking spaces, we are excited to announce that a new parklet at Molly Moons in Wallingford will open this weekend! Feel free to stop by and enjoy the new space—and some ice cream—on Sunday between 3:00 and 5:00 p.m. Parklets are an outgrowth of PARK(ing) Day, and the Molly Moons parklet is part of SDOT’s Pilot Parklet Program.

Once Around the Web: Watch This!

Why Bike Lovers Should Be Happy About ‘Bikelash’

Public hatred of biking culture is actually a natural part of its evolution into the mainstream.

It’s all a part of the cycle of social change: Ridicule > Violent opposition > Acceptance.

PARK(ing) Day Was Streetfilms First Big Hit in 2006!!

Don’t forget Park(ing) Day is today and it’s Seattle’s biggest yet with more than 50 pop-up parks!

How About a Crosswalk Light that Dances?

The makers of this gyrating Do Not Cross signal say it reduces jaywalking by 81 percent.

Wait Your Turn for the Swings at Boston’s Adult Playground

The wildly successful Lawn on D Street is a temporary park that took no tedious city planning. Should we let more urban design emerge organically?

Swing Time is an interactive playscape composed of 20 illuminated ring-shaped swings designed by Höweler + Yoon Architecture.

 

Greenwood Sidewalk & Transit Project

91614blogpostOpen house postcard photo - current conditions

Sidewalk repairs ahead.

North Seattle still has a number of streets that lack sidewalks. A subject of frustration for many who live in these neighborhoods, there are even some arterials that don’t have sidewalks yet. Greenwood Avenue, a little north of its business district, is such a place where bus riders, kids going to and from school, and neighborhood residents walking to do their grocery shopping a few blocks away don’t have a sidewalk.

SDOT plans to tackle a substantial piece of the problem next year when it constructs sidewalks along the east side of Greenwood Avenue North between NE 92nd and NE 105th streets. (The west side of the street has some sidewalk gaps, but not as many as on the east side. It is hoped that sufficient funding can be secured to include the construction of these west side missing sidewalk segments, but as of this writing, the funding has not been identified.)

Specifically, the project will install a six foot wide concrete sidewalk with curb and gutter, a five foot wide planting strip, ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) mandated curb ramps at intersections, and minor drainage, grading, and paving improvements to provide a continuous sidewalk along the east side of Greenwood Avenue.

While the project will make for a safer and more aesthetically appealing streetscape, it will create parking challenges for some businesses and apartment buildings. Because of this, SDOT is working closely with individual property owners to address their access and parking needs to the greatest extent possible.

As the project name itself suggests, the project also includes significant transit improvements, specifically the construction of two new in-lane bus islands (at N 92nd and N 97th streets), along with the closure of some stops and the relocation of others to provide more appropriate spacing between them. The in-lane bus islands, similar to those on Dexter Avenue North, permit buses to load and unload while still in the travel lane, improving their speed and reliability.

The existing bike lanes on both sides of Greenwood will remain, with the bus islands routing bicyclists between the bus stop and sidewalk, substantially reducing conflicts between buses and bikes.

The $2.5 million project, primarily financed through the voter-approved Bridging the Gap measure and the Neighborhood Street Fund, is expected to begin construction in early 2015 and take about six months to complete (up to ten months if the project eventually includes sidewalks on the west side of Greenwood).

 

 

Bridging the Gap: A path to pedestrian improvements

 

BTG91614blogppost

Thanks to the Bridging the Gap (BTG) transportation initiative passed by Seattle voters in 2006, the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) is working to make it easier and safer to cross the road. Funding from BTG is available to remark crosswalks, make needed crossing improvements, install new signage in school zones, deploy the speed watch trailer and install pedestrian countdown signals across the city.

Since 2007, more than 4,700 crosswalks have been remarked, 185 crossing improvements have been implemented and 210 intersections have received the new pedestrian countdown signals. In addition, more than 196 improvement and signage upgrades have been made to school zones across the city and the speed watch trailer has been deployed more than 422 times.

While SDOT has made good progress on these valuable pedestrian improvements, work continues in 2014. So far this year the department has remarked 384 crosswalks; made 23 crossing improvements; installed pedestrian countdown signals at 45 intersections; deployed the speed watch trailer to 54 locations; and made 11 improvements to schools zones across the city.

Many of the improvements work in conjunction with our Safe Routes to School program making it easier and safer for kids all around Seattle to walk and bike to school. They bring awareness to all roadway users to be on the lookout for each other by creating more visibility to crossings; making drivers more aware they are entering a school zone; and providing immediate feedback to drivers about their speed through the use of the speed watch trailers.

For more information about BTG, its goals and accomplishments, visit the web site.

The goats are back in town to enjoy local fare

Goats happily munching their way up the steep Pine Street hillside.

Goats happily munching their way up the steep Pine Street hillside.

 

The Seattle Department of Transportation has again invited a herd of goats to a feast of wild growth on some of our steep hillsides.

The first venue is under the Alaskan Way Viaduct between Lenora and Blanchard streets. We expect the herd of 110 goats from Rentaruminant to remain here for a week.

Once this hillside has been cleared, the herd will move under the Jose Rizal Bridge on the north side of Dearborn Street at 12th Avenue South for three to four days to clear that area.

SDOT has found using goats to clear slopes that are difficult for us two-footed creatures to reach is an effective method to maintain these areas.

Where will you be on PARK(ing) Day?

This Friday, September 19, is PARK(ing) Day, and we are excited to have 50 parks popping up around town from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.…the most ever for PARK(ing) Day in Seattle!

We’ve got a new map of all the parks online—along with a list of addresses and park descriptions—to help you plan your day. We’ll have an interactive map available later this week to capture any last minute changes, but you can start plotting your park-hopping now.

Even though you probably have to go to work or school on Friday, we hope you’ll have a few minutes to check out the cool ways that your friends and neighbors are using a parking space for a day. There will be life-sized Jenga, greenhouses and trees, corn hole and board games, a Jimi Hendrix-inspired performance space, forbidden books, pop-up protected bike lanes, pianos, art, and just about anything else you can imagine!

PARK(ing) Day happens once a year, on the third Friday in September, and is an opportunity for any Seattleite to temporarily turn parking spaces into parks. The event raises awareness about the importance of creating a walkable, livable, healthy city and helps people re-think how our streets can be used.

So check out the map below (click map for larger version) and figure out which parks you want to visit on PARK(ing) Day. Think you can make it to all of them? We’re going to try and we’ll be tweeting as we go—follow along @seattledot and @parkingdaySEA and use #seaparkingday for your own photos.

PARK(ing) Day 2014 map

Crosswalk Law 1.0

Washington’s crosswalk law is pretty simple – stop for pedestrians in the crosswalk. But most people are unaware that every intersection contains a crosswalk whether marked or unmarked. Drivers are required to stop for pedestrians when crossing the street at marked crosswalks and at intersections as well. That’s right it’s perfectly legal to cross the street at an intersection even without the aid of crosswalk striping on the pavement. It’s critically important that everyone understand this basic rule of the road to keep pedestrians – including students, seniors, and transit riders – safe. Let’s take a look at a few examples of legal crossings.

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The law around standard crosswalks like the one pictured above is relatively straightforward. When a pedestrian is waiting at the curb to cross the street, drivers are required to stop. SDOT installs this type of crossing on lower volume streets with no more than three lanes of traffic and many of these are designated school crossings. These crossings are ‘uncontrolled’, meaning that there are no stop signs or traffic signals to assign right-of-way so we’re counting on drivers and pedestrians to know and follow the law.

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As mentioned earlier, all intersections contain legal crossings whether marked or unmarked so the intersection pictured above has four legal crossings. If a pedestrians were waiting to cross the street at this location, drivers would be required to stop and let them cross safely.

At traffic signals, state law says, drivers can turn into the crosswalk only after pedestrians are one lane past the drivers half of the roadway. The image below should help clarify this law. Just remember that pedestrians and bicyclists have the right-of-way at crosswalks and intersections. Give them plenty of time to cross the street.

croswalklaw1.03Here are a few other tips to help keep pedestrians safe

  • Don’t block the view. It’s illegal to park with 20 feet of a marked or unmarked crosswalk and within 30 feet of a traffic signal, stop sign, or yield sign. Parking too close to a crosswalk or traffic control device limits the visibility of the device and pedestrians – especially shorter children or people using wheelchairs.
  • Slow down. Speed increases the amount of time it takes to recognize pedestrians and bring your vehicle to a stop. Follow the speed limit and watch out for pedestrians.
  • Sidewalks and Driveways. Stop for pedestrians whenever you’re driving across a sidewalk to access a parking lot, driveway or alley.

Pedestrians are much more vulnerable to injuries in collisions and the likelihood of injury is nearly 100 percent should an incident occur. Let’s work together to make sure that doesn’t happen. When you’re out on the streets, look out for others and stop for pedestrians.

pexing

Play Like a Parking Pro

Street parking– what a game to try to win. SDOT wants you to know the rules to become a Parking Pro.

In August, SDOT started making changes to the on-street parking rates in various parts of the city. There are temporary signs and orange flags at parking pay stations to help alert you to changes. Our Performance-Based Parking Pricing Program directs changes based on performance criteria and parking data. Our goal is to ensure that one or two parking spaces are open and available on each block throughout the day. We adjust rates up or down based on demand to provide reliable, convenient parking. This summer and fall we are making changes in 22 areas.

Have you seen the new parking signs and wondered what they mean?

Parklikeapro

Where you will see these signs? Pike-Pine, South Lake Union, Uptown Triangle, Capitol Hill north of Olive Way/John Street

What you need to know? These areas will see a $0.50 cent rate increase because parking is full much of the day and early evening, making it very hard to find an available space. The goal is to entice some people to look for alternates or off-street lots, in order to open up a handful of spaces so that there is more availability for others coming to the neighborhood. We want to make sure that you can find parking close to your destination. Check out the map here to see parking options near your destination.

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Where you will see these signs? Parts of Denny Triangle close to the commercial core as well as parts of the U-District and the Chinatown/International District

What you need to know? These signs indicate that there is street parking nearby with a lower rate. For example, in the northeast corner of downtown near Denny and Westlake, that area has a $1.50/hour rate, while other parts of downtown street parking are more expensive.

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Where you will see these signs? In the paid parking areas on 12th Avenue as well as in Cherry Hill, Green Lake, Fremont, and along NW Market St and 22nd Ave NW in Ballard

What you need to know? Paid parking hours will change to 8 AM – 8 PM in these areas in the next two weeks. Hours are extended to increase street parking availability in the evening. Our 2014 study showed 7 PM parking occupancies at or above 95%.

Evening paid parking helps free up a few parking spaces in very full areas. Overnight or long-term parkers are encouraged to park off-street or out of the core commercial districts. A few people might decide to carpool, bus, walk, or bike to their destinations.

parklikeaprobrgainparking

Where you will see these signs? The northern parts of Belltown and Denny Triangle as well as parts of Ballard, U-District and the Chinatown/International District

What you need to know? When you see this sign, you have found bargain street parking. These areas will see a $0.50 rate decrease. Data shows that parking is not well-used and that too high a rate is charged for the current demand. Check out the map here to see details.

More information about the parking rate changes is available here.

 

Transit Improvements Coming to First Avenue and Denny Way

1st--Denny-Transit-Improvements-Map_webSDOT has recently made several transit service improvements along Denny Way, at the intersections of First Avenue and Denny and First Avenue and Broad Street. These changes have improved transit’s speed and reliability, but we are not done yet. We’re planning more through these busy intersections:

  • New signal operations at northbound First Avenue and Denny Way New traffic signal hardware and a longer bus-only signal phase will allow more buses, including local service to Magnolia and express service to Ballard and northwest Seattle, to turn left from the existing bus-only curb lane. Drivers travelling north on First Avenue should expect to see buses cross in front of existing travel lanes as they turn from First Avenue to Denny, and a longer green light for these buses and other buses proceeding north across Denny to First Avenue North.
  • Move the Denny Way bus stop To accommodate existing westbound bus traffic and make sure buses don’t block the intersection, we’ll move the bus stop on westbound Denny Way (west of First Ave North) 150 feet down the block, next to Queen Anne Avenue North. Metro will install a new shelter with lighting. The new location will accommodate two to three buses, instead of the current one to two buses, on routes serving Lower Queen Anne, Magnolia, Ballard, and South Lake Union.
  • Revised Parking Restriction for Transit Speed and Reliability on First Avenue. Existing parking restrictions on First Avenue between Denny Way and Broad Street will expand to provide a bus-only lane for longer periods of the day and match other bus lane operations in the city. Currently, parking is not allowed from 3:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. In addition, parking will not be allowed from 6:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. so buses can more reliably serve passengers travelling to Lower Queen Anne, Interbay, Magnolia, and Ballard.
  • Benefits Combined, the transit improvements coming to First and Denny will provide quicker and more consistent bus travel in both the morning and afternoon rush hour. These changes will get buses through this chokepoint quickly and get riders to their destinations.
    • Improvements to the Denny Way bus stop will benefit about 150 passengers per day.
    • The new signal phase at 1st and Denny will help nearly 100 daily bus trips headed for Magnolia and Ballard get through this intersection quicker.
    • The expanded hours of the bus-only lane will allow over 50 bus trips free-flow travel on First Avenue during these additional times.

Routes benefitting from these changes include: Rapid Ride D Line, 1, 2, 13, 15X, 17X, 18X, 24 and 33.

Cost and Schedule All improvements will be complete by fall 2014.

Questions?

We’re looking for public input on this project during the month of September, if you have questions please contact benjamin.smith@seattle.gov or (206) 684-4209.