Improving Pedestrian Crossing Safety in Ballard

SDOT broke ground this week on a pedestrian safety project at one of Seattle’s five-way intersections, this one in East Ballard near West Woodland Elementary School.

The project is located at the intersection of 3rd Avenue NW, NW 56th Street and 55th Place NW, where the street grid becomes complicated by roads that wind up Phinney Ridge. The intersection has been equipped with three striped crosswalks and a flashing “School Zone” beacon but the large, complex intersection remained difficult to cross.

Parents and the West Woodland Elementary School safety committee identified the need for crossing improvements on this key walking route through a Safe Routes to School outreach process.

West Woodland 6-18-15

In about two months, when this project is complete, kids, families and neighbors will find a new all-way stop, two additional striped crosswalks, curb extensions, upgraded curb ramps, and 55th Place NW will be separated from the intersection and made one-way southwest-bound.

These improvements are a part of SDOT’s ongoing mission to build healthy communities and were designed to help clarify the right of way, keep vehicle speeds low and improve visibility between pedestrians, bicyclists and motorists.

The SDOT project team designed this project over the past year, along with five other pedestrian safety improvement projects throughout the city. Each of these five projects are part of the Neighborhood Street Fund Program, with funding from both the Bridging the Gap transportation levy passed by voters in 2006 and scheduled to expire at the end of this year, as well as  from the Safe Routes to School Program.

Work began on June 15 and crews are in their first of what will be approximately eight weeks of construction. Residents and travelers in the area can expect construction activity while crews work to build these improvements, including some of the following impacts:

  • Temporary parking and lane restrictions on NW 56th Street, NW 55th Place and 3rd Avenue NW
  • Pedestrian and bicycle detours around the work zones
  • Noise, dust and vibration associated with concrete removal and paving
  • Typical weekday work hours, from 7 AM to 5 PM

 

Additionally, a road closure will be in place on 3rd Avenue NW at NW 56th Street for approximately three weeks, followed by a closure of the west side of 3rd Avenue NW at NW 56th Street for approximately three weeks. These restrictions will be in place to allow crews to safely and efficiently demolish the existing sidewalk and pour concrete for the new curb extensions. Local access will be maintained during these restrictions.

We appreciate the community’s patience while work is being done to complete this project.

If you have questions during construction, you can contact the outreach team at NSF@seattle.gov or call 206-733-9361. Sign up to receive email updates about this project here.

Summer Break for Kids has Begun, Please Travel Safely Everybody

Summer break has begun and we wanted to remind everyone to travel safely and to be mindful that most kids are out of school.

SDOT Director Scott Kubly, SDOT staffers joined Seattle Police Department (SPD) officers at Arbor Heights/K-5 STEM School in West Seattle last week to educate and reinforce safe travel habits as everyone prepared for summer break. Healthy habits developed as children can become lifelong habits that can be shared with others.

Please checkout our latest Blog Video featuring our friends at Arbor Heights/K-5 STEM, Seattle Police and Scott Kubly:

  • Goal is to end traffic-related deaths and serious injuries by 2030
  • Seattle is a safe city – often recognized as one of the safest in the nation
  • We want to build on our safety record
  • And we know that we can be even better (over 10,000 collisions/year, and one death is one too many)
  • Vision Zero approach emphasizes smarter street designs – forgiving streets that account for human error
  • When paired with targeted education and enforcement, we can save lives
  • We each have a role to play every day to reach Vision Zero
  • To make our streets safer for all, Seattle’s Vision Zero 2015 efforts include:

    • Reducing the speed limit in the downtown core to 25 m.p.h. by the end of 2015
    • Improving safety at 10 high-crash intersections downtown by eliminating turns on red lights, installing leading pedestrian intervals to give walkers a head start, eliminating dual turn lanes, and other engineering improvements
    • Installing 20 m.p.h. zones on residential streets in up to ten areas near parks and schools with documented collision histories
    • Enhancing safety on arterials (where 90 percent of serious and fatal collisions occur), like Rainier Avenue S, 35th Avenue SW, Fauntleroy Way SW and Fifth Avenue NE, by enhancing street designs, lowering speed limits and installing radar speed signs
    • Adding 12 new school zone safety cameras in six school zones to improve safety for children as they make their way to and from school
    • Adding seven miles of protected bike lanes, more than 40 crossing improvements, and 14 blocks of new sidewalk to make travel safer across all modes
    • Conducting targeted enforcement throughout the city for school, pedestrian and bike safety, along with enhanced DUI enforcement. SDOT and SPD will work together to educate people in advance of these patrols, so everyone will expect enforcement and better understand the rules of the road.For more information on Vision Zero, visit www.seattle.gov/visionzero. #VisionZeroSEA

    Vizion Zero

    Goat-powered Summer Vegetation Clearing in Seattle!

    Our Goat friends along with Head Herder/Chief Wrangler Tammy are back in action for SDOT to help clear some unwanted invasive vegetation underneath the Viaduct near Leonora and Blanchard streets. Another example of SDOT using “green” technology to support environmental stewardship as summer approaches.

    Goat powered vegetation clearing underneath the Viaduct.

    Goat powered vegetation clearing underneath the Viaduct

    The Goats will be around the next week or so, and are happy to clear the brush. As you may recall, Goats are waaay better suited to steep hillsides than humans, making it safer, more cost-effective and mutually beneficial to have this work done by goats than by humans. Clearing the invasive vegetation helps keep our eco-system and communities healthy by removing these non-indigenous quick growing plants. 

    Baaaah...Baaah...We love Seattle almost-Summer.

    Baaaah…Baaah…We love Seattle almost-Summer.

    The Goats have four stomachs, so they can eat and digest the blackberry (thorns and all), and other invasive vegetation without repopulating the seeds anywhere, meaning they aren’t spreading the plants elsewhere.  We appreciate their “can-do” and “Goat-to” attitude.

    Mayor Murray and Community Members Celebrate Added Transit in Seattle

    Today Mayor Ed Murray, King County Executive Dow Constantine and City Councilmember Tom Rasmussen celebrated increased King County Metro bus service in Seattle. The increased service riders now enjoy are a direct result of Seattle residents passing Proposition 1 in November 2014. The first increase went into effect in early June with more services coming in September.

    FullSizeRender

    The Mayor thanked Seattle voters for moving Seattle one step closer to getting the transit system the City wants and needs, and explained that expanded transit options supports economic growth, reduces traffic, and transit use of electric trolleys help lower our city’s carbon footprint.

    Mayor and Attendees3

    Metro Riders and Driver join Metro GM Kevin Desmond, CM Tom Rasmussen, Exec. Dow Constantine, Mayor Ed Murray, SDOT Director Scott Kubly.

    Proposition 1 allowed SDOT and King County Metro to add 9,000 service hours per month in June and will add 9,000 additional hours per month this coming September. These new hours will be added to both weekday commute and off-peak periods, enhancing services to 85 percent of in-city routes. In total, 223,000 bus hours will be added annually to existing bus service.

    SDOT’s route improvement identification process was designed to meet the demands of a growing city and an always-on economy that requires trips for work, shopping, recreation, and other purposes outside of traditional commute hours.  The new transit is the equivalent of more than 50 buses operating 12 hours per day, 365 days per year.

    In addition, in-city transit is now more accessible for everyone, and more affordable for low-income residents through King County’s ORCA LIFT program, which provides up to a 50 percent discount on fares for income-qualified riders. Starting this summer, in addition to enrolling people in the Utility Discount Program, the Seattle Human Services Department will also be able to connect eligible people in Seattle to a variety of affordability resources including the $20 car tab rebate program and the ORCA LIFT card.

    In total, the route improvements expand Seattle’s portion of Metro’s system by approximately 15 percent. They are funded through a combination of car tab fees and a 0.1 percent sales tax that will annually provide $45 million over the next six years.

    Please visit www.Seattle.gov/Transit for additional information.

    Access Seattle Helping You Access Belltown

    Coordinating construction activity, pedestrian mobility, and vehicle mobility, all while making sure Seattle’s summertime events go off without a hitch is a challenge to say the least. But it’s a challenge that SDOT’s Access Seattle team is taking on, and they are getting results.

    Most recently, the Access team has identified potential problem spots in the Belltown neighborhood. One, located at 4th & Blanchard and pictured below, involves a construction site at which a contractor is permitted to close a parking/peak-hour-traffic lane for construction staging and deliveries. While the contractor is fully permitted for these activities and has taken steps to provide pedestrian access during lane closures,  the Access Team realized that the closure of this lane would greatly interfere with three major summertime events: the Seattle Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon, the Seattle Pride Parade, and the Seafair Torchlight Parade.

    Construction on 4th Ave

    Construction at 4th & Blanchard

    In response to these concerns, Center City Hub Coordinator Ken Ewalt worked with the contractor, PCL Construction Services, to design a plan that would accommodate summertime events and mobility, while also maintaining construction schedules. The result is an agreement that PCL will pull back the barriers pictured above prior to each event, and will return them to their original position only after event activities have concluded. This is a solution that means more room for spectators to observe these festive events, the removal of a bottleneck for event participants, and less traffic backup on peripheral streets.

    The Access Seattle team is always working to identify areas where the interaction between resident mobility, construction, and public events can be improved. Do you have questions or comments regarding mobility and construction in your neighborhood? Send us an email at the appropriate address below.

    For construction impact concerns in:

    All Hubs contact – SDOTConstructionHub@Seattle.gov

    Downtown/Center City contact – Ken.Ewalt@seattle.gov

    South Lake Union contact – Jack.Bighorse@seattle.gov

    Capitol Hill contact – Wayne.Gallup@seattle.gov

    Like a Good Neighbor…

    On Capitol Hill right now there is a lot of construction; a lot of construction. And there’s been a lot of construction on Capitol Hill for a very long time, so much so that late last year the area that was defined as the Capitol Hill Construction Hub was expanded to reach all the way west to I-5.

    Construction hubs are areas the City has identified as experiencing multiple private and public construction projects simultaneously underway in close proximity; sounds cozy. With all that building you get lots of contractors and sub-contractors in and out of project sites daily. But some stand out, in a really good way, because they’re really good neighbors.

     

    Mill Creek Residential project site at 1427 11th Avenue

    Mill Creek project site at 1427 11th Avenue

    Nearly one year ago Mill Creek Residential was in the planning stages to build a new mixed-use 6-story structure with 135 residential units; underground spaces for 124 cars and 40 bikes; and 6,000 feet of new street level commercial space, as the Capitol Hill Seattle Blog reported last July.  Mill Creek hopes to begin leasing by next summer. You might wonder sometimes if the folks building such high rises and mixed use developments care about the impacts of construction on the traveling public; neighborhoods; businesses. We can tell you Mill Creek does and we are thankful for their good neighbor behavior in a community currently deluged by construction impacts.

     

    One of many No Construction Parking signs paid for by Mill Creek Residential and placed along 10th Avenue

    One of many No Construction Parking signs paid for by Mill Creek Residential and placed along 10th Avenue

    Of their own accord Mill Creek Residential has long asked their crews and subcontractors to please not take up street parking. Several months ago they paid for the production and placement of A-frame signs all around their project site saying street parking was meant for residents and business customers. They came to the table with a parking management plan to help the community weather the impacts they knew their project would bring. And now, Mill Creek Residential is upping their game by printing off and placing the following on windshields of vehicles they have probable cause to believe are being driven by people who work for their subcontractors – ensuring the parking message gets out. They even issued emails to project supervisors with the PDF of the flyer to enlist more help in controlling misuse of Capitol Hill’s limited street parking.

    Notice placed on windshields asking subcontractors not to take street parking

    Notice placed on windshields asking subcontractors not to take street parking

    As the Access Seattle Initiative and its Construction Hub Coordination Program work to reduce cumulative construction impacts, we want to thank the contractors that are also working to put community first. Thanks Mill Creek!

    A Closer Look at Crack Sealing Street Maintenance

    SDOT street maintenance crews are in the thick of crack seal season. Crack sealing is exactly what it sounds like – filling cracks on city streets. Each summer SDOT crews help keep our streets in good condition by filling cracks in our arterial streets with a flexible sealant.

    Cracks allow water to penetrate into the pavement. When the water freezes, it expands and creates potholes and other damage. By keeping out that water, crack sealing extends the life of our streets. It’s a classic case of preventive maintenance, where we invest a relatively small of money today to save a lot of money in the future.

    Let’s take a look at the actual process.   In the first step, crews clean the pavement so the sealant can stick to the sides of the cracks and create a tight seal. We sweep the street to remove dirt and debris, then we bring out the hot air lance which incinerates and removes material inside the cracks.

    Here’s a short video of an SDOT crew working to seal cracks along 35th Ave NE near NE 125th Street, in north Seattle:

     

    The second and final step is the actual sealing of the cracks. A crewmember applies the hot sealant to the cracks using a crack seal wand. Another member of team immediately smooths the material with a squeegee, then a third team member sprays a solution to prevent the sealant from sticking to tires.   The solution allows vehicles to drive over the newly sealed street immediately, so vehicles can travel on a street just minutes after the crack seal process is complete.

    Before (upper left) and after crew repairs (bottom)

    Before (upper left) and after crew repairs (bottom)

    SDOT has a substantial crack seal program in 2015. We will fill cracks on ten sections of arterials throughout the City. If you add up all the cracks SDOT will fill this summer, they would stretch over 51 miles – about as far as downtown Seattle to Snoqualmie Pass.

    Click here for more info on SDOT’s crack sealing program, including the list of the streets to receive crack sealing this summer.

     

    Summer Break for Kids is coming soon, Safe Travel Habits Rewarded!

    SDOT Director Scott Kubly and SDOT staffers joined Seattle Police Department (SPD) officers at Arbor Heights/K-5 STEM School in West Seattle to educate and reward for traveling safely and following the rules of the road. Thanks to school staff, students and parents, SPD, and everyone out there in the Delridge community.

    SDOT Director Scott Kubly chatting about traveling safely to kids at Arbor Heights/K-5 Stem

    SDOT Director Scott Kubly chatting about traveling safely to kids at Arbor Heights/K-5 Stem

    This included grownups driving and kids who were getting dropped off, and families who were walking and biking to school too. We want to reinforce good travel behavior by saying thank you to those that were headed to school today.

    SPD Officer and SDOT staff rewarding grownups for safe travel behavior

    SPD Officer and SDOT staff rewarding grownups and kids for safe travel behavior

    Some grownups received $5 coffee gift cards, and kids received safety education items like glow-in-the-dark reflective key chains, coloring books and crayons (all grant-funded).

    Summer break is only a few days away and we want to remind everyone to travel safely wherever they are going and to be mindful that most kids will be out of school.

    • Seattle’s Vision Zero program launched earlier this year
    • Goal is to end traffic-related deaths and serious injuries by 2030
    • Seattle is a safe city – often recognized as one of the safest in the nation
    • We want to build on our safety record
    • And we know that we can be even better (over 10,000 collisions/year, and one death is one too many)
    • Vision Zero approach emphasizes smarter street designs – forgiving streets that account for human error
    • When paired with targeted education and enforcement, we can save lives
    • SDOT and SPD staff will be out looking for people practicing safe travel behaviors as they walk, bike, and drive
    • We each have a role to play every day to reach Vision Zero

     

    To make our streets safer for all, Seattle’s Vision Zero effort includes the following actions in 2015:

    • Reducing the speed limit in the downtown core to 25 m.p.h. by the end of 2015
    • Improving safety at 10 high-crash intersections downtown by eliminating turns on red lights, installing leading pedestrian intervals to give walkers a head start, eliminating dual turn lanes, and other engineering improvements
    • Installing 20 m.p.h. zones on residential streets in up to ten areas near parks and schools with documented collision histories
    • Enhancing safety on arterials (where 90 percent of serious and fatal collisions occur), like Rainier Avenue S, 35th Avenue SW, Fauntleroy Way SW and Fifth Avenue NE, by enhancing street designs, lowering speed limits and installing radar speed signs
    • Adding 12 new school zone safety cameras in six school zones to improve safety for children as they make their way to and from school
    • Adding seven miles of protected bike lanes, more than 40 crossing improvements, and 14 blocks of new sidewalk to make travel safer across all modes
    • Conducting targeted enforcement throughout the city for school, pedestrian and bike safety, along with enhanced DUI enforcement. SDOT and SPD will work together to educate people in advance of these patrols, so everyone will expect enforcement and better understand the rules of the road.For more information on Vision Zero, visit www.seattle.gov/visionzero. #VisionZeroSEA

    Vizion Zero

     

    Making Space for Community

    When we think of ways to build healthy communities, “repairing aging infrastructure” doesn’t usually top the list. But SDOT is partnering with the Alliance for Pioneer Square, the Seattle Chinatown International District Preservation and Development Authority, Seattle City Light, and other city agencies to take advantage of a unique opportunity to update older utility and pavement infrastructure while also creating vibrant new spaces in which community members can gather. Canton Alley in the International District, and Nord Alley and Pioneer Passage in Pioneer Square, will be the first three spaces to receive these updates.

    Alley improvement map

    Map of alley locations; courtesy Google Maps.

    While many of the improvements won’t be easily visible, as they will be located under freshly laid brick and pavement, area residents will surely take note of the new materials, planters, lighting and other amenities that will turn these utilitarian passageways into inspiring and enlivening elements of the city. In fact, this past year, we were able to catch a preview of things to come as Nord Alley played host to several World Cup viewing parties. As you can see below, these parties were quite the hit. We can only imagine the possibilities for these spaces after renovations are complete!

    Nord Alley World Cup viewing party.

    Nord Alley World Cup viewing party.

    To get an idea of what is planned for the renovations, check out the following photos of the spaces as they currently exist, along with renderings of what the community and professional designers have envisioned for the future.

    Canton Alley present (left) and future (right). [Click photo for larger image.]

    Canton Alley present (left) and future (right).
    [Click photo for larger image.]

    Nord Alley present (left) and future (right). [Click photo for larger image.]

    Nord Alley present (left) and future (right).
    [Click photo for larger image.]

    Pioneer Passage present (left) and future (right). {Click photo for larger image.]

    Pioneer Passage present (left) and future (right).
    {Click photo for larger image.]

    The designs for and construction of these projects are funded by a combination of grants from the Seattle Department of Neighborhoods, the Seattle Office of Economic Development, and the Federal Highway Administration, with a portion of repaving funding provided by Seattle City Light.

    Keep your eyes peeled, as construction of these projects will begin soon!

    Northgate Pedestrian/Bicycle Bridge and Expanded Bike Share Grant Proposal

    SDOT is seeking a $25 million federal TIGER grant that would complete the Northgate Pedestrian/Bicycle Bridge and also fund a major expansion of the city’s bike share network. This grant from USDOT, along with local contributions from SDOT and Sound Transit, would provide a direct pedestrian crossing over I-5 and expand bike sharing in Seattle from 50 to approximately 300 stations.

    Northgate Pedestrian/Bicycle Bridge Project Area Map

    Northgate Pedestrian/Bicycle Bridge Project Area Map

    In addition to the federally-funded elements of the project, SDOT and Sound Transit are constructing a wide variety of locally-funded street improvements for people walking and cycling throughout the Northgate neighborhood. These improvements, largely focused on safe and direct connections to the new bridge, include a network of new sidewalks, safety improvements at pedestrian crossings, and protected bike lanes along 1st Ave NE and NE 100th St.

    USDOT awards TIGER grants each year to large-scale, transformative transportation projects across the country: projects that revitalize communities, grow the economy, and provide ladders of opportunity for workers and students. USDOT is offering approximately $500 million in 2015 grants. Awards to urban cities can range from $10 million to $30 million or more.

    TIGER applications were due June 5, and awards are typically announced in September. USDOT completes extensive reviews of all TIGER candidates, including detailed benefit-cost analyses to ensure that the most cost-effective investments across the country are prioritized for federal funding.

    For more information please click here.