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Street Safety for Kids with Disabilities.

Picture courtesy of Jennifer-Toole

Street safety is for the whole familiy.


Disabilities can be visible or not; they can impair mobility, sight, hearing or other things, but most children, regardless of their disability can benefit from learning some basic street safety rules. If your child has special needs, is very important that you model the street safe behaviors that you want them to follow. Street safety and sidewalk navigation tips are important for all kids to master. Teaching children with disabilities to be safe in the streets and sidewalks is a great way to support them now to become independent and self-sufficient adutls in the future.

Here are some tips that will help all kids to be street safe:

1.  Don’t chase a ball into the street. Playing ball in the front yard is one of the most dangerous activities I can think of. A child could be so focused on running after a ball that she might forget that cars may be coming down the street, headed in the same direction as they are. In the interests of street safety, playing soccer, catch, kickball or any other ball game should be restricted to an enclosed area with mesh fencing to hold balls and kids in.

2.  Teach your child street safety. Hold your young child’s hand as you walk with her in the sidewalk, and let her walk on the side away from traffic. If you have a toddler that insists on walking independently or who likes to run away uncontrollably (perhaps a child with ADHD), you might consider using a safety harness that fits like a vest and leaves hands free. Some parents use harnesses that have a line attached to the center of the back so the child has a measure of freedom, but it keeps her from running into the street.

3.  Take time to follow street safety rules yourself. Children copy the behavior they see. If you don’t want your child to jay walk in the middle of a street, then only cross at the corners and crosswalks. As you go that extra distance to cross at the corner explain to your child that cars are not looking out for people crossing in the middle of the street, only at corners. Take time to look both ways before you cross and ask your child to do the same. Also show your child what a pedestrian crossing looks like and how to operate the buttons for pedestrian signals.

4.  Always keep in mind your child’s learning ability. Explain street safety rules in a way your child can understand and take every opportunity you have to repeat and reinforce the lessons.

5.  Make it fun. Plan a tour around your block with you children so they can practice street safety with you.

Additional resources:



Safer Route to School in West Woodland

Safe School Route improvements.

Safe School Route improvements.


Kids should be excited by going to school and by the process of getting there. SDOT has been improving the pedestrian routes to many schools with a mix of crosswalks, curb bulbs, and repair or installation of sidewalks, including near West Woodland Elementary.

The intersection of 3rd Avenue NW and NW 56th Street is one of Seattle’s 5-way intersections with fairly steep grades and limited lines of sight, which presents a challenging situation for drivers and pedestrians, particularly before and after school. 3rd Avenue is a well-loved north-south route on the west slope of Phinney Ridge running from NW Leary Way beyond NW 85thStreet. NW 55th Place to NW 56th Street is a northeast – southwest route that connects NW Market Street to the north side of the Woodland Park Zoo.

The crossing was selected by both the Neighborhood Street Fund program (using Bridging the Gap levy money) and by the Safe Routes to School program for improvements. After discussions with the PTSA, neighbors and project sponsors, a balance was found that provides a much safer crossing, while not significantly affecting traffic flows when pedestrians aren’t crossing.

As shown in the (above) diagram, one leg of the intersection will be shifted south and made a one-way street, headed away from the intersection. (Folks headed from Ballard on NW Market Street will still be able to turn north onto 3rd Avenue NW from NW 55th Place, just a half-block away.) The intersection itself will become an all-way stop on the remaining four legs and get curb bulbs – to shorten crossing distances – and crosswalk striping.

SDOT is also replacing the school zone flashing beacons, which will be timed with school arrival and dismal times to help pedestrians cross the street. These will be located on 3rd Avenue NW, facing both north- and south-bound traffic.  The design is essentially complete, the specifications written and the contract for this work, along with four other Neighborhood Street Fund Projects is being put together.

The package will be put out to bid and construction will take place in 2015. We’re pretty excited by helping to make schools safer in general, but especially about this project for the West Woodland Elementary neighborhood. Please visit the website and if you have any specific questions about the project, please contact Art Brochet at .

Seattle Celebrates the Opening of Football Season

Public artwork design plan by artist Joyce Hsu.

Excitement is building for the National Football League season opening celebration in Seattle on Thursday, Sept. 4 at CenturyLink Field. Up to 100,000 fans are expected to converge in the Pioneer Square and Stadium areas for the festivities.

 Whether you are headed to the event, or just wanting to travel through the area in the afternoon, allow extra time as there may be significant traffic delays. Public agencies and public transportation providers are coordinating plans to manage the added traffic. SDOT, the Seattle Police Department, and WSDOT will monitor traffic during the event to make adjustments as possible to keep traffic moving.  Police Officers on the streets near the stadium will assist traffic, dynamic message signs will advise drivers, and traffic signals will be set to best accommodate incoming traffic before the game.

The Gameday Village will be open all day on Sept. 3 and 4 in Pioneer Square, closing Occidental Avenue South. There will be a free concert on Sept. 4 at 3 p.m. featuring the Soundgarden and Pharrell Williams in the lot north of CenturyLink Stadium. If you have game tickets, you are advised to watch the concert on the large screen inside the stadium to avoid missing the opening ceremonies. Gates to the concert as well as the stadium will open at 2:30 p.m., and the game will begin at 5:30 p.m. Fans with tickets for the game should arrive at the stadium from the south, and are advised to be in their seats by 5 p.m. If you are going to the concert, enter from the north, at South Jackson Street. If you arrive by Light Link Rail, use the Stadium exit, not the International District exit. For additional tips offered by the Seahawks for fans coming to the concert or the game, please see .

South King Street will be closed at 7 p.m. on Sept 3. Police Officers will close additional streets to through traffic as needed on Sept. 4, as early as 10 a.m., to manage traffic, possibly closing streets as far north as James Street. Metro buses will be allowed through. Fourth Avenue South and First Avenue South will remain open.

If you are coming into downtown Seattle or the Stadium area on Sept. 4, you are encouraged to travel by bus, light rail, commuter rail, carpool or bicycle. Employees who work in downtown Seattle and who are not planning to participate in the festivities are advised to leave for home before 3 p.m. or wait after 5:30 p.m., if possible. You will find real time traffic information on If you plan to use public transit, check the websites of the transportation provider you plan to use to find out about delays or reroutes.

WSDOT State Route 99 Reopening

Seattle drivers, bus riders and bicyclists welcomed back their normal weekday commutes last Wednesday August 27, after WSDOT crews reopened State Route 99 near South Lake Union at 4 a.m.

Some rights reserved by WSDOT

SR99 Renovation

During the closure, crews building the future north portal of the SR 99 tunnel demolished and replaced the section of SR 99 that crosses above Broad Street. It took just four days to complete the work and rebuild the highway (see how in this newly updated time-lapse video).

Crews relocated major utility lines beneath SR 99 near Harrison Street that were in the way of portal construction. Additionally, during the weekend portion of the closure, crews took advantage of the empty highway by completing necessary work elsewhere along the corridor.

They replaced 81 concrete panels on SR 99 south of downtown, repaired an expansion joint at the Seneca Street off-ramp from northbound SR 99 and cleared ivy from the Alaskan Way Viaduct to make future maintenance of the structure easier.

Rush Hour Motorists Exiting I-5 at Northgate
Encouraged to Consider Alternative Exits Starting Sept. 4

Beginning next Friday, September 4, motorists exiting I-5 at Northgate are encouraged to consider using alternative freeway exits if possible, particularly during the morning and afternoon commutes. Contractors working for SDOT plan to begin the repaving of North Northgate Way just west of I-5, between Meridian Avenue North and Corliss Avenue North (immediately adjacent to I-5). This will reduce traffic to a single lane in each direction until mid-November, when the work is slated to be completed.

Drainage facilities were improved on Northgate Way.

Drainage facilities were improved on Northgate Way.

Traffic is likely to exceed the ability of the single travel lanes to expeditiously handle the volume of cars and trucks that regularly use Northgate Way. The problem is likely to be most pronounced during the afternoon commute, and could in turn lead to backups on both the northbound and southbound I-5 off- ramps at Northgate Way, although could also occur during the morning commute and at other times.

Motorists are encouraged to exit I-5 either north or south of Northgate, if possible. Doing so could well save them time, as well as help to alleviate the pressure at Northgate Way.

The work between Meridian and Corliss will be the third and final phase of a project that is repaving North 105th & North Northgate Way from Greenwood Avenue North to Corliss Avenue North. The project also includes new five-foot wide sidewalks and curb ramps, along with new stormwater structures, and a series of signal and lighting improvements along the corridor.

Crews install a new concrete street base on Northgate Way between Burke and Meridian.

Crews install a new concrete street base on Northgate Way between Burke and Meridian.

The project is one of SDOT’s AAC (Arterial Asphalt and Concrete) projects, which resurfaces several streets each year with the larger goal of enhancing both mobility and safety citywide. The projects are prioritized and selected by SDOT’s Pavement Engineering and Management Section based on pavement condition, volume and type of traffic, identified needs of residents and businesses, opportunities for coordination with other capital projects, and identified maintenance and liability concerns.

More information can be found at the project website, located at


School Starts Next Week – Be Prepared for Traffic Changes

Seattle-ites will notice these signs around town highlighting school safety. Look for a future SDOT blog post about these signs.

Seattle-ites will notice these signs around town highlighting school safety. Look for a future SDOT blog post about these signs.

We hope everyone has a fun and super safe Labor Day weekend and that Seattle students enjoy the last weekend of summer vacation. Traffic patterns will change next Wednesday when school starts, the local fleet of yellow school buses is deployed and kids start walking and biking to class. Here are some basic tips to ensure a safe and smooth transition into the school year:

Watch for Students, Focus on the Road

Kids can be impulsive. They are generally shorter in stature and can be more difficult to see. Drivers should be on the lookout for pedestrians and bicyclists at all times and be especially watchful this time of year as kids get accustomed to their route to school. Everyone should expect to encounter student pedestrians and bicyclists whether you’re on a relatively quiet residential street or a busy principle arterial roadway. Put your phone away, avoid distractions, and keep kids safe!

Walk and Bike to School

It’s been estimated that 20 percent of weekday automobile trips are school-related and that can be seen in the overcrowded streets near our schools during arrival and departure times. Consider kicking off the school year by starting a new habit: walking or biking to school instead of driving. Once the norm in America, the number of students walking and/or biking to school has dropped-off considerably since the 1970s. Our Safe Routes to School program is working to reverse that trend through infrastructure investments and safety education and more and more Seattle schools are on board. After all, active transportation is fun and healthy and kids tend to be more ready to learn when they arrive at school. And by walking or biking to school, your family will have a positive impact on traffic conditions.

ScreenHunter_23 Aug. 29 09.28

Slow Down

The school zone speed limit is 20 miles per hour for good reason – pedestrians hit by vehicles going 20 are likely to survive and the odds of surviving a crash decrease significantly with higher speeds. All of Seattle’s 150+ school zones are well signed so there’s no excuse for exceeding the speed limit. The Seattle Police Department will be out enforcing the reduced speed limit as will the City’s network of school zone photo enforcement cameras. Nine additional cameras will start issuing warning citations on Wednesday (and actual citations in October). Check out our website for more information and remember that 20 is plenty!

Of course SDOT has a lot more to say about Safe Routes to School. Check back to the SDOT Blog in September as we highlight our school safety efforts.

Sunday Time Limits Coming to Pioneer Square in September

Pioneer square parkingIn late September, SDOT will add Sunday time limits to free on-street parking near retail and restaurants in the heart of Pioneer Square. The Sunday time limits are designed to improve parking turnover and access. This will allow more customers and visitors from around the region to visit Pioneer Square and more easily find parking on Sundays.

The change will affect approximately 25 percent of the on-street parking spaces in Pioneer Square and limit parking to two hours between 10 AM to 6 PM. One thing remains the same – Sunday on-street parking is free.

These new time limits will connect to the existing Sunday time limits along the Waterfront added in 2012. A before and after study on the Waterfront showed that the turnover created by the Sunday time limits allowed an additional 30 percent to 40 percent of vehicles to park.

SDOT has worked in Pioneer Square over the past year through the Community Access and Parking Program and sent out a draft plan for Sunday time limits to the neighborhood in early June. Following a review and response to comments received, SDOT is now moving forward with implementation. This effort is funded by WSDOT as part of the Parking Mitigation Plan for SR-99 tunnel construction, and conducted in close partnership with the Alliance for Pioneer Square.

For more information, see the project website:

Pioneer sq parking sign

Street Improvement Continues as Summer Turns into Fall

Fall is coming As the summer construction season transitions to fall, Seattle residents will still see lots of work going on in their neighborhoods, thanks to the Bridging the Gap transportation initiative passed by Seattle voters in 2006. Seattle Department of Transportation crews continue to be very busy making Seattle streets a little smoother and easier to navigate.

SDOT crews focus on striping and marking streets during the long, dry days of summer, including traffic lanes, crosswalks, and bicycle facilities. So far this year, more than 306 crosswalks have been remarked, 533 lane miles of arterial lanes have been restriped, 33 miles of bicycle facilities have been maintained and more than two miles of new facilities have been installed.

Two major paving projects – the North 105th Street and North/Northeast Northgate Way project and the Holman Road project – will be finished this fall. More than 16 lane miles will be repaved as part of these projects. For more information on each of these projects please visit the Bridging the Gap paving web site.

SDOT crews have been restriping and remarking streets this summer.

SDOT crews have been restriping and remarking streets this summer.

In addition to paving projects, work actively continues on several sidewalk projects across the city. SDOT expects to construct seven blocks of new sidewalk in 2014. For more information about the projects and to see a list of locations please visit see their web page.

SDOT is working hard to make Seattle more vibrant city for all of us. Yes, construction projects can be a small inconvenience, however, the improvements will be worth it in the long run.

It’s important to remember to slow down and give workers a little extra space. The arrival of fall brings shorter days, waning light and rain – all of which can make it more difficult to see. Give yourself a few extra minutes to get to where you are going and enjoy the many new facilities that sprung up over the summer!

For more information on Bridging the Gap and its accomplishments please visit the web site.

Northgate paving project will be completed before the end of the year.

Northgate paving project will be completed this fall.

2014 Seattle Design Festival Preview

The Seattle Design Festival begins next week and SDOT is thrilled to once again be a part of this exceptional celebration. In fact, this year’s theme, “Design in Motion,” could not be more fitting for SDOT’s involvement!

Design in Motion logo

The Seattle Design Festival is a two-week event that showcases innovations in design and facilitates discussion among design professionals, city leaders and the public. During these two weeks, we will be leading tours and giving presentations focused on cutting-edge approaches to activating public space, and featuring some of Seattle’s most exciting new public space projects. SDOT events to look out for during this year’s festival include:

TOURS  (be sure to RSVP for tours at the links below) –

Active Alleys: Redesigning for People – Saturday September 6, 11:00 AM – 12:30 PM

Parklets by Bike – Saturday September 6, 2:00 PM – 4:30 PM

First Hill: Connecting People with Parks – Saturday September 13, Time TBD


Public Space in Motion: Perspectives on Change – Saturday September 13, 10:30 AM – 11:30 AM, Seattle Public Library Central

When Tactical Urbanism Grows Up: Managing Public Space in Seattle – Saturday September 13, 2:15 PM – 3:15 PM, Seattle Public Library Central

Shoreline Street Ends: Recapturing Small Spaces – Saturday September 13, 4:15 PM – 5:00 PM, Seattle Public Library Central

Experiential Design by the Shore (an interactive workshop – please RSVP at the link to the left) – Sunday September 14, 10:00 AM – 1:00 PM, 90th Place NE Shoreline Street End in the Matthews Beach neighborhood.


Then, on September 19, the final day of SDF2014, SDOT will host Seattle’s PARK(ing) Day from 9 AM to 3 PM. PARK(ing) Day is an international event in which people around the world temporarily convert parking spaces into small parks for public enjoyment.

Park(ing) Day image

To get a better idea of what PARK(ing) Day is all about, visit our PARK(ing) Day website. Then, if you’re feeling extra inspired and want to join the fun of PARK(ing) Day, download a free application to tell us about your plans. But hurry, the deadline to submit your application is this Friday, August 29! If instead, you’d just like to check out some or all of what PARK(ing) Day in Seattle has to offer, a map of the planned 2014 PARK(ing) Day pop-up parks will be available here about a week before the event.

We hope to see you at the festival!

Central Area Neighborhood Greenway Open Houses

Please join us at an open house next week to learn more about the Central Area Neighborhood Greenway most promising routes for Phases 2 and 3 (the south and north ends of the greenway, respectively) and share your input. We will review the evaluation criteria of previously studied routes, the most promising route from Rainier Avenue S. to E. Roanoke Street, and some of the design elements that may be applied.

CANG Most Promising Route

This greenway is being developed in close coordination with the 23rd Avenue Corridor Improvements Project and will provide a bicycle and pedestrian facility off of 23rd Avenue. The modified 23rd Avenue is being designed to improve mobility through the corridor, but it will not include a protected bike lane. People on foot and riding bikes may prefer a calmer route. For those reasons, and to help achieve Seattle’s goal of zero traffic fatalities and serious injuries by 2030, SDOT is installing the Central Area Neighborhood Greenway near this busy arterial.

Neighborhood greenways are safer, calm residential streets that provide a more comfortable environment for people to walk, run and bike. Starting with a good foundation (a street with already low car volumes and speeds), small improvements are made that add up to a big difference. Improvements can include adding speed humps, signage, and pavement markings, reducing the speed limit, and making crossings easier by adding curb extensions, rapid flashing beacons, crosswalks, medians, or traffic signals at busy intersections.

The project is separated into three phases.

  • Phase 1 (E John Street to S Jackson Street)
  • Phase 2 (S Jackson Street to Rainier Avenue S)
  • Phase 3 (E Roanoke Street to E John Street)

We are completing final design for Phase 1 now and anticipate that its construction will begin this fall. Phases 2 and 3 will begin design this fall and we anticipate construction will begin in summer 2015.

Open House Details

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