Worker’s Solutions Help SDOT Improve Safety

We are working hard to decrease the number, and severity, of accidents at SDOT. Whether someone is out in the field installing new pedestrian features, fixing potholes, pruning trees, or planning a new bike lane, safety is our top priority.

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As part of this effort, we’ve revamped our Accident Prevention Program to encourage solutions directly from the workers engaging with a potential hazard. We’ve had great success so far, and are currently ahead of our goal for work-related injury and illness rates.safety-3

By getting all employees focused on safety, we’ve been able to come up with new strategies, encourage new people to get involved, and helped activate individuals to serve as safety role models for their co-workers. Not only can this shift produce great ideas and decrease accidents, it can also improve morale without incurring unnecessary costs.

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The revamped Accident Prevention Program is being incorporated into new employee orientations, safety meetings, and classroom training sessions.

 

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SDOT at the Mount Baker Hub Fest!

The Mount Baker Hub Festival celebrated the transformation of that community with music, food, and fun last weekend at the Sound Transit Link Station and ArtSpace Plaza.

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SDOT had a table at the event and we shared information on our Accessible Mount Baker project that will engage and interact with the community to better understand how the existing transportation system functions and how it can be most readily improved.

The project identifies safety improvements for the community near the Link light rail station and the intersection of Martin Luther King Jr. Way and Rainer Avenue. A second project outcome is the development of a long-range integrated multimodal plan for the Mount Baker Town Center.

While there were several participating agencies, many resources and a lot of important information, there was also plenty of fun at Hub Fest, including local vendors, live music, artists and performers. About 400 people showed up to this fun community event!

Hub Fest was presented by the Mount Baker Hub Business Association, sponsored by SouthEast Effective Development; and Friends of Mount Baker Town Center, sponsored by the Seattle Parks Foundation.

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Healthier and Safer Street Trees

Starting this year and continuing through 2024, SDOT will significantly improve the health and safety of Seattle’s street trees.

Our Urban Forestry staff will have better information on the City’s street trees using a new street tree app and more staff dedicated to proactively prune and replace trees, thanks to increased funding from the Move Seattle Levy.

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SDOT’s Tree Collection app

SDOT is responsible for more than 40,000 city street trees and oversees approximately 250,000 street trees maintained by adjacent property owners. Using our efficient street tree app and lots of help from volunteers and interns, SDOT is striving to update the inventory of all street trees in the City over the nine years of the Move Seattle Levy. This vital knowledge will help us make better decisions on managing our urban forest.

The addition of new urban forestry crew members will allow us to continue to respond to urgent needs and requests, while increasing our level of proactive maintenance.  Over the nine years of the Levy, we will prune every street tree—many of them more than once!

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An Urban Forestry crew member taking care of a city street tree.

We will improve our ability to increase forest diversity, plant the right trees in the right place, where they provide the most benefit. We will even be able to track how we distribute our resources so the benefits of our street trees are more equitable throughout all Seattle neighborhoods.

All these improvements will increase the health of our trees, the safety of our streets and the shared benefits of the urban forest along Seattle’s streets.

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Go Take a Walk!

Walking is an easy way to get some healthy fresh air as well as some quick exercise. Bonus: our city has so many great places to walk! We’ve listed a couple of our favorite sites for a morning, afternoon, or evening stroll.

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Workday Rejuvenation Route

Amidst the hustle and bustle of downtown, it’s easy to forget to stop and smell the roses – or conifers, as is often the case in our neck of the woods. On the far north end of downtown’s waterfront lies Myrtle Edwards Park, an often overlooked stretch of greenery which offers a 1.25-mile path that starts at Alaskan Way and Broad Street and winds north along Elliott Bay. For anyone who works downtown, this out-and-back route offers the perfect place to unwind and take in some views during a lunch break or after work. Watch the sun set behind the Olympic mountains after punching out for the day, or check out the views of Olympic Sculpture park while you enjoy your midday soup and salad. This relatively flat, meandering path is perfect for walkers of all fitness levels.

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Olympic Sculpture Park

Central Seattle Four-Park Loop

Starting at 19th Ave and E Yesler Way, this loop borders four different parks, providing a great mix of natural and urban vistas. Head east on Yesler Way, passing by many tree-lined streets and few local shops.  At 31st Ave, turn right – Frink Park should be on your left-hand side.  Take a right at S Judkins St, following it west until you can take the trail north through Judkins Park and Playfield. Follow the trail north to 20th Pl S, then take the trail through Lavizzo Park to S Washington St. Head west one block to Pratt Park, and use the park’s west-bound trails to head back to 19th and E Yesler.  There are a few moderate hills along this 2.7-mile route.

Updated 9/22

 

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Talk to Your Boss About Telework Week

September 19-23 is Telework Week in King County!

Telework is a way to reduce employee commute times and is seen as a big benefit by workers. King County Metro offers a free program called WorkSmart, which helps Seattle area employers create flexible commute programs.

WorkSmart’s free services include one-on-one consultations to:

  • Design a customized program
  • Help create custom presentations and marketing materials
  • Develop helpful policies, procedures, and agreements

Studies show that teleworking and flexible schedules help boost productivity and recruitment and also: reduce overhead costs, keep operations going during emergencies, improve employee morale and reduce employers’ carbon footprint.

During Telework Week, local workshops will help employers create flexible work policies for their businesses (you might actually have to show up in person though).

  • On Tuesday, Sept. 20 from 11:30am to 1 pm at the Tukwila Community Center, 12424 42nd Ave. S. Register via email: rose.warren@tukwilawa.gov.
  • On Thursday, Sept. 22, from 10am to 11am at Commute Seattle, 1809 Seventh Ave., #900, in Seattle. Register online here.

For more information you can email worksmart@kingcounty.gov, or visit WorkSmart.

WorkSmart is a free, nationally recognized program sponsored by King County Metro. It offers workplace strategies to help King County companies increase employee productivity, improve business continuity and reduce carbon footprints. WorkSmart designs telework, co-working, compressed work weeks and flexible schedules for employers based in King County.

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PARK(ing) Day Plus+!

Our expanded 2-day PARK(ing) Day Plus+ was a fun success with at least 50 pop-up projects in more than a dozen neighborhoods across the city.

img_0028Creative minds turned 116 on-street parking spaces into gardens, playgrounds, parks, art spaces, workout spots, lounging areas and more!

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We had 46 groups participate in PARK(ing) Day on Friday, September 16 and 24 groups on Saturday, September 17.

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Watercolor painting where you could hang up your art to dry and be displayed at 1st and Seneca downtown.

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A free community tea party with tons of delicious baked goods on Capitol Hill.

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Mayor Ed Murray and SDOT Director Scott Kubly stopped by a pop-up playground near 1st and Seneca.

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SDOT Director Kubly snaps a pic of Mayor Murray with families at the pop-up playground.

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It’s never too early to think about what you’ll do for next year’s PARK(ing) Day! For more information, please visit  www.seattle.gov/transportation/seattleparkingday_plan.htm.

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Early Grant Wins for the Levy to Move Seattle

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You don’t see that everyday – three paving trucks working side-by-side-by-side on an SDOT project.

You would be forgiven if you looked at the calendar and were surprised that it is already mid-September. The year has been moving fast. Fortunately, SDOT’s grant development program has been keeping up with this breakneck pace and accomplished several early key wins by submitting a record-breaking number of grant applications.

For a bit of context, the first half of even-numbered years are typically the busiest season for transportation grants. But even reviewing historical trends doesn’t fully account for the uptick in grant applications and our strong results.

The added bump is largely the result of three key factors: Congress passed the FAST Act – a major transportation funding package at the end of 2015, the USDOT has been awarding more grants than average, and the Puget Sound Regional Council (PSRC) has been distributing additional funds.

Combined, the expanded activities translate into major wins for SDOT at an opportune moment. Approved by voters last fall, the $930 million Levy to Move Seattle is heavily dependent on these additional grant funds.

As seen in the chart below, the levy assumes additional leveraging of about $560 million. Leveraging assumptions include a combination of partnerships, grants, and other revenues. This leveraging plan is critical in order to complete the 9-year project list and also meet SDOT’s other commitments for basic maintenance and non-levy projects.

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As a result of our record-breaking year, SDOT has secured well over $100 million towards levy projects. Included among the early wins: $2 million for the Yesler Bridge project over 4th Ave, $420,000 from WSDOT for our Safe Routes to School program, and recommendations for up to $4.5 million for road repair from the PSRC, among many others.

It is unclear whether current trends will continue because of the various unique factors in early-2016. However, we are definitely setting ourselves up for success by securing these important grant dollars early in the Levy to Move Seattle lifecycle.

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City Officially Opens Westlake Protected Bike Lane

The Westlake protected bike lane on the west side of Lake Union is now officially open, connecting the Fremont Bridge and surrounding trails and parks to South Lake Union and downtown. Driven by an extensive community input process, the completed project addresses the pedestrian, bike and vehicular conflicts the corridor’s undefined parking and sidewalk space created.

People biking now have a separate space to ride, making the area safer and more comfortable for cyclists of all ages and abilities. The project also improves safety for all users by featuring a pedestrian path for people walking that is separate from the bicycle lanes. The designated space for people biking also makes the parking lot more predictable for drivers, which makes this scenic corridor more accessible for residents, employees and customers.

“Our goal is to provide safe, reliable, and predictable transportation infrastructure that connects people to homes, jobs, and recreation,” said Mayor Murray. “We heard from local businesses and residents that preserving public parking was a key priority to maintain economic opportunity. I’m happy to say we were able to build a protected
bike lane, improve pedestrian crossings, and preserve 90% of the original parking. I’m proud of the work the community and the City has done to make today a reality.”

The opening celebration on September 15 featured speakers, giveaways, snacks, games and a ride-along led by Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) Director Scott Kubly.

“The Westlake protected bike lane makes everyone’s trip along the corridor safer and more predictable,” said SDOT Director Scott Kubly. “My thanks to the Design Advisory Committee for its critical work on this important safety project.”

The Westlake protected bike lane project began in fall 2013 and attracted hundreds of attendees to project open houses and community meetings. Project design was overseen by a Design Advisory Committee, composed of representatives of local businesses, residents, freight, and the bicycle and pedestrian communities. With this community input built into the design, the Westlake protected bike lane creates a safer, more comfortable corridor for people walking, biking, and driving while preserving approximately 90 percent of the parking. The City thanks the Westlake community’s residents, businesses, customers and commuters for their patience throughout the completion of this project.

Visit the Westlake protected bike lane project web page for more information at http://www.seattle.gov/transportation/wct.htm.

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Artists and Greenways Team Up for Art Interruptions 2016

Miniature horses, an aluminum can collage, and painted street signs are just some of the extraordinary sights popping up along Rainier Valley neighborhood greenways as part of Art Interruptions.

Art Interruptions will be on display now through January 2017.

Art Interruptions will be on display now through January 2017.

This annual art program, created by the Office of Arts & Culture in partnership with the Seattle Department of Transportation, is designed to create moments of surprise and reflection, interrupting our everyday routines. The works will be on display now through January, in neighborhoods including New Holly, Othello, Brighton, Lakewood, and Seward Park.

You can explore the artwork on your own, or join the artists for a tour on October 1 as Seattle kicks off WALKTOBER. The event is hosted by Feet First on Saturday, October 1, 2016, from 10 a.m. to noon, at John C. Little Sr. Park (6961 37th Ave S), more info here.

Artists include Ruben David, Melissa Koch, Vikram Madan, Ulises Mariscal, Kemba N. Opio, little talia, and Junko Yamamoto.

The installations include stencils of various community members, tiny sculptures inspired by Seattle’s transportation history, and a collage of butterflies representing cultural diversity.

Art Interruptions is funded by Seattle Department of Transportation 1% for Art funds.

Get out, enjoy the greenway, and experience art before the installation ends in January. Mark your calendars for October 1 to meet the artists themselves and learn more. See you there!

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PARK(ing) Day Plus+ is coming this Friday and Saturday!

Does the end of summer have you feeling blue? It’s not time to start hiding away inside quite yet! PARK(ing) Day Plus+ has inspired Seattleites to create 50 temporary parks and street improvements for you to explore in parking spaces throughout the city. Check them out this Friday and Saturday, September 16-17, between 10 AM and 7 PM.

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Here are a few of the creative activities you can do at Seattle’s pop-up parks:

  • Join a Prince sing-a-long and trivia contest
  • Relax on furniture made of pool noodles or in an outdoor reading room
  • Explore a maze or catch a dance performance
  • Create a watercolor painting and experiment with bubbles
  • Drink lemonade or fancy tea
  • Learn about book printing and tree identification
  • Play a musical instrument made out of bike parts – or just park your bike!

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Check out the map on our website to find parks near you! Some of the parks will not be in place for both days of the event, so double check the date listed in the map.

Through your visit, you’ll be part of an international conversation about the importance of walkable, livable, and healthy cities. Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter throughout the weekend @seattledot and tag your photos #ParkingDaySEA!

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