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Time to Start Building More Neighborhood Greenways

Woman_kid trailor-1 RESIZE Neighborhood greenways are safer, calmer residential streets for you, your family and neighbors. On streets with low car volumes and speeds, installing a series of small traffic improvements can add up to a big difference.

Seattle currently has about 10 miles of neighborhood greenways in place. This summer we’re building the next round in the Jackson Place, Madison Park, Olympic Hills (Lake City), University District, and Wedgwood neighborhoods. People who live, work, play and shop in the areas can look forward to 20 MPH streets taking them to where they want to go. To reinforce the calmer speeds, speed humps are being added and stop signs placed on streets intersecting the greenway. The stop signs halt drivers before entering the greenway so they can look and see if anyone is coming. They also give priority to those walking and biking along the route. We’ll also make pavement and temporary sidewalk repairs; add wayfinding signs; put in curb ramps at busy streets and add bicycle pavement markings to help guide users and alert drivers that they are sharing the street.

Speed hump construction requires on-street parking restrictions for a minimum of two days and may include additional time for prep. Construction notices will be delivered to impacted properties prior to work starting, as well as ‘no park’ signs placed in advance.

Let’s continue to celebrate the creation of a citywide network of facilities in Seattle for people of all ages and abilities to walk and bike along.

 

Once Around the Web: Past and Future Construction

Ah, remember when Bertha was working? Those were good times. But tunneling is hard work and sometimes things go wrong. Currently the plan is to have Bertha back on the dig by March 2015 and until then you can follow along via Twitter. They share some pretty cool pictures of the repair progress. Take for example, this one from about a week ago:


If looking through Bertha’s archives doesn’t satisfy your need for cool photos of tunneling machines, you should check out this article over at Gizmodo!

24 Tunneling Machines That Created a World Beneath Our Feet

Two TBMs responsible for drilling Sound Transit Link Light Rail make an appearance as does Bertha. And you don’t want to miss the older machines like this one from 1908:

tbm01050r

1908. Machine used in Gary, West Virginia digs the coal and loads it onto the car. With it, three men could do the work of 50 in the old way. Photo: Lewis Wickes Hine

 

So cool right? Looks like a steampunk dinosaur! Speaking of cool, you’ve seen this video about solar roadways right?

The internet is a buzz with the idea of solar roadways – they pay for themselves, they create jobs, they melt snow, they cut greenhouse gas emissions, they can display dynamic messaging and road striping, and they can do the cha cha! Ok, not that last one but thanks to a federal grant from the FHA, a working prototype exists and it’s blowing a lot of minds. So much so, that their indiegogo campaign has already raised more than 2 million dollars!

Read more about it at:

We Could Build a Solar-Powered Roadway. But Will We?

Solar roads are more practical than they sound

How Crowdfunding May Help Build Solar Roadways

Solar-powered roads: Coming to a highway near you?

Are solar panel road surfaces the path to the future?

Solar Roadways: Turning Pavement into Power

Of course, not everyone is on board, and the naysayers do raise some compelling points:

Why Solar-Powered Roads Won’t Work

Solar Roadways: Don’t believe the hype on this boondoggle of a project

Solar Roadways: 4 Reasons They Might Not Work

Why The Solar Roadway Is A Terrible Idea

Solar Roadways would be great, but won’t happen

Solar Roadways passes $1.4 million in crowdfunding: Just short of the $56 trillion required, but not bad for a crazy idea

So what do you think? Is it the technology of tomorrow or just another fool’s errand?

Solar Roadways would be great, but won’t happen

Broadway Streetcar Open House on June 17

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Please join us for an open house for the Broadway Streetcar on June 17, from 6 to 8 pm at Lowell Elementary School, 1058 E. Mercer on Capitol Hill. The open house will provide information about the Broadway Streetcar alignment, station locations and bicycle facilities. Displays boards and a large project map will be available to provide an overview of the project and features. Project staff will be there to speak with you about design elements, answer questions, and hear your comments.

The Broadway Streetcar is part of the larger Seattle Streetcar system, made up of the South Lake Union Streetcar, First Hill Streetcar, and the future Center City Connector streetcar. Once all of these elements are in place, riders will be able to travel from South Lake Union to north Capitol Hill (via the Center City, Pioneer Square and Chinatown/International District in between!).

We expect to begin final design later this year, begin construction in late 2015 and open in 2016.

For more information about this project, please visit our project website:

www.seattlestreetcar.org/broadway.htm

If you have questions or comments about the project or the open house, please contact: Art Brochet, Communications Lead (206) 615-0786 • art.brochet@seattle.gov

Monday, June 30th – South Park and Georgetown reunited and it feels so good

South Park bridge IMG_1664 RESIZEDAfter three years of construction King County will open the new South Park Bridge to vehicles, bicyclists and pedestrians. The old bridge was closed to traffic because it was no longer safe to remain open. After an unprecedented effort that brought together community members, business partners, and government at the local, regional, state, and national levels, the new South Park Bridge is receiving its finishing touches. Designed to resemble its iconic predecessor, the new bridge was built to modern standards and should last a hundred years.

For information about the grand opening celebration on Sunday June 29th in South Park check the project website here. There will be a party all day long and you will be able to walk the bridge and tour its south tower.

The complex construction project required large-scale excavations to lay the caisson foundation and install piers. Each span of the drawbridge was brought in by a massive floating crane, and attached to the bridge with more than 1,000 large bolts. Crews installed more than 750,000 feet of electrical wiring – enough to stretch from South Park to Yakima. It required an estimated 27,600 cubic yards of concrete, enough to fill more than 2,700 concrete trucks.

Even though each drawspan weighs three million pounds, they are so precisely balanced that opening the drawbridge requires approximately the same amount of horsepower needed to drive a Toyota Prius. State-of-the-art mechanical and electrical drive systems will substantially improve the bridge’s operation.

South Park Bridge sideview IMG_1645 RESIZEThe new bridge meets current structural, seismic, and traffic standards. New bicycle lanes have been built on the road shoulders, and sidewalks on the bridge are separated from the roadway by a traffic rail. The moveable spans have a solid deck rather than open steel grating. The concrete deck also provides better traction. Roadway runoff will be treated in two rain gardens, which also feature salvaged components of the old bridge and interpretive displays along a walkway that provides improved access to the riverfront.

With funding from King County’s One Percent for Art program, Tucson artist Barbara Grygutis contributed ideas to the bridge design that honor the historic and cultural integrity of the original 1931 bridge as well as the South Park community as it exists today.

Art and components of the previous bridge have been incorporated into both the new bridge and the area around it.

Four rockers and guide tracks, which raised and lowered the drawspan of the old bridge and gave the bridge its historic status, now flank the approaches to the new bridge. The pedestrian railing has curved pickets that open toward the center of the bridge, echoing the motion of the Duwamish Waterway underneath. Gears and rail panels from the old bridge are embedded in the pedestrian rail throughout the span. These elements are painted metallic silver, and the rockers will be dramatically lit at night.

Grygutis was selected by 4Culture King County’s cultural services office, which administers the county’s One Percent for Art program.

Salvaged gears from the original bridge that are incorporated into the railing.

Salvaged gears from the original bridge that are incorporated into the railing.

The old five-way intersection at Dallas Avenue S and 14th Avenue S was reconfigured in the spring of 2012 into a safer four-way intersection. Street landscaping has been used throughout the bridge site. The county replaced concrete rubble on the riverbank with native vegetation to provide better marine habitat.

For more information about the bridge construction and the project, why not visit the King County South Park Bridge website.

SDOT Announces Parking Rates for this Fall

Starting this August, SDOT will make a number of adjustments to on-street parking rates and the hours of operation. We presented information at the City Council Transportation Committee today.

061114_Parking RatesRESIZESDOT’s Performance-based Parking Pricing Program started in 2010, when the City Council directed us to set on-street parking rates according to a specific technical measurement. Our goal, written into the Seattle Municipal Code, is to achieve one to two spaces open and available throughout the day on each block. That way you can find parking more easily and may even be less frustrated looking for a spot.

Last spring, we conducted the 2013 Annual Paid Parking Study, and we are almost finished with the 2014 Study. We will use the 2014 study results as a final check before moving forward. The study results are used to see whether areas require a change to the rates or hours of operation. We compared each area’s daytime and evening occupancy—how full parking areas are at the highest daytime and evening hours—with the program’s target occupancy range of 70 percent to 85 percent.

A big parking change this year is our roll-out of new pay stations. If you tried one of the new demonstration pay stations in Belltown several months ago, you saw some interesting options. New machines will be able to set rates in a more refined way – by time of day–to acknowledge that occupancy varies between the morning, afternoon and evening. With time of day and area by area rates, we are tailoring rates to meet the City’s performance goal.

Based on the data results, there are three types of adjustments designed to start in August:

  • Time of day – Pioneer Square (Core and Periphery) where there would be a $0.50/hour lower rate in the morning, and in the Core area (along 1st Ave S and 2nd Ave S, primarily), the afternoon rate would be $4.00/hour
  • All-day rates – Six areas will see rate adjustments, three with lower rates, two with a rate increase, and the parking at Ballard Locks will be adjusted twice a year along the winter and summer seasons
  • Extending hours of operation – Five areas will see extended paid parking hours until 8 PM: Ballard (Core and Periphery), Fremont, Green Lake, and 12th Avenue (near Seattle University). These areas experience overly full parking so need to have evening time period managed with payment, similar to other areas with nightlife activity.

More information will be posted in July about the installation schedule. We expect to start the installation in August for full-day rate and extended hours changes, with new pay stations scheduled to be installed in Pioneer Square in the fall.

2014 Parking Rate Changes

Join us to celebrate new artwork on the Burke-Gilman Trail on June 14

Artwork by Anna MacDonald.

Artwork by Anna MacDonald.

Why not join us as we celebrate the dedication of a new public artwork by Anna MacDonald along the Burke-Gilman Trail. The dedication will be from 3 to 4 p.m., Saturday, June 14 at Burke-Gilman Playground Park in the Bryant neighborhood.

What: MacDonald’s new artwork, Reclamation, consists of three variations of one form that resides at two sites along the trail. Two bronze copies of the same tree-form, ALREADY and NOT YET, create an arc in space that is completed by the user’s imagination. Located 1/2 mile east, the original tree, REMAIN, feeds and shapes a pair of Red Alder saplings. RECLAMATION commemorates the origin and transformation of the Burke-Gilman Trail, engaging trail users in a conversation about coming and going, and about physical and spiritual regeneration. It represents the city’s commitment to establishing greenways and honors the volunteer efforts of those who care for the corridor’s native species year round.
When: 3 to 4 p.m., Saturday, June 14
Where: Burke-Gilman Playground Park, 5201 Sand Point Way NE, 98105. Artwork site is located near the corner of NE 52nd Pl and 40th Ave NE, next to the Metropolitan Market.
Getting There: Limited street parking is available around the park’s vicinity. The site is accessible by King County Metro Transit busses: 30, 65 and 75.
For more info: Jason Huff, public art project manager, (206) 684-7278.

 

MacDonald’s artwork is commissioned with Seattle Department of Transportation 1% for Art funds.

Construction projects big and small

Curb ramps installed at 11th and Trenton SW.

Curb ramps installed at 11th and Trenton SW.

 

Summer is scheduled to arrive in 11 days and construction projects (both big and small) are popping up all over the city. If you have not already felt the impacts, it’s safe to say just wait and you will. Thanks to the Bridging the Gap (BTG) Transportation Initiative, Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) crews are keeping very busy these days as they work their way around the city paving roads, repairing sidewalks, installing new sidewalk, restriping crosswalks, implementing crossing improvements and installing pedestrian countdown signals. All of these projects help make Seattle more accessible to all its residents.

Curb ramps addes to Seattle's First Hill neighborhood.

Curb ramps addes to Seattle’s First Hill neighborhood.

One key program helping to make Seattle more accessible is the installation of ADA – (Americans with Disabilities Act) – compliant curb ramps across the city. SDOT has been working hard to update sidewalks currently without curb ramps and making sure that curb ramps are included in every new sidewalk project. Through 2013, with funding from BTG, more than 859 new curb ramps were installed across the city and 150 more will be installed this year. The ultimate goal is for all corners have curb ramps and SDOT will keep working until it reaches that critical target.

Curb ramps and a new sidewalk were added to 32nd Avenue SW.

Curb ramps and a new sidewalk were added to 32nd Avenue SW.

All construction projects can cause a bit of stress for all roadway users. They can mean delays and detours. Know that SDOT is working hard to minimize these inconveniences to keep Seattle moving. We encourage you to slow down and give yourself a few extra minutes to get to your destination. All this construction is a sign of a healthy and growing city.

For more information on BTG and the programs it funds please visit the web site.

 

Looking for a new place in Seattle to go on a walk?

China Gate

These city explorers are standing under the China Gate
in the Chinatown/International District.

Do you want to go for a walk around the city, but not sure where to go? Or do you want to enjoy a corner of the city you’ve never been before? Maybe you want to know how long a route might take, or how steep it will be.

SDOT’s Seattle Walking Map will help you plan. There are actually three maps—North Seattle, Central Seattle, and South Seattle, that suggest routes and give an estimated time for navigating each one. The topography is shown in color, and routes with a slope greater than 10% are marked as well as outdoor stairways and trails. You can find the maps online at www.seattle.gov/transportation/walk_map.htm, or you may request to have one mailed to you by completing an on-line form.

There is another resource for Downtown Seattle—maps showing the location of public art works. There are separate maps for Seattle Center, South Lake Union, the Waterfront, Belltown, Denny Triangle, Pike Place Market, Central Business District, Pioneer Square, Chinatown/International District, and SODO. You can find these, provided by the Office for Arts and Culture, online at http://www.seattle.gov/arts/publicart/walking_tours.asp.

Cover of walking map

SDOT has walking maps for North, Central, and South Seattle.

Coming Soon – Information Panels that Highlight Waterfront Attractions, History and Design!

060514 waterfront signs RESIZE

This summer, the businesses and attractions on Seattle’s downtown waterfront will be bustling with visitors looking to experience a part of Seattle’s unique character. Visitors will notice a new attraction on the waterfront – 11 information and educational panels designed to help them navigate, explore, and learn about the waterfront’s rich past and exciting future.

In June, the information panels will be placed at high-traffic spots along the waterfront, and at 12-feet tall, they’ll be hard to miss! Visitors who get up-close and personal with the panels will find information about waterfront attractions and businesses, pedestrian routes, parking options, historical places and events, and plans to improve the waterfront for future generations.

The panels are part of a larger effort to show the waterfront is active, and easy to access and navigate during the busy summer season, as well as during construction of the Elliott Bay Seawall and future construction of Waterfront Seattle improvements including new parks, paths and public open spaces.

Check out the panels the next time you’re on the waterfront and let us know what you think.

The Waterfront Program replaces the Elliott Bay Seawall, and designs and constructs improvements to the waterfront in downtown Seattle. Improvements include a new pedestrian promenade, a two-way cycle track, a new Alaskan Way that accommodates all modes of travel, two rebuilt public piers, new parks and paths, and new pedestrian connections between the city and waterfront.

Learn more about Waterfront Seattle and the Seawall Project at waterfrontseattle.org. For questions or comments you can reach us at (206) 499-8040 or info@waterfrontseattle.org.

New Chinatown/ID parklet to open today!

The Chinatown/International District Business Improvement Area (CIDBIA) has been hard at work planning and designing a parklet for the neighborhood. After months of anticipation, this new public space opens today! The parklet, which is the second parklet installed under Seattle’s Pilot Parklet Program, is located just outside Oasis Tea Zone at 519 Sixth Avenue S. The parklet will provide an attractive and vibrant gathering space for the Chinatown/ID community.

You, too, can get in on the fun! Join us today (Friday, June 6) at 4:00 p.m. for a ribbon-cutting event to open this new public space. The CIDBIA and Oasis Tea Zone will be hosting a DJ, dancing, and more to celebrate their new parklet.

Three pilot parklets, including the Chinatown/ID parklet and Montana Bar parklet, were permitted in 2013, and we’ve recently expanded the pilot program to include 12 new locations this year. We’ll be evaluating the installed parklets throughout the summer and fall and making a recommendation on launching a permanent parklet program at the end of the year.

Check out our website to learn more about the Pilot Parklet Program or submit a comment on the parklets. We hope to see you at the kickoff event!