Enforcement to Protect Pedestrians

Access Seattle is working to keep businesses thriving, travelers moving and construction coordinated during the City’s continued construction boom. Besides getting public and private projects in hub areas to start collaborating, we’re working to ensure contractor compliance across the city. One recent example opened up a pedestrian pathway on Greenwood Avenue North.

Before

Permit inspectors saw unpermitted use of the site, blocking travelers from walking through the area around 14307 Greenwood Avenue N. The team met with the contractor to not only insist on safe pedestrian passage and a smaller project site footprint per established permits, but also to collect several thousand dollars in fines for outstanding issues. Needless to say, the site is now in much better shape.

After

 

Managing Traffic with updated Traffic Signals and Information Systems on Mercer Corridor

The Mercer Corridor Project is transforming Mercer Street into a principal arterial street that better serves the growing South Lake Union and Uptown urban centers while continuing to provide access to and from I-5 and the future SR 99 Tunnel for these neighborhoods and others to the north and west.  Given the volumes of traffic exiting and entering I-5 at Mercer Street and dispersing from Mercer to north and south streets, as well as west toward Queen Anne, Magnolia and Interbay, SDOT is installing new traffic signals and communications systems to move people and goods more efficiently along and across the corridor as efficiently as possible.  Enhancements to maximize the benefit of the new signals and communications are coming soon.

New Signal Light at Mercer Street and 5th Ave North

New Signal Light at Mercer Street and 5th Ave North

The Mercer Corridor project installed or updated 30 signals on Mercer, Valley, Roy, and Republican streets and on Fifth Ave N.  All of the signals are connected to SDOT’s Traffic Management Center to allow for better communication and coordination between signals.  Each signal includes a controller that can be equipped with new traffic control technology – adaptive signal control – which will be coming to the Mercer Corridor in the near future.  Adaptive signal control allows the signal system to be more responsive to real-time traffic conditions.  Detectors in the street will monitor traffic volumes and feed that information to signals downstream from the traffic flow, so they can adjust timing to better accommodate traffic flows.

New Signal Controller at Mercer Street and 5th Ave North

New Signal Controller at Mercer Street and 5th Ave North

Adaptive signal control is expected to be most effective during the periods before or after the peak demand periods in the corridor, sometimes referred to as “the shoulders.”  It will be less effective during the peak periods, especially the evening peak, when traffic is backed up trying to get onto I-5 and other destinations. Even the latest technology cannot move more traffic when there’s no space ahead.  Adaptive signal control is also expected to improve operations for people leaving Seattle Center after an evening performance or other event.  In that case, the signals would detect the surge of eastbound traffic, along with the lower demands on side streets late at night and give more green time to traffic on Mercer Street.

 

The Mercer Corridor will be the first application of adaptive signal control in the city.  The City Council provided $1 Million in SDOT’s budget to design and implement the system on Mercer.  Specification and design is starting in 2015, and the system will be implemented on Mercer in 2016.  The next phase of adaptive signal control, after Mercer, will be on Denny Way.

 

Mercer Corridor Aerial 10-14

Mercer Corridor Aerial 10-14

SDOT is also implementing other features on Mercer Street that will provide more information to those traveling on Mercer and to the engineers programming the signals.  The department is measuring travel times on Mercer using Bluetooth technology.  This new system collects and summarizes travel time information at multiple locations along the corridor so the engineers can zero in on specific problem areas or intersections.  The travel time information will be added to SDOT’s Traveler Information Map and on the Traveler’s app.  This and other information will also be displayed on new variable message signs at Ninth Ave N and Sixth Ave N along the corridor, as well as a new variable message sign that will be installed on Elliott Avenue W.

 

For up-to-minute construction updates join our project email list at: http://www.seattle.gov/transportation/mercercorridor.htm or call the 24-hour construction hotline at 206-419-5818.

Improvements to NE 75th Street Successfully Reduce Collisions

Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) announced the results of a before and after study evaluating the effectiveness of safety improvements on Northeast 75th Street between 15th Avenue Northeast and 35th Avenue Northeast. The findings indicate the changes have dramatically improved safety, benefitting everyone who uses the street.

The main safety improvement on Northeast 75th Street, implemented in August 2013, was adding lane striping to define a previously unstriped area as having one lane in each direction with a center turn lane. Little-used on-street parking was removed to prevent general traffic from using that space as a second lane, helping to reduce speeding and to make it easier for pedestrians to cross the street. School zone photo enforcement cameras were also installed in September 2014 at Eckstein Middle School.

NE 75th Street Before Safety Improvements

NE 75th Street Before Safety Improvements

NE 75th After Safety Improvements

NE 75th After Safety Improvements

 

Collision statistics from September 2013 through August 2014 show a 45 percent reduction in collisions from the time before the improvements were made, and no collisions involving pedestrians. Also, the number of drivers exceeding the 30 mph speed limit by 10 mph or more has declined significantly – by 75 percent for eastbound traffic and nearly 80 percent for westbound traffic.

The safety improvements did not increase the time it takes to drive this segment of street, also reported in the study and contrary to common perceptions. Furthermore, the volume of traffic remained unchanged, indicating traffic is not spilling over onto nearby streets. In fact, traffic volumes have actually increased slightly on 75th since the completion of the project.

SDOT traffic planners will continue to monitor traffic on Northeast 75th Street and nearby streets, looking for opportunities for additional safety measures, including improvements on Northeast 75th Street where it turns into Banner Way Northeast, near I-5. Please visit http://www.seattle.gov/transportation/ne75th.htm for the full report.

SDOT is analyzing several other corridors this year to identify ways to improve safety. Each is considered separately to identify improvements tailored to their unique characteristics. Traffic planners are currently studying 35th Avenue Southwest, Southwest Roxbury Street, Lake City Way Northeast and Rainier Avenue South. To learn more about Vision Zero, please see the program webpage at: http://www.seattle.gov/visionzero.

What Moves You, Seattle? Share Your Input on a New Transportation Levy Proposal

Seattle is one of the fastest growing cities in the country, and our transportation system is critical to our quality of life and economic vitality. Earlier this month, Mayor Ed Murray introduced Move Seattle — his ten-year transportation vision that integrates our long-term plans for walking, biking, transit, and freight and sets forth a holistic approach to meeting Seattle’s needs today and tomorrow.

To help make that vision a reality, the city will need to identify a replacement for the current Bridging the Gap levy that expires at the end of 2015. Today, Mayor Murray and SDOT Director Scott Kubly announced a proposal for a new levy the Transportation Levy to Move Seattle.

SDOT Director Scott Kubly  discusses the Levy to Move Seattle.

Mayor Murray and SDOT Director Scott Kubly (at podium) announce the Levy to Move Seattle.

The proposed nine-year, $900 million levy aims to take care of the basics by maintaining our streets, bridges, and sidewalks, while also investing in the future with improvements that give us more travel choices to move more people and goods in and around Seattle.

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We’d like to get your input and reaction to this draft proposal before Mayor Murray sends it to the Seattle City Council in May. The City will need to submit a final levy proposal to King County by early August for it to be on the ballot in November 2015.

Your participation matters. Help shape our transportation future:

Visit www.seattle.gov/LevytoMoveSeattle to:

 

Attend an upcoming community conversation to talk directly with staff about the proposal and your transportation priorities:

Saturday, March 28:

  • New Holly Gathering Hall (7054 32nd Ave S, Seattle 98118): 10 AM –12 PM

 

Monday, March 30:

  • Roosevelt High School (1410 NE 66th St, Seattle 98115): 6 – 8 PM

 

Tuesday, March 31:

  • West Seattle High School (3000 California Ave SW, Seattle 98116): 6 – 8 PM

 

Learn more at www.seattle.gov/LevytoMoveSeattle

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Parklet and Streatery Application Deadline Extended to March 30!

Interested in building a parklet or streatery but still need more time to complete your application? You’re in luck! We’re extending the application deadline for application to March 30 to give you more time to generate ideas and get the support of your neighbors.

Parklets and streateries are a great way to provide new open space in your neighborhood and help create more active and vibrant streets.

Montana Bar Parklet, at Howell and Olive Way on Capitol Hill.

Montana Bar Parklet, at Howell and Olive Way on Capitol Hill.

Best of all, applying to the program is easy! All we need for your initial application is:

  • The application form
  • Three letters of support from your community (four for a streatery)
  • A simple site plan showing the ideas for your parklet or streatery
  • A few photos of the proposed location

 

Still unsure if a parklet or streatery is right for your business or organization? Check out the Parklet Handbook and Streatery Supplement which detail what’s involved with both types of projects. These two documents have all the information you’ll need to understand how parklets and streateries are designed, permitted, built, and maintained.

Please keep in mind that all application materials must be emailed to parklets@seattle.gov by 5:00 p.m. on March 30, 2015. We’re excited to see your fun and creative ideas!

23rd Avenue South and South Walker Street Area gets a Pedestrian-Friendly Makeover!

Pedestrians can now safely stroll along the east side of 23rd Avenue S between S College and S Waite streets, enjoying the new sidewalk, curb ramps, planting strips and trees (photo below).

23 Ave South - New Sidewalk

23 Ave South – New Sidewalk

Soon vehicles will also experience a smoother ride over the newly paved roadway along 23rd Avenue S in the same area. Over the past few months, SDOT has been working to install pedestrian and roadway safety improvements, to make the 23rd Avenue S and S Walker Street area more safe and comfortable for all modes of transportation.

To improve safety and access at street crossings the project installed a number of ADA compliant curb ramps along 23rd Avenue S, Rainier Avenue S and MLK Jr Way S and S Walker Street. Curb bulbs to improve visibility and reduce pedestrian crossing distance were installed on the east side of Rainier Avenue S and S Walker Street.

Additional segments of sidewalk were also installed on the south side of S College Street, from 23rd Avenue S to Rainier Avenue S and Rainier Avenue S between 23rd Avenue S and S Walker Street (see photo below).

South College Street - New Sidewalk

South College Street – New Sidewalk

The project will be completed over the next month as crews complete the installation of landscaping, curb ramps and signage.

Thank you for your patience during construction!

If you have any questions or comments about construction for this project, please email Alicia@stephersonassociates.com or call 206-615-1075.

For more about the project: http://www.seattle.gov/transportation/23rdwalkerimprovements.htm

 

Spring Break Resurfacing in U-District

They plan to work on Brooklyn from Northeast 47th to Northeast 45th streets on Monday and Tuesday, March 23 and 24, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. if the weather is favorable. The street will be closed intermittently; alternate routes are recommended.

The crews then plan to move to Northeast 41st Street, working from Brooklyn to 11th Avenue Northeast from March 25 to 27 during the same hours, and this work is also dependent on favorable weather. NE 41st will be closed to through traffic.

University District Map

University District Map

 
Please be mindful that on-street parking will be restricted, so any cars left on that block may be towed.  All crosswalks and sidewalks will remain open during work hours.

It’s a sign! Access Seattle is working!

One of many similar signs  now along both sides of 10th Avenue, between E Pike and E Union streets

One of many similar signs now along both sides of 10th Avenue, between E Pike and E Union streets

Access Seattle wants to help navigate you through the City’s construction boom. Coordination is critical, assessing all public and private projects in identified hubs and meeting with contractors to reduce cumulative impacts. Above is a sign (pun intended) that the effort is working–liasing with contractor Mill Creek Residential to produce and pay for signs guiding construction workers to park elsewhere (signs placed along both sides of 10th Avenue between E Pike and E Union streets).

The team meets regularly with contractors to negotiate solutions to problems community members raise–like construction vehicles taking up street parking.

It’s just a sampling of the ongoing work, which includes other signs along 10th Avenue paid for by contractor Exxel Pacific:

One of several similar signs along the west side of 10th Avenue between E Union and E Seneca streets.

One of several similar signs along the west side of 10th Avenue between E Union and E Seneca streets.

Proof that coordination, communication and collaboration work!

 

 

 

Real Time Transit signs coming to Ballard, Wallingford and U-District

SDOT in partnership with King County Metro is installing 11 new Real Time Information Signs (RTIS) at bus stops along the NW Market Street/45th Street corridor through Ballard, Wallingford and the University District. These pole-mounted LED signs will let bus commuters know if their bus is on time or running late.  These new tracking tools will add to SDOT’s similar signs that were installed on the Jackson/Rainier corridor back in 2013.

RTIS Map Final

SDOT’s RTIS signs use up-to-the-minute data to deliver predicted bus arrival/departure times for routes using the stop where the sign is located. Knowing when your next bus is scheduled to arrive may seem like a simple piece of information, but these signs provide a number of other benefits to passengers, such as an increased sense of security that comes with knowing how long you’ll have to wait and whether you have time to run a quick errand or grab a snack. Additionally, real time transit signs have proven to be a cost-effective strategy for increasing transit ridership and transit users’ satisfaction with service, which reflects SDOT’s long-running efforts to improve transit reliability and rider experience.

 

Design visualization of a RTIS. The LED signs will let bus commuters know if their bus is on time or running late.

Design concept of RTIS

RTIS installation will require rebuilding the bus stops where the new signs will be located. Construction activities such as: saw cutting, sidewalk removal, underground electrical work, sidewalk replacement and RTIS installations are expected to begin this week and will continue for about three months, through early to mid-summer. As part of this work, crews will also complete a number of other pedestrian improvements, including new curb ramps and accessible pedestrian push buttons.

 

 

 

 

SDOT appreciates your patience during RTIS installation and hopes to minimize inconvenience; neighbors and travelers should expect:

  • Audible work activities including construction equipment noise and concrete replacement
  • Intermittent lane closures
  • Temporary sidewalk closures and detours
  • Temporary bus stop closures
  • Flaggers and uniformed police officers assisting with traffic control
  • Access to businesses and residences maintained

 

If you have questions about installation of the RTIS along the Market/45th corridor, please contact Paul Elliott at paul.elliott@seattle.gov or 206-684-5321.

 

For more information on SDOT’s RTIS program: http://www.seattle.gov/transportation/transit_rtis.htm

Contact Jeff Bender at 206-684-8837 or jeff.bender@seattle.gov.

Parklet and Streatery Applications due March 20!

Have you seen the awesome new parklets popping up all around Seattle? Have these great new public spaces inspired you to build a parklet of your own? If so, you’ll be happy to know there’s still time to apply for the latest round of Seattle’s, now permanent, parklet program!

Molly Moon's Parklet in Wallingford

Molly Moon’s parklet in Wallingford

What’s more, potential parklet sponsors (“parkleteers”?) may also be interested to know that we’re trying out an exciting new option in the program this year called “streateries.” A streatery is like a parklet and sidewalk café rolled into one. With streateries, businesses can provide table service to their customers within a parklet, while also providing a unique public space when the extra seating isn’t needed. How cool would it be to build one of Seattle’s first streateries?

Example Streatery in San Francisco

Example “streatery” in San Francisco

So whether you’ve had visions of giving your community a unique place to gather and hangout, or of serving folks coffee and some tasty eats in the new park that you’ve built, we encourage you to apply to the parklet program or the new pilot streateries program!

Applying is easy, and you have until next Friday, March 20 at 5:00 p.m. to submit your application.

Here’s what you need to apply:

  • The application form
  • Three letters of support from your community (four for a streatery)
  • A simple site plan showing the ideas for your parklet or streatery
  • A few photos of the proposed location

 

If you’d like a little inspiration before mocking up your design, check out our parklets design gallery here. Remember to have fun, be creative, and to submit your design by next Friday!

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For more information on designing, permitting, and building a parklet or streatery, check out our updated Parklet Handbook and Streatery Supplement. Keep in mind that all application materials must be emailed to parklets@seattle.gov by 5:00p.m. on March 20, 2015, and that parklet hosts are responsible for all costs, including design, construction, and ongoing maintenance.