Bikes and Bagels!

SDOT and Commute Seattle recently teamed up for “Bikes and Bagels,” an event to celebrate biking as part of Bike Everywhere Month. A steady stream of bike riders met up at McGraw Square downtown for coffee, bagels, and an opportunity to chat directly with Seattle transportation staff.

DSC_0151

People shared lots of great feedback with SDOT, including ideas for future projects, best practices to maintain cycle access at construction projects, and general thoughts about biking throughout the city.

Whether you’re a biking newbie or a veteran, SDOT has a host of bike resources for you. Commute Seattle has also been hard at work throughout the month, offering bike tune-ups at Bike Month transportation fairs, and hosting other events, like a free, online Bike Commuting 101 Seminar.

If you missed “Bikes and Bagels,” don’t worry, there’s still plenty of time to participate in Bike Everywhere Day and Bike Everywhere Month! Get started on becoming a regular bike rider or get more bike information here.

Share Button

May 20 is Bike Everywhere Day!

Have you taken your bike out for a spin during Bike Month? If not, now is a good time to start! This Friday, May 20, is Bike Everywhere Day! Whether you’re just starting out on a bike or you’re a seasoned rider, SDOT’s Bike Program can help. You’ll find helpful Bike Maps, including a cool Interactive Bicycle Map.

Join bicyclists everywhere for street side celebrations all throughout the city.

People biking on Rainier Ave

What to expect at celebration stations:

  • Free souvenirs
  • Free food and drinks
  • Drawings for fabulous prizes
  • Once-a-year discounted Cascade Bicycle Club membership (select stations only)
  • Bike maintenance

People riding bikes on Rainier

Bike Everywhere Day isn’t just for experienced riders. Thousands of people will be pedaling on our streets to offer encouragement and support to experienced and first time riders alike.

The celebration doesn’t stop there. Join Velo Bike Shop for their Bike Everywhere Day After Party! The fun continues with bites, beverages, and raffle prizes.

Pronto Bikes

If you don’t own a bike, consider trying out Pronto Cycle Share (free rides on May 20!). If a bike ride isn’t in your Friday forecast, no problem. Bike Month continues until the end of May. If distance is an issue, consider a “hybrid commute” where public transit is taken for a portion of the commute and you ride your bike the rest of the way.

Seattle is using our streets to provide safe, affordable travel choices and create great places that encourage people to get out and enjoy streets on foot or by bike. In doing so, we reduce greenhouse gas emissions, improve the health of or residents and make it comfortable for people of all abilities from our 5-year old kids to our 80-year old grandparents to move around.

Let’s keep this two-wheeled momentum going! Happy biking!

Share Button

New Safe Routes to School Crossing in Greenwood is Complete

SDOT crews have completed a new school crossing at N 80th St and 1st Ave N that provides a safer way for kids to cross the street to get to Greenwood Elementary School and St John Catholic School. Improvements include a new curb bulb, curb ramps compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), marked crosswalks, and crossing beacons that flash when activated by pedestrians or bicyclists.

The project also included adding an additional 20 MPH school zone flashing beacon on NW 80th St west of 8th Ave NW to slow down people driving through this intersection which is heavily used by Greenwood students.

safe routes

The benefits of this project include:

  • Improves safety on walking and biking route to school
  • Shortens crossing distance of N 80th St and 1st Ave N
  • Encourages more kids to walk and bike to school, which will reduce congestion at the school

This improved crossing is part of the Safe Routes to School (SRTS) program, a national movement to make it easier and safer for students to walk and bike to school. The project also includes education and encouragement programs to get more kids walking and biking safely to school.

The Safe Routes to School program was developed as part of Vision Zero, the City’s plan to end traffic deaths and serious injuries by 2030. Improving safety for school communities means building healthy places where kids can safely walk and bike to school and in their neighborhood.

Share Button

Greenwood Ave N Transit and Sidewalk Safety Improvements Update

This week, crews working on behalf of the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) completed the majority of work under the Greenwood Ave N Transit and Sidewalk project. The work included safety and transit improvements along Greenwood Ave N, a key north-south arterial, between N 90th St and N 105th St.

Greenwood Ave N Bus Stop Improvements PW#2014-038 2016 05 13 (19)

Prior to construction, the lack of a curb and planting strip along Greenwood Ave N, especially along the east side of the road, failed to safely separate pedestrians from vehicle traffic. Overgrown vegetation partially hid bus stops, which had to be accessed through narrow, uneven sidewalks.

Greenwood Sidewalk near N 97th

New sidewalk near N 97th St connects to bus island via raised crosswalk

This project constructed more than half a mile of new sidewalk and about 30 curb ramps on the east side of Greenwood Ave N between N 92nd St and N 105th St, along with a planting strip between the sidewalk and road along much of the corridor. Transit improvements include 4 new in-lane bus islands with shelters and lighting near the intersections of N 92nd St and N 97th St. New bus islands replace some existing stops, which helps improve bus stop spacing and contributes to transit reliability through the corridor.

Greenwood_Map_11-25-2015

The new facilities improve safety for pedestrians, drivers, and bicyclists traveling through the Greenwood Ave N corridor, and offer greater safety and comfort for transit riders. The improvements also contribute to more predictable travel patterns for all road users and improved transit reliability.

New bus island at N 92nd St will have a shelter installed by Metro before being put into service

New bus island at N 92nd St will have a shelter installed by Metro before being put into service

Funded by the Bridging the Gap transportation levy, Neighborhood Street Fund and a grant from the State’s Transportation Improvement Board, this project supports Vision Zero, an international initiative that aims for no fatalities or serious injuries in traffic collisions.

For more project information, please visit: http://www.seattle.gov/transportation/transit_greenwood.htm.

Share Button

May is Bike Everywhere Month!

There’s plenty of time to participate in Bike Everywhere Month!

Whether you ride 20 miles one way or 2 miles total in combination with a bus ride, you are still a bike commuter. The beauty of the bike is that it complements every rider and every commute, from a calorie-burning training ride to a quick jaunt down the 2nd Ave bike lane on your way in to work.

26014494275_f86c579467_z

Some basic guidelines for riding your bike include:

  • Is your bike in good working order? Make sure you have air in the tires, grease on the chain and some STOP in the brakes.
  • Always ride with a helmet, and use lights front and rear when riding after dark.
  • Get a Bike Buddy, someone to help you prepare for that first bike commute to work and help with choosing clothing and gear.
  • Know your route. Pick up or download a Seattle Bike Map, or check out our Interactive Bicycle Map, for all of the routes, safety suggestions, bike repair shops and much more.
  • Bus in on Monday and bring some clothes for the week. An extra pair of shoes under your desk is a great idea too.
  • Carry your ORCA card with you always. It’s the most reliable Plan B!

Program yourself for success: keep your first ride short and simple, and grow into longer commutes.

Fun fact: last year for Bike to Work Month, Mayor Ed Murray was joined by Seahawks player Michael Bennett for a group ride along the Fremont canal.

Mayor-and-Michael-Bennett-BTWD-5-15-15You can check out video of the ride here.

Share Button

An Alligator in the Passenger Seat? Keeping Drivers off Their Phones

It’s tempting to check your Facebook page, hit that ‘like’ button, or send a quick text while you’re driving. But is it worth the risk?

We don’t think so, which is why we’ve launched a Vision Zero education campaign that targets distracted driving, encouraging people to do whatever it takes to put – and keep – their phones out of reach while driving. If you have to enlist the help of a tarantula or alligator, so be it. (I mean, not really, given that would be pretty distracting. Just put it out of reach.)

Distracted driving is on the rise across the country. In Seattle, we’ve seen a nearly 300% increase in collisions involving inattention in the past few years.

Vision Zero graph

Research tells us that fun is beating fear when it comes to getting traffic safety messages across. That’s why we decided to try something a bit outside the box. People know it’s reckless to text while driving. Yet they still do it. The creative minds for our campaign hinged on this idea and posed the question: What will it take for you to put your phone out of reach while driving? A baby alligator? A tarantula? A jar of bees? Whatever it is, you need to do it. Because if you can’t reach your phone, you won’t use your phone. And this simple act could result in saving your life, or someone else’s.

We enlisted the help of some animals we often think of as scary or creepy to get people thinking – ‘I really shouldn’t have to put my phone under a tarantula or baby alligator, I should just put it out of reach while I’m driving.’

Vision Zero picsYou may have heard our radio ads, seen a video on Facebook or YouTube, or seen an ad pop up on your Instagram feed or Pandora app. We encourage you to share these pictures and videos with your friends and family, to remind them to put their phones out of reach while driving. It’s going to take every one of us making changes every day to help Seattle reach our Vision Zero goal of ending traffic deaths and serious injuries by 2030.

You can grab all of these resources and more at www.seattle.gov/visionzero/materials.

Share Button

Raising Safety Awareness through Tiny PSA’s

SDOT is putting together a series of what we’re calling ‘Tiny PSAs’ (public service announcements) to remind people of the rules of the road, highlight new safety projects, and spread the word about Vision Zero, Seattle’s plan to end traffic deaths and serious injuries on our streets by 2030.  Education efforts like this complement and support enforcement and engineering improvements – it’s going to take all three E’s to get us closer to zero.

Here’s our first Tiny PSA, explaining that every intersection, whether marked or not, is a crosswalk.

Let us know if there’s a topic you’d like us to cover. You can contact Allison Schwartz at allison.schwartz@seattle.gov or (206) 386-4654.

You can find more safety information to share with your friends and family at www.seattle.gov/visionzero.

Share Button

Free-Ride Thursdays in May on First Hill Streetcar!

24131130634_f16fe88dd7_oRide the First Hill Streetcar free to re-discover, celebrate and explore some of Seattle’s most vibrant urban neighborhoods.  Join these neighborhoods in celebrating their streetcar stops Thursdays this May:

  • Thursday, May 12th:  Check out the Capitol Hill ArtWalk and celebrate the streetcar on Capitol Hill with interactive performances and visual art installations, 6-9pm – Broadway & Pike and Broadway & Denny streetcar stops
  • Thursday, May 19th:  Explore Chinatown-International District through its first Happy Hour Food Walk with $2, $4 or $6 bites at participating restaurants, 6-9pm – streetcar stops at Jackson St & 5th, 7th and 12th Avenues S
  • Thursday, May 26th:  Join Swedish Medical and Seattle University’s plaza celebration of the streetcar with hotdogs, popsicles, live performances and more, 11:30am-1pm – Broadway & Marion streetcar stop

24463785900_f309f2da70_o

24947985670_f001b9a810_o

For more on the First Hill Streetcar Line and South Lake Union Street Car Line.

Share Button

From Pavement to Parks

Last summer, SDOT began exploring the idea of converting underutilized portions of city streets into vibrant community spaces. These projects, known as Pavement to Parks projects, are designed to both increase roadway safety and bring communities together using low-cost, adaptable treatments. With density increasing all around the city, these small parks offer increasingly vital space for socializing and enjoying the outdoors. To learn more about the details of our Pavement to Parks program, you can visit our Pavement to Parks program page here.

UUB_Before_After

Intersection of University St, E Union St, and Boylston Ave in First Hill

For years, similar projects have been met with great success in cities such as San Francisco, Philadelphia, and New York. Not surprisingly, we are already seeing the same kinds of success with the projects installed in our own city! Successful projects have already been installed in Seattle’s First Hill, Phinney Ridge, and Ballard neighborhoods, and a new park in the Rainier Vista neighborhood will soon be on its way.

To raise awareness around the proposed Rainier Vista project, SDOT’s Street Use division recently co-hosted a community event with local residents at the proposed project site at S Genesee St between Jill Place S and 29th Ave S.  The installation would reduce traffic speeds in the neighborhood, provide more play space for kids (and adults!), and allow for future community gatherings like the one shown in the photos below.

20160422_190955

April 2016 Rainier Vista community event.

Dancers.street view

Dance performance at the April 2016 Rainier Vista community event.

At April’s event, Street Use staff talked to the community about what, specifically, residents envision for repurposed street space. Roughly 150 people were in attendance, and we got feedback from over 100 of them! We are currently working with the Seattle Housing Authority, Rainier Vista Traffic Safety Committee, and local residents to incorporate the neighborhood feedback into the concept design, and will then present the design to the community.

If you have an idea for a Pavement to Parks project in your neighborhood, or if you would like to provide feedback on an existing or proposed project, please contact Susan McLaughlin at susan.mclaughlin@seattle.gov or 206.733.9649. We look forward to hearing your ideas!

Share Button

New Expanded RapidRide C Line service to South Lake Union Celebrated with Rain-activated Art

The extension of the new RapidRide C Line to South Lake Union began in March, thanks to Seattle voters who approved Proposition 1 that gave the city of Seattle funds to expand weekday in-city bus service.

C Line Bus

In addition to service expansion, bus riders waiting along the new line will get to see special artwork on the sidewalks – when it rains.

Westlake & Denny (1)

Rain-activated artwork installed at Westlake and Denny.

SDOT worked with Rainworks, a Seattle start-up that takes advantage of our weather by installing rain-activated artwork on sidewalks that’s sure to surprise and delight riders waiting for Metro buses in West Seattle, Belltown and South Lake Union.

Scott Kubly helping out with placing the stencil

SDOT Director Scott Kubly helps place the stencil to install rain-activated art.

The art installations give riders a positive message when it rains as they wait for the new RapidRide C Line to South Lake Union, which was extended via Westlake Avenue.

3rd & Virginia (2)

The finished product at 3rd Avenue and Virginia Street – made visible by rain!

Other improvements to the new RapidRide C Line to South Lake Union:

  • More service on Route 40, operating every 9-15 minutes
  • More peak time service for Route 70
  • More service and shorter route for Route 8
  • Dedicated transit lanes on Westlake Ave N
  • Transit stop upgrades

C Line

To see when Seattle Mayor Ed Murray celebrated the first day of service expansion on the new RapidRide C Line to South Lake Union, go here.

Fore more on Metro Transit options.

Share Button