Signal Box Artwork helps keep Seattle safe and vibrant

Signal Box artwork by Melanie Cook.

Signal Box artwork by Melanie Cook.

In 1924, Seattle’s first automated traffic signal was installed at 4th Ave S and Jackson Street. Now, 91 years later, the city has more than 975 signalized intersections, each one with its own signal control box situated nearby. Usually somewhat non-descript in appearance, these boxes quietly help traffic flow smoothly through the city – but recently, some Seattle communities have turned these helpful boxes into beautiful works of art through the Traffic Signal Control Box Artwork Program. A partnership between SDOT and the Seattle Office of Arts & Culture, this program lets these boxes become canvases for area artists, and mini-exhibitions that residents and visitors can enjoy for many years.

Additionally, designs can help highlight distinct aspects of Seattle neighborhoods, and can help discourage graffiti.

In addition to commissioned paintings, art can include:

  • Photos
  • Maps of your neighborhood
  • Vinyl wraps of different designs


Art can incorporate a variety of themes, but all designs need to be OK’d by the Seattle Office of Arts & Culture before they can be installed. A word to the wise: be sure your design doesn’t include any symbols that may mimic traffic signs – artwork should not prompt any traffic confusion or reduce driver or cyclist visibility. Keep arrows, yellow diamonds and red hexagons out of any designs!

Signal box artwork by Tamera Weikel.

Signal box artwork by Tamera Weikel.

Interested in resurfacing some of your neighborhood’s traffic boxes with some new pieces of art? Visit Street Use’s pages on Traffic Signal Control Box Artwork here to learn more about installation guidelines, art proposals, and the street use permit application process.



New One-Stop Website for Newsstand Maintenance and Construction Launches

There is a new one-stop website portal for the community and contractors to connect with newsstand owners. SDOT has partnered with multiple newspaper publishers and distributors to launch a newsstand maintenance and construction use reporting site. will help community members report newsstand maintenance needs directly to a newsstand owner, it will also help to coordinate and track temporary construction relocation requests.

Community members can report newsbox concerns and connect contractors with newsbox owners. This collaborative effort between SDOT with area publishers will help keep sidewalks more accessible.

The site was created after many months of discussions regarding the condition of Seattle’s newsstands. Until now there was no centralized way to report damaged or abandoned newsstands, or to request temporary relocation of newsstands during construction activity. The website includes locating map software and is available in more than 90 languages.

Newsstands ( sticker on left)

Newsstands ( sticker on left newsbox image)

Another idea from the partnership is decals now being placed on newsstands citywide to raise awareness of the communication opportunity.


Construction is coming to Greenwood – Community Open House Tonight!



Join Us
We are excited to share the latest news about the Greenwood Ave N Transit and Sidewalk Project at our September 14 open house event. We will provide a project updates, review what to expect during construction, and answer questions from the community.

Construction begins in early October
Construction is set to begin in early October and continue through April 2016, weather permitting.
The project includes transit and sidewalk improvements on Greenwood Ave N between N 90th St and N 105th St.


Project goals
• Improve safety for people who walk, drive, and bike
• Create a more visually appealing corridor
• Improve sidewalk access and crosswalks at intersections
• Improve safety and comfort for transit riders
• Increase predictable travel patterns for all road users

Construction impacts
• During construction, the community can expect:
• Parking restrictions
• Bicyclists merge with vehicles
• Limited use of center turn lane
• Minor detours for people who walk along Greenwood Ave N
• Limited access to adjacent properties (including driveway closures) with advanced notification
• Restricted access to/from side streets

Project details

Map of plans: click to enhance

Map of plans: click to enhance

The project includes new sidewalks, planting strips, curbs, and crosswalk markings. The project will also upgrade bus stops, closing some stops and relocating others to improve bus stop spacing through the corridor. Four new “bus islands” will keep buses in the travel lane and reduce conflicts between buses, bicycles, cars, and pedestrians. The bus islands will feature shelters, pedestrian lighting and bike racks.
This work is funded by the Bridging the Gap Levy, a Neighborhood Street Fund Grant, and a State Transportation Improvement Board Grant. The total estimated cost for this project is $3.5 million.
To learn more, visit the project webpage and sign up for email updates. We look forward to the open house tonight and hope to see you there!

New Community Crosswalk Program, Celebrate Your Neighborhood!

The city is announcing the Community Crosswalks program, a new way for community members to acquire neighborhood oriented crosswalks.

SDOT and Seattle Department of Neighborhoods are jointly working on this program to allow interested community members to showcase their neighborhood’s unique culture and history or just liven up an intersection crosswalk with a colorful design. This is a great way for the city to celebrate our neighborhood communities in a creative and visual manner.

This is about celebrating and enhancing community identities,” said Mayor Ed Murray. “The iconic rainbow crosswalks on Capitol Hill started a broader conversation on how we can incorporate neighborhood character in the built environment across Seattle. I’m excited to see more history, culture, and community on display for residents and visitors to enjoy.”

Spurred by the popularity of Capitol Hill’s rainbow crosswalks, which were installed in June, residents can now use the existing Neighborhood Matching Fund to request such crosswalks. This will allow unique crosswalks to be approved and installed through an established process, ensuring that they are safe, reflective of community values and can be maintained.

Capitol Hill Rainbow Crosswalk

Capitol Hill Rainbow Crosswalks

To be eligible for an installation by SDOT, applicants will need to adhere to City guidelines for crosswalk locations and designs. Crosswalks must be sited where vehicles already stop for a traffic signal or stop sign, the design should consist only of horizontal or vertical bars, and the pavement underneath must be in good condition.

“We are pleased that other Seattle neighborhoods are being inspired by Capitol Hill’s rainbow crosswalks,” said SDOT Director Scott Kubly. “Through this joint SDOT/DON effort, we can transform other crossing points into tangible signs of community pride.”

Crosswalks typically cost about $25 per square foot, depending on the complexity of the design and installation, and can be expected to last approximately 3-5 years based on the amount of vehicular traffic at the location. More information about the program can be found here: Crosswalks installed or modified outside of this process will be reviewed by SDOT and removed/repainted if determined to be unsafe.

The Neighborhood Matching Fund provides matching dollars for neighborhood improvement, organizing, or projects that are developed and implemented by community members. More information about the longstanding program can be found here:

SDOT and AARP Seattle Partner to Achieve Vision Zero

SDOT and AARP Seattle are launching a new public service campaign that highlights safety tips for people driving and walking. The campaign is part of Seattle’s Vision Zero plan to end traffic deaths and serious injuries by 2030.


Video, online, and radio announcements will run throughout September on KOMO 4 TV, Univision Seattle, KOMO News Radio, KVI Talk Radio and The campaign’s timing coincides with the historic trend of collisions increasing during the darker and wetter months of fall and winter.

Seattle is aggressively working to reduce serious and fatal collisions on our streets through Vision Zero. Partnering with AARP on this campaign allows the city to reach drivers and our most vulnerable residents to enhance the safety of our roads.

While Seattle is consistently recognized as one of the safest cities in the country, more than 10,000 traffic collisions occur each year. In 2014, there were 3,449 injury collisions reported to the Seattle Police Department. 15 people died due to those crashes in 2014, including five who were walking or riding a bike.

Education is a key component to help keep our most vulnerable populations (people young and old, walking and biking) safe and achieve Vision Zero in Seattle – a term that comes from the belief that death and injury on city streets are preventable. This is the second year that SDOT and AARP have teamed up on traffic safety. The public service announcements are being made possible with a grant from the Washington Traffic Safety Commission and funding from AARP.

People over age 50 are particularly vulnerable on Seattle’s streets, representing 70 percent of pedestrian fatalities in the last three years. As a partner in Vision Zero, AARP Seattle is working with the City to help raise safety awareness and prevent collisions.

The City of Seattle is committed to ending traffic deaths and serious injuries by 2030. Earlier this year, Seattle launched Vision Zero to design smarter streets, enforce existing laws, and educate the public on safe travel behavior. For more information, visit

AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, with a membership of nearly 38 million, that helps people turn their goals and dreams into real possibilities, strengthens communities and fights for the issues that matter most to families such as healthcare, employment and income security, retirement planning, affordable utilities and protection from financial abuse.

Lake City Way NE

Lake City Way N

Central District Streets Will Transform into Parkways this Saturday, Sept. 12!

HSummer Parkways 2ey there, if you’re looking for something fun to do Saturday while the summer sunshine is expected warm things up to 80?  The city would like to invite the you to join Seattle Summer Parkways, hosted by the Seattle Department of Transportation this Saturday 9/12 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Central District.

More than 40 blocks of streets will be transformed into open-street “parkways” where people can bike, play, walk and run. A three-mile route, totaling 46 blocks, will be closed to through traffic from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. but open to local traffic. Residents can still park and access the streets.

CD Map

This free, all-ages celebration will create an expansive, temporary open space where thousands of friends, families, and visitors can participate in dozens of community-based activities, from skateboard demos, to puppeteers, to art activities to food truck dining. In addition to participating in the activities, residents are encouraged to explore the open spaces by biking, running and walking along the route.

Activities will take place in four neighborhood parks: Pratt Park, Judkins Park, Garfield Playfields and Powell Barnett Park (please see attached map). Events include food trucks, buskers, live music, Zumba classes, Zorba Ball, Skate Like a Girl demos, bike polo and more.


In partnership with Seattle Summer Parkways, Bike Works will raffle off 10 free bicycles at Garfield Playground. Bicycles will be available for all-ages; winners must be present to win. For more information, visit and follow Seattle Parkways on Facebook and Twitter @SeattleParkways #SeattleSummerParkways.



Summer Parkways 1

Does Speed Matter?

We’ve all been there—you woke up late, you forgot to set an alarm, and now you’re rushing to get work. The posted speed is 20 mph…but 10 miles faster couldn’t make a difference—it’s almost everyone drives faster that the speed limit, and it’s more important to be on time, right? According to data from the U.K Department of Transportation, 10 miles per hour can affect the seriousness of collisions. If someone is hit by a vehicle going 20 mph, nine out ten pedestrians will survive. Hit at 30 mph, five out of ten will survive. And one out of ten pedestrians will survive if hit at 40 mph. It’s surprising to see how a difference of 20 miles reverses the survival rates of people hit by moving vehicles.


The faster you drive, the narrower your field of vision becomes. At 15 mph, you have time to not only see the road, but you can process pedestrians, bikers, and side road activity much easier than at 30 mph.


Reducing your speed by five miles per hour will only add about a minute to your commute. This minute could save someone’s life.

So next time you are running a little late, consider taking a deep breath, and slowing down. One vehicle at a time, we can make a difference in others’ lives.



Microsurfacing: Protecting Streets throughout the City

Over the past month Crews working on behalf of SDOT have been microsurfacing city streets. Microsurfacing is a protective seal coat which extends the life of pavement. It is a thin, tough layer of asphalt emulsion blended with finely crushed stone for traction. This is a cost-effective method to renew the road surface and seal minor cracks and other irregularities. This preventive maintenance process protects the pavement from moisture penetration and oxidation. Similar to painting a house, microsurfacing creates a protective layer which preserves the underlying structure and prevents the need for more expensive repairs in the future.

Here’s our latest Blog Video detailing the project:


A few weeks ago in mid-August SDOT Director Scott Kubly chatted with local media and community members  about the benefits of Microsurfacing and explains how it acts as a protective seal coating which extends the life of pavement. It is a thin, tough layer of asphalt emulsion blended with finely crushed stone for traction.

SDOT Director and staffers discuss Microsurfacing  project in North Rainier Valley

SDOT Director Scott Kubly with staffers discuss the Microsurfacing project in North Rainier Valley.

This is a cost-effective method to renew the road surface and seal minor cracks and other irregularities. This preventive maintenance process protects the pavement from moisture penetration and oxidation. Similar to painting a house, microsurfacing creates a protective layer which preserves the underlying structure and prevents the need for more expensive repairs in the future.

What to expect during construction:

Crews have begun placing “no parking” signs on streets and distributed confirmation notices with dates and instructions. The notices have asked that cars be relocated off the road and planting strip area prior to the start of work.

During microsurfacing, residents have been asked to remove all personal items from the road and park cars on a nearby block not being microsurfaced. Noise, tar-like odors and large equipment associated with microsurfacing can be expected. To ensure best results, the street will be closed to vehicles for up to 8 hours. We encourage everyone to avoid the road surface during this time. When wet, the microsurfacing emulsion is sticky and difficult to remove from clothing and pet fur.


If your regular garbage collection or recycling pick-up is scheduled on the same day as this work, please have your bins to the curb before 6 AM to ensure collection.

Microsurfacing benefits:

In the past, SDOT’s primary method of preventive maintenance has been chip sealing. While chip sealing is an effective preventive maintenance measure, it leaves the roads very rough and there is an extended period of loose rock on the street. Microsurfacing and chip sealing are both seal coats that extend the life of the pavement for about the same amount of time (5 to 10 years).

However, microsurfacing has two key advantages over chip sealing:

  • No loose rock chips are involved, so there is no need to sweep loose rocks weeks after the project is complete.
  • The final product provides a finished surface which is black in color and looks similar to a conventional asphalt surface.

Questions during construction?

You can contact the project team by calling 206-727-3669 or by email at

Here is the link to the SDOT Microsurfacing page:

24th Ave E bridge over SR 520 scheduled to close Tuesday, Sept.8

Here’s some useful information from Washington State Department of Transportation on work that’s being done in the Montlake neighborhood that you should be aware of.

On Tuesday, Sept. 8, Washington State Department of Transportation crews plan to close the 24th Avenue East bridge over SR 520 for up to six months, prompting the closure of a busy bicycle and pedestrian route on the overpass. During the closure, all bicycles and pedestrians will be detoured to a Montlake Boulevard sidewalk via East North Street. See the map below for the detour route or view a larger map.


This closure will allow crews to extend the 24th Avenue East overpass to the north and make room for a new westbound off-ramp to Lake Washington Boulevard at 24th Avenue East. This new off-ramp will replace the existing westbound off-ramp to Lake Washington Boulevard, scheduled to be removed in 2016.

For more information about future phases of work in the Montlake area, visit WSDOT’s website.