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PhinneyWood Summer Streets is right around the corner!

Hot on the heels of Tuesday’s Night Out events, PhinneyWood Summer Streets is coming up this Saturday, August 9, from 11 AM to 5 PM. The event transforms nearly a mile of Greenwood Ave N (from N 67th – N 87th St) from a street into a playground for the neighborhood.

A shot from last years event.

A shot from last years event.

 

Summer Streets turns a space that’s normally used by cars into a place for people of all ages and abilities to enjoy. It’s about opening up the city’s largest public space – our streets – for people to walk, bike, and play in. And it’s pretty amazing to see and experience all the creativity, neighborhood pride, and smiles that follow.

This year, PhinneyWood Summer Streets is teaming up with the 3rd Annual Greenwood Street Soccer Tournament, a fundraiser hosted by Naked City Brewery to benefit Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. Pretty awesome  trifecta there.

Speaking of awesome, dozens of local businesses and organizations are pulling together a ton of free activities for young and old to enjoy:

  • Test ride bikes from G & O Family Cyclery, and try out a pop-up protected bike lane
  • Take a break in a parklet and learn how you can put together your own mini park on PARK(ing) Day coming up in September
  • Learn about the universe in a portable planetarium
  • Play piano and dance in the street

And lots more – check out the event activity map and event website for more details.

PhinneyWood Summer Streets wouldn’t be possible without the support and partnership of the Phinney Neighborhood Association, Seattle Public Utilities, Seattle City Light, Seattle Police Department, and the broader Phinney Ridge and Greenwood communities. Thanks y’all!

Hope to see you Saturday!

Four-day SR 99 Closure Shines Spotlight on Tunnel’s North Portal

You may have heard that SR 99 will be closed for four straight days by the state starting Friday night, August 22. It’s the longest full closure of SR 99 in Seattle since crews demolished the southern mile of the Alaskan Way Viaduct in 2011. While this is probably not welcome news for travelers, it is a sign of progress at the tunnel’s north portal.

The 2011 demolition of the southern portion of the viaduct cleared the way for construction of the tunnel launch pit and the commencement of tunneling. During this month’s closure crews will demolish the SR 99 bridge above Broad Street, which will clear the way for continued construction of ramp and roadway connections at the tunnel’s north portal.

North Portal of the Tunnel

The shape of those connections is a little hard to imagine now, but this visualization from the Washington State Department of Transportation helps show how all the pieces of the portal will function. As you can see, the city’s two-way Mercer Street is a key component to making this portal function. You might be surprised to learn that a big piece of the north portal, the tunnel entrance, is mostly complete. In the next year you’ll start to see the outlines of the lanes and ramps that connect to the tunnel entrance. Since much of this change can’t be seen on the ground, the construction camera views on the Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement Program website are the best way to keep track of progress toward the future north portal of the SR 99 tunnel.

Create your own pop-up park for PARK(ing) Day 2014

PARK(ing) Day is September 19—just two months away—and we’re accepting applications. This is your chance to have a little fun in the street and create a pop-up park for a day!BlogPARKing2

Haven’t heard of PARK(ing) Day? It’s an international event on the third Friday in September that helps to raise awareness about creating a walkable, livable, and healthy city. This marks the eighth year that Seattle has participated. Last year we had more than 40 pop-up parks around the city…let’s go for 100 this year.

PARK(ing) Day is your opportunity to turn an on-street parking space into something different for a few hours. Get your friends, neighbors, co-workers, or family together and start planning now. What will you do in your parking space park between 9:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. on Friday, September 19?

We’ve included a gallery of 2013 PARK(ing) Day installations on our updated website, so take a peek and get inspired. There’s also a new application form—don’t worry, it’s still free to participate—to make it even easier for you to reserve your space.

blogPARKing1You can plan your park for either an arterial street (at least two spaces) or a residential street (one space is fine) most anywhere in Seattle. More information about the dos and don’ts for PARK(ing) Day parks is available on our website, and we’re here to help you find a space that works and guide you through the process.

The simple application is due by August 29, but the sooner you apply, the better. Don’t risk someone else reserving your favorite space! Send your completed form to Joshua.Saitelbach@seattle.gov or call 206-733-9970 with questions.

For more information about Seattle’s PARK(ing) Day please visit www.Seattle.gov/transportation/seattleparkingday.htm.

Paving = a vibrant city!

Columbian Way with new pavement

Columbian Way with new pavement

Columbian Way before it was repaved.

Columbian Way before it was repaved.

 

What do paving and creating a vibrant city have to do with each other? Good question! At first glance it would appear they have nothing to do with each other, but when you look a little more closely they are linked. Paving projects help keep Seattle’s road smooth, easy to navigate and safe for all roadway users which in turn helps keep people and goods moving creating a more activity and thus a more vibrant city.

The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) has been working hard to pave Seattle’s main roads and make needed repairs. SDOT is able to accomplish this work thanks to funding provided by the Bridging the Gap (BTG) transportation maintenance initiative, passed by voters in 2006. Since the BTG program began its work in 2007 more than 200 lane-miles of roadway have been paved. Those routes include:

  • Airport Way S, 15th Avenue NE, Dexter Avenue N, Columbian Way S, First Avenue S, Fourth Avenue S, Fifth Avenue S, 15th Avenue N, NE Ravenna Boulevard, 14th Avenue S, NE 125th and Sandpoint Way and Delridge Way.

This year, 17 lane-miles will be completed and include the completion of the N 105th Street and N/NE Northgate Way from Greenwood Avenue N to First Avenue NE project and the repaving of Holman Rd. from NW 87th to Greenwood Avenue N. These roadways were in need of major repair work and provide key links to neighborhoods in the Seattle’s north end.

Paving projects are, by nature, disruptive and can frustrate drivers, transit riders, pedestrians and cyclists. Unfortunately, it is a part of the project. We do our best to keep disruptions to a minimum; however, they cannot always be avoided. It’s important to remember that in the end, all roadway users will have a smoother and safer road on which to travel.

Along with the major Arterial Asphalt and Concrete projects discussed above, SDOT will also be doing a lot of smaller repaving work as part of the Arterial Major Maintenance Program. Smaller projects, throughout the City, will repave more than 16 lane-miles helping to preserve and extend the lives of those roads.

For information on the Arterial Asphalt & Concrete Paving projects please visit the web site. For more information on BTG please visit the webpage.

 

 

 

Night Out is coming up – time to party in the street!

Nite_Out

Anyone looking for a chance to party in the street with their neighbors is in luck. Seattle’s 30th Annual “Night Out” celebration is coming up tomorrow, Tuesday, August 5.

Night Out is an annual national event hosted locally by the Seattle Police Department. It shows that residents and City government can work together to move toward a safer, more connected Seattle. Plus, it gives adults and kids alike free reign on sidewalk chalk and ice cream cones.

Mayor Murray recently laid out a comprehensive public safety plan for Seattle that highlights the importance of providing opportunities for residents to enjoy their streets and public spaces citywide. Night Out is a great way to do just that. It shows that our city streets are for more than moving people and goods. They’re also a breeding ground for positive interactions, creativity, and good old fashioned fun.

Sign your block up for Night Out:

  1. Register your event and add it to the map. (When you register your event in Seattle, most non-arterial streets can be blocked off—without a fee—so you and your neighbors can take over the street.)
  2. Invite your neighbors – print off these materials and distribute around your block.
  3. Promote Night Out around Seattle by liking the Night Out Facebook Page, sharing updates, and inviting others do the same.

If you have any questions, you can email NightOut@seattle.gov or call your Precinct Crime Prevention Coordinator.

And remember, Night Out isn’t the only time you can have fun in the street – learn more about Play Streets, Block Parties, and Summer Streets (our PhinneyWood event is coming up this Saturday).

Play Like a Parking Pro

The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) is about to make adjustments to on-street parking rates and hours of operation as part of our data-driven performance parking program. Knowing these parking rules can help you find reliable, convenient parking.

rateschangingcard-page 2

SDOT’s Performance-Based Parking Pricing Program started in 2010 when the City Council directed the department to set on-street parking rates according to specific data measurements. The overall goal of the program is to help drivers find parking more easily. Our specific objective, written into the Seattle Municipal Code, is to set street parking rates so that one to two spaces are open and available on each block throughout the day.

Our recently completed Annual Paid Parking Study for 2014 provided the data that guides our adjustments to meet the City’s performance goal for on-street parking. As seen in the data, many neighborhoods experienced parking demand and activity outside of our target goal of one to two parking spaces open per block throughout the day. In response, consistent with the data results and City law, SDOT will make rate and other on-street parking management changes in 22 areas this fall. We will:

  • Lower parking rates in five areas
  • Raise parking rates in eight areas
  • Make seasonal rate adjustments at the Ballard Locks to account for high parking demand in the summer
  • Install new pay stations in the two different rate areas of Pioneer Square with rates that differ by time of day according to demand (lower in the morning, higher in the afternoon)
  • Extend evening paid parking hours in five areas to 8 p.m. instead of 6 p.m.
  • Change maximum time limits in one area to encourage turnover

SDOT blog readers may remember that we announced a smaller set of likely 2014 changes earlier this year based on 2013 data results. We have modified that list thanks to additional data provided by the recent parking study, which showed several more areas that met the conditions for rate increases or decreases. To learn more about the specific changes coming to paid parking areas near you, please visit our parking webpage.

Summer Sizzles on Alki

Looking west from Alki Beach

Looking west from Alki Beach

No matter what time of day you visit Alki Beach in West Seattle, there’s no shortage of fun activities at your disposal. From beachcombing to bike riding to nightlife, Alki really heats up in the summertime.

One of the best ways to take in the views of downtown, Elliott Bay and the Olympic Mountains is via the Alki Trail. Measuring more than five miles from end to end, the Alki Trail provides pedestrians and bicyclists ample space to explore the shoreline and the shops and restaurants along the way.

alkitrail1

There are several distinct sections of the trail that include a shared-use portion on the southeastern-most stretch of the scenic corridor, separated ped and bike paths around the mid-point of the trail, and Seattle’s original protected bike lane on the western segment. Whether you’re riding the entire trail or just sections of it, this trail is provides outstanding conditions for pedestrians and bicyclists of all ages and abilities.

Seattle's original protected bike lane

Seattle’s original protected bike lane (click for larger image)

Getting here is easy thanks to many different travel options that provide service to the area. Hop on the King County Water Taxi and enjoy the downtown skyline as you head west. Or take one of several King County Metro Transit routes that can take you from essentially anywhere in the city to the bustling urban beach scene. Bicyclists coming from the east can use the Lower Level West Seattle Bridge (aka the Spokane Street Bridge) to access the trail.

alki4

This area is a hub of activities. From art to dining and from Seattle Summer Streets to just simply sitting on the dock of the bay, there’s an endless list of things to do on Alki. With nearly non-stop blazing sunshine in Seattle this summer, Alki is the place to be!

Seattle Summer Streets on Alki

Seattle Summer Streets on Alki

Tree Ambassador Training well received

The Seattle Department of Transportation Street Use & Urban Forestry team, in partnership with Seattle Public Utilities, recently completed another Tree Ambassador training. For the training, focused on street tree stewardship, all survey respondents rated the instructors as good or very good and provided written comments including:

  • “All three of the facilitators were enthusiastic, well informed, and very comfortable presenting,”
  • “Joshua is excellent with technical questions, and all have a positive and open attitude which is a breath of fresh air…”TreeAmassadorsWorking
  • “I enjoyed the mix of speakers, especially hearing from Tree Ambassadors that had already hosted events…”

There are three training topics offered: street tree stewardship; landscape renewal; and tree walks. All training sessions help interested volunteers care for Seattle’s trees, and engage communities in their neighborhood to do the same.

The Tree Ambassador effort is in its third year and has trained 45 volunteers so far in 2014. The project is led by Seattle ReLeaf, a program housed in SPU and in partnership with SDOT and the nonprofit group Forterra.

Following trainings, each participant is asked to submit a project plan outlining what they would like to do. The program evaluates proposals for feasibility, cost, safety, etc., and works with the volunteers to modify and implement plans as necessary.

Tree Ambassador events happen year round, with the next one August 9, from 9 a.m. to noon, on the northeast side of Aurora Avenue & N 46th.

For more information on the program or to see other upcoming events visit the website at: http://www.seattle.gov/trees/treeambassador.htm

Safely Painting the Fremont Bridge

Every 10-15 years the steel structure of the Fremont Bridge gets repainted to preserve the steel structure from the elements. This is no simple undertaking as the bascule bridge not only has lots of nooks and crannies to clean and prep and prime and paint, but the vast majority of the structure has to rotate from a horizontal position to a steeply inclined one to allow marine traffic to pass underneath.

Imagine painting the underside of your car with someone jacking the back end ten feet off the ground every so often. Now imagine you aren’t laying on the ground but hanging from the car. Now imagine the car is about 30’ over the water. You might be more than a little concerned about safety. Now imagine it isn’t your car, but somebody else’s, and it isn’t a car, but a vital roadway with thousands of people crossing it every day in cars, buses, bikes and on foot. You need to paint where they travel, and above where they travel, so you worry about their safety too. And you need to interfere with their travel as little as possible.

The underside of the Fremont Bridge

One of the many sides of the Fremont Bridge that needs painting.

But now the tricky part. You can’t drop anything. Not tools, rust, paint flakes or drops of paint. Not onto the trail or roadway or parking lots below, not onto the passing boats and definitely not into the water. Safety is for the fish, as well as the folks, in Fremont.

Preparations are underway to make all this possible even as we speak. Our contractor plans to begin closure of the northbound curbside lane weekdays, between 7 AM and 3 PM, the week of August 11. The adjacent (east side) walkway will also be closed during these hours to bicycle riders and pedestrians – which means the other walkway will be more congested with two-way traffic than usual.

As the painters move, so will the lane (and adjacent walkway) closures. Please email art.brochet@seattle.gov to get on an email list for advance notice of the changes. The project is expected to be complete late this year.

There will also be some wee morning hour weekend closures to all traffic across the bridge in September; 3 AM – 6 AM Saturday mornings and midnight – 6 AM Sunday, though probably not more than two weekends.

Once Around the Web: Highway Funding Crash Course

Step 1: Watch this White House white board video starring Joe Biden


White House White Board: Vice President Biden on Rebuild America

Step 2: Pick your 10 favorites from these links and read them. Talk to your friends and loved ones about these issues.

Step 3: Watch this video


Shabby Road: The Daily Show with Jon Stewart