Did you miss last night’s First Hill Streetcar community open house? If so, there are two more opportunities this week to learn more about the project, view maps of proposed alternatives, and have your questions answered. The next open house is TONIGHT from 6-8pm at the Yesler Community Center located at 917 E. Yesler Way. There will also be an open house tomorrow from 6-8pm at Union Station located at 401 S. Jackson Street. More information is available here. We hope to see you there!
Archives for December 2009
Today SDOT released the results of our 2009 comprehensive bicycle commute count and biking to work is on the upswing. Since 2007 we have seen a 15 percent increase in bike commuters. Our bike commute counts took place on September 16 from 6:30am to 9am. On that morning, just over 2,600 bicyclists commuted into downtown using many of the new bike amenities created through the Bicycle Master Plan. These counts help us measure the impact of improvements in bicycle infrastructure. They also let us know how close we are to reaching the goal of tripling the number of bicyclists by 2017.
We posted a brief introduction last week to the SDOT Art Plan, jointly developed in 2005 with the Seattle Office of Arts and Cultural Affairs and written by Daniel Mihalyo. Since 2005, portions of the plan have been implemented and we’re excited to post pictures over the next few weeks of some of the art Seattle has gained in its public spaces. But before we do, we wanted to dive into a little bit more detail on the plan itself, starting with Book 1: The Diagnosis.
Book 1 lays out an introduction to the remarkable history of public art in Seattle, including art in the right-of-way. It also gives general recommendations for SDOT to incorporate more art and design in the following: roadway structures, bicycle and pedestrian trails, and streets and sidewalks. And, last but not least, it reviews the nuts and bolts of how public art is financed in Seattle and at SDOT.
The plan makes for interesting reading (we promise!) for anyone curious about art in Seattle’s public right-of-way. Check in next week for great photos of places where planning for art is turning into real projects.
As previously mentioned here on the SDOT Blog, pedestrians are finding it easier to get around Seattle thanks to the new sidewalks being constructed through Bridging the Gap (BTG) levy.
In 2009 our Sidewalk Development Program built more than 25 blocks of new sidewalks. These new walkways provide connections between schools, parks, community centers, transit and light rail.
Take our work in the Rainier Beach neighborhood for example. SDOT constructed new sidewalks on 45th Ave S, 50th Ave S/S Barton Pl, S Cloverdale St, and S Henderson St. These facilities connect to existing walkways which link pedestrians to destinations like Dunlap Elementary School, the Rainier Beach Library, Metro transit on Rainier Ave S, and the Rainier Beach Light Rail Station.
Click here to learn more about our Sidewalk Development Program.
A small number of electric vehicles (EV) are already on Seattle’s roads. Most existing EVs are Neighborhood Electric Vehicles, which are limited to 35 mph and local streets, specialty vehicles, like the Tesla Roadster, and retrofitted hybrids. But, starting in 2010, Nissan plans to sell the first all-electric highway-capable passenger car—the LEAF—in the Seattle area. Industry experts predict as many as a dozen electric car models will be on the market by 2012.
The City of Seattle is working hard to ensure that our community is “plug-in ready” when significant numbers of electric cars hit our region in fall 2010. With the help of millions in federal stimulus dollars, the City is part of a collaboration–including Puget Sound local governments, businesses, nonprofits, and electric vehicle enthusiasts–to create a robust regional charging infrastructure for the electric vehicles. In fact, the Seattle area has been selected by the US Department of Energy to be part of the largest electric vehicle demonstration project in US history, aptly named The EV Project.
Promoting electric vehicles is an important part of the City’s efforts to reduce greenhouse gases from cars and trucks on Seattle’s roads, which make up 40% of our citywide footprint and are the single largest source of emissions. To reduce our transportation footprint, the City is pursuing a two-part strategy. The first part focuses on increasing investment in transportation choices so that residents and businesses can walk, bike, or take transit. The second part focuses on improving vehicle efficiency so that the remaining cars and trucks on Seattle roads have a smaller greenhouse gas impact.
Plug-in electric vehicles are an exciting step forward in efficiency, especially here in Seattle where the vehicles will be powered by the clean energy of Seattle City Light. In fact, if the average Seattleite switched to an electric car, it would eliminate more than four tons of greenhouse gas emissions every year.
Learn more about the City’s Plug-In Ready Project or come take a look at the new LEAF on display at Winterfest, which is held at the Seattle Center on December 12th, 2009. They’ll be next to the ice rink in a tent!
Everyone wants to live on a safe street. You know, a street where drivers cautiously travel past homes as opposed to flying by like jets. SDOT is concerned about safety too. Our Neighborhood Traffic Operations program uses several tools to help keep speeds low. Residents that participate in our Traffic Calming Program work in partnership with SDOT to implement various tools intended to modify the behavior of drivers. One of the newest tools is the awareness yard sign that feature attention-getting colors and messages like the example pictured above. The next time you drive on our city’s neighborhood streets, make sure you’re doing so safely and respectfully.
The first expansion of the Seattle Streetcar network begins with a series of community open house events targeted at possible route options for the fully funded First Hill Streetcar line. The new line will create an unprecedented connection between several diverse Seattle neighborhoods including the International District and Pioneer Square, Yesler Terrace, First Hill and Capitol Hill.
In November 2008 voters approved the Sound Transit 2 package (ST2), which fully funds the First Hill Streetcar for construction and operation. Through an interlocal agreement with Sound Transit, the City of Seattle will build this new streetcar line with the voter-approved funding from the ST2 mass transit expansion measure. The project is slated to break ground in 2011 and is expected to open by 2013.
The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) is holding three community open houses to educate neighborhood businesses and residents about alignment options under consideration for the new line, which is anticipated to be selected by the Seattle City Council in spring 2010. At the open house, community members will have the opportunity to learn from city representatives about the proposed routes, provide feedback on which alignment best serves their community’s needs and sign-up to receive project updates.
These community meetings are the first step in an ongoing dialogue that will take place over the next several months. Community members may request an interpreter be present at any of these meetings, by contacting Kate Miller at 206.838.9224 or firstname.lastname@example.org at least five working days prior to the event date.
Tuesday, December 15 6:00 PM-8:00PM
Seattle Central Community College (1701 Broadway)
Wednesday, December 16 6:00 PM-8:00PM
Yesler Community Center (917 E. Yesler Way)
Thursday, December 17 6:00 PM-8:00PM
Union Station (401 S. Jackson Street)
Many Seattle residents are familiar with the Bicycle Master Plan, Freight Mobility Plan and the new Pedestrian Master Plan. But did you know that we also have an SDOT Art Plan? Developed in 2005 in conjunction with the Office of Arts and Cultural Affairs, the Art Plan methodically lays out a plan for bringing art to the nearly 30% of our city that is public right-of-way. The SDOT Art Plan is focused on action, employing the work of artists, the creativity of residents and the ingenuity of SDOT employees. Through their combined efforts, the gradual implementation of this plan since 2005 is contributing to a Seattle where streets and sidewalks celebrate life, discovery and creativity. Over the next few weeks, we’ll be highlighting examples of successful implementation of the Art Plan. In the meantime, if you’d like to learn more about the SDOT Art Plan, click here . Questions on the plan can also be sent to SDOT’s Art and Enhancements Project Manager, Vaughn Bell, at email@example.com.
Stay tuned for more news on Art in the Right of Way!
With possible snow flurries forecast over the weekend, SDOT trucks are now fitted with plows and spreaders. We’ll have crews on call throughout the weekend. Our winter weather team applied a salt brine solution to roads and bridges to address icing concerns and be ready for any possible snow. If rain undercuts the effectiveness of the solution, we can use granular salt to prevent icing.
If it does snow or get icy, please think of your neighbors and keep your sidewalk clear. They will really appreciate it.
Join the residents of the North Beacon Hill community and the Seattle Department of Transportation on Saturday, December 5th at 10 AM as we celebrate the completion of the Festival Street on S Lander St between 16th Ave S and 17th Ave S.
The Lander Festival Street will serve as an extension of the plaza north of the Beacon Hill Link Light Rail station and provide a space for community events. The street features a new roadway with decorative pavers at the same level as the existing sidewalks to create a “curb-less” street, bollards and side treatments to delineate the roadway surface when the street is open to vehicles, and new landscaping. The project also installed new pedestrian-scale lighting along the north sidewalk.
This project was brought about by the North Beacon Hill Community Council through the Bridging the Gap Neighborhood Street Fund (NSF) Large Project Program. The NSF Large Project Program is a community-based effort administered by the Seattle Department of Transportation and funded by the Bridging the Gap transportation levy approved by Seattle voters in November 2006.