Looking Forward

Improvement Opportunities in Downtown - Click for Full Version

In 2010 SDOT built 15 blocks of sidewalks and installed 20 miles of new bike lanes and sharrows through the Bridging the Gap Transportation Levy.  But before crews can apply fresh paint to streets or turn any dirt, SDOT planners must select locations for these new facilities.  Guided by the Pedestrian and Bicycle Master Plans, SDOT planners are currently doing just that – selecting projects to be built in 2011.

Seattle’s Pedestrian Master Plan places a high value on data to determine where new projects will be built.  SDOT planners utilize a wide variety of information when deciding where to build new sidewalks – existing facilities, the potential demand for new infrastructure, traffic volumes, street width, and socioeconomic and health factors to name just a few.  The goal of this analysis is to focus investment in new infrastructure where people need it most.  Once our data has been run through a Geographic Information System (GIS), our planners visit candidate project locations to ensure that the new facility can be built within our budget.  If the project cost estimate exceeds the budget, we seek funding from other sources to complete the project.  

The Bicycle Master Plan has a similar set of criteria used for prioritizing projects with emphasis on system connectivity and safety.  Potential projects that would expand the system by linking to an existing facility are given greater consideration than potential projects that would be isolated facilities.  Similarly, candidate projects that would improve high collision locations are given priority over other routes.  SDOT planners look at a number of other factors as well like connections to transit, land use, and socioeconomic and health factors.  This information is run through a GIS model and candidate projects are further vetted in the field by staff. 

After completing the planning process, we move quickly into the design phase.  Construction generally occurs during the warmer, dryer summer months. For more information about bike facilities and sidewalk projects, visit the Bicycle Program or the Sidewalk Development Program.