City launches program to address impacts from construction surge

The City of Seattle recognizes that construction can create challenges, and now a new program is working to lessen resulting cumulative impacts, and maintain mobility. The Access Seattle initiative is an effort to balance unprecedented growth and development with the need to maintain access in the city. Three pillars support the Access Seattle Initiative:

  • Business and community support;
  • Traveler engagement; and
  • Construction coordination–led by the new Construction Hub Coordination Program

Maintaining access during peak construction periods is the primary goal of Access Seattle and the new Construction Hub Coordination Program that supports it. The hub team of project and on-site coordinators assess permitted construction holistically, across public and private lines, in areas with multiple simultaneous construction projects in close proximity—otherwise known as construction hubs. Hubs identified thus far, and subject to change with changing development, are identified in the map below (click for larger version).

SDOT_Construction_Hubs_Boundary_Map4.8.14

The Access Seattle construction coordination effort comes at a time when downtown Seattle has more projects under construction, about to break ground or recently completed than it has in the seven years preceding January 2013, according to the Downtown Seattle Association Development Guide June 2014 Update. That update also found that in the last year the amount of office space under construction has nearly doubled, and there are more than three times the number of apartment units under construction compared to the last development cycle in 2007.

To keep projects and people moving, the Construction Hub Coordination Program team is:

  • Assessing all project schedules together to identify conflicts and minimize mobility/access impacts
  • Creating mapping systems showing all planned and active mobility impacts from all hub-area construction
  • Establishing reliable lines of communication with impacted communities
  • Providing on-site enforcement to monitor and resolve conflicts

“Our site coordinators meet with contractors before construction begins, discussing impacts and coaching on best ways to maintain mobility for the duration of a project,” said SDOT Right of Way Manager Brian de Place. “The idea is to get everyone talking and seeing the same big picture, to save the public and contractors from undue inconvenience and frustration.”

The Construction Hub Coordination Program is led by the Seattle Department of Transportation, in partnership with the Office of Economic Development. The effort is collaborative, to ensure strong support and thorough problem solving.

“The Office of Economic Development works to provide assistance and information for businesses to grow and compete in Seattle, and that sometimes includes navigating governmental services,” said James Kelly, Business Liaison with the Office of Economic Development. “Our office is pleased to partner with the Department of Transportation, helping to provide clear communication about construction project impacts and lessen the effect on local businesses.”Team

Key contacts for residents and businesses concerned with construction are as follows:

  • Site Coordinator Ken Ewalt for construction related concerns in Center City area, Alaskan Way Viaduct, North Westlake and South Lake Union hubs | 206.684.4995 or SDOTConstructionHub@Seattle.gov
  • Site Coordinator Wayne Gallup for construction related concerns in West Seattle, Capitol Hill and Ballard hubs | 206.681.6099 or SDOTConstructionHub@Seattle.gov
  • Business Liaison James Kelly for business impact concerns in all hubs | 206.684.8612 or james.kelly2@seattle.gov

Construction Hub Coordination Program goals include helping residents and businesses know what to expect and where, while limiting and managing cumulative impacts to support neighborhood and economic vitality.

For more information on the Construction Hub Coordination Program contact the team at SDOTConstructionHub@Seattle.govor visit http://www.seattle.gov/transportation/hub.htm.