LEVY DOLLARS AT WORK | Your investment through the Levy to Move Seattle is helping us make Seattle more accessible to everyone. Read about what we’ve done, where we’re going, & how we’ll get there in our ADA Transition Plan Update.

Crews installing a curb ramp in the Madison Park neighborhood in November 2020. Curb ramps are just one way we help all people to have safe and easy access to our city’s sidewalks. Photo Credit: Lisa Harrison.

Summary 

  • Along with other funding sources, your tax dollars are hard at work through the Levy to Move Seattle to make city programs, services, and activities accessible to people of all abilities. 
  • Fun fact: The Levy funds every curb ramp that we install from our customer service request queue. From that list, we install 150 to 200 curb ramps annually funded directly by the Levy. This is in addition to the hundreds of other curb ramps that are constructed through other projects. See recent examples here
  • We want to hear from you! We recently published an Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Transition Plan Update for the Seattle Public Right-of-Way, referred to as the SDOT ADA Transition Plan Update. This is intended to help us identify and prioritize ongoing accessibility improvements. We’re interested in your feedback on the plan, specifically our plan to make structures work better for people with disabilities. 
  • The Levy funds improvements across all aspects of our transportation infrastructure, and improving accessibility is a simultaneous priority in all projects. For example, our recent work funded by the Levy on SW Avalon Way included tactile elements at bus stops, accessible pedestrian signals, and enhanced curb ramps at sidewalk corners. 

Along with other funding sources, your tax dollars are hard at work through the Levy to Move Seattle to make city programs, services, and activities accessible to people of all abilities. (Fun fact: The Levy funds every curb ramp that we install from our customer service request queue.) 

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a federal law that prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities. Our ADA Program is responsible for planning and implementing improvements that help people of all abilities have the same access to Seattle’s pedestrian infrastructure. Our infrastructure includes elements like sidewalks, parking, transit access, and more. With that in mind, features such as curb ramps, detectable warnings and street crossings are important components of an accessible pedestrian network. 

As we implement these improvements, we track them and make sure they work together seamlessly to result in accessible and continuous routes. The Seattle Accessible Route Planner is intended to help people plan travel routes using City curb ramps and sidewalks. Further, we closely align our ADA Program planned improvements with the Pedestrian Master Plan (PMP). 

From our customer service request queue, we install 150 to 200 curb ramps annually funded directly by the Levy to Move Seattle. This is in addition to the hundreds of other curb ramps that are constructed through other projects.  

Here are some recent examples of how we’ve addressed customer service feedback.  

Along Latona Ave NE, one Seattle resident needed better access to their bus route.  

Working with nearby property owners, we coordinated construction of curb ramps at all corners of the intersection of 5th Ave NE and NE 63rd St. 

Along S Roxbury St, we installed curb ramps following another request to make buses more accessible.  

At two intersections in Capitol Hill – Broadway and E Pike St, and Broadway and E Pine St – as well as on Rainier Ave S & S Brandon St, we installed accessible pedestrian signals to improve residents’ routes  to  bus stops.  

Our Traffic Operations Division works hard to coordinate and install these signals in partnership with the community. The crews are on track to complete all signal requested by the community across the City by the end of 2021.  

We recently published an Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Transition Plan Update for the Seattle Public Right-of-Way, referred to as the SDOT ADA Transition Plan Update. This is intended to help us identify and prioritize ongoing accessibility improvements. We’re interested in your feedback on the plan, specifically our plan to make structures work better for people with disabilities.  

The ADA Transition Plan Update is a form of ongoing self-evaluation, where we identify barriers for people to access city programs, services, and activities; outline our progress in removing these barriers; and make a plan for future improvements. This includes various self-audits of our curb ramps, sidewalk conditions, accessible pedestrian signal inventory, parking access, transit access, and more. This ADA Transition Plan Update will be updated every year, not only because it is required by federal law, but because creating an accessible pedestrian network  –  informed by our community – is our top priority. 

Do you need more curb ramps in your neighborhood? Do you like the tactile features on your nearby walking path? Is there anything else that might make you feel more safe or comfortable traveling through your community? We want to hear from you. Please send your comments on the plan to SDOT ADA Coordinator Michael Shaw at 206-615-1974 or by email at Michael.Shaw@Seattle.gov. You can also reach out to Michael Shaw for a word document version of this plan. Finally, you may make an ADA request online here. 

Accessibility and racial equity go hand-in-hand. To that end, we’ve also taken a comprehensive approach to the plan using the City of Seattle’s Racial Equity Toolkit. 

We work with you – our community – to help prioritize improvements where they are needed most. Publishing our ADA Transition Plan Update for public comment is one way we hear from you. Customer service requests are another way that we identify improvements that are important to you. 

Customer service requests do not necessarily come from all over the city. To make sure that we are making improvements equitably, and investing in communities who have been traditionally underserved, we have made a specific plan to increase access in those areas. We will continue to adjust the program to make improvements equitably throughout our communities.  

Primarily, this plan focuses on the different ways we design and implement accessibility improvements.  

Tactile feature on a walking/rolling/biking path. Photo Credit: SDOT. 

This includes improvements like: 

Talking to you, coupled with ongoing evaluations like these, helps us to identify future improvements.  

Our engagement with the community around accessibility doesn’t stop there, and we’re always learning about how we can do better. 

For example, last summer, we attended a Seattle Pedestrian Advisory Board meeting to share information about our business recovery permitting efforts. Afterward, there was a terrific discussion that focused on improving public understanding of the ADA accessibility requirements. This led to a partnership with Disability Rights Washington to create this video, below, to highlight the importance of accessibility in and around sidewalk cafés.  

Our engineers also participate in blindness and mobility simulation training. Last winter, through our ADA Program, engineers participated in a voluntary exercise that allowed them to use a wheelchair to test out new curb ramps & sidewalks. We know we can’t fully replicate the circumstances of those that rely on mobility devices to get around, but this is one way we can have a better perspective as we plan and implement improvements. 

Remember: Accessibility improvements are another critical way that your tax dollars are improving the lives of everyone in our community through the Levy to Move Seattle.  

The Levy funds improvements across all aspects of our transportation infrastructure, and improving accessibility is a simultaneous priority in all projects. Other parts of the ADA program, including curb ramp installations, are funded by local or other sources and through our red light camera fund.  

For example, our recent work funded by the Levy on SW Avalon Way included tactile elements at bus stops, accessible pedestrian signals, and enhanced curb ramps at sidewalk corners. On NE 65th St, we worked with King County Metro on a shared bus stop design which also has tactile elements. Recently, as part of the Green Lake and Wallingford Paving and Multi-modal Improvements Project, we’ve installed almost 500 curb ramps. 

Upcoming projects, like our work at Melrose Ave E and E Denny Way, also prioritize improvements for people with disabilities.