LEVY DOLLARS AT WORK | Starting tomorrow, September 9, through early next year, we’re upgrading traffic signals near the UW to make traveling through the area smoother

Several cyclists of all ages ride toward the University of Washington campus in Seattle. Photo Credit: SDOT Flickr.

Summary

  • We are upgrading traffic signals around the University of Washington (UW) to meet our current Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) standards so that we can remotely operate the signals.  
  • People can expect closures of lanes closest to the curb during off-peak hours (9 a.m. – 3 p.m.) and some sidewalk closures at key intersections. There will be detours in place for people walking and rolling in the area. 
    • Typical work hours are from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. We will not be working during peak travel periods. 
    • We currently expect the contractor to start work at NE 45th St, near Interstate 5, and continue working east toward the UW campus. Work will then take place on the major north-south corridors (15th Ave NE and Montlake Blvd NE), followed by the remaining intersections along NE Pacific St. 
    • Please note: the exact locations of lane closures and construction activities may continue to shift as the work takes place. As work gets underway, we will provide more specific traffic impact details through this blog, and with detour signage along local streets and sidewalks in the project area. 
  • We will also install closed-circuit television cameras for traffic monitoring (in compliance with the City of Seattle Surveillance Ordinance) and a communications network to support remote traffic signal management. 
  • Through 2023, we will pilot innovative technologies to support people of all abilities using any mode to get around the UW area. 

TRAFFIC IMPACTS

People can expect closures of lanes closest to the curb during off-peak hours (9 a.m. – 3 p.m.) and some sidewalk closures at key intersections. There will be detours in place for people walking and rolling in the area. 

Typical work hours are from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. We will not be working during peak travel periods. 

We currently expect the contractor to start work at NE 45th St, near Interstate 5, and continue working east toward the UW campus. Work will then take place on the major north-south corridors (15th Ave NE and Montlake Blvd NE), followed by the remaining intersections along NE Pacific St. 

Please note: the exact locations of lane closures and construction activities may continue to shift as the work takes place. As work gets underway, we will provide more specific traffic impact details through this blog, and with detour signage along local streets and sidewalks in the project area.  

Please visit our website for the latest project information. 

We will begin construction to upgrade the traffic signals Thursday, September 9. Construction work will continue through early 2022. 

Traffic signal intersections receiving upgrades (see orange dots).

Our work will lay the foundation to make intersections and signal timing more functional for everyone traveling in the area. Plus, these improvements enable us to pilot new technologies supporting multi-modal travel options.

As part of this project, we will upgrade outdated traffic signals in the area by:

  • Replacing traffic signal controllers and cabinets
  • Adding detection for vehicles, bicycles (on some streets), and pedestrians
  • Enhancing previously installed Transit Signal Priority, a system that prioritizes moving buses through a corridor, to accommodate exclusive transit phases, queue jumps, and early green light operations
  • Adding closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras for operations management and incident monitoring and detection
    • A note on data security: We are planning several multimodal safety and mobility innovations as part of this project. Some of these components involve collecting anonymized user data in various applications. However, none of the user data will be stored in any identifiable format. We take data security and privacy very seriously and any data collection project must go through a Privacy Assessment review for approval.  
  • Adding bridge opening detection for the Montlake Bridge

Thereafter, several new technologies will be rolled out in 2022 and early 2023. These innovations are targeted at supporting people of all abilities using any mode of travel to get around the UW area.  

An Advanced Transportation & Congestion Management Technologies Deployment (ATCMTD) grant from the Federal Highway Administration, funds from the Levy to Move Seattle, an in-kind match from Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) and private-sector companies are supporting our development of these first-of-their-kind applications, on top of the signal/ITS improvements we’re making now. 

We chose the UW area to pilot these innovations due to its unique traffic characteristics, with significant pedestrian and cyclist volumes, and highly variable vehicle traffic demands. These characteristics pose unique challenges to people of all abilities navigating this area across modes of travel. So, it’s a great place to see how these technologies work so we can consider eventually expanding them to other areas across Seattle. This work also supports our current traffic signal policy and our ongoing efforts to achieve safer street crossings for pedestrians of all ages and abilities.

If you have questions, please email Christa Dumpys, our Communications and Outreach Lead at Christa.Dumpys@seattle.gov or visit our website