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SPRING 2023 HIGHLIGHTS | Street trees, South Park upgrades, Safe Routes to School, and more!

Iconic cherry blossoms usher in spring in Seattle. Photo: SDOT.

Last fall, we started sharing regular seasonal updates with you. These posts highlight the many things we’ve worked on to keep Seattleites moving safely by all modes. Let us put a spring in your step with our recent highlights from spring 2023!

Quick links to stories below:

Seattle’s street trees 

An SDOT crew member in a yellow vest and safety helmet shows a group of four school children how to care for a young tree on a median by the sidewalk using a rake.
SDOT urban forestry team members plant new street trees in Seattle while taking time to educate several youngsters about how it works. Photo: SDOT.

In April 2023, we shared the results of our annual street tree analysis for 2022, which reaffirmed the many benefits of Seattle’s urban forests. The team also took a comprehensive inventory of the many different types of street trees that grow in our city.

With the completion of the annual street tree analysis, we were able to look at the benefits of the trees in the city as well as the types of trees that grow here. From producing oxygen to reducing air pollution, trees offer a wide range of environmental and health benefits! You can read more about our 2022 Street Tree Analysis here.

Maintaining healthy street trees also helps advance the City’s climate goals, including areas identified in the Mayor’s 2023 One Seattle Tree Plan Executive Order

Upgrades to South Park streets to help reduce flooding 

Side by side photos showing before and after paving with new painted crosswalks visible on all four sides of the intersection of 5th Ave S and S Holden St in South Park.
One of numerous areas improved as part of this project: 5th Ave S & S Holden St. This image shows the area during a flood.

Chronic flooding in South Park has been a major challenge for decades, and some streets were unpaved gravel and lacked sidewalks and street trees. Thanks to our partners at Seattle Public Utilities and the Levy to Move Seattle, we were able to finish a multiyear project to pave streets, add sidewalks, and put in drainage systems to prevent flooding in the future.

You can read more about the background of this project and the work we completed here.

New no turn on red restrictions in downtown

Map of planned No Turn on Red intersections downtown. Link to interactive map 

We’ve installed No Turn on Red signs at 41 downtown intersections along corridors with high pedestrian volume!

Right turns on red account for 9% of all pedestrian vehicle collisions at intersections in Seattle. No Turn on Red is a proven safety measure to reduce pedestrian-vehicle conflicts. As part of our Vision Zero commitment, we will continue installing No Turn on Red in other pedestrian dense neighborhoods soon. Learn more about the rollout of this City policy here.

Earth Day 2023

3 portraits of SDOT staff members enjoying the outdoors as highlighted in our Earth Day 2023 blog post. Left to right: Nolan, Hallie and Armand
Meet Nolan Rundquist, Hallie O’Brien, and Armand Shahbazian, Team SDOT environmental enthusiasts! Photo credit: Nolan, Hallie, Armand.

SDOT team members work year-round to help advance the City’s climate goals, but these three have gone above and beyond! Meet dedicated environmental enthusiasts Nolan Rundquist (City Arborist on the Urban Forestry Team), Hallie O’Brien (Senior Transportation Planner on the Bike Master Plan & Bike Network  Team), and Armand Shahbazian (Electric & Automated Mobility Lead on the Transit & Mobility Team).

Each of them is working to create a more sustainable, climate-resilient Seattle. You can learn more about what they do for our city here.

Safe Routes to School 2021-2022 school year highlights

A group of 12 elementary students stand in their school gym and pose for the camera with their favorite books with walking and biking themes.
Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary students proudly showing off their new books supplied by Safe Routes to School.

The Safe Routes to School program, funded by the Levy to Move Seattle, is the City’s commitment to making it easier and safer for children to walk, bike, and roll to school. To support this important, community-centered safety program, we used a Racial Equity Analysis, to identify and address barriers to walking, biking, and rolling to school in specific areas throughout Seattle.

Using the results of the analysis, we launched educational campaigns, supplied grants for weather appropriate clothing, and completed safety projects near 11 schools over the 2021-22 school year – including a new walkway, trees, crosswalks, signage, lighting, and more. Read about these 2021-2022 school year highlights and more here!

Thank you for your interest in our work. Were excited to share highlights from this summer in the coming months!