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Summer 2023 Highlights | Improving safety in Seattle with protected bike lanes and Vision Zero programs, thanks to the Levy to Move Seattle 

A view of Kite Hill at Gas Works Park. Photo credit: SDOT 

Blog Stats: 2,000 words | 11-minute read

It was a busy summer for safety in Seattle as we advanced designs or started construction on several exciting bike lane and safety projects around the city. We also expanded several important programs aimed at achieving our Vision Zero goal to end traffic deaths and serious injuries on our streets.

These projects are made possible thanks to Seattle voters passing the Levy to Move Seattle in 2015. Your Levy dollars are hard at work building new protected bike lanes, calming traffic, improving pedestrian signals and crossings, and more.

Read more below for some top highlights of our work during summer 2023! 

Quick links to stories below:

#HotBikeSummer | Expanding our safe bike network 

It’s our goal to continue growing an all ages and abilities network with infrastructure that offers better transportation choice in our fast-growing city. Check out some of the blog posts we shared this summer that highlight work being done to create a safer, more connected bike network and people-oriented streets.

New Alaskan Way protected bike lane design will close a critical gap between the Elliott Bay Trail and the Waterfront Bike Path

In July, we reached the 30% design milestone for a protected bike lane on Alaskan Way from Virginia St to Broad St! To make it safer and more enjoyable for people to walk, bike, and roll between the future Waterfront Bike Path and the Elliott Bay Trail along the waterfront, we’ve designed a connection that creates an intuitive, safer route between these locations. Thanks to community feedback, the updated design includes intersection improvements, lane reductions, and sidewalk and curb ramp repairs to improve accessibility for everyone. We expect to finalize the design this year and start construction in 2024.

Aerial view of Seattle’s waterfront between Pike and Spring streets, 2019. Photo Credit: WSDOT 

Beacon Ave S & 15th Ave S Safety Project: Completed safety enhancements and 60% design for the project

In August, we shared that we had not only reached the 60% design milestone, but that we had completed several community-requested, near-term safety enhancements that will make the area a safer place to walk and bike prior to the full project breaking ground in 2024.

These include:  

  • Speed cushions on 15th and 14th Aves S to calm driving speeds 
  • A rapid-flashing beacon at the 14th/15th/Golf intersection  
  • Paint-and-post curb bulbs to make crossing the street easier   
  • Pavement repairs   
  • Signs and paint, where parking already isn’t allowed, near intersections to make it easier for travelers see oncoming traffic

Since then, our crews have also completed installation of a new all-way stop at the intersection of 14th Ave S/15th Ave S/Golf Dr S! When the Beacon Ave S & 15th Ave S Safety Project is complete, it will calm traffic and provide more safe places for people to bike and cross the street between the Dr. Jose Rizal Bridge and the intersection of Beacon Ave S and 39th Ave S.

An SDOT crew member installs a flex post next to a protected bike lane at the intersection of 14th Ave S and Golf Dr S
SDOT crews installing flex posts as a part of the new all-way stop. Credit: SDOT 

New protected bike lane installation on Eastlake Ave E in South Lake Union between E Galer St and E Roy St began

Also in August, we started installation on the north segment of the Eastlake Layover Facility Mobility Improvements project, which will install protection for existing bike lanes on Eastlake Ave E between Roy St and Fairview Ave N in South Lake Union. In the first phase of this project (North Segment), we’re also striping the crosswalk at Eastlake Ave E and Roy St and narrowing the street to calm traffic between E Galer St and E Roy St.

The Eastlake Layover Facility Mobility Improvements will create a safer, nearly mile-long connection between Downtown, South Lake Union, and Eastlake. Once complete, these facilities will enhance the rider network throughout Seattle by connecting to present and future bike facilities — including bike lanes in the RapidRide J Line project, which is scheduled to begin construction in 2024.

Map showing the connections between both segments of the Eastlake Layover Facility Mobility Improvements project and existing/future bike facilities in South Lake Union. Graphic credit: SDOT  

New protected bike lane and street paving coming to the Roosevelt neighborhood

With the 11th Ave NE & 12th Ave NE Paving & Safety Project, we’re continuing to add to our citywide bicycle network while improving safety and mobility for people traveling by all modes. Using community feedback and elements from our Vision Zero: Top-to-Bottom Review, we identified enhancements that will make it safer to walk, roll, and bike on the busy 11th and 12th Aves NE, between NE 43rd St and NE 67th St. In September, we announced that we’d finalized the design for the project and are preparing to begin construction!

When the project is complete, you’ll see:  

  • Fresh street paving on 11th and 12th Aves NE between NE 43rd and NE 67th Streets, including accessible curb ramps along the corridor. 
  • A new protected bike lane on the east side of 11th Ave NE & 12th Ave NE.  
  • Raised protected bike lanes at bus stops allowing for a continuous protected bike lane at bus stops along the corridor. 
  • Spot sidewalk repairs along the project corridor, making it easier to walk and roll on sidewalks in the neighborhood. 
  • Enhanced crosswalks and traffic signals throughout project corridor to improve safety for people walking, rolling, and biking. This includes new crosswalks at NE 55th St, NE Ravenna Blvd, and NE 62nd St.

This project is also part of our Vision Zero goal to end traffic deaths and serious injuries by 2030. Construction is expected to begin in winter 2023 and continue into 2025.

Cross-section of the project design for raised protected bike lanes. Graphic credit: SDOT 

Vision Zero | Advancing our goal to end traffic deaths and serious injuries on Seattle Streets 

We accelerated or advanced work on several projects and programs this summer that are aimed at helping us work toward our Vision Zero goal to end traffic deaths and serious injuries on Seattle streets. Check out some of our recent blog posts that highlight these vital safety enhancements.

New No Turn on Red policy and expansion to nearly 100 locations in downtown and on Aurora Ave N

In summer of 2023, as an early action item from the Vision Zero Top-to-Bottom Review, No Turn on Red restrictions were added to nearly 100 locations in downtown and along Aurora Ave N. These initial locations were selected to provide additional continuity of No Turn on Red along corridors and prioritize areas with high pedestrian volumes. We are currently evaluating other potential locations for the next phase of installations. 

Limiting turns on red lights reduces conflict between people driving and people walking and rolling. In Seattle, right turn on red crashes account for 9% of all collisions with people crossing the street at signals. By implementing No Turn on Red at intersections, we create a more consistent and predictable crossing experience for everyone.

Along with the initial installation of signs at almost 100 locations, our new policy establishes the broad use of No Turn on Red restrictions at intersections throughout the city.

 We will evaluate and implement changes when:  

  • New traffic signals are installed,  
  • Operations at signalized intersections are modified, 
  • Or our programs, such as Safe Routes to School, prioritize specific locations.

Implementing No Turn on Red restrictions make a small but meaningful change to the traffic signal patterns at intersections. The change should not lead to noticeable delays for drivers, but makes a big difference in the comfort and safety of people who are walking or rolling, especially when combined with other safety measures at intersections such as leading pedestrian intervals (LPIs) and traffic calming treatments.

Pedestrians cross a street in downtown Seattle with newly installed No Turn on Red restrictions. Photo credit: SDOT 

New walk/bike signal, crosswalk, and traffic-calming landscaped median added to 15th Ave NW paving project

Before finalizing the design for the 15th Ave W/NW & Ballard Bridge Paving & Safety Project, we heard feedback from the community that more safety enhancements were needed on 15th Ave W/NW and the Ballard Bridge, one of the City’s most heavily used arterial streets. Hearing this input, and with guidance from our Vision Zero plan to end traffic deaths and serious injuries on city streets, we announced an updated final design in July that includes new safety enhancements, traffic calming features, and bus-only lane markings.

In addition to the original project design features, we added:  

  • A new signal and crosswalk at NW 51st St, making it easier to walk, roll, or bike around the neighborhood. 
  • A new landscaped median replacing a southbound lane on 15th Ave NW between NW 50th St and NW 54th St to calm driver speeds and reduce the likelihood of serious crashes.   
  • A new southbound transit lane with red “bus only” markings on 15th Ave NW between NW 54th St and NW Market St, and between Leary Way NW and NW Ballard Way.    
  • New and improved lighting under the bridge along Leary Way NW and on the pedestrian path near the intersection of 15th Ave NW and W Nickerson St.

Construction is scheduled to start by the end of the year and last about a year. Once completed, this Levy to Move Seattle and Seattle Transit Measure-funded project will keep people and goods moving while making the RapidRide D bus line more reliable and improving safety for everyone.

An aerial image of the Ballard Bridge with a graphic diagram overlaid on top, showing the project area from W Emerson St to NW 57th St
Aerial Diagram of the project area. Photo Credit: Google 

Automated Enforcement pilot program adds cameras to increase data for a more robust analysis 

In August, we announced that we would be expanding our Automated Enforcement Pilot Program by adding cameras to three new locations in addition to the existing eight at various locations in downtown Seattle and surrounding neighborhoods.

These traffic cameras take photos of cars that are illegally driving in bus-only lanes or blocking crosswalks and intersections. The goal of this pilot program is not only to evaluate the number of vehicles breaking the law, but to prevent people from illegally driving or stopping where they are not allowed by ticketing them. We expect these cameras to help improve public safety, reduce congestion, keep transit moving, and increase mobility for people with disabilities.

Cars block the box at an intersection downtown, blocking the bus-only lane and forcing a person to carry their bike over the cars to cross the street
Traffic camera photo of vehicles blocking an intersection in Seattle’s Belltown neighborhood. Photo: SDOT 

We’re accelerating Leading Pedestrian Interval (LPI) signal rollout throughout the city 

As part of our Vision Zero: Top-to-Bottom Review, we identified 5 momentum-building actions to advance in 2023 to help us work toward our Vision Zero goal. One of these was to accelerate installation of Leading Pedestrian Interval (LPI) signals around Seattle, which give pedestrians a head-start when crossing the street to reduce collisions. According to data collected from 2009-2018, we’ve seen a 48% reduction in turning collisions involving pedestrians and a 34% reduction in serious injury and fatal pedestrian collisions in intersections with LPIs.

At the end of August, we announced that 49 new LPIs were already installed and that we are on track to install LPIs at 100 locations in 2023! We have also started to develop a plan for rolling LPI signals out citywide over the next few years.

People crossing the street at 5th and Marion, where there is a leading pedestrian interval in place. Photo credit: SDOT 

As we wrap up a busy 2023 and head into a brand-new year, we remain committed to building a safe, connected, and equitable transportation system for all Seattleites, supporting our One Seattle vision. 

Thank you for your interest in our work! We hope you enjoy a healthy and happy fall.