We are thrilled that Meeghan Black of KING 5’s Evening Magazine hosted her show from the newly restored King Street Station on Tuesday, April 30. Various interesting local places, people and things were featured on the show, and between each segment (the 6 videos posted here) Meeghan is shown back at King Street Station commenting on SDOT’s station restoration project. If you missed the show, and want to see all the good things Meeghan shows at the station, watch all of these segments.
You have got to check out this funny and informative pothole video from Worcestershire County Council, U.K.
Remember you can report your Seattle potholes online or by calling our always popular
POTHOLE AND STREET REPAIR HOTLINE:
And don’t forget about our fancy Pothole Status Map that can show you where and when we’ve been working in your neighborhood.
Now if only someone around here could sing…
We received requests to show hourly data from the Fremont Bridge Bike Counter correlated with dates and weather conditions. Sometimes a graph can tell the story much better than a column of figures, and now, courtesy of Tableau Software, we’ve got color charts with this information on our website.
The first Tableau charts on the web page (see the screenshot, above) correlate the bike counts by dates. On the website the charts are interactive—you can choose the month and week (date range), or select one or more days of the week, and the graph will change to show your selection. You can see at a glance how sharply ridership increases during the peak commute periods, and how different the curve is for weekends—fewer bike trips and a single, midday peak.
At the top of the Tableau charts you will see a tab for the weather graphs. Click on the tab to see the charts that show how bike counts correlate with sun, rain, air temperature and several other variables. (See the screenshot below.) The weather data comes from the University of Washington. In addition to the weather conditions, you can also select the day of the week, the week, and the month. There is a line graph and a scatter diagram, which includes a trend line.
Whether you want to know more about ridership or you just enjoy playing with graphs and numbers, jump in and explore the website. The charts will continue to capture data from the Fremont counter that was installed in October, so it will be interesting to see the curves once we have a full 12 months of data.
March Madness is a time for brackets, rivalries, and Cinderella stories. But why limit it to just basketball? Take for example the brilliant 2013 Urbanist Toolkit Bracket from Atlantic Cities. What makes up a great city and who are you rooting for — BRT or Streetcars? Food Trucks or Pop-up Parks? Parking Maximums or Congestion Pricing? Click here to go vote in the sweet sixteen.
Want something even wonkier? Try this classic Traffic Simulation Game. Seems simple at first but change up those variables and see what happens!
For the climate change obsessed child in your life, there’s Meltdown, the first board game that melts. Grist sums it up best: It’s like Monopoly, except the world is ending. The game’s aim is to move the polar bear family from the permanent ice floes to safety on the mainland before it all melts. Cute and sad has a certain niche appeal and the game’s cooperative play is family friendly too.
Lastly, we have Cart Life a retail simulation video game where you can try your hand at different characters operating different street-side businesses. Do you get a permit or risk the fine? (SDOT Hint: Get the permit!) How do you best keep your customers happy? Most of us will never live the life of a street vendor but thanks to Cart Life, we can make believe, and maybe gain a new appreciation for those who do rise to the challenge every day.
Seattle is leading the change toward a green future. Our goal is to be carbon neutral by 2050. This animated video celebrates green Seattle with a song written and performed by Seattle’s own Chris Ballew (Caspar Babypants; also the lead singer of The Presidents of the United States of America).
And why is it so important that Seattle has these green goals? Atlantic Cities explains it pretty succinctly in this blog post: Here’s Exactly How Bad Beijing’s Smog Crisis Is, In One Photo
That air pollution is caused primarily by automobile exhaust and coal burning — two things that Beijing, and the rest of the world, can certainly use less of! If you need a refresher on Seattle’s stake in the coal game, you should start over at Sightline.org – their coverage on Northwest Coal Exports is excellent.
Luckily, federal data released last week shows that for the eighth straight year, per capita vehicle-miles traveled (a.k.a DRIVING) has declined in the United States.
“A variety of factors have been cited for the decline, including retiring Baby Boomers; less enthusiasm for cars among Millennials; a move in many places toward more compact and mixed-use development; and demand-side policy efforts, including TDM, tolling and market-pricing of parking…” read more
Sidenote! What’s your ‘hood tweeting about? Using two months of Twitter data Andrés Monroy-Hernández and team generated this image that shows the most common words in each neighborhood of Seattle. Click on the image to view the whole city map on flickr.
(Monday – Friday SDOT sends out a compilation of local and national transportation news links. If you’d like to subscribe (or unsubscribe) to the list, just send an email to email@example.com and I’ll take care of it for you. )
Did you know…?
Americans are driving more miles and sitting in more traffic than ever before. It’s taking a toll on roads.
So I guess we all need one of these…!
It’s a bike barometer! London-based Richard Pope has created a gadget that helps you decide if you should bike or take the train. The device, made out of an old clock, pulls in data about the weather and the subway and points towards the best option. Pope even wrote up a how-to for those interested in creating their own.
Let’s look at some pretty and some pretty amazing pictures today!
WSDOT has done a fantastic job with their blog post “2012 in Pictures” — from last January’s snow to the Ship Canal Bridge Peregrine falcons to the SR 99 tunnel progress and many more memorable moments. Take a moment and check it out.
Next, Atlantic Cities takes us on a tour of street art by French artist Oakoak:
“Most of us see a cracked sidewalk, a wall of peeling paint or a crumbling roadway, and our first instinct is to whine about urban decay. Oakoak sizes up the same imperfections, largely in his industrial French hometown of St. Etienne…”
And The Atlantic asks: Is it still street art, if you can only see it online?
Take a look at some amazing GIF-iti (more at the link above)!
On January 9, 1863 the London Underground began operation. As the world’s oldest underground railway, the Tube holds a special place in the hearts of many. And at 150 years old, it’s still looking pretty good. Today, Transport for London estimates around 3.5 million journeys are made on the network each day, across 11 lines serving 270 stations.
Lastly, let’s continue our trip back in time and enjoy the World’s Oldest Dash Cam Video (Probably). This madcap dash through 1920s New York gives us a glimpse into what it was like trying to get to a fire before people embraced the concept of “Move Right for Sirens and Lights”.
“The roads are clogged with aimless pedestrians, slow-moving cars and imposing trolleys that Kenlon’s crew play chicken with. Faced with a clot of gridlock, the driver crunches gears and guns it onto the sidewalk.”
December 27, 2012
Chicago parking meter rates to rise again in 2013
In an annual ritual that has become as predictable if not as joyous as a New Year’s Eve countdown to midnight, Chicago drivers again will have to dig a little deeper to pay to park at meters in 2013. Loop rates will go up 75 cents to $6.50 an hour as part of scheduled fee increases included in Mayor Richard Daley’s much-criticized 2008 lease of the city’s meters to Chicago Parking Meters LLC. Paid street parking in neighborhoods near the Loop will rise 25 cents and reach $4 an hour.
December 26, 2012
How Smart Is Smart Parking – And For Whom?
Parking enforcers, not motorists in search of available parking, may be the main beneficiaries of ‘smart parking’ technology as they have the ability to immediately spot parking spaces where vehicles have overstayed their time limits and by how long. Randall Stross, an author and professor of business at San Jose State University, analyzes the current state of smart parking technology and just how useful it is, and to whom.
December 26, 2012
Tow-truck firms sue over Seattle’s cap on fees
The state association of tow-truck operators is suing the city of Seattle over its efforts to cap the sometimes exorbitant fees towing companies charge to remove a vehicle from private property. In a suit filed in King County Superior Court, the Towing and Recovery Association of Washington argues that the city cannot adopt regulations that are inconsistent with state law regulating towing and impound fees.
December 26, 2012
Instead of building more parking spots, Parking Panda lets people rent out the ones they already own
In this great, sprawling country of ours, there are simultaneously too many parking spaces and never enough. But with 800 million spaces out there — about three per car on the road — it stands to reason that at any given time, many of those parking spots are empty. One company is trying to change that, though, by helping average human beings turn into small, hyperlocal parking garage operators, i.e. rent out their parking spaces when they’re not using them.
December 26, 2012
Chicago Clinches Title For Nation’s Highest Parking Meter Rates
Another year, another parking meter price hike. Chicago motorists will celebrate the start of 2013 by ringing a fifth consecutive year of parking meter rate increases, further insuring the Windy City retains its title for the nation’s most expensive parking meters. Back in December, 2008 the city council approved a privatization deal put together by then Mayor Richard Daley, which leased the city’s metered parking spaces to a private firm for $1.16 billion dollar. But as part of that 75-year agreement, the city agreed to allow meter rates to rise annually for the contract’s initial five years, ultimately making Chicago’s downtown rates the highest in nation.
December 26, 2012
Denver Public Works rewards legally-parked drivers with prepaid parking cards
When Joseph Purvis walks up to a car, he typically gets this reaction: “Sir, wait! I`m right here!” Purvis said, imitating a concerned driver about to get a parking ticket from him. For three years, Purvis has been handing out parking tickets. But recently, he`s been getting a different greeting from drivers. “Is this a joke?” a woman asked as Purvis handed her a $5 parking card. No, it`s not a joke. This holiday season, Denver Public Works is giving away 250 $5 parking cards.
December 26, 2012
The End of Parking Misery
Parking is one of the most vexed commodities in modern American life. A nation of about 300 million citizens with 255 million registered cars has as many as 800 million parking spaces, but not enough at the right place at the right time. A family needs a place to park their car when they’re home, but that space goes empty whenever they’re at work. Workers need a place to park their car when they’re at the office, but nobody is at the office most of the time. For all this parking bounty, it often seems that there’s never anywhere to park—at least not where you want to go.
December 25, 2012
Program to help homeless living in cars off to slow, steady start
In the year since Seattle launched the Safe Parking pilot project for homeless people living in their cars, just two churches have opened their parking lots, providing a total of seven spaces. But the city is expanding the project and hopes to provide more services. A 59-year old man who goes by the nickname “Wavy” knows what it’s like to live in a van and try to find a place to park for the night. He’s been awakened by police telling him to move along. A homeowner called 911 when he parked in a West Seattle neighborhood.
December 24, 2012
Bellingham to resume enforcement of parking meters day after Christmas
The city’s gift of free parking at downtown meters expires on Christmas Day. Enforcement of meters and ground-level parking in the Parkade, 1300 Commercial St., resumes on Wednesday, Dec. 26. Parking was free at meters starting Dec. 10 to encourage shopping and other business downtown. Owners of vehicles found parked at an expired meter will receive a $10 fine. A $10 late fee is added if the owner doesn’t respond within 15 days.
December 22, 2012
The Learning Curve of Smart Parking
Place “smart” in front of a noun and you immediately have something that somehow sounds improved. In its current state, however, “smart parking” is in some ways little different from regular parking. The term refers to a beguiling technology, now being tested in several cities, that uses sensors to determine whether a particular spot on the street or in a parking garage is occupied or vacant. When a car has overstayed its allotted time, the technology can also send the information to a parking enforcement officer with ticket book in hand.
December 22, 2012
Spend less time hunting for parking this holiday
It’s a busy weekend of last minute shopping at the mall, but there are ways to cut down on time spent circling the parking lot. The head of a firm that tracks mall parking lots using satellite images tells the Wall Street Journal that lots tend to fill up in a bell-shaped curve around an entrance. That means the best place to find a spot at a mall is likely to be equidistant from two entrances. Parking between two entrances can also make it easier to get out of the parking lot as fewer people will be walking to or from their cars in that area.
December 20, 2012
Parking Authority to develop online space reservation program
The Pittsburgh Parking Authority today voted to begin development of an online parking space reservation system and to add a pay-by-phone feature to recently installed multi-space parking meter devices. The authority said the projects are designed to enhance revenues and customer service. The board voted to spend up to $35,000 to develop the on-line reservation program, which would debut sometime next year.
December 19, 2012
Motorists Save With Efficient Parking Pricing
Contrary to many motorists’ fears, San Francisco’s demand-based parking pricing has reduced overall average hourly rates and ticket citations. When San Francisco first installed its SFpark meters — devices that would increase hourly parking rates based on demand — many motorists complained that it was one more way to gouge drivers for extra dollars. In fact, the program has done the exact opposite, reports Will Reisman. “Since taking effect in April 2011, average hourly rates have dropped by 14 cents from $2.73 to $2.59 at the 7,000 SFpark meters.
December 18, 2012
D.C. to Reconsider Disabled Parking Next Year
The D.C. Council says it will reconsider how to get disabled drivers to pay for parking at meters next year, News4’s Tom Sherwood reported, but in the meantime, anybody can park at any meter – red top or not – and disabled drivers can continue to park for free as long as they have the proper placards. D.C. spent more than $700,000 this year on its plan to have as many as 1,800 metered parking spaces reserved for disabled drivers. For the first time, they were to pay for parking, but they were to be given twice as much time at those spaces – indicated by their red tops. About 450 hundred of those meters have been installed this year, and the rest will remain in storage.
December 17, 2012
How Indianapolis Fixed Its Parking Problems
Parking in most US cities can be a drag. If you’re lucky enough to find an unoccupied spot, you still have to find enough change to fill up the meter. Then, if your errand takes longer than expected, you run the risk of getting a ticket. Maintaining parking meters is no picnic for city governments either. Coins need to removed and batteries need to be replaced frequently. On top of all that, because parking meter rates in most cities haven’t changed for decades, meters typically don’t generate much revenue.
December 16, 2012
D.C. kills $700,000 parking program, asks what next
The District invested more than $700,000 and hundreds of man-hours creating a handicapped-parking program that it then abruptly canceled — leaving officials to bicker over why it went down and with few clues about what to do next. The D.C. Council earlier this month voted down the red-top meter program, which would have forced disabled people to pay for parking at city meters but would also have reserved as many as 1,800 on-street spaces for them, marked with red-topped meters. The changes were part of an effort to crack down on the fraudulent use of handicapped placards by people who aren’t disabled but want to park for free in the District.
December 15, 2012
Long parking times cost downtown shops money
A perceived parking jam in downtown Coos Bay has caused some local businesses to urge the city to bring back parking enforcement. The Coos Bay Downtown Business Association said a few businesses have become frustrated due to the lack of available parking spots for customers in front of their stores. President Brian Bowers said the biggest concern for the business owners is that customers won’t have easy access to spend their money. ‘If you have somebody parked in front of your store all day, you are losing revenue,” he said.
The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) is in the final stages of completing 41 out 42 of its 2012 goals for the Bridging the Gap (BTG) program. Two major paving projects were completed this year – N/NW 85th Street and NE Ravenna Boulevard. Both corridors are heavily traveled and were in need of serious repaving work, today the ride along them is much smoother. The Bridge Rehabilitation and Replacement program continues to shine with the Airport Way South Viaduct over Argo Railroad Yard bridge project wrapping up early, much to the delight of the community.
In addition to the big programs, SDOT crews replaced more than 2,800 regulatory traffic signs and 1,584 intersections received new street name signs this year. Eight Neighborhood Street Fund Large Projects were completed along with six Safe Routes to School Projects.
Other 212 highlights include:
- 42 new crossing improvements have been installed including pedestrian countdown signals at 25 intersections.
- 40 lane-miles of bike facilities have been maintained, 32 miles of bike route signs were installed, and 35 miles of trail were inspected.
- SDOT constructed 12 blocks of sidewalk, repaired 24 blocks and rehabilitated three stairways.
- 785 street trees were planted and more than 3,000 street trees were pruned.
While BTG had another big year, it did miss delivering on its goal of constructing seven miles of greenways. The greenway program was new to BTG in 2012 and there were many lessons to learn as SDOT rolled out this new program. One project was completed and the remaining three are underway and will be completed in 2013. We are expanding our outreach efforts and will continue to work with communities as this exciting program moves forward.
SDOT has worked hard to deliver on the promises made by BTG. Over the past six years BTG has paved more than 169 lane-miles of road, secured 43,600 new hours of transit service, constructed 91 blocks of new sidewalk, repaired 142 blocks of sidewalk, remarked 4,121 crosswalks, replaced 41,077 regulatory signs, installed school zone signage at 185 schools, replaced street name signs at 8,298 intersections, striped 142 miles of bike lanes and sharrows and planted 4,883 new street trees.
For more information about BTG and its goals and progress towards meeting those goals, please visit the BTG web page.
It’s been about two months since the C and D Rapid Ride Lines began operations in Seattle and barring a few bumps in the road, things have been running pretty smoothly if not always speedily. But Seattle isn’t the only city implementing and talking about Bus Rapid Transit aka BRT – it’s going on all around the US. Take a quick spin around recent BRT focused stories online.
We’ll start out close to home and then go farther afield.
- RapidRide buses not so fast in Ballard, speedy in West Seattle (Seattle Times)
- Metro riders give Rapid Ride service mixed reviews (KIRO TV)
- Why RapidRide Isn’t Rapid (Publicola @ Seattle Met)
- West Seattle: Thanks for sharing your stories this morning 11/27/12 (Metro Matters Blog)
- Top three things we heard about the C Line (and what we did about them) (Metro Matters Blog)
- Tech update: RapidRide real-time arrival signs – West Seattle, Ballard and lower Queen Anne (Metro Matters Blog)
- RapidRide C Line, 7 weeks in: Metro’s questionnaire for you (West Seattle Blog)
- Metro adds bus trips to make RapidRide live up to its name (KPLU)
- RapidRide C & D: No Schedule, No OneBusAway (Seattle Transit Blog)
- The RapidRide Punchlist (Seattle Transit Blog)
- Disappointment with RapidRide and the Budget Dodge (Seattle Transit Blog)
- Op-Ed: RapidRide will be Popular with Riders (Seattle Transit Blog)
- The opportunities and dangers of incomplete bus rapid transit (Human Transit)
- Dissent of the week: praise for new york city’s bus rapid transit (Human Transit)
- Metro Transit plans two meetings on RapidRide F line that includes Tukwila (Tukwila Reporter)
- Might as well Jump! the CTA debuts a stepping-stone to bus rapid transit (Grid Chicago)
- Convert existing lanes to BRT, say Montgomery planners (Greater Greater Washington)
- Without Bypassing Chokepoints, BRT Risks Becoming “Symbolic Transit” (Streetsblog)
- NYU Report: NYC’s Exclusive Busways Shouldn’t Be for Emergencies Only (Streetsblog)
- Why New York’s Transit System Fared So Well During Sandy (Atlantic Cities)
- Research study: New LRT projects beat BRT (Railway Age)
- Using BRT as a Transit Band-Aid (Atlantic Cities)
- Fully automatic signals on bus rapid transit corridor (Times of India)
And don’t forget, Metro’s E and F lines are scheduled to come online September 28, 2013!