Long-term coordination efforts paid off this weekend as the city’s first light rail line began operating. The Seattle DOT has been a close partner on the project with responsibility for activities such as traffic signal timing and parking changes around stations.
The timing system that operates the train and vehicle signals is one of the most sophisticated in the country. It always looks ahead five intersections and begins incremental signal changes to minimize impacts from trains passing through. It also ensures that the first green light after a train is given to the folks who have been waiting longest or have the longest queue rather than automatically reverting to a set pattern.
SDOT made a big push throughout the weekend to make sure the communities near the stations and traveling public were ready for parking changes. Staffers put courtesy flyers under the windshield wipers of vehicles around stations without parking permits on Friday to minimize surprises when the new Restricted Parking Zone regulations went into effect. The new regulations preserve parking for businesses, residents and visitors by limiting commuter parking ¼ mile from stations.
You also may have seen SDOT staff at information booths answering questions and sharing in the excitement throughout the opening weekend.