Tag Archive: design

Care about Madison Bus Rapid Transit (BRT)?

image004August 5, 2016

Here’s what to look for when you provide comments at the final Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) Open House on Tuesday August 9 (or on-line before August 16).

Madison BRT is intended as a Complete Street. Complete Streets provide fair access to the street for all people, whatever their transit mode. That is one reason the City is poised to apply for grant funding to invest upwards of $120 Million along this 2.4-mile corridor. Another reason the Madison BRT project is at the top of stack for funding and redevelopment is that thousands of new places for people to work and live along the Madison corridor are under construction or in permitting now.

When you are evaluating the Madison BRT plans, ask first if people of all ages and all abilities will easily be able to cross the street, walk or bike to transit, and enjoy the experience of walking, shopping, and socializing along East Madison Street. Madison is filled with young people starting families, retirees, people using major hospitals, amid a wealth of residential and commercial property.

Several street safety advocacy groups, including local groups along the corridor – Central Seattle Greenways, Madison Park Greenways, and the transportation leaders of First Hill Improvement Association – have been closely following the Madison BRT project for several years. They shared their top five concerns about the current Madison BRT proposal.

Five ideas to consider when commenting on the Madison BRT project:

  1. Crossing the street is a necessary part of taking the bus. People walking and biking need to be able to cross Madison directly and safely. The 30% designs for 24th Ave & Madison, 12th & Union & Madison don’t resolve the difficult street crossing challenges, in fact current designs may make crossing more dangerous. At center-island stations, crosswalks need to be positioned at the desire lines for people exiting the bus.

  2. Plan for people who bike. Design and fund access for people who want to bike in the Madison corridor. Community groups worked closely with the City for several years to identify the optimal “parallel” bicycle infrastructure that was intended to be funded as part of the project: this includes protected bike lanes on Union from 12th to 27th and greenways on 27th, 24th, Thomas, Denny, and University. Creating safe and convenient bikeways to help people access residences and businesses on Madison isn’t just a nice idea, it’s necessary and promised Complete Streets mitigation given that SDOT is removing access to a street people depend on now.

  3. Work hard to keep the trees! Removing 23 trees on Madison between Broadway & 12th may ease the congestion on the sidewalk a little bit, but will make the pedestrian experience even bleaker.

  4. Plan for growth. The City needs to plan for long term sidewalk improvements as part of this project. This dense neighborhood will need wide, well-maintained sidewalks with excellent street furnishings. Make sure that intent is communicated in design plans written by the City for developers as they build along the Madison Corridor.

  5. Study traffic along the Madison Corridor including left turn elimination, commercial loading, parking, peak I-5 access, and in particular ambulance & emergency vehicle access.

 

SDOT Public Open House  Tuesday August 9   5 – 7 PM Meredith Mathews East Madison YMCA   1700 23rd Ave

Give feedback online before August 16: MadisonBRT.participate.online

 

Brie Gyncild and Merlin Rainwater, Central Seattle Greenways Co-chairs

Bob Edmiston, Madison Park Greenways Chair

Cathy Tuttle, Seattle Neighborhood Greenways Director

Gordon Werner, First Hill Improvement Association Transportation Chair

Greenways UW Capstone for Licton Haller 1/14/16

January 12, 2016

UW Capstone Class Plans with Community!

UW Capstone Class Plans with Community in Mind!

A GREAT OPPORTUNITY and a A FACT-FINDING MEETING

If you care about the Licton Springs and Haller Lake neighborhoods

Change is happening in our neighborhood: Growth, traffic, the 3 new schools on 90th, a new bridge to the new Sound Transit station at Northgate, future Sound Transit Stations at 130th and 145th. Here is an opportunity to help the neighborhood envision change for the better.

The University of Washington Master of Landscape Architecture’s Capstone Studio will focus on the urban design issues of the Licton Springs and Haller Lake neighborhoods for the next 6 months. This is a chance for the neighborhood to work with UW masters candidates to explore creative ideas and opportunities for the neighborhood’s future. Your insights would greatly enrich what the students undertake. The students want to hear from you about your neighborhood!!

Thursday Jan. 14, 7 to 9 PM
Green Lake Community Center Room 3, 2nd floor
7201 E Green Lake Dr N

the room is accessible – an elevator is available. It is on bus route 48 and 2 blocks from bus route 16

Your insights would greatly enrich what the UW Master of Landscape Architecture’s Capstone Studio students undertake. The students are just getting underway, studying the community spaces/places and travel opportunities and challenges within the neighborhood, particularly for children. Students plan to develop design proposals for improving pedestrian and bicycle travel, as well as improving ecological, play and learning potentials for schools, parks and other community destinations. Students will be looking both to near term and longer term opportunities, including the Safe Routes to School planning for Northgate Elementary and the new schools under construction, and the Northgate Light Rail stop and possible pedestrian bridge and the potential Light Rail stop at 130th.

The studio’s outcomes are intended to support current initiatives in the neighborhoods and serve as a catalyst for new ones. The students will be identifying and developing design proposals January-March, then refining the work and creating a booklet April-June.

Help Plan Safe Routes to School to Eagle Staff, Northgate & Other Local Schools

Help Plan Safe Routes to School to Eagle Staff, Northgate & Other Local Schools

 

 

Let’s Talk About Lane Width

Cathy Tuttle
September 26, 2015
jointly published on The Urbanist
Crosswalk wet pavement

Lane width helps to control speed on urban streets.

People driving tend to slow when streets are narrow.

Urban Streets

The National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO) recommends a default of 10-foot lanes.

“Lane widths of 10 feet are appropriate in urban areas and have a positive impact on a street’s safety without impacting traffic operations. For designated truck or transit routes, one travel lane of 11 feet may be used in each direction. In select cases, narrower travel lanes (9–9.5 feet) can be effective as through lanes in conjunction with a turn lane.”


Seattle’s current standard is 11-foot lanes
and 12-foot bus-only lanes. Many of our streets were laid out in a time when wider was always better — and ended up with dangerously wide lanes, dangerous because wide lanes encourage people to drive fast, and when cars go faster, collisions do more harm. Narrower lanes in urban areas are shown to result in less aggressive driving, and give drivers more ability to slow or stop their vehicles over a short distance to avoid collision.

Lane Widths and vehicle sizesWhile tooling along city streets, unless you are a transportation engineer, you aren’t aware of street width.

You aren’t thinking, “Hey, I’m in a 14-foot lane. And now I’m in a nine-foot lane. And now I’m in a 10-foot lane.” (Note, transportation engineers really do think like this.)

Instead, you, the average mortal, just thinks (if you are driving a car), “I can go fast here. Whoa! This street is narrow, I’d better slow down. And now I can speed up a bit again.”

Seattle’s standard width for parked car lanes is eight feet wide, while adding a bike lane that avoids the “door zone” (the distance a car driver can accidentally fling open a door into the path of an oncoming person on a bike) requires a a 14-foot lane (parked car plus bike lane).

With our elbows akimbo, we’re about two and a half feet riding a bike, taking up about as much space as people in wheelchairs. Both protected bike lanes and sidewalks require a minimum of six feet of street right-of-way to accommodate people riding and rolling respectively.

20 is Plenty fatalities graphic

“It’s surprising to see how a difference of 20 miles reverses the survival rates of people hit by moving vehicles.”   Seattle Department of Transportation 2015

Highways

Highways are a different case entirely when it comes to lane width.

You may have read the lane width on the Aurora Bridge was a factor in the recent collision fatality between a Duck amphibious vehicle and charter bus. It is up to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) to determine causes, but Federal standards for highways recommend 12-foot lanes, in addition to shoulders wide enough for emergency parking and median barriers. Most lanes along I-5  are 12 feet wide. The Aurora Bridge lanes are 9.5 feet wide. Read the rest of this entry »

PARKing Day 2015 Makes Successful Streets

Five local neighborhood groups changed their streets on a grand scale on Friday September 18.

People in Rainier, Ballard, Ravenna, Bryant and Fremont were winners of Seattle Neighborhood Greenways first annual PARK(ing) Day Design Competition.

Instead of endless public meetings, design charettes, and flat conceptual drawings, we helped these four groups build protected intersections in Ballard and Bryant, and thousands of feet of protected bike lanes in Rainier and Ravenna. Here’s a look at what happened.

Rainier Ave S Protected Bike Lanes

Rainier Ave S Protected Bike Lanes

Rainier

The Grand Prize Winner was an ambitious idea to make Rainier Avenue South, Seattle’s most dangerous street, safe enough for a parent to bike with their four-year-old (you must watch this YouTube!)

A crew, led by visionary Shirley Savel, and leaders Adam Dodge and Travis Merrigan, built 2000 linear feet of bike lanes out of white chalk, white duct tape, green butcher paper and traffic cones on both sides of Rainier between Columbia City and Hillman City.

Ballard Greenways Protected Intersection

Ballard Greenways Protected Intersection

Ballard

The co-leader of Ballard Greenways, Chris Saleeba, also works at one of Seattle’s best bicycle and pedestrian design firms, Alta Planning and Design. Chris, Fred Young, and Steve Durrant of Alta created a protected intersection that was extremely effective at slowing vehicles and allowing people to safely walk and bike across NW 65th and 6th Ave NW, just where the next north-south greenway in Ballard is planned.

The Seattle Department of Transportation concurred NW 65th and 6th NW was a high priority for safety improvements and added a permanent crosswalk in record time.

Chris said the bar owner of Molly McGuires – the most active business in front of the new intersection – came out during the day and talked about how much he loved the improvements and wondered if he could get the crosswalk painted in Irish flag colors as part of Mayor Murray and the Department of Neighborhood’s new community crosswalk program. Read the rest of this entry »

PARK(ing) Day 2015 Design Competition

Free CoffeeIs there a street or intersection that you use on a regular basis that feels unsafe?  Do you have ideas for how things like sidewalks, bike lanes, curb bulbs, pedestrian crossings, or traffic calming could be added?  Submit your ideas for how you’d like to see the street changed, even if you’re unable to commit to doing a PARK(ing) Day event.

PARK(ing) Day is an annual international event that gives people the opportunity to bring much-needed human space to asphalt.  Last year, members of NE Seattle Greenways and University Greenways took advantage of PARK(ing) Day 2014 to successfully redesign a bridge, intersection, and adjacent road, making it feel safer and more comfortable for all users. Read the rest of this entry »

Rackathon: Bringing the Best of Bike Parking to Seattle

If you regularly ride your bike in Seattle, you’ve likely had trouble parking your bike. Often, there just aren’t enough bike racks to go around. Sometimes they’re far away or in an odd location—like behind a dumpster, or right up next to a building. And sometimes the racks are just poorly designed and hard to use, particularly if you ride something like an extracycle or a family bike.

On July 9th, over 90 people gathered to help solve these problems at Rackathon: A Regional Summit to Hack the Bike Parking Code. The event, organized by Brock Howell of Cascade Bicycle Club and Bob Edmiston of Madison Greenways, brought together bike advocates, developers, policymakers, city employees from several municipalities, and design firms to work on standards for where bike racks need to go, and to test out a variety of different bike rack designs.

Rackathon participants evaluate a bike rack design.

Rackathon participants evaluate a bike rack design.

Four vendors showed up with their bike racks, and participants got to test them out with a variety of different bicycles. Participants also heard a presentation from the Scott Cohen of the Portland Bureau of Transportation. One big takeaway? Portland has not one, but TWO full time employees devoted to bike parking—amazing! Seattle, with several employees intermittently working on bike parking, has a little catching up to do. If you want to encourage people to bike for everyday transportation, it makes sense to have dedicated professional bike parking staff.

While we may have some catching up to do, Rackathon was a big step forward, with enthusiastic participation from concerned citizens and public officials alike who are passionate about bringing Seattle’s bike parking up to speed. More photos of the event on Facebook. We also learned from Kyle at SDOT just how simple it is to request a bike rack. Check out the video, How to request a bike rack in 30 seconds, and get started on making Seattle a more bike-friendly place to be!

Want more details? See How Seattle can build more and better bike racks from the Seattle Bike Blog.

Design Plans: What Could A New Queen Anne Intersection Look Like?

In Queen Anne, Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) and Queen Anne Greenways are working together to redesign the intersection of 7th Ave W and W McGraw. SDOT used the Queen Anne Greenways Blueprint for a Walkable Bikeable Queen Anne to guide its designs.

Check out these snazzy scenarios presented by Senior Transportation Planner Brian Dougherty.

The elements in the three concepts can be mixed and matched based on community preference. A final design will be built by SDOT in 2015.

Option 1, nicknamed the Plaza option:Option 1

  • extends the curb on the southwest corner
  • creates a small area for shrubs and plantings
  • maintains two of the three street trees at the corner
  • installs a mini plaza with decorative paving and a bench for seating
  • maintains the existing sidewalk in its current alignment and adds sidewalk extensions to the new corner

 

 

Option 2, nicknamed the Nature Spot option:Option 2

  • extends the curb on the southwest corner
  • maintains two of the three street trees at the corner
  • creates a larger area for plantings and additional street trees
  • installs boulder/granite seating within the nature spot
  • removes the existing sidewalk and replaces with vegetation / bio swale
  • extends the sidewalk to meet the new corner

 

 

Option 3 (shown with the Plaza option but it would work under either scenario) does all of the above at the southwest corner, plus the following at the southeast corner:Option 3

  • extends the curb
  • creates space for new plantings / bio swale
  • creates a new mini plaza with decorative paving and benches
  • creates space that could be used for bike parking
  • may displace two car parking spaces

 

Lake City Greenways Develops a New Park!

All told, 63 people participated in this community-led design concept. That is phenomenal. You can see the complete design HERE.

There was strong general agreement among participants that they wanted a natural-feeling park with native plants and the enjoyment of flowing water. Additional elements rose to the top as they worked through their discussions.

The attached site-concept rendering and some other illustrations provided by the designers at Johnson+Southerland are quite easy to read, but to jump-start your perusal, just a few elements include the following: Screen Shot 2014-06-30 at 8.36.22 AM

*Distinctive entryways at both the 27th and 28th Avenue ends

*A pleasant and ADA-accessible pathway through the site

*Sitting rocks, providing naturalistic seating for all and fun for kids

*A bio-filtration garden that will help clean the water flowing into the site and into our tributary of Thornton Creek

*A flowing creek (no culvert) with a simple wood bridge

*Down side-paths, different “rooms” such as a fern garden, a flowing-water feature, and edible berries.

Please take a look!

This is but the first phase of the project, and Lake City Greenways will keep pushing forward with design and funding efforts to make this park a reality. A huge thank-you to all who participated and/or will join the project as it continues.

Stay tuned.

UW students tap wisdom of Greenwood-Phinney Greenways

Greenwood Phinney Greenways meets UW Landscape classFor the second year, students of UW Landscape Architecture Professor Julie Johnson have made Seattle Neighborhood Greenways the focus of their studio work.

This year, the focus on Greenwood-Phinney Greenways centers around safe streets, and, in particular, how to design safer streets in places without sidewalks. We know this 2014 UW class will bring great solutions to Greenwood-Phinney Greenways!

In 2013, Landscape Architecture 402 students worked on a design plan for Lake City Greenways. Several of the student plans for safer, greener streets are already being implemented by the Lake CIty community and Seattle Department of Transportation.

 

  • Facebook photos of the first community-student meeting at Greenwood Branch Library January 16 2014.
  • Sign up here

    to get updates about future meetings in Greenwood and at the UW on the Greenwood Phinney Greenways project.