Tag Archive: engineering

How You Can Use Seattle Safe Routes To School Resources

Mayor Ed Murray launches Safe Routes to School Action Plan Oct 8 2015Cathy Tuttle
October 8, 2015

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray just announced his Safe Streets Healthy Schools and Communities: 5-Year Action Plan. Parents, caregivers, and school neighbors all over Seattle are eager to put this plan into practice.

Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) offers Safe Routes to School mini-grants of up to $1000 that are easy to apply for with a letter of support from a school PTSA or Principal. (Deadlines April 30 and Oct 30). SDOT mini-grants can be used to do safe routes audits that help to put the Action Plan into action!

The Action Plan comes with a variety of thoughtful tools for making Walk Zones around Seattle schools safe for our kids. The tools include an engineering toolkit and a guide to managing school drop off and pick up.

Safe Walk Zones for our kids is a high priority for Seattle Neighborhood Greenways. We recently teamed up to do a workshop with Brian Dougherty, Seattle Department of Transportation’s (SDOT) amazing Safe Routes to School Coordinator who explained the use of the SDOT toolkit and more.

Here is an expanded list of some well-tested tools to get you started doing Safe Routes to School Audits:

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 »

Seattle Celebrates PARKingDayPlus

Cathy Tuttle September 16. 2015

Remarkable people in Ballard, Rainier, Bryant, and Ravenna are erecting PARK(ing) Day projects to make their streets safer on Friday, September 18 between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m.

Four winning designs from the first annual Seattle Neighborhood Greenways PARK(ing) Day Design Competition will be built this Friday. These are tactical urbanism projects – quick, inexpensive, and effective demonstrations of how streets can be safer for all of us. PARK(ing) Day celebrates streets for people. #PARKingDayPLUS celebrates SAFE streets for people.

Interestingly, all #PARKingDayPLUS projects are spearheaded by parents of very young children who want to make their streets – and their neighborhoods – safer for their families and their community.

PARKingDayPlus heroesRainier Ave South. Shirley Savel bikes with her baby and young daughter along Rainier Avenue South, Seattle’s most dangerous street. Savel has teamed up with other Rainier Valley residents and parents to install a one-day demonstration of a protected bike lane on both sides of Rainier Avenue South between 39th Ave S and 42nd Ave S, stretching between Columbia City and Hillman City. Savel met with Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) engineers and safety experts to plan her route and make it safe for people who walk, drive, ride the bus, and bike.

Ballard NW 65th & 6th NW. In Ballard, Chris Saleeba often bikes with his four-year-old daughter to the Ballard Farmer’s Market. Chris teamed up with his co-workers at Alta Design & Planning to design a protected intersection for people who walk and ride bikes across NW 65th St. at 6th Ave NW. Saleeba, along with his friends and neighbors from Ballard Greenways, will build and staff the intersection from 10 to 7 on Friday for PARK(ing) Day and 11 to 3 on Saturday during the Ballard Summer Parkways event.

Ravenna NE 65th & 20th NE. In Ravenna, Andres Salomon and his three-year-old son Atom are frequently out and about walking and biking in northeast Seattle. Andres and his friends from NE Seattle Greenways will build a protected climbing lane for people who bike along NE 65th St between 20th Ave NE and 22nd Ave NE. Andres found that the sidewalk on this stretch of NE 65th was narrow, uneven, and often blocked by cars, while biking in the street felt very unsafe.

Bryant Burke Gilman Trail & 40th NE. In Bryant, Kenneth Trease, father of two young children, and Jen Goldman, mother of three whose oldest is celebrating her sixth birthday on Friday, will build a protected crossing in a high conflict area for people who walk, bike and drive at 40th Ave NE and the Burke-Gilman Trail. Jen says, “I am providing mini cupcakes to hand out. Sort of a shared birthday party for my daughter, who loves to bike, frequently crosses there, and is turning 6 that day. She is excited about the idea of getting a nicer spot to cross for her birthday.”

PARK(ing) Day is an annual worldwide event where artists, designers, and ordinary people improve streets and transform on-street parking spaces into temporary parks for a day. It is an official Seattle event, with all temporary improvements requiring approval from the city.  People all over Seattle are celebrating PARK(ing) Day from 10am to 7pm on Friday, Sept 18th.

Seattle Neighborhood Greenways staff will deliver a truckload of white duct tape, chalk, and orange cones on Friday morning, September 18 at 8am and let the building begin!

Find a map here of all 59 Seattle PARK(ing) Day projects.

Make sure to visit our award-winning projects on September 18. Who knows, some of them may even be implemented  permanently in the future!

Contacts:
Cathy Tuttle (206) 713-5869 Seattle Neighborhood Greenways
Shirley Savel (206) 841-2415 Rainier Valley Family Biking
Andres Salomon (617) 501-2445 NE Seattle Greenways

Site plans:

  1. Rainier: https://twitter.com/NEGreenways/status/643216875749425153
  2. Ballard: https://twitter.com/NEGreenways/status/643221411142590465
  3. Bryant: https://twitter.com/NEGreenways/status/643212933208477697
  4. Ravenna: https://twitter.com/NEGreenways/status/643210336540098560
2nd Prize Winner 6th NW & NW 65th Street Crossing

2nd Prize Winner 6th NW & NW 65th Street Crossing

 

 

Greenways Receives Major SDOT Award

Cathy Tuttle
September 12, 2015

SDOT Director Scott Kubly awards SNGreenways 2015 Transportation Team Award

Seattle Department of Transportation Director Scott Kubly presents Seattle Neighborhood Greenways with the 2015 Transportation Team Award

On September 10, 2015, Seattle Neighborhood Greenways (SNG) received the Transportation Team Award from Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT). SDOT gives just one annual award to “individuals or teams from other departments/groups or citizens not employed by the city, such as volunteers or non‑profit groups who help to advance SDOT’s mission, vision, and goals.”

Before the awards ceremony, in true grassroots activist fashion, nine SNG leaders spread out among the SDOT managers at tables filling City Hall’s Bertha Knight Landes room and learned more about various SDOT functions and discussed how SNG can help to advocate for future funding and safety improvements for a variety of new street projects including signals, paving, sidewalks, and safe routes to school.

Here is the complete text from SDOT of why Seattle Neighborhood Greenways organization was nominated for and received this coveted award. Thank you for the honor! We look forward to many more years of productive collaboration!

Seattle Neighborhood Greenways (SNG) has changed, and improved, the way Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) works with community partners in doing outreach and public engagement. The Bicycle Master Plan (BMP) was an innovative combination of staff, consultant, and community resources, which led to a final product that had broad public, and Council, support.SDOT 2015 Transporation Team Award Plaques

Seattle Neighborhood Greenways is being nominated for their proactive and innovative community support for the development, and adoption of, the Seattle Bicycle Master Plan.

Seattle Neighborhood Greenways (SNG) took an active and critical role in developing the Seattle Bicycle Master Plan (BMP), which was approved by City Council in April, 2014, after a 2-year planning process. Seattle Neighborhood Greenways groups took the initiative, in small neighborhood-focused groups throughout the city, to identify good greenways streets in their own neighborhoods, share that information with SDOT (including a map prepared in GIS), and attend community meetings on the plan update. This resulted in significant resource and cost savings for SDOT’s efforts on the BMP. Over 200 miles of greenways were included in the final BMP.

Seattle Neighborhood Greenways (SNG) took the initiative, on a volunteer basis, of organizing community members to do walking tours and fieldwork on streets in their neighborhoods, which contributed significantly to the development of the final Bicycle Master Plan (BMP). These efforts supplemented the work by City staff and consultants, and allowed a level of detailed effort and analysis that would not have been possible with City resources alone. SNG staff and volunteers also participated actively in community meetings relating to the development of the BMP, helped develop thinking around an “all ages and abilities” bicycle network and helped advocate for the Plan’s adoption with City Council.

SNGreenways leaders Cathy Tuttle, Phyllis Porter, Don Brubeck, Merlin Rainwater, Robin Randels, Barbara Gordon, Selena Carsiotis with SDOT Director Scott Kubly

SDOT Director Scott Kubly with SNGreenways leaders Cathy Tuttle, Phyllis Porter, Don Brubeck, Merlin Rainwater, Robin Randels, Barbara Gordon, Selena Carsiotis

Seattle Neighborhood Greenways volunteers exceeded the usual expectations by community groups in terms of not only participating in SDOT-led community events on the BMP, but also organizing their own events, including neighborhood walks and bike rides. They also presented information on their own initiative to District Councils and other larger community organizations. Finally, they documented and presented information to SDOT in Geographic Information System (GIS) form, which SDOT was able to use in preparing maps of the final system network for the BMP.

Announcing PARK(ing) Day Winners!

Grand Prize Winner Rainier Ave S Protected Bike Lanes from Family Bike & Shirley Savel

Grand Prize Winner Rainier Ave S Protected Bike Lanes from Family Bike & Shirley Savel

August 27, 2015

Announcing the 2015 Seattle Neighborhood Greenways first annual PARK(ing) Day Design Competition winners!

(Hurry!! Applications for PARK(ing) Day are due by close of day Friday, August 28.)

Our judges (Andres Salomon University/NE Greenways), Bob Edmiston (Madison Park Greenways), Dave Rodgers (SvR Design), David Burgesser (Seattle Department of Transportation) and Cathy Tuttle (Seattle Neighborhood Greenways) had a hard time narrowing the field of 18 fabulous entries down to just three winners and two alternates.

Winners will receive prizes plus extra attention as they apply for permits, help with materials, and help making the best possible PARK(ing) Day projects. All of our judges will all offer technical support, with Andres Salomon taking the lead on working with winning entries.

Cafe Red Coffee Cart will grace Rainier Ave S during PARK(ing) Day

Cafe Red Coffee Cart will grace Rainier Ave S during PARK(ing) Day

Funding for the first annualPARK(ing) Day Design Competition comes from the Bowline Fund.

And the winners are:

  1. GRAND PRIZE WINNER Shirley Savel/Family Bike Team, Rainier Valley Protected Bikes Lane
  2. Chris Saleeba and Fred Young Alta Planning & Design, 6th Ave NW & NW 65th St crossing
  3. Andres Salomon, NE 65th St & 22nd Ave NE Protected Bike Lane

Runners-up

  1. Kenneth Trease & Jen Goldman, Burke-Gilman Trail & 40th Ave NE
  2. Andrea Fitch, 4th Ave N & Florentia St connector

    2nd Prize Winner 6th NW & NW 65th Street Crossing

    2nd Prize Winner 6th NW & NW 65th Street Crossing

Congratulations and thank you to everyone who entered the first annual Seattle Neighborhood Greenways first annual PARK(ing) Day Design Competition!

Seattle PARK(ing) Day on Friday, September 18 from 11am to 7pm will be wonderful this year!

Seattle Neighborhood Greenways is using PARKing Day to celebrate streets for people by encouraging applicants to build street safety projects.

Make sure to visit our award-winning projects on September 18. Who knows, some of them may even be implemented  permanently in the future!

 

 

 

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 »

Small Fixes, Big Wins In Ballard

Cathy Tuttle
April 23, 2015

Newly installed Leary & NW 43rd Bike Signal

Newly installed Leary & NW 43rd Bike Signal

Small fixes can mean big wins!

Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) just added a new, safer connection across Leary Way near the 6th Ave NW corridor.

Connecting 6th Ave NW to the Burke Gilman Trail and to the existing Ballard Greenway is the top priority for Greenways groups in City Council District 6 that covers Fremont and Ballard.

The push-button signal for people on bikes is placed near popular destinations including Hale’s Ales Brewery, Fred Meyer, and the Burke Gilman Trail.

The new push button will help families going to the proposed 6th Ave NW Safe Route to Schools corridor connecting Pacific Crest Elementary, West Woodland Elementary, and Greenwood Elementary Schools, say Ballard Greenways advocates.

The project for signs and signal changes was funded by a Neighborhood Park and Street Fund application submitted in 2014 by Fremont Greenways. Thank you!

Ryan’s Roosevelt Story

Gordon Padelford
April 23, 2015

Click here to send a message to make Roosevelt Way NE Safer

What I thought was: “Ugh – this is going to be unpleasant.”

It was. I just sat in the roadway for a few minutes, stunned, bleeding all over myself.

I live in Seattle’s University District because I go to school at the University of Washington – I’m in the final year of a Ph.D. program in environmental policy. I’ve always believed in making the world a better place. Bicycling is a part of that, and it’s almost always how I get around. On this particular night I was on my way to see the premiere of a play in Capitol Hill’s Annex Theatre.

Instead I found myself bleeding in an intersection. Read the rest of this entry »

Save Lives & Keep Moving: Seattle’s Successful Safety Redesigns

Road Diet Save Lives & Keep Moving

Open graphic in full screen

Cathy Tuttle
February 15, 2015

If you think a “road diet,” or safety redesign, will slow you down, think again.

Walking in Seattle blogger Troy Heerwagen poured through data from a half dozen Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) evaluation reports and found huge benefits for everyone using our shared public right-of-way.

SDOT engineers have learned smart new techniques to make high-capacity streets safer and more efficient. After a safety redesign, streets still carry as many vehicles as they did prior to their road diet. If fact, our streets are in better shape and can take on even more vehicle volume after a safety redesign. Another benefit? Aggressive speeding, the kind of behavior that kills people, falls dramatically. And not surprisingly, collisions and crashes of all sorts drop precipitously too.

Since safety redesigns are often a matter of mainly repainting travel lanes, they are also one of the quickest and least expensive road safety improvements around.

We call that a great investment in our future!

Check out Troy’s work in this Tableau-generated infographic.

Three Lessons from Riding Every Greenway in Seattle

Originally published April 18, 2014
By Jacob Ostrowsky

Jefferson Park entrance from Beacon Hill Greenway

Jefferson Park entrance from Beacon Hill Greenway

What happens when you ride every greenway in Seattle?  Over the course of several weeks, I did exactly that and came away with a deeper understanding of how far we have come…and what the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) needs to do to realize the full potential of greenways.

First of all, I didn’t just ride every greenway.  I rode them, I walked them, and in some cases I drove them.  I went from one end to the other and back again.  I observed every sign, every speed hump, every pavement marking, and every piece of physical infrastructure, and I took notes along the way.

I took my wife and 11 year old son along for the ride and recorded their impressions, as well.

What did I find?  First of all, it’s clear SDOT knows how to build greenways now.  After a rough start that gave us the Wallingford Greenway — an embarrassment by any measure — SDOT is building greenways roughly on par with current practice in other cities.  Early on, it seemed like Seattle was going to fully recapitulate Portland’s entire painful evolutionary process.  Instead of simply picking up where Portland left off, SDOT apparently needed to re-live their mistakes.  It was maddening to those of us who understood how greenways work.  Fortunately, though, we’re past that and we have nothing but love for our friends at SDOT.  Bygones.

That doesn’t mean we don’t still have things to learn here in Seattle.  So here are three lessons for SDOT that become readily apparent when you ride every greenway.

1.  Break the Silos

Many greenways pass alongside beautiful parks seemingly oblivious to their proximity.  No curb cuts, no park entrances welcoming people along the greenway.  A greenway has the potential to link and extend the reach of Seattle’s park system.  A park should be an extension of the greenway network and vice versa.  Similarly, many greenways pass through creek protection and Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO) reduction opportunity areas without addressing green stormwater infrastructure.  SDOT needs to do a much better job collaborating with Seattle Parks & Recreation and Seattle Public Utilities to truly green our greenways.  The portal from the Beacon Hill greenway to Jefferson Park (shown above) is a rare and welcome exception.  It needs to become the rule.

2.  Focus on User Experience

SDOT can be ham-handed when it comes to roadway design.  There is no doubt Seattle’s streets are built to engineering spec but they are not always intuitive to end users.  Many places end up being awkward or puzzling to people like you and me.  A few examples on greenways:

  • The offset arterial crossing at 32nd Avenue NW along the Ballard Greenway forces cyclists to merge into a standard 5’ bike lane at a 90 degree angle.  It may look fine on a schematic but, as a user, it’s puzzling.
  • There are numerous instances of 20 mph signs placed right at the corner of an arterial entrance to a greenway.  Motorists focused on making the turn will likely pass the sign unnoticed.
  • At various locations, you will see pedestrian half-signals installed without beg buttons accessible to cyclists or beg buttons located on the left side of the street only.  I witnessed a woman on a cargo bike fully loaded with groceries struggle awkwardly to activate one of these signals.  It wasn’t pretty.  Do we make drivers park and get out of their cars to activate signals?  We do not.
  • We seem to like diverters made from paint instead of concrete.  A diverter is intended to prevent motor vehicles from turning onto a greenway.  It is possible SDOT is focused on compliance rates but there is a big difference in the perception of safety provided by an actual physical concrete curb versus a painted (and soon to be faded) indicator.

 3.  Err on the Side of Safety

In numerous cases, SDOT appears to err on the side of caution: caution for the need of motor vehicles to flow swiftly.  Just once, they should err on the side of caution for the safety of pedestrians and cyclists ages 8-80.  Examples:

  • The Andover “raised crosswalk” on the Delridge Greenway is intended to protect pedestrians in the crosswalk but the raised portion is barely perceptible.  If we truly want to protect vulnerable users, we can learn a lesson from certain mall parking lots and give people a real raised sidewalk.
  • Arterial crossings along greenways seem to have the minimum acceptable treatment.  Ride the Ballard Greenway and you will wish the crossing at 14th was as good as the one at 32nd.  Similarly, you will wish the crossing at 32nd was as good as the one at 24th and you will wish the crossing at 24th was as good as the one at 15th.  Just once, let’s make err on the side of favoring pedestrians.
  • The same is true for diverters and medians.  At the arterial crossing of Beacon Avenue South at South Hanford Street, a median and pedestrian half-signal were added but the motor vehicle diverter is only sign-based with no physical barrier.  It is unclear why the median wasn’t extended slightly to serve as a physical diverter.  It’s as if SDOT is saying to motorists, “Don’t cross here, but in case you do, we made a nice cut through the median to make it easier to disobey the signs.”

In spite of these gentle observations, SDOT’s trajectory is, without a doubt, solidly upward.  Quality is improving and the results are readily apparent.  These essential greenway corridors, currently scattered across the city, are gradually coalescing into a linked network promising greater safety for those who choose to travel under their own power.  As we continue to work with SDOT, Seattle Neighborhood Greenways is dedicated to making this network a reality, one that sets a standard for quality that other cities will strive to match.

 

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