Tag Archive: sidewalks

More funding for safe streets in City Budget. Thank you!

Here’s something to be thankful for today: Seattle City Council passed the final version of the 2017 budget with some fantastic improvements thanks to your support!

thank you 2016 budget advocates

Exciting budget additions include

  • $1 million to fix Rainier Ave S – the most dangerous street in the city, and an acceleration of funding for the exciting Accessible Mt Baker project.
  • Funding to create a North Beacon Hill Multimodal Transportation Study to allow much needed safety and community building projects to move forward.
  • Moving up the Bicycle Master Plan (Cascade Bicycle Club led the charge on this!) and Pedestrian Master Plan spending so we can design and build more safe streets sooner.
  • Additional funding for Safe Routes to School ($400,000 from red light cameras).
  • Directing SDOT to use best practices for streetcar & bike collision safety.
  • Other great improvements to the budget: Funding to conduct a condition assessment of Seattle’s $5.3 billion sidewalk system to support smart investments in sidewalk repairs, a new grant writer position to help SDOT leverage Move Seattle funding, and a section of sidewalk for the Meadowbrook neighborhood.

We wouldn’t have these successes without your calls, testimony, and letters! It’s caring people like you who make a difference in our world. Thank you.

If you can take a minute to thank our elected officials who listened to you, please email council@seattle.gov and thank them. Below is a sample email.

Dear Seattle City Council,

Thank you all for supporting safer streets in budget process. In particular thank you to

 

  • Council President Bruce Harrell for funding to fix Rainier Ave S, accelerate Accessible Mt Baker, and plan for a safe Beacon Hill Town Center.
  • Councilmember Lisa Herbold for finding additional funding for Safe Routes to School

 

  • Councilmember Mike O’Brien for the sidewalk assessment, SDOT grant writer, streetcar safety SLI, and accelerating the Bicycle Master Plan.
  • Councilmember Debora Juarez for a Meadowbrook sidewalk.
  • Councilmember Johnson for supporting many of these transportation budget additions.

 

Thank you for your leadership in making our streets safer for all people.

Happy Thanksgiving and thank you!

-Gordon Padelford

Seattle Neighborhood Greenways Policy Director

Please consider a gift to Seattle Neighborhood Greenways if you want to support our successful, reliable, and impactful advocacy in 2017. Thank you.

Rasmussen Stands Up For Sidewalks

Councilmember Rasmussen at James St Clair Memorial Walk @WestSeattleBlog.com photo

Councilmember Rasmussen at James St Clair Memorial Walk @WestSeattleBlog.com photo

September 3, 2015

Tom Rasmussen has chaired the Seattle City Council Transportation Committee for years. While Bertha, streetcars, unprecedented traffic congestion, and freight take a lot of his attention, the Councilmember has remained attentive to the needs of people who walk and bike.

Most recently, Rasmussen has weighed in on Sound Transit’s construction closure of the 12th Ave NE Greenway. Construction closures are a hot item right now in Seattle. Here’s what Councilmember Rasmussen had to say:

I have requested [Seattle Department of Transportation] SDOT to continue to work to improve mobility and safety for everyone around construction zones.  One of the first tours I organized for Mr. Kubly [SDOT Director] was of one epicenter of construction: the Pike/Pine neighborhood on Capitol Hill.  We have had a number of updates and briefings from SDOT about their work to ensure compliance by contractors and progress is being made.

SDOT should not give permission to close a sidewalk or street or part of one until SDOT has approved the detour plans and routes.  Even when a plan is approved some contractors or their workers will arbitrarily move barriers to the detriment of the public.  This requires regular site visits by SDOT inspectors.  One of the challenges is that there are not enough inspectors to keep up with the volume of construction.  I have requested SDOT to hire more as soon as possible

Thanks for bringing this to my attention.

Councilmember Tom Rasmussen
Chair, Transportation Committee Seattle City Council

Thank you for speaking up for people who walk and bike. We need strong support from our leaders all over Seattle!

“Dear Neighbor” Letter Backfires

Roosevelt Way NE SDOT May 2015Seattle Pedestrian Advisory Board (SPAB) member Jacob Struiksma took one look at a May 26 letter from Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) and called into question the plan for a Complete Street along a busy retail corridor.

Jacob, who is blind, has strong opinions about what constitutes safe streets for all. He wrote:

This is crazy that curb bulbs not going to happen at all the intersections on Roosevelt Way. Why do people that walk have to be second to everything? Why do people that walk get the short end of things all the time?

Jacob’s quick response alerted fellow SPAB members and the Washington State pedestrian group Feet First about safety improvements as SDOT repaves Roosevelt Way NE. Both groups will review this new twist on Complete Streets and Vision Zero in their policy discussions in the near future.

A robust Complete Streets Policy is one of Seattle Neighborhood Greenways 10 advocacy priorities for 2015

SDOT’s letter read in part:

Dear Neighbor,

SDOT will periodically distribute project updates about the Roosevelt Paving & Safety Improvement Project.

We write today to let you know that the expected start of construction has been moved back from late September until the end of the year.  Perhaps more significant, fiscal constraints have forced SDOT to remove construction of most of the curb bulbs and expanded tree pits, which we’d previously indicated would be included in the project.  (The one positive benefit of dropping these elements from the project is that construction will likely be significantly shorter than the ten months previously expected.)

Curb bulbs extend the sidewalk out, typically into a parking lane at intersections, in part to ensure that curb ramps (wheelchair ramps) meet the federally mandated standards of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).  They have the additional benefit of making pedestrians more visible to motorists, and vehicles more visible to those pedestrians.  They also have the effect of shortening the crossing distance for these pedestrians.  As such, curb bulbs increase safety for pedestrians, and seem to enjoy broad community support.

Sadly, the curb bulbs and enlarged tree pits were determined to be the most logical project elements that could be eliminated and bring the budget back into balance.  The curb bulbs were initially included in part to provide adequate room for standard curb ramps.  However, we were able to accommodate the ramps and meet design standards without the curb bulbs in most locations.

We look forward to using a safe, welcoming Roosevelt Way NE in the coming years.

City Plans To Make Roosevelt Way NE Safer For All

 January 13, 2015

Congratulations to Mayor Ed Murray, Seattle Department of Transportation Director Scott Kubly, Seattle City Council Transportation Committee members Tom Rasmussen (Chair), Jean Godden, and Mike O’Brien for their bold leadership and vision that will soon make Roosevelt Way NE safer for everyone.

You can thank them all on this letter! 

How does this project make Roosevelt Way NE safer? Read the rest of this entry »

Speed Bumps to the Rescue!

by Cathy Tuttle
October 28, 2014

Speed bumps work

What’s black and white and gray all over?

Lake City Greenways volunteer Monica Sweet was impressed with the speed bumps she’d seen in other neighborhoods. She wanted slower, safer streets where she lived on NE 123rd in Lake City. With no sidewalks and drivers that seemed to rip through her neighborhood at high speeds, speed bumps seemed to offer a simple, inexpensive yet effective safety solution.

After a great deal of back and forth with the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT), whose staff tried to convince Monica to put in small traffic circles, Monica and her local greenways group prevailed and soon speed bumps will make another Seattle residential street safer for people who walk and bike.

In related news, SDOT just completed the before and after study of vehicle speed on nearby NE 130th Street where speed bumps were installed in the summer of 2014.

According to Brian Dougherty, SDOT Senior Transportation Planner:

“The study shows that the speed humps have had a big impact, reducing the number of drivers traveling above the speed limit. The biggest change is the reduction in the number of ‘top end speeders’ which as you know are the most dangerous for people walking and biking. We show a 90% reduction in these aggressive drivers traveling more than 10 mph over the speed limit… Before and after speeds were measured for one full week using pneumatic tubes.”

* P.S. You may hear the terms speed humps and speed bumps used interchangeably by traffic safety professionals. Speed “humps” are actually the official term but according to our friends in Portland traffic engineering, the signs that said “Humps Ahead” were frequently stolen by the public but “Bumps Ahead” were left to perform their traffic calming duty.