Archive for the ‘transportation’ Category

Call for Art: First Hill Streetcar

Hot on the heels of the call for art for the Cheshiahud Trail Loop, the Seattle Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs, in association this time with the Seattle Department of Transportation, has a call for artists for a project close to my heart: the First Hill streetcar.

Construction doesn’t even start until 2011 for a project expected to be completed all the way in 2013 but I’m very excited about being able to take a single streetcar down to the International District; instead of the current take the route 60 to 12th & Jackson and then wait for another bus or walk down to Uwajimaya, I’ll be able to get there much faster and more conveniently which means I’ll be able to indulge my Beard Papa habit at a moment’s whim.

Anyway, the call for art and details on how to enter can be found here. This call is open to all professional artists living in the United States, but I’d like to put out a special plea for local artists to submit their work, particularly those who live in the area and most especially those who understand that First Hill ISN’T Capitol Hill and ISN’T the ID, but is its own unique neighborhood with its own special character.

Memorial Procession for Timothy Brenton Friday Nov. 6

Seattle Police officer Timothy Brenton was murdered Halloween night when an unknown assailant pulled up next to his parked patrol car and shot him.

A flag was raised over the Space Needle this morning to recognize his loss and the city is hosting a public memorial tomorrow at 1 pm at Key Arena at the Seattle Center. Doors will open at 11 am.

Prior to the memorial service, there will be a memorial procession departing at 9 am from the E-1 parking lot at UW, just north of Husky Stadium, travelling South on Montlake Boulevard NE to 24th Avenue E, South on 24th Avenue E to 23rd Avenue Em South on 23rd Avenue E to E Madison Street, West on E Madison Street to E Pine Street, West on E Pine Street to Broadway Avenuem North on Broadway Avenue to E Denny Way, -West on E Denny Way to 1st Avenue N, and North on 1st Avenue N to Mercer Street where the Key Arena is located. SDOT has prepared a map of the procession, available here.

There will be about 1,000 to 1,500 vehicles participating in this procession, causing huge delays along the route. Drivers, be prepared in advance for long waits and try to find alternate routes where you can. Parking will be prohibited along the procession route while it is taking place and 1st Ave N between Denny and Mercer, and Mercer between 1st and 5th. Bus riders take note that you’ll have significant delays and reroutes as well. Metro is working on preparing a notice for bus riders that should be up later today at their site.

Eastside Tolling Survey open house today, Thursday.

The Eastside Corridor is the only way to go north and south on a freeway in the Puget Sound that isn’t I-5. It covers Snohomish, King, and Pierce Counties, encompassing parts of I-405 SR 167 and SR 512.

The Washington State DOT has been looking at ways to deal with increases in population and employment along the Eastside corridor, increases that would obviously add more traffic to the roads. The new Eastside Corridor vision includes new highway lanes, improved interchanges, express toll lanes, expanded transit service and vanpool programs.

One of the options they’re focusing on right now are the express toll lanes, a two-lane system built alongside existing no toll, all purpose lanes of I-405, connecting with the high occupancy lanes of SR 167. This would create “an expressway within a highway” from Puyallup all the way up to Lynnwood. You can read about on their Tolling Survey page which includes maps, photos and all kinds of useful information, as well as the DOT’s rationale for proposing this particular plan.

They are seeking more input from the public–you know, the people who actually pay for and use these roads–and to that end they are holding two open houses to discuss the tolling study. The first open house is tonight, November 3, from 4:00 to 7:00 at Kent Meridian High School’s cafeteria (10020 SE 256th St, Kent). A second open house takes place Thursday, November 5 in Kirkland at the Kirkland City Hall Peter Kirk Room (123 – 5th Ave, Kirkland).

Viaduct collapses on video

If you don’t already read Seattle Transportation Watch, you really should. It’s a great resource for keeping up to date on traffic concerns in Seattle. From it I’ve learned that WSDOT has released a video, available on its website and on You Tube that depicts what would happen to the Alaskan Way Viaduct in the event of another earthquake like the Nisqually only just a hair more severe.

If you’re like me and already find the viaduct creepy, this video won’t do anything to discourage that feeling, but it’s definitely interesting and worth a look.

one bus away has a new, free iphone app

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one bus away in the app store.

I’ve long been a fan of One Bus Away, a University of Washington-based project, and their multi-modes of quickly, cleanly, and efficiently finding out when your bus will arrive (often the most frustrating part of the public transit lifestyle). To the list of phone, SMS, and web, they’ve now added a smart new iPhone application that improves the already great experience dramatically. Namely, it uses GPS to show you all nearby buses on a map, lets you save your regular stops, saves your history, and streamlines the process of finding routes.

If you have an iPhone and take the bus ever, get it. [itunes]

(via seattletransitblog)

metro’s top tips for especially uncomfortable bus rides

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photo by danny ngan [flickr] via our group pool [#]

Since only 30% of the buses in its fleet are air conditioned, Metro brings you this sure-fire tip should you find yourself on an “especially uncomfortable” trip that will likely be “hot, especially when they are crowded”:

Remove jackets and sweaters you wear in air conditioned buildings before you board the bus. [#]

The county has another page of sensible strategies for not dying out there; some (visit a movie theater) more fun than others (avoid alcohol). [kingcounty]

Seattle Department of Transportation gets a makeover

The Seattle Department of Transportation unveiled a brand-spanking new website this morning.

Perhaps taking a cue from the Washington State Department of Transportation, the Seattle DOT has a Twitter account and a Facebook page. Where the two seem to differ (at least on the surface) is that the WSDOT follows all of their followers back in order to provide real time traffic updates and incident reports via direct message.

The Seattle Department of Transportation’s website doesn’t work well in Google Chrome, but it plays well with IE and Firefox.

What do you think about your city and state departments going all social these days?

Walking the Talk

Walking Green Lake by Seattle Daily Photo - from our Flickr pool

Walking Green Lake by Seattle Daily Photo - from our Flickr pool

The Seattle City Council is reviewing a draft plan to make Seattle a more pedestrian-friendly town. Appropriately enough, the measure is called the Pedestrian Master Plan. Very grand sounding, ain’t it?

I’ve lived in Seattle long enough to remember when Westlake Plaza was closed to traffic, and I’m still outraged that the city opened it. Westlake Center has never regained the vibrancy and foot traffic that it had when the Plaza was closed. And does anyone think that closing Pike Place Market to through traffic would detract from its appeal? There is no bad there.

The new plan, currently in draft and public comment stage, purports to focus on “safety, equity, vibrancy, and health,” through six stated objectives:

1. Complete and maintain the pedestrian system identified in the Pedestrian Master Plan
2. Improve walkability on all streets
3. Increase pedestrian safety
4. Plan, design, and build complete streets to move more people and goods
5. Create vibrant public spaces that encourage walking
6. Get more people walking for transportation, recreation, and health

These are great goals, and the plan (read it HERE or download as a PDF –low res or high res) does an admirable job of outlining strategies and tactics to meet them. The city has a funding levy of $60 million to fund pedestrian improvements over the next six years. Based on current programs, the plan projects that $47 million will go towards new improvements, such as sidewalks, curb ramps, and signals, while $19 million would pay for maintenance. The plan would require other funding to fully support all of the objectives, such as private investment.

And it’s this last part that has me worried: private investment.

The draft Plan includes stated strategies for meeting the objectives. Among the strategies for #5– “Create vibrant public spaces that encourage walking”– the single most important strategy is missing: car-free streets. Instead, “develop guidelines for car-free and shared space streets,” is the last item in the sidebar, under “sample of actions” that could possibly, perhaps, be considered to encourage walking.

Private investment does not like car-free streets. Private investment likes lots of convenient parking, preferably on-site parking. Pedestrians buy only as much as they can conveniently carry home or back to the office. Drivers buy as much as can fill up their SUV for the drive home to the suburbs. Car-free streets favor small businesses that serve local residents and employees. Parking lots favor ‘shopping destinations’ that serve tourists and visitors. National chain stores and big retailers wield the political clout and investment dollars that result in parking lots, narrow sidewalks, and through traffic. Neighborhood business owners, residents, and employees get screwed. Again.

It doesn’t have to be that way. As residents and business owners, we have a say in this process. The public comment period for the draft Pedestrian Master Plan has been extended to Friday, June 26th. You can read it at http://www.seattle.gov/mostwalkablecity.htm, or download a PDF from the same site.

Also, the Transportation Committee and the Special Committee on Pedestrian Safety will host a public hearing on the draft plan on Tuesday, July 21st, from 5:00-6:30 p.m. in the Council Chambers at City Hall (600 Fourth Ave.). This is your chance to be heard. Don’t blow it!

Other ways to comment:

Online webform: http://www.seattle.gov/transportation/pedestrian_masterplan/contact.htm
E mail: mostwalkablecity@seattle.gov
Telephone: 206-733-9970
Mail: Pedestrian Master Plan Comments
Seattle Department of Transportation
P.O. Box 34996
Seattle, WA 98124-4996

Water taxi coming back

Our favorite post-brunch field trip transportation, the King County Water Taxi (which we all used to know as the Elliott Bay Water Taxi) is coming back next Sunday, April 5 [metro]. The Ferry District will be having a party for it–you can ride for free all that day, and there will be festivities in Seacrest park from noon to 2:00 with live music and posters and, I’m sure, shenanigans of all sorts. It’s returning a few weeks earlier than last year, because it is so great, and will run through October, bringing us ever closer to the excellent rumors that it will some day run year-round.

Seattle Atheists Buy Ads On Metro

seattlebusad

Sure to elicit comments of more than one opinion, Seattle Atheists (who knew atheists formed organizations?) have purchased ads on Metro that will run starting April 1st. No, it’s not an April Fool’s prank. These ads are similar in nature to the ads recently run in London. No mention of this on the actual website, so I’ll just go with the source on this one.

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