Category Archives: Transportation

Road construction projects come to Lake City Way

  
Two large construction projects have come to Lake City Way. They will likely impact traffic as equipment and workers take to the roadway.

The first started in early June at the intersection of Lake City Way and 24th Avenue NE. From the Seattle Department of Transportation:

Pedestrians and bus passengers will soon benefit from improvements now underway near the busy intersection of 24th Avenue Northeast and Lake City Way Northeast. A contractor working for the Seattle Department of Transportation is constructing new sidewalks and other street elements to improve safety, and expects to complete the work in about three months. The project includes sidewalks, a curb bulb, curb ramps, a new crosswalk, an upgraded traffic signal, and improvements to a bus stop and storm drainage, many of which were recommended by the community.

The project at 24th Avenue was identified through the Lake City Way Traffic Safety Project.

The second significant project is happening farther north at the inyersection of Lake City Way and NE 145th Street. It started June 12th. Again, from SDOT:

This project, intended to improve safety for all travelers, includes new curb ramps (southeast and southwest corners), roadway pavement panels, storm drainage improvements and an upgraded traffic signal.

Over the summer, contractors will remove and replace the existing curb ramps, upgrade signal poles and conduct electrical work. During construction, the contractor will reduce lanes, relocate the bus stop and detour pedestrians on an as-needed basis.

The crews will typically work from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. with possible work on weekends. SDOT expects the project to be completed in mid-August, weather permitting.

Mayor Ed Murray, Seattle DOT, Seattle PD launch traffic safety initiative at Lake City Library

Mayor Ed Murray in front of the Lake City Library

Mayor Ed Murray in front of the Lake City Library

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray, Seattle City Council members and officials from the Seattle Police Department and Department of Transportation announced “Vision Zero Seattle” during an event outside of the Lake City Library on Thursday afternoon.

Vision Zero Seattle is a program with the aim of ending traffic deaths and injuries in Seattle.

From the Mayor’s office:

While Seattle is consistently recognized as one of the safest cities in the country, more than 10,000 traffic collisions occur each year. In 2014, 3,449 injury collisions were reported to the Seattle Police Department. Fifteen people died in traffic crashes, including five who were walking or riding a bike.

At the core of Vision Zero is the belief that death and injury on city streets is preventable. The Vision Zero approach emphasizes smarter street designs – forgiving streets that account for human error. When paired with targeted education and enforcement, the effort will save lives.

The effort will include:

Pedestrians run across State Route 522, aka Lake City Way. (LCL photo)

Pedestrians run across State Route 522, aka Lake City Way. (LCL photo)

  • Reduce the speed limit in the downtown core to 25 mph by the end of 2015.
  • Improve safety at 10 high-crash intersections downtown by eliminating turns on red lights, installing leading pedestrian intervals to give walkers a head start, eliminating dual turn lanes and other engineering improvements.
  • Install 20 mph zones on residential streets in up to ten areas near parks and schools with documented collision histories.
  • Enhance safety on arterials — like Rainier Avenue S, 35th Avenue SW, Fauntleroy Way SW and 5th Avenue NE where 90 percent of serious and fatal collisions occur — by installing speed reductions, radar speed signs and enhanced street designs.
  • Add twelve new school zone safety cameras in six school zones to improve safety for kids as they make their way to and from school.
  • Add seven miles of protected bike lanes, more than 40 crossing improvements and 14 blocks of new sidewalk to make travel safer across all modes.
  • Conduct targeted enforcement throughout the city for school, pedestrian and bike safety, along with enhanced DUI enforcement.
  • SDOT and SPD will work together to educate people in advance of these patrols, so everyone will expect enforcement and better understand the rules of the road.

The Seattle Bike Blog reports that this is the second time City of Seattle leaders have gathered press for an announcement to end traffic injuries and deaths. The previous plan announced, the Road Safety Action Plan, had a similar goal. From the Seattle Bike Blog:

Since that plan, the city has launched a brilliant and successful school zone speed camera program, which slows down traffic and helps to fund safety projects like Safe Routes to School. The city also crafted a new Bicycle Master Plan.

But more must be done. Will the new Vision Zero plan be bolder? Will there be serious funding? Stay tuned for details.

35th Avenue Northeast reopens after months long closure

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After a seven-month closure, 35th Avenue NE has reopened to traffic. The road will still have periodic lane closures as finishing touches are put on the Thornton Creek Confluence Project. The reopening of the road will allow for the return to normal of Metro routes 64 and 65.

We drove the route soon after it was announced that it was reopened. The road surface still needs some obvious work as uneven surfaces make for a rough ride in spots. But the project significantly transformed and improved the route for Thornton Creek. The new culvert and flood plain will be put to the test on Saturday evening after the National Weather Service issued a flood watch for King County

The project included:

  • Landscaping.
  • Completion of a new two-acre floodplain and meandering channel for the creek.
  • A new bridge where 35th Avenue NE crosses Thornton Creek.
  • Improved fish and wildlife habitat.

Olympic Hills Greenway lined with new stop signs

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Chances are if you have driven in the Olympic Hills neighborhood in recent weeks you have noticed lots of changes on some roads.

A neighborhood greenway on 27th Avenue NE from NE 145th Street to NE 130th Street is taking shape. The route will give cyclists and pedestrians the same priority on the roadway as automobiles.

Crews from Seattle Department of Transportation were out on Monday preparing dozens of intersections for new stop signs. Pavement markings were applied and temporary stop signs placed at dozens of intersections along the route.

So as you drive through the neighborhood, be aware that some intersections that used to have roundabouts or no signage may now require a stop.

The route is expected to be done in coming weeks and is the first part of a proposed network in Lake City.
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Lake City Way Traffic Safety project ‘crosswalk action’ scheduled for September 29

The Lake City Way Traffic Safety project has scheduled another “crosswalk action” to highlight pedestrian-safety issues on LCW and to mark the 6-month anniversary of the project’s launch.

On Monday, September 29, the group will meet at 4:30 near Bartell Drugs and traverse the crosswalks at 125th and LCW. There will be police officers at the event, enforcing traffic laws. The group will have bright message signs and safety vests.

The group is asking for community participation to highlight the fact that the highway runs through the heart of our community.

Also, check out the new coaster design at Elliott Bay Brewing.

A newly-designed coaster is shown at Elliott Bay Brewing Company.

A newly-designed coaster is shown at Elliott Bay Brewing Company.

New DreamGirls at Rick’s illuminated video sign stirs controversy

Update: A City of Seattle inspector visited DreamGirls at Rick’s and found that the images displayed on the sign over the weekend were in violation of the permit issued for the illuminated video sign. You can see a report from KOMO/4, which happened to have a crew present during the visit, below.

The sign controversy and Rick’s management’s toeing the line on the rules is getting the business and their logo plenty of airtime.

(Original report below)

The new Rick's sign is causing controversy.

The new Rick’s sign is causing controversy.

A large video sign permitted by the City of Seattle’s Department of Planning and Development in front of DreamGirls at Rick’s strip club is causing controversy. The sign has been installed on the property adjacent to bus stops used by many Nathan Hale students.

We originally published a story about the coming sign in June. You can read that here.

The permit issued by the City of Seattle for the 8-foot by 16-foot sign atop a 30-foot pole says images on the sign “shall not change more than 7 times per minute. No flashing, no video display methods, and no off-premises advertising is permitted by city ordinance.”

When viewing this sign during its first weekend of operation, it did seem to violate the “video display methods” requirement as there was motion in some of the images. It also quickly changed its state of illumination in a way that could be perceived as flashing.

You can see the sign operating in the video below and be the judge if it is following the rules set by the city:

In recent years, DreamGirls, owner of Rick’s, has battled with the Seattle Mariners over the location of a strip club and notably the illuminated sign next to Safeco Field. The dispute over the strip club led the Mariners to sue DreamGirls’ and the City of Seattle. Lawsuit filed here.

The Mariners eventually dropped the suit in an agreement with DreamGirls after the strip club chain agreed to not show certain types of images during days that the team was hosting events for children.

The City of Seattle is limited in its ability to dictate rules for signs because ones like Rick’s are legal and legislation and rules have not kept up with changing technology.

Over the last year the strip club has found itself in hot water with the City of Seattle and community groups after it topped the street trees in front of the business (our story here). The City has ordered the business to replant trees equal to the size they would have been before the aggressive trimming.

A community group also fought the placement of a large van with provocative imagery parked at the business and illuminated backpack signs people were paid to wear and walk along Lake City Way at night.

KING/5 reported on the sign over the weekend. In their report they found some of the images on the sign provocative enough that they blurred out images of dancing women and jiggling body parts. You can see their report below.

Over the weekend the sign caused many people to contact Lake City Live to voice concern. The sign sparked a discussion on our Facebook page about Lake City Way and the perception of the road that runs through our community.

The permit for the new sign also required removal of the classic neon Rick’s.

Car crashes into Backdoor Pub, injuring woman

A car smashed into the back side of the Backdoor Pub on Lake City Way early Thursday morning injuring a woman. A woman suffered a broken leg and was transported to Harborview Medical Center after she was pinned between the car and the rear wall of the business.

The first rescue call came in at 12:35 am and Seattle Fire dispatched 15 units to the heavy rescue.

There was initial concern that the building was structurally compromised but it was determined to be safe.

The owner of the business told a reporter for Q13 Fox News that they still plan to be open for Thursday night’s Seahawks season opener.

Seattle Mayor, local leaders participate in Lake City ‘Find it, fix it’ walk

Mayor Ed Murray and community members at the Lake City Mini-Park before the walk. (LCL photo)

Mayor Ed Murray and community members at the Lake City Mini-Park before the walk. (LCL photo)

Local leaders came to Lake City Monday night for Mayor Ed Murray’s sixth “Find it, Fix it” community walk. Previous walks have visited other Seattle neighborhoods and crime hotspots.

Murray, along with Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole, Seattle Fire Chief Gregory Dean, Sen. David Frockt, and other officials and City of Seattle department representatives, toured the neighborhood with about 50 local residents. The tour highlighted troubled areas and elements of the community that are in need of improvement.

The walks, as described in a press release, allow community residents, police, and city officials to “walk together to identify physical disorder and solve it.” The goal of the walks is to help Seattle City Light, the Seattle Department of Transportation, the Department of Planning and Development, and Seattle Public Utilities to make improvements in Seattle’s neighborhoods.

As noted during the walk, city departments often rely on reports from residents about transportation problems, crime, derelict properties and other issues in a community. One speaker said that if a problem area is not continually reported by the community, it is more difficult to deal with because it has to then be noticed by a department employee. And that can take much longer.

Community members gather near the intersection of 30th Avenue NE and NE 130th Street. (LCL photo)

Community members gather near the intersection of 30th Avenue NE and NE 130th Street. (LCL photo)

Reporting a safety or crime concern is easy to do with the City of Seattle’s Find it, Fix it mobile app (the app can be downloaded by clicking here for iOS and Android.) The app allows users to easily report graffiti, potholes, illegal dumping, abandoned vehicles, and other issues. You can also use the City’s website to report problems by clicking here.

During the Monday walk, plenty of those reportable items were found, and eight large trash bags of litter were gathered by volunteers from the North Seattle Family Center and Hunger Intervention Program.

Mayor Murray watches as young volunteers gather piles of trash from a lot at NE 130th and Lake City Way. (LCL photo)

Mayor Murray watches as young volunteers gather piles of trash from a dump site on a lot at NE 130th and Lake City Way. (LCL photo)

The walk with community members —and an earlier walk with members of the Lake City Neighborhood Alliance and city leaders— gave people a chance to air concerns about the community.

When a speaker from the City stood in front of the dilapidated Aqua Dive site to talk about graffiti removal, the structure provided a strong backdrop for the way some property owners have allowed their buildings to become eyesores and contributors to behaviors that negatively impact the community. The Aqua Dive and neighboring structures are know to be popular places for drug users and others that have been kicked out of homeless housing projects in the neighborhood. At one point, one of the leading advocates for Lake City’s homeless community shouted out that the structure needs to be torn down.

The dilapadeted Aqua Dive provides a backdrop for a talk about graffiti removal. (LCL photo)

The dilapadeted Aqua Dive provides a backdrop for a talk about graffiti removal. (LCL photo)

The walk also meandered over to the old Fire Station 39 and the Lake City Community Center —both city-owned properties in the core of Lake City that debate has swirled around their future use.

The City has proposed leasing the old fire station to the Pierre Auto Centers for two years, delaying development of the property. A previous proposal was to build transitional housing for formerly homeless people on the site. That proposal generated significant opposition and some would say was a catalyst for the formation of some of Lake City’s current active community groups.

City leaders and Lake City residents gather at the old Fire Station 39. (LCL photo)

City leaders and Lake City residents gather at the old Fire Station 39. (LCL photo)

The walk ended at the Lake City Community Center, where Mayor Ed Murray thanked community members for taking the time to walk around the neighborhood. Earlier discussion with the Mayor and Lake City leaders centered around the future of the building, its lack of amenities, and spaces that are not ADA accessible. The Lake City Neighborhood Alliance earlier sent a letter to the Mayor’s office advocating for a new, full-service Lake City Community Center to support the youth, families, and seniors in the Lake City Hub Urban Village.

People gather at the Lake City Community Center during the walk. (LCL photo)

People gather at the Lake City Community Center during the walk. (LCL photo)

The walk gave community members a brief moment to point out issues in the core of Lake City, a likely more effective way than trying to explain a problem in a meeting environment. General topics such as our overall lack of sidewalks —a topic that historically dominates community meetings here— was only discussed a few times as other specific problem areas prompted residents to enter discussions with representatives from the City of Seattle Departments.

Residents speak to the Mayor. (LCL photo)

Residents speak to the Mayor. (LCL photo)

The walk was led by Seattle Police officers and roads were shut down by officers for the group of pedestrians to safely walk on the streets —something that one resident pointed out is not available to pedestrians that regularly have to walk in Lake City streets.

As city officials and residents dispersed after the evening walk, another crowd started to fill in the Lake City Mini Park. The usual suspects were out there drinking tallboys, with one man pacing back and forth yelling at passing motorists. Officials from the walk watched the scene unfold as they returned to their cars near the Mini Park.

Construction kicks off on Olympic Hills Greenway

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Construction has kicked off on Lake City Greenways’ Olympic Hills Neighborhood Greenway with the installation of new speed humps on 25th Avenue NE, NE 127th Street and one block of 27th Avenue NE.

The project, largely led by community members, will try to create a safer street that gives more priority to pedestrians and bike riders. New features will attempt to enhance safety on the road. Speed humps, stop signs, bike sharrows and other safety improvement elements are part of the project.

The Olympic Hills Greenway is the first in a planned network of routes for cyclists and pedestrians in Lake City.

More about the project from the City of Seattle Department of Transportation:

Seattle is building a network of neighborhood greenways. Neighborhood greenways are safer, calmer residential streets for you, your family, neighbors and customers. On streets with low car volumes and speeds a greenway can:

- Improve safety
- Help people cross busy streets
- Discourage cut-thru traffic
- Protect the residential character of our neighborhoods
- Keep speeds low
- Get people to where they want to go like parks, schools, shops and restaurants

Neighborhood greenways are not car free zones, do not add bike lanes and there are minimal if any on-street parking impacts.

Speed humps installed in front of Olympic Hills Elementary

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As part of a an effort to make the walking and biking route to Olympic Hills Elementary School safer, speed humps were installed by the Seattle Department of Transportation on NE 130th Street in recent days.

The speed humps are intended to slow traffic in the immediate vicinity of the school. The Safe Routes To School program and a grant from the Washington State Department of transportation also recently completed a segment of missing sidewalk on the route to the school along NE 130th Street. Previously students were regularly seen walking to school in the street.

Although many streets in the area of the school still lack sidewalks, the recent additions show government officials are paying attention to pedestrian safety in the neighborhood. The topic of pedestrian safety has been the dominant topic of public meetings in the Lake City area for decades.

More speed humps and other traffic calming measures are planned for a stretch of 27th Avenue Northeast, NE 127th Street, and 25th Avenue Northeast as part of the Seattle Neighborhood Greenways project to make roads more friendly to pedestrians and cyclists.