This week the RNA and others received this SDOT update about the Roosevelt Way NE Paving and Safety Improvement Project:
The Roosevelt Way NE Paving and Safety Improvements Project design is progressing. We’ve reached a milestone SDOT refers to internally as 90 percent design and along with paving it includes in-lane transit stops, sidewalk repairs and a protected bike lane. We continue to receive lots of interest in the project and it was recently brought to our attention that a poster with incorrect project information is making its way around the neighborhood. So, this seemed like a good time to share the latest project information and respond to key questions we have been hearing from the community. We are grateful for the time residents and businesses have been spending with us to create a project that not only meets Seattle’s basic transportation maintenance, but creates an easy-to-use, reliable transportation system that gives you the options you want when you need them.
Thanks for taking the time to read our update.
Dawn Schellenberg and Paul Elliott
Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) Communications
As you may know, the project extends from NE 65th Street to the University Bridge, and includes:
- Repaving Roosevelt Way NE
- Installing curb bulbs (extending the curb/sidewalk) at most intersections throughout the project corridor to reduce pedestrian crossing distances and make it easier for everyone in the right-of-way to see each other
- Upgrading wheelchair ramps to provide Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)-compliant pedestrian access
- Replacing buckled or cracked sidewalks
- Creating in-lane transit stops to help keep buses on schedule
- Consolidating bus stops to help keep buses on schedule
- Installing a protected bike lane on the west side of Roosevelt Way NE
The new corridor configuration widens the east side parking lane by one foot, maintains two drive lanes (one shared with buses) just as today and adds a protected bike lane on the west side. To clarify, we are not adding a bus-only lane, we are installing in-lane stops eliminating the need for buses to pull in and out of traffic. This reduces the time buses are at each stop and helps keep them on schedule. The protected bike lane replaces the parking lane on the west side of Roosevelt Way NE.
What we’ve been hearing
Here are a few key questions we’ve received.
1) How have you involved the public in the project?
It is important to provide a number of ways for people to be involved in city projects. To help distribute information and gather feedback on how to provide more travel choices and continue meeting the needs of corridor stakeholders, our outreach to-date includes:
- Developing and maintaining a project website (ongoing)
- Mailing a project announcement postcard to the approximately 9,500 residents and businesses in the project vicinity, between I-5 and 15th Avenue NE (October 2014)
- Mailing property-specific letters to impacted property owners and tenants along the project corridor (October 2014)
- Hosting a public meeting to provide an overview of the project and the preliminary design (November 2014)
- Performing door-to-door outreach to businesses and residents in the project area, including providinginvitations to upcoming public meetings (January 2015)
- Hosting three drop-in sessions in the community to allow community members to speak with project staff and see the latest design (January 2015)
- Meeting with businesses, as requested, to have more detailed conversations about the project plans, including potential changes to access, parking, and general operations
- Providing project briefings to community groups (ongoing)
Below is a map summarizing outreach completed to-date and the corresponding notification area.
2) How will SDOT manage public parking after the project is complete?
We’re glad you asked. We’ve heard from many businesses and residents that parking is essential to the economic vitality and livability of the corridor and concern about the potential impact of removing on-street parking on the west side of Roosevelt Way NE. To address concerns, SDOT is taking a two-pronged approach:
- a) Address supply. We are reviewing streets adjacent to the corridor and looking for opportunities to add more on-street parking, in particular where streets currently have parking on only one-side. We’ll also identify alternative loading zones to make sure deliveries and drop-offs can still occur. And don’t forget bike parking. We’ll look for opportunities for adding more bike racks, as well as on-street bike “corrals”. Corrals fit eight to 10 bikes in one parking space and can often be placed in areas where car parking is not permitted (e.g. within 30 feet of a stop sign).
- b) Address demand. We’re using data and public input to determine if tools such as time limits or new areas of paid parking should be applied to existing on-street parking. Both of these tools discourage people from parking and then hopping on a bus heading to a different destination; and, in return, increase the availability of parking spaces for customers and visitors. On residential streets, we will also continue to work with residents interested in Restricted (Residential) Parking Zones.
Once the Parking Management Plan is drafted, we’ll mail it to the project area, post it on our website and ask for feedback. Feedback will be considered and incorporated as we finalize the plan. A second flier will be mailed to share the results. Our goal is to have a final plan by September 2015 and the plan implemented prior to construction being completed in spring 2016.
3) Did you consider using Brooklyn or 15th Avenue NE for protected bike lanes instead of Roosevelt?
Brooklyn and 15th Avenue NE would be a great location for bike facilities. In fact, Seattle’s Bicycle Master Plan (BMP)recommends bike lanes go on both in the future. So, why not put bike lanes there now instead of Roosevelt? There are a few key reasons:
- Safety. There have been 31 collisions involving people riding bikes along the Roosevelt corridor between NE 65th Street and the University Bridge over the last four years. Seattle’s goal is to reach zero traffic fatalities and serious injuries by 2030. Protected bike lanes are one of the tools identified in Vision Zero to help reach this goal.
- Leveraging Opportunity. The BMP Implementation Plan project list evolves as some projects are accelerated or decelerated based on changing conditions, or opportunities. The repaving of Roosevelt Way NE and installation of in-lane bus stops provided us with an opportunity to accelerate implementation of a protected bike lane on Roosevelt.
- Existing Demand. Brooklyn and 15th Avenue NE serve different destinations than Roosevelt. Roosevelt is the most direct route to local shops, restaurants, the library, grocery stores, etc. and is the connection to the University Bridge, Eastlake, South Lake Union and Downtown neighborhoods.
4) What changes are happening to bus service?
A lot of exciting things are happening to improve transit along the corridor. Funding was identified to construct in-lane bus stops as part of this project, which also adds more standing room for transit riders and eliminates the need for buses to pull in and out of traffic. Seattle voters approved funding to add more bus service citywide. As a result, starting this June, King County Metro Routes 66 and 67 will run more frequently. These changes will make transit a more appealing travel option for people who live, work, study and play in the area.
Our new Transit and Mobility Division is preparing to launch a study looking at the feasibility of a high capacity transit corridor in the U-District, South Lake Union and Downtown Corridor. It will look at high capacity transit options and shorter-term transit improvements. Once it kicks off, we’d recommend you follow it and stay engaged!
- Have you considered the large number of new residential units being constructed?
Yes. Over the last 20 years, Seattle has gained 100,000 new residents and about 50,000 new jobs. The next 10 years are projected to bring 60,000 additional residents and another 50,000 jobs. This is great news for our economy and a test for our transportation and land use planning. It also means we have to provide people with travel choices. This project makes it easier to walk, bike, ride transit and gives you a smoother road to drive on. SDOT also has aTransportation Options Program to provide residents and employees with the information they need to make informed decisions about the best ways to get from Point A to B. Staff will be working with large multifamily buildings to share how they can receive ORCA discounts and direct incentives encouraging their tenants to walk, bike and use transit more.
Thank you for your continued interest in the Roosevelt Way NE Paving and Safety Improvements Project and the Roosevelt community. We appreciate your participation in our outreach events and look forward to continuing to work with residents, businesses and commuters as we shape the details of the project.
For the latest project information, please visit our project Web page, or submit comments via email or phone.