Search for new Seattle Department of Transportation head begins

Mayor Jenny Durkan is searching for a new director to lead the Seattle Department of Transportation. “From filling potholes to paving streets to modifying traffic signals and building out a network of bike lanes and sidewalks to serve all ages and abilities, the next director will lead the agency at a critical time,” the city announcement for the search reads.

City Hall is opening up a survey process to collect community feedback on priorities for the hire:

The ideal candidate must demonstrate qualities and characteristics that reflect our diverse communities of Seattle. Our community members have a critical role to play to ensure their voice is heard. Community input will be utilized to target recruitment efforts when evaluating applicant’s knowledge, skills, and abilities. This information will also be used to develop interview questions.

You can take the survey here.

“With a number of significant projects in the pipeline, our next SDOT leader must be ready to deliver on investments and protect taxpayer dollars,” Durkan said. “Our residents and businesses expect our officials to make progress and deliver results, and this administration will continue to be accountable to the people we serve,”

Goran Sparrman has served in in the interim since Scott Kubly stepped away last year as the Durkan administration moved in. On Hill, some SDOT issues like a plan to speed up the First Hill Streetcar will likely be taken care of before any new department chief is hired. Others like safe bike routes between the Hill and downtown will probably still be looking for leadership as the new hire takes the job.

CHS Pics | Melrose Ave’s new ‘Poem Dazzle’ community crosswalks

The Melrose Promenade group threw a spur of the moment party Thursday night after a Seattle Department of Transportation work crew needed only one night to install new “community crosswalks on the street the organization is dedicated to improving.

“Thank you to our artist Sara Snedeker for her design, Seattle Department of Transportation and Berger Partnership PS for their partnership, everyone in the community for helping select this public art, and Promenade team member Patrick Jones for always being in the right place at the right time with his camera!,” the Melrose Promenade note about the community party read. Continue reading

Weigh in on one-way idea and more at Melrose Ave open house

Rendering of the coming soon community crosswalk (Images: Melrose Promenade)

Seattle Department of Transportation and Melrose Promenade community group representatives will be on hand Tuesday night for an open house to gather ideas and feedback on a potential slate of improvements lined up to “reimagine” Capitol Hill’s Melrose Ave. It’s a list that sounds good for most any street — but especially one where SDOT has found an eager community partner, killer view of downtown fro across I-5, and a lot of potential:

  • traffic calming
  • sidewalk upgrades
  • street crossings
  • public space
  • lane redesign
  • wayfinding signs
  • lighting
  • seating
  • bike facilities
  • pavement repair

Open House | Melrose Promenade Project

“Our project goals build off the promenade vision to connect people and places while improving safety. The corridor is a key walking and biking connection in our citywide network,” SDOT says about the project.

“We’re engaging with the community this spring to learn what’s working and what’s not with the corridor, and to better understand what people want us to invest in and where,” the Melrose Promenade group wrote about the open house. The biggest change being considered as a new initiative for the group is the possible reconfiguration of Melrose to one-way traffic between Pike and Pine.

In 2016, about $90,000 in Melrose enhancements made the city budget.

The Melrose Promenade group has also pushed forward with a plan to add colorful community crosswalks on the street. That work should be scheduled soon this spring, SDOT says, weather permitting.

Citizen-budgeters ponder Capitol Hill improvements at ‘Your Voice, Your Choice’ project meeting

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On Thursday night, a small group of Capitol Hill denizens gathered in a fourth floor classroom at Seattle Central College to mull over project ideas submitted to the city’s Your Voice, Your Choice neighborhood grant process. The 20 or so participants split up into two groups, representing north and south, to rate the 42 publicly solicited proposals for District 3, narrowed down from 134-plus.

The projects were assessed by two criteria: need and community benefit.

It was an informal exercise in face-to-face, block-to-block, small-bore civic engagement. The groups briskly discussed each proposal, jotting down their scores. In attendance were Seattle Central professors and students, local apartment dwellers, and planning-savvy wonks like Ryan Packer, senior editor of The Urbanist, whose name tag sticker read, appropriately, “Ryan The Urbanist.” Continue reading

Time to start narrowing down these 134+ ideas for improving District 3 streets and parks

134 new ideas were submitted in District 3. You can view details of each submission on the Your Voice, Your Choice project map

Citizens across Seattle submitted more than 1,000 pretty good ideas — and probably three or four dumbs ones — in this year’s first phase of the Your Voice, Your Choice neighborhood grant process to divvy up around $3 million for street and parks improvement projects.

134 of those brilliant ideas came from Seattle’s District 3 stretching across Capitol Hill, the Central District, Montlake, and Madison Park. The effort to winnow those ideas down to manageable few begins Tuesday night with a project development meeting for ideas submitted in D3’s northern region from 5:30 to 7:30 PM at the Montlake library: Continue reading

Step 1: Dream up $90K Capitol Hill, First Hill, or Central District parks & streets idea

Step 2: enjoy your improved neighborhood. The city’s annual Your Voice, Your Choice process is starting up again. You have until February 2nd to take part in the first phase of helping decide how to spend $3 million on park and street improvements in Seattle.

Need inspiration? These were the District 3 winners in 2017.

DISTRICT 3  

  • Capitol Hill: Crossing Improvements at I-5 Exit on to Olive Way (Cost: $75,000, Total Votes: 240)
  • Central District: Traffic Calming on 17th Ave S between E Yesler Way & S Jackson St (Cost: $15,000, Total Votes: 200)
  • Judkins Park: Improved Connections to Judkins Park from S. Dearborn St (Cost: $90,000, Total Votes: 173)
  • Capitol Hill: Crossing Improvements at 19th Ave E & E Denny Way (Cost: $83,000, Total Votes:  171) 

City departments were to include the winning proposals in their annual budgets with plans to implement the projects in 2018.

The process to collect new proposals ends Friday, February 2nd. Your ideas should adhere to three simple values. Your proposed District 3 projects should:

  • Benefit the public
  • Add a physical or capital improvement project in Seattle’s parks or streets
  • Not exceed a budget of $90,000

Add your proposal here

There is also a map of the project ideas from 2017 that will roll over to the 2018 process. “These are ideas that were submitted in 2017 and considered potentially feasible, but not funded through the 2017 process,” the city says.

After the hundreds of proposals are collected, Project Development Teams in each district will “turn ideas into concrete project proposals,” the city says. Over summer, the final proposals for each district will be put up for a vote.

Each of the city’s seven district will be eligible for up to $430,000 in projects.

Colorful new community crosswalks coming to Melrose at Pike and Pine

Rendering of the coming soon community crosswalk (Images: Melrose Promenade)

The Melrose Promenade community group dedicated to transforming the street into a ” distinctive neighborhood greenway” has unveiled the winning design for new painted crosswalks capping the avenue at Pike and Pine.

Artist Sarah Snedeker’s “Poem Dazzle” concept, which borrows “angles and shapes” from the facades of buildings “as well as the Starbucks window,” was selected in a community vote this summer.

The new community crosswalks will be installed in coming weeks, the group announced Tuesday. “We’re grateful to local artist Sarah Snedeker for devoting her time and creativity to helping us bring to life this latest component of the Melrose Promenade vision, and to the Berger Partnership and SDOT for their technical expertise!,” the announcement reads. Continue reading

Compromise reached in long debate to reopen short Capitol Hill path

(Image: CHS)

Describing the solution as a unique one-off — not precedent-setting — officials finally have a back-to-school plan to reopen the Lowell Elementary S Path — the short, curving pathway connecting Federal and 11th Ave E that has been fenced off since the start of last school year due to safety concerns over homeless camping and drug use.

“It’s a little bit of a special snowflake,” Seattle Department of Transportation’s Genesee Adkins tells CHS.

The path joins a South Seattle school playground that doubles as a public park and a West Seattle school’s daily closure of a neighborhood street to allow safer student movement among the few unique agreements forged by SDOT with Seattle Public Schools over restricting access to the public right of way.

Officials expect the path to be reopened in time for the start of the school year in September. No property is being acquired and no money will change hands. “There is no change to the right of way,” Adkins said. Continue reading

Capitol Hill Community Post | Your Voice, Your Choice Results — Four District 3 Projects

From SDOT

We’ve counted each vote and checked it twice! And, now is the moment you’ve all been waiting for: the announcement of vote results for Your Voice, Your Choice: Parks and Streets!

DISTRICT 3  

  • Capitol Hill: Crossing Improvements at I-5 Exit on to Olive Way (Cost: $75,000, Total Votes: 240)
  • Central District: Traffic Calming on 17th Ave S between E Yesler Way & S Jackson St (Cost: $15,000, Total Votes: 200)
  • Judkins Park: Improved Connections to Judkins Park from S. Dearborn St (Cost: $90,000, Total Votes: 173)
  • Capitol Hill: Crossing Improvements at 19th Ave E & E Denny Way (Cost: $83,000, Total Votes:  171) 

As a bonus, while Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) reviewed ideas submitted by Your Voice, Your Choice participants, it ran the projects through its program priorities and was able to fund additional traffic calming and pedestrian improvement projects in underserved neighborhoods throughout the City. SDOT will work with communities to announce, design, and implement these projects in the upcoming year.

To provide some context to the results above, with $2 million to spend on park and street improvements, we allotted a maximum of $285,000 per City Council District. After the top projects in each district were selected by voters, there was $233,019 remaining in the budget. These dollars were used to fund one additional project in the three districts with the highest voter participation (Districts 1, 2, and 5).

You will also note that the number of funded projects varies per district. This is because the fund allotment is based strictly on overall cost and not the number of projects. The funding for these projects will be included as part of the Mayor’s 2018 Proposed Budget, and the work will begin in 2018.

This is the second year we have asked residents to weigh in on how to spend a portion of the City’s budget. Last year the focus was on youth, and this year anyone over the age of 11 could participate.  We are blown away by the response with 7,737 community members voting for projects in their neighborhoods! We are so grateful to everyone who participated:

  • The community members who kicked things off in February by submitting 900 ideas for projects.
  • The community members who participated on the Project Development Teams.
  • The Vote Champions who mobilized their communities.
  • The educators in Seattle Public Schools who made sure students’ voices were heard.
  • Our Community Liaisons who were out in force with translated ballots in Arabic, Chinese, Somali, Spanish, and Vietnamese.
  • The amazing City staff at libraries and community centers who facilitated in-person voting.
  • And, of course, you the voters!

Learn how to advocate for Capitol Hill street safety on Sunday

(Image: Capitol Hill Ecodistrict)

(Image: Capitol Hill Ecodistrict)

Capitol Hill residents interested in making Seattle safer for bicyclists and pedestrians can learn how to advocate for safety improvements on Sunday at Street Safety & Transportation Action Day.

Advocacy training will take place from 2 to 3 p.m. at 12th Ave Arts. After that, attendees will get to put their training to use doing business outreach in the area for two hours.

Alex Brennan said the idea for the event came from issues identified by Capitol Hill Renters Initiative members.

“One thing that’s come up is traffic safety — safe walking and biking, so we’ve been thinking about what’s a good way to get renters plugged into those issues locally,” he said. Continue reading