Tag Archives: Seattle Department of Transportation

What Happens to Seattle’s Streetside Cafés After the Pandemic?

by Ben Adlin


Last summer, when the first COVID-19 vaccine was still months away and indoor dining was limited, a group of businesses in Columbia City transformed a half block’s worth of South Ferdinand Street into The Patio, a shared outdoor seating area open to everyone. Residents could order takeout from nearby Geraldine’s Counter or Lottie’s Lounge, sure — or they could just drop in and say hello to friends they might not have seen since the pandemic began.

After months of social isolation, “a few people said it just kind of saved their life,” said Lottie’s owner Beau Hebert. “They were just going bonkers.”

The project unfolded under a special pilot program by the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT), part of an aggressive push by the agency to quickly convert public streets and sidewalks into outdoor seating. Restaurants at the time were facing mass closures, and open-air dining offered customers a less-risky alternative to venturing inside. Changes to SDOT’s permitting process, including waiving fees that sometimes cost several thousand dollars per year, led to a proliferation of patio seating across the city.

But with restrictions on indoor dining now gone and nearly three in four eligible King County residents fully vaccinated, the city faces a choice: What to do with its outdoor dining and new communal spaces?

Continue reading What Happens to Seattle’s Streetside Cafés After the Pandemic?

District 2 Bears the Brunt of Seattle’s Traffic Deaths

by Lizz Giordano


A car crash in SODO took the life of a pedestrian just over three weeks into 2021. Days later, another traffic death occurred within the same block. Two months after that, a semi-truck collided with a bicyclist on the industrial streets of Georgetown, marking another fatality in the South End, where traffic deaths were quickly outpacing other areas of the city. 

In April, a driver fled the scene of a deadly crash with a bicyclist near Seward Park. Early one morning in June, another person died after an SUV hit a man walking along Airport Way South. Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) and police blogs show yet another pedestrian was killed near the Columbia City light rail station a few days later. 

Six months into 2021, more than half of all Seattle traffic fatalities have occurred in Council District 2, which includes Rainier Valley, SODO, and parts of Chinatown/International District. 

Continue reading District 2 Bears the Brunt of Seattle’s Traffic Deaths

NEWS GLEAMS: Record-Setting Heat, West Seattle Bridge Repair Developments, and More!

curated by Emerald Staff

A round-up of news and announcements we don’t want to get lost in the fast-churning news cycle! 


Seattle Sees (and Feels) Hottest Day on Record

During the recent heatwave, on Monday, June 28, 2021, the National Weather Service (NWS) station at SeaTac recorded 108 degrees Fahrenheit — the highest temp on record for Seattle.

The highest temp ever recorded in Seattle prior to Sunday, June 27, 2021, which is the day we broke the last record (with a 104-degree reading at SeaTac), was a balmy 103 recorded in 2009. This year, roadway pavement even expanded and buckled in some places due to the heat in Seattle, nearby, and elsewhere in the state, according to the Washington State Department of Transportation. 

Continue reading NEWS GLEAMS: Record-Setting Heat, West Seattle Bridge Repair Developments, and More!

SDOT Plans to Close Lake Washington Boulevard to Cars on Weekends Through September

by Jack Russillo


Beginning on the Fourth of July weekend, the 3-mile section of Lake Washington Boulevard between Mount Baker Park and Seward Park will be closed to vehicles every weekend of the summer.

The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) announced the road closures on Thursday, June 24, as part of its Stay Healthy Streets initiative

The barricades that will signal the section closed-off to cars will be installed Friday afternoons and will be removed Monday mornings, except for Fourth of July and Labor Day weekends, when the barricades will be removed on the Tuesday morning after the holiday weekend. People driving to homes along the boulevard because they live there, are visiting, or making deliveries are allowed. 

“This summer’s approach […] expands the lakefront for more use, and supports affordable travel options by making it easier to walk, bike, and roll,” SDOT said in its announcement. “It provides space for children under 12 that are not currently eligible for vaccinations to stay active. It’s consistent to help people planning their trips and it maintains vehicle access during typical commute hours.”

Continue reading SDOT Plans to Close Lake Washington Boulevard to Cars on Weekends Through September

NEWS GLEAMS: Vaccines, Seattle Parks Summer Jobs, Share Your ‘Seattle Histories,’ & More!

curated by Emerald Staff

A round-up of news and announcements we don’t want to get lost in the fast-churning news cycle! 


The City of Seattle offers COVID-19 vaccines at a site in Rainier Beach.
The City of Seattle offers COVID-19 vaccines at its Rainier Beach Vaccination Hub, which now accepts walk/roll/drive ups. (Photo: Alex Garland)

COVID-19 Vaccination Accessibility & Other Info

Auburn Vaccination Center Now Offering Car-Side Service on Mondays From PHSKC: On Mondays only, beginning May 10, the Auburn vaccination clinic is offering car-side service for those who cannot easily walk into the clinic. Just let a greeter know upon arrival that car-side service is needed. Find directions to the Auburn location at https://kingcounty.gov/vaccine

Continue reading NEWS GLEAMS: Vaccines, Seattle Parks Summer Jobs, Share Your ‘Seattle Histories,’ & More!

Durkan Revisits Push to Move Parking Enforcement From Police to SDOT

by Paul Kiefer

(This article originally appeared on PubliCola and has been reprinted under an agreement.)


Six months after the Seattle City Council voted to move the city’s parking enforcement officers from the Seattle Police Department (SPD) to a new Community Safety and Communications Center by June, Mayor Jenny Durkan and Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) Director Sam Zimbabwe hope the council will revisit their decision. On Tuesday, April 13, Durkan’s office transmitted legislation to the council that would move the roughly 100 parking enforcement officers to SDOT instead, arguing that SDOT is better equipped to manage parking enforcement.

But the proposal is an unwanted case of déjà vu for the Seattle Parking Enforcement Officers’ Guild (SPEOG), the union that represents the officers. When the council was considering opportunities to shift some positions and responsibilities away from the police department as part of the larger conversation about defunding SPD last fall, SPEOG leadership lobbied the council to move them into the Community Safety and Communications Center, arguing that the placement would signal the parking officers’ role in the city’s reimagined approach to public safety.

Continue reading Durkan Revisits Push to Move Parking Enforcement From Police to SDOT

Madison Bus Rapid Transit Project Secures Funding, Metro to Modify Passenger Limits

by Jake Goldstein-Street and Emerald Staff

(An earlier version of this article appeared on Capitol Hill Seattle Blog. This revised version is being printed under an agreement.)


On Monday, April 5, U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg announced $187 million in federal funding for four bus rapid transit projects — San Bernardino, California, Ogden, Utah, Everett, Washington, and right here on East Madison in Seattle. 

From the announcement:

“The City of Seattle Department of Transportation will receive a $59.9 million allocation for the Madison Street BRT project, a 2.3-mile east-west BRT line operating diesel-electric buses along Madison Street spanning from downtown Seattle in the west to the Madison Valley neighborhood in the east, with connections in First Hill, Capitol Hill, and the Central Area. It will connect people to hospitals, schools, businesses, and other destinations as well as to dozens of bus routes, the First Hill Streetcar, and ferry service at the Colman Dock Ferry Terminal.”

Continue reading Madison Bus Rapid Transit Project Secures Funding, Metro to Modify Passenger Limits

As Seattle Gears Up for Winter Weather, Officials Scramble to Secure Emergency Shelter

by Ben Adlin


Seattle officials are urging residents to prepare for a series of winter storms expected to bring snow and sustained below-freezing temperatures to the region this week, warning that the severe weather could cause power outages, create problems for drivers, and put vulnerable populations at risk.

“We have to check in with our neighbors at times like this, especially our seniors and disabled neighbors,” Mayor Jenny Durkan said at a press conference Wednesday afternoon. “And also remember, you have the responsibility to shovel that sidewalk in front of your property.”

Agencies around King County are gearing up for the severe weather — preparing to clear roads and adjust bus routes, for example — but leaders at Wednesday’s press conference acknowledged the ongoing pandemic will complicate some efforts, such as expanding emergency shelter for people without housing.

Continue reading As Seattle Gears Up for Winter Weather, Officials Scramble to Secure Emergency Shelter

Lake Washington Boulevard Opens for Walking, Biking, and Rolling Over the Holidays

by Andrew Engelson


Thanks to an enthusiastic response from city residents, one mile of Lake Washington Boulevard will be closed to car traffic and open to walking, cycling, and rolling from Friday Dec. 18 through Sunday, Jan. 3. Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) announced the one-mile “Keep Moving” street after many people got outside to enjoy the three-mile closure of the street to cars over the summer. The current one-mile pedestrian-only stretch, which was also in effect over the Thanksgiving holiday, spans between Mount Baker Park in the north and Stan Sayres Memorial Park in the south.

Continue reading Lake Washington Boulevard Opens for Walking, Biking, and Rolling Over the Holidays

West Seattle Bridge Closure Exposes Inequities in Duwamish Valley Communities

by Bunthay Cheam


On March 23, the City of Seattle closed the West Seattle Bridge due to rapidly expanding cracks that rendered it unsafe for vehicle traffic.

The bridge will be closed until at least 2021 and may not be repairable according to Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) director Sam Zimbabwe. SDOT is still working to assess the full cost and timeline of needed repairs.

The city-owned bridge is vital to people living on the West Seattle peninsula, serving as the main route of access to the rest of the city, serving about 100,000 vehicles per day.

The main detour routes offered by the city take drivers through the Duwamish Valley, and through the communities of Georgetown, South Park and along  West Marginal Way.

Continue reading West Seattle Bridge Closure Exposes Inequities in Duwamish Valley Communities