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After nearly a two year absence (and $280 million dollars), University of Washington Football is back with us in Northeast Seattle.
The countdown to the first game on Saturday night has a motto: “Retake Montlake.” But residents in the path of 70,000+ spectators leaving the stadium area may take that slogan to mean “Retake Montlake, and 25th, and 45th, and 520, and residential streets used as a shortcut and…” etc.
The traffic plan for game days this year is similar to the one used in the past. But additional restrictions on parking in certain areas may be new to you.
Traffic Plan for Game Days
- The Washington State Department of Transportation will operate the Montlake Bridge under a modified schedule which will keep the bridge in the down position (open to vehicles and pedestrians) approximately two hours and thirty minutes before the start of the game and up to three hours after the game concludes.
- Seattle Police officers will staff intersections before and after the event in the immediate area to help facilitate safe vehicle and pedestrian flow.
- Lane and traffic restrictions to help control traffic flow will also be implemented throughout the area.
- At the conclusion of the game, Montlake Boulevard NE will be closed to through traffic between NE Pacific Street and NE 45th Street until the traffic volumes exiting the stadium parking lots subsides.
- All northbound traffic crossing the Montlake Bridge, excluding emergency and permit holding vehicles, will be re-routed westbound on NE Pacific Street.
- Southbound traffic traveling toward Husky Stadium will also be detoured away from the stadium.
- All traffic exiting stadium parking lots along Montlake Boulevard NE will be routed northbound.
- Pedestrian traffic is given precedence for the first 20 minutes after the conclusion of the game by Seattle Police officers to help move the crowds safely away from the stadium.
- At the conclusion of the game, NE 25th Street between Montlake Blvd NE and NE 75th Street becomes one-way northbound for approximately two hours.
Astute observers may note that there is no new traffic plan component for the newly redesigned NE 75th Street itself.
Reminder: NE 75th Street’s rechannelization was designed for the other 358 or so days of the year. As were all the other streets leading to and from Husky Stadium. We should all expect congestion on local roads when those other seven or so days of the year roll around, and 70,000 people all try to go home at once.
But having said that, should residents have comments/observations for SDOT about the massive traffic exodus (on NE 75th Street or elsewhere), we can leave them at this number: 684-ROAD.
Additional Restrictions on Parking
To ease parking congestion in popular areas of the city, SDOT has set up Restricted Parking Zones (RPZs) that allow residents to park for longer periods of time than visitors.
New to you, however, may be the RPZs around Husky Stadium: the Game Day RPZs – set up in Zones A, B, 1, 6 and 20 to specifically maintain parking for residents in the area on game days.
Zone A: Montlake / Husky Game Days
Zone 1: Montlake
Zone 6: University Park (NEW)
Zone 20: Ravenna/Bryant
This year, SDOT added Game Day restrictions to RPZ 6 (University Park). This area is directly south of Ravenna Park to NE 50th St, and between 15th Avenue NE and Ravenna Ave NE (down Ravenna all the way to NE 45th Street)
Below is a picture of a couple parking signs posted in RPZ 6. The green one on the top is probably familiar to you. The red one on the bottom, however, is new.
What this means for Saturday, for example, is that vehicles without a RPZ 6 decal or guest pass are NOT ALLOWED TO PARK in this area between 4 PM and 11 PM (three hours before the 7 PM game, and two hours after).
That’s seven straight hours of no parking for any vehicles without a RPZ 6 decal (or guest pass).
And this restriction does include those cute little Car2Go vehicles (answers apply to all Game Day RPZs):
— car2go Seattle (@car2goSeattle) August 29, 2013
— car2go Seattle (@car2goSeattle) August 29, 2013
The new restrictions have at least one resident of RPZ 6 very concerned. This individual lives in an area of the zone known as the Ravenna Springs neighborhood. Via email (name withheld until we get permission to use it):
These new restrictions were pushed through by several members of UPCC. Those of us who live on Ravenna Ave below 55th and have been following the “process” are extremely unhappy with it. We happen to live on the last street in Zone 6, and have pretty much nothing to do with the UPCC neighborhood up the hill. In fact, we’re the independent Ravenna Springs neighborhood.
On the Friday morning following Thanksgiving night, when friends and family are visiting and there is normally no parking enforcement, restrictions will begin at 9am! The only way you won’t get a $50 ticket is to have a Zone 6 permit or a guest pass. Problematic because guest passes cost an additional $30 and are limited to one per household.
UPDATE (10:41 AM): For more information on the city’s Restricted Parking Zones and how to obtain RPZ decals and guest passes, visit SDOT’s Restricted Parking Zone Program Online Permitting page.
Let the games begin.
The Seattle Department of Transportation crew that had been laying down “proto-lanes” on NE 75th Street finished up their work today. And it was not long after they’d put away their paint can that the SDOT Painting Truck Convoy rolled in to finish the job*.
Above is a picture of NE 75th Street at about 23rd Avenue NE, taken at 10:15 PM on Friday night. It’s done.
Here we’re looking west down NE 75th Street, from the same location.
Additionally, the no-parking-during-commutes parking signs were replaced with these no parking signs.
The “Wild West” has been tamed…or has it?
Drive around/Walk around/Bike around on it a bit, everyone, then let’s meet back here in the comments to talk about our experiences.
*UPDATE (Saturday morning): The roadway improvements are not *completely* finished, but the new lanes had been laid down as of last night. The era of driving two-by-two is over. This morning, a crew was spotted adding reflectors to the sides of the new left turn lane.
UPDATE (Saturday afternoon): A truck/machine/thing was seen grinding the old yellow stripes off the middle of the road, east of 25th Avenue NE. Did not continue west of 25th, however. Monday’s job, perhaps.
UPDATE (Saturday evening): Valarie Bunn, Wedgwood historian extraordinaire, sent us some photos of the old lane lines being ground off the road earlier today.
The only female SDOT worker I’ve seen working on the improvements, and this is the job she’s doing. As my ancestors would say, “Uff da.”
And I believe the machine pictured above cleans up after the grinding equipment has done its job.
UPDATE (Sunday morning): OMG they’re back at it again already.
Workers, cones, and signs were spotted near 20th Avenue NE around 7 AM. And around 9 AM, the grinding gear was spotted in the same location:
They're here! And on a Sunday! pic.twitter.com/CiMR81v1jg
— Starace 1919 (@Starace1919) August 25, 2013
With a goal of getting the new road configuration for NE 75th Street in by the first day of school (two weeks from today), it’s no surprise that the Seattle Department of Transportation has started preparing the Northeast Seattle arterial so quickly.
Some pictures from today (Wednesday):
View down NE 75th Street, looking west towards the signaled intersection with 20th Avenue NE. Truck with moving lighted arrow signage telling motorists to move to the right.
View from the west side of the SDOT crew’s spot in the middle of NE 75th Street, as they stop to look at the plans for a moment.
Worker on the right watches the NE 75th Street plans, while the worker on the left paints the lane plans onto the road surface.
Above picture taken a few seconds after the previous one, showing the lane painting occurring.
A look down the hill towards 20th Avenue NE. As the crew worked in the center of the arterial, vehicles parted around them, already driving in the new configuration.
We’ll add more photos here when we have them!
Driven the new NE 75th Street configuration yet? What do you think so far? Tell us in the comments.
Residents living near NE 75th Street between 15th Avenue NE and 35th Avenue NE are coming home today to a postcard from the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) outlining the changes that the department has chosen to make to the arterial.
additionally, at about 2:30 PM this afternoon, the NE 75th St project email listserv received an email also outlining the changes (excerpt below):
After five public meetings, numerous on-site observations, and a review of traffic data, the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) reached a final recommendation for the corridor, involving the following changes to Northeast 75th Street between 15th Avenue Northeast and 35th Avenue Northeast:
- Providing one general purpose travel lane in each direction
- Installing a two-way center left turn lane
- Adding a new marked crosswalk at 28th Avenue Northeast
- Striping bicycle lanes in both directions
- Removing on-street parking on Northeast 75th Street, except at Nathan Eckstein Middle School where parking will be maintained for school buses and general parking
- Adding photo enforcement cameras for the Nathan Eckstein school zone
To summarize, the above is essentially Proposal 4 with some adjustments made to accommodate buses and event parking in front of Eckstein Middle school.
SDOT will begin the rechannelization of the street the week of August 26, with the goal of completing striping before the school year starts on Wednesday, September 4.
Jim Curtin at SDOT was kind enough to send us the plans for the new-and-improved NE 75th Street (783 KB PDF), which include the following bits we’d like to highlight (red lines and figures indicate features to be ADDED, green lines and figures represent current conditions that will be REMOVED):
Where NE 75th Street meets 15th Avenue NE, the new, separate bicycle lanes start/end on the east side of the intersection. Left turns are now made from a separate left turn lane.
At NE 75th Street and 20th Avenue NE (a long established bicycle north-south route), the bicycle lanes continue. Left turns are made from the dedicated left turn lane from 75th to 20th.
At NE 75th Street at 25th Avenue NE, the bicycle lanes continue, and left turns from 75th to 25th have their own lane.
Here’s where things change up a bit: Eckstein Middle School. To make room for a school bus zone/event parking in front of the school, the dedicated left turn lane disappears, tapering away as the eastbound travel lanes and the bicycle lane move toward the north/center of the roadway.
Then, on the east side of the front of the school, at 33rd Avenue NE, eastbound travel lane and bicycle land move to the right/south as the left turn lane becomes available again.
The new left turn lane continues through the intersection with 35th Avenue NE (the green lines on the plans above are removed). The separate eastbound bike lane ends at this point (but may continue to connect with the 39th Avenue NE Greenway in the future).
For a look at the before and after of a similar project, SDOT recommends we check out the changes that were made to Nickerson Street in 2010. A study on the roadway before and after rechannelization was released in March 2012, and can be viewed here (429 KB PDF).
If you’re a regular reader of the Ravenna Blog these days, you’re into road safety improvements. (Seems to be all we post about on here lately, anyway.)
This next project is a bit out of our normal coverage area, but that doesn’t mean we don’t ever drive there.
On Tuesday, August 20, from 6:30-7:45 PM, the Seattle Department of Transportation is holding an open house about proposed safety improvements on Green Lake Way North (between N 50th and N 55th Streets) at the Green Lake Branch of the Seattle Public Library (7364 E Green Lake Dr N). The presentation portion begins at 6:45 PM.
More details (via email):
Green Lake Way North is currently a four-lane street that borders the east side of the Woodland Park Playfields and provides access to Green Lake from the south. The Seattle Department of Transportation is proposing changes to make the street safer and more comfortable for people of all ages and abilities to walk and ride bikes, as well as safer for drivers. The changes will reduce speeds, and improve pedestrian and bicycle access.
The proposal includes installing a new center turn lane, reconfiguring the street to provide one travel lane in each direction with bicycle lanes on both sides of the street, and improving pedestrian crossings. A new stop sign will be installed at West Green Lake Way North. Traffic signal operations at Green Lake Way North and North 50th Street will be improved by removing one block of parking on the north side of North 50th Street.
For more information on the project, visit SDOT’s Green Lake Way Safety Improvements page.
On Monday, August 12, from 6:45-8 PM, Mayor Mike McGinn and the Seattle Department of Transportation will hold a town hall-style meeting at the Ravenna-Eckstein Community Center (6535 Ravenna Ave NE).
City officials will be on hand to to address residents’ and area business owners’ concerns about the Bicycle Master Plan Draft Update and the potential role NE 65th Street may play in it.
Our live coverage of the meeting will begin below, around 6:45 PM.
UPDATE (Thursday, August 15): The Seattle Channel has posted their video of the event, and you can watch it right here (Flash required):
The time to comment on the Bicycle Master Plan Draft update is over.
Or is it?
According to the Cascade Bicycle Club’s blog, the Seattle Department of Transportation “received more comments on the NE 65th Street protected bike lane than any other project proposed in the draft Bicycle Master Plan Update.”
Not a surprising observation to hear, especially after a less-than-stellar open house on the BMP Draft on June 13 at Roosevelt High School, and a “small business owners/residents meeting” held on June 23 at the Varsity Restaurant on NE 65th St.
We think it is a fair point to make, for all sides of the issue of NE 65th Street’s place in the BMP Update, that there is a lot of confusion around the issue.
Which is why we are grateful to see that a neighborhood town hall regarding NE 65th St and the Bicycle Master Plan Update is being held at the Ravenna-Eckstein Community Center (6353 Ravenna Ave NE) on Monday, August 12, from 6:45-8 PM.
If you yourself are not able to attend this meeting, and/or would like to read about it after the fact, the Ravenna Blog will be providing live coverage of the events. We’ll post the link here on Monday the 12th.
If we may be so bold: If you are planning on attending the meeting, please consider taking an alternate mode of transportation than your usual. The journey might give you some insight into the concerns of others in the area.
We can’t let Sand Point Way NE have all the lane closure fun, can we?
The Seattle Department of Transportation sent out an advisory this week about upcoming work on the NE 45th St Viaduct that will cause various lane closures from August 5-19.
Structures crews from the Seattle Department of Transportation will close one lane at a time on the Northeast 45th Street Viaduct starting next week to repair an expansion joint. They will start on the outside, westbound lane and progress to the opposite side of the roadway. When the eastbound lane is closed, eastbound traffic will be shifted to temporarily use one of the westbound lanes, providing one lane in each direction. The closures will be from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. from August 5 to August 19.
But on the bright side, it’s good to get this work done before the UW students come back to town, right?
On Wednesday, July 24, from approximately 6:30-9 PM, Ravenna Blog will be attending the NE 75th St Design Alternatives Review meeting being held at the Wedgwood Presbyterian Church (8008 35th Ave NE), and will provide live coverage below.
The agenda for the meeting, released by SDOT’s Jim Curtin via the NE 75th St listserv on Monday, looks like this:
7:00 Welcome and Announcements
7:05 Recap of Spring Meetings
7:15 SDOT Presentation
7:45 Questions and Answers
8:15 Speak Directly with SDOT
If you have not yet done your NE 75th St homework, please look over the four SDOT proposed designs for the arterial here.
UPDATE (Thursday, July 25): SDOT has made the presentation available online, with a few updates made for the Thursday afternoon presentation (as requested with more visuals!). You can download the PowerPoint presentation itself here (5.7 MB), or just the slides in PDF format here (2 MB).
Here’s an example of some of the added graphics (this one of what NE 75th St might look like under Proposal 4 with increased pedestrian crosswalk features):