The Puget Sound Regional Council has identified the projects for 2016 to be the recipients of federal dollars for transportation improvements. Many of these projects are well known to most of our readers; the awarding of federal grant dollars could assist in moving up the delivery schedules on these projects, and opening up previous funding sources that had been secured for other purposes.
In Seattle, the most high-profile projects that have been selected are:
- $7.3 million for the Center City Connector streetcar on 1st Avenue, which the PSRC calls the “final segment of Seattle’s streetcar system.” Previously PSRC had helped to secure funds to plan the extension of the streetcar further down Broadway, but that project was not mentioned in the project application.
- $4.9 million for Madison Street High Capacity Transit. This project would also be funded by Sound Transit 3, but the $4.9 million gets the project closer to its full $120 million estimated price tag.
- $9.5 million for the S Lander Street overpass project. This project was recently a recipient of the largest federal grant ever awarded to Washington State, a $45 million FASTLANE grant. An FTA grant on top of that gets the project closer to the full $140 million it needs. The other funding sources here include $20 million from the Move Seattle levy.
- $3 million for a greenway and protected bike lane on Melrose Avenue in Central Seattle. The Melrose Promenade project, which calls for pedestrian and biking improvements on this street overlooking I-5, recently received $50,000 in Neighborhood Matching Funds from the City of Seattle to get their plans to a shovel-ready stage. $3 million should go a long way toward implementing a large component of the right of way components and helping them to realize their vision.
- $5.5 million for technology to improve traffic flow on Denny Way. This would be “upgraded signals, vehicle detection, traffic cameras, dynamic message signs, and fiber communication” at 15 intersections along Denny Way between Lower Queen Anne and Capitol Hill. This would be on top of the $1.4 million that is planned to create targeted bus lanes that mesh with King County Metro’s long range plan for the corridor.
- $951,000 for a protected bike lane on N 34th Street in Fremont.
Those are the highest-profile projects in Seattle, but as usual there are a lot of smaller projects included in the funding recommendations, mostly related to ongoing maintenance funding. Every Seattle transit agency is represented there, from the Monorail to Washington State Ferries. “Preservation funds” for major roadways, which is basically funding for grinding the roadway surface to avoid having to do a full replacement of the surface in several years. Streets that are recommended for that treatment are oddly very focused in Northeast Seattle, with 15th Ave NE, 25th Ave NE, and NE Pacific Street all making the cut.
Another big recommendation is $3.3 million for “non-motorized access to transit” which includes bike and pedestrian improvements in Bellevue, Tukwila, and Seattle. In Seattle, the project is identified only as a protected bike lane on Green Lake Way N, but this could be a big step toward expanding the regional bike network outside Seattle.
We intend to dig more into these projects as more details come out.
Ryan Packer lives in the Summit Slope neighborhood of Capitol Hill and has been writing for the The Urbanist since 2015. They report on multimodal transportation issues, #VisionZero, preservation, and local politics. They believe in using Seattle's history to help attain the vibrant, diverse city that we all wish to inhabit. Ryan's writing has appeared in Capitol Hill Seattle Blog, Bike Portland, and Seattle Bike Blog, where they also did a four-month stint as temporary editor.