UW’s Burke Gilman Trail improvement project complete

The opening of a new and improved section of the Burke-Gilman Trail on the University of Washington campus was cause for celebration this week.

This newly opened section of the Burke Gilman will soon be packed with students and commuters.

This newly opened section of the Burke Gilman will soon be packed with students and commuters. (Photo – UW)

PSRC contributed $3 million to the project.

The project doubles the width of the trail between 15th Ave NE and Rainier Vista and creates separate pathways for pedestrians and bikers.

Safety improvements include better intersection markings, new overhead LED lights, and additional blue emergency phones.  The project is also building a new secure bike house, which is expected to be complete later this month.

Use of the trail is expected to accelerate in coming years as Link light rail ridership continues to grow. Also, the new SR 520 bridge walking and biking path is set to connect to Montlake Boulevard NE in summer 2017, and a new Life Sciences Complex is scheduled to open along the trail in 2018.

State funding for another set of trail renovations on the east end of campus from Rainier Vista to NE 47th Street was included in the Connecting Washington package.  That project is expected to get underway between 2021 and 2025.

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Driving alone to work declining, transit use growing over the past 5 years

Across the Puget Sound region, more people are taking transit and walking to work, while driving and riding in personal vehicles is decreasing.

Region wide transit use is growing and driving alone is lowering.

Region wide transit use is growing and driving alone is decreasing.

This trend is amplified in the densest urban areas and most regional growth centers, and strongest among younger residents.

Between 2010 and 2014, the share of people traveling to work in a vehicle, whether alone or sharing a ride, decreased 2% from 85% in 2010 to 83% in 2014.

Transit shares regionally increased approximately 1.5% over this same period.

Walking and biking remained consistent regionally at approximately 6% of the total daily work trips.

Find out more, here.

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Street safety assessment of south Seattle

The Regional Freight Mobility Roundtable heard from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration regarding the lessons learned from a unique safety assessment held in South Seattle earlier in 2015.

The safety assessment looked at large vehicle and bicycle/pedestrian interaction on specific south Seattle routes.

The safety assessment looked at large vehicle and bicycle/pedestrian interaction on specific south Seattle routes.

The safety assessment was focused on issues involving trucks, pedestrians, and bicycles in this area, and allowed participants to have the opportunity to learn about transportation challenges firsthand from truck drivers, bus drivers, and bicyclists.

More than 100 people participated in the assessment with varied feedback depending on perspective. There was general agreement across all interests that protected, or separated bicycle and pedestrian facilities were the most commonly favored solution.  Issues observed included crossings in the SODO area being difficult for bicyclists and pedestrians, and that bicyclists waiting to make turns are less visible and exposed to risk.  Truck observations included that the behavior of bicyclists and pedestrians can be very unpredictable, making operating a heavy truck more challenging in an urban area.  Final results are available at the NHTSA website for more details.

Additionally, the Roundtable heard an update on developments from the Northwest Seaport Alliance, and heard an overview of the new freight provisions provided for the new FAST Act transportation bill.

To view presentations from the meeting, please go the Regional Freight Mobility Roundtable Website.

Active transportation workshops coming up

PSRC is hosting a series of Active Transportation Workshops around the region.

Attend an active transportation workshop in the region.

Attend an active transportation workshop in the region.

The three hour workshops are designed to inform local planners, engineers and stakeholders about new evolving trends in active transportation and best practices. The workshops are free and no RSVP is required.

The first two workshops are scheduled from 8:30-11:30 a.m.,  followed by a walk-tour:

  • Kitsap County workshop:  Wednesday, October 7 in Bremerton  at the Norm Dicks Government Center / Council Chambers – 345 6th Street, Bremerton, WA 98337
  • Snohomish County workshop:  Friday, October 9 in Everett at the Robert J. Drewel Building – 3000 Rockefeller Avenue,  Everett, WA 98201 (workshop will be held  the public meeting rooms 1 & 2 on the first floor)

A third workshop is planned to be held Puyallup on November 17.

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Walking and transit are top travel modes for college students

With the University of Washington back in session this week, roughly 700,000 K-12 and college students in the region will be finding a way to make it to class on time. 

photo of students in red square at UW

School started September 30 for students at the University of Washington.

Last fall PSRC conducted a survey of college student travel behavior as a supplement to the Regional Travel Study of over 6,000 households in spring 2014.

PSRC received 4,411 completed surveys from students at Bellevue College, Everett College, Green River Community College, Seattle Colleges, and the University of Washington.

The data is still being analyzed, but some initial findings include:

  • Most students don’t live on campus (89%).  The percentage of students living on campus is highest at the University of Washington (22%).
  • More than 65% of college students walk at least 2-7 times a week (versus 49% of the regional population)
  • 53% use transit 2-7 times per week (versus only 15% of the regional population)
  • 10% ride their bike 2-7 times per week (similar to 9% of the regional population)
  • A small percentage of students use alternative car sharing/ride options, with Car2Go, Uber and Lyft being the most popular.
  • 80% of students are full time.

Regional household surveys do not always collect enough college student samples to describe their unique behaviors.

This study helps supplement PSRC travel model estimations to better represent students’ travel patterns and understand how transportation needs vary across the region.

Region to explore federal grant for biking and walking projects

PSRC is working on a regionally coordinated effort to apply for bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure funding through the federal TIGER grant program.


The region is exploring a federal grant that could fund bike and walking infrastructure.

On Thursday the Transportation Policy Board recommended that PSRC staff support the Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee in developing a regionally coordinated application for 2015 TIGER funds. 

The Executive Board is scheduled to take action on the recommendation on February 26.

The TIGER program encourages multimodal, multi-jurisdictional projects that facilitate innovation, partnerships, safety, environmental sustainability and that better connect communities, particularly in economically distressed areas.

The goal is to pull together a group of projects that demonstrate cohesiveness and compete well based on the TIGER criteria.  You can find out more details here.

Nationwide, TIGER has funded six similar types of projects for bicycle and pedestrian networks, one of which was to a regional planning organization (East Bay Regional Parks district – SF Bay Area). Several were multi-jurisdictional and multi-county.

You can watch the meeting video here (discussion of the grant starts at about 1:23), or read a summary of board actions.

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Active transportation brown bag on Jan 15

Want to learn more about how active transportation planning efforts and how they can benefit public health? Attend a brown bag at PSRC on January 15 at 12:30 pm.

Find out about planning for the health impacts of transportation on November 6 at PSRC.

Find out about active transportation planning on January 15 at PSRC.

The session will focus on active transportation policy and implementation strategies such as whole systems planning, the cross-section between complete streets and multimodal level of service and context sensitive design.

Speakers will include: Robin Mayhew, PSRC; Diane Waitr, City of Tacoma, BPAC Chair; Gary Goldbaum, Snohomish Health District; Kerri Woehler, WSDOT; Justin Resnick, Fehr & Peers; McKayla Dunfey, Cascade Bicycle Club; Dongho Chang, Seattle DOT.

Active transportation is an important part of Transportation 2040, the region’s long-range transportation plan. Find out about PSRC’s active transportation plan and efforts to support biking and walking throughout region, here.