SDOT Director report

Scott Kubly, Director of the Seattle Department of Transportation, gave a report to the Transportation Committee this morning.

His written report is here. He started with an update on the First Hill Streetcar. Last month they began “burn in” testing (including safety certification) on the six streetcars; five cars are complete. They are starting their “non-revenue” testing (which does not involve passengers) and working out the kinks before they open up official service.

They are moving forward on the Westlake cycle track, after working out a number of design issues with the community. Constructions bids are in, and they expect to start construction in the next couple of weeks and completing it this summer.

Kubly claims that the city is ready for winter storm response. They are stocked up on salt and brine; vehicles are ready to plow, drivers have been trained on the routes, and equipment is in working order. He noted that the city is much more equipped to handle a standard winter storm than a major winter storm of the kind we get every 15-20 years. SDOT identifies “gold” and “emerald” streets; gold streets get plowed curb-to-curb, and emerald streets get a single access lane plowed.

Kubly gave an update on the King Street Station; the Amtrak lease is up for renewal next year, and they are close to having a tenant for the space on the 2nd and 3rd floor: the Office of Arts and Culture. They also have an arts display space that they will continue to utilize.

SDOT also has a draft business plan for the bike share program, which the Council has requested as a condition for funding. It is in final review and should be forwarded to the Council before the end of the year.

The 23rd Avenue project is on schedule.

Council member Godden asked about repairs to the Burke-Gilman Trail — particularly further out. Kubly pointed out that several organizations are responsible for maintaining different parts of it, but he would get back to her with more information. Council member Bagshaw mentioned that there were other bike trails that also need attention, such as in Myrtle Edwards Park.

SDOT is also working with Uber, Lyft and other organizations to think about how to incorporate them better into the overall transportation plans for the region.

As a nice touch, since Rasmussen and Godden are leaving the Council (and thus the Transportation committee), Kubly gave them each a street sign with their names — Jean Godden Blvd. and Tom Rasmussen Dr.