New protected bike lane triples bike riding on Second Avenue; nearly 1,100 cyclists daily using new facility

The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) today released data for the new Second Avenue Protected Bike Lane that shows bicycle ridership has tripled due to the new facility. With the conversion of the former one-way bike lane to a two-way, protected bike lane, an average of 1,099 bicyclists a day used the new lane on September 9, 10 and 11 according to electronic counters. This is three times the daily number of cyclists that had previously used the former one-way bike lane.

“I am pleased that the new Second Avenue bike lane is addressing Seattle’s need for a safer, more predictable route through downtown,” said Mayor Ed Murray. “These changes help enhance safety for everyone and make Seattle better prepared for the launch of Pronto! Cycle Share in October.”

Installed by SDOT, the facility opened Monday, September 8 with new pavement markings for two-way bike traffic, green pavement markings where turning cars cross the bike lane, separate traffic signals for bicyclists and motorists turning left, and plastic posts separating the bike lane from the left turn/parking lane.

SDOT and the Cascade Bicycle Club teamed up for an education/outreach campaign, and staff was positioned at left turn locations to remind motorists and bicyclists to observe the signals. Based upon feedback obtained during the initial few days, SDOT made additional changes on September 11 to reduce confusion.  “No turn on red” signs replaced “turn on green arrow only” signs and a green straight arrow replaced the solid green circle light. After these changes, an observation of 52 vehicles on Second Avenue at Spring Street revealed that only two drivers made an illegal left turn when their left turn arrow was red, a 96.2 percent compliance rate.

“A better organized Second Avenue means a more predictable roadway for cyclists, drivers and pedestrians, and makes it safer for all users,” said SDOT Direct Scott Kubly. “Signals and signs make the rules of the road more clear.”

Since the bicycle lanes opened, travel times for drivers on Second Avenue have been better than originally forecasted. On the first day of the bike lane’s operation, it took drivers approximately one minute longer to travel the 0.71 miles on Second Avenue than before the conversion. With numerous events occurring that first week, to include opening day of the National Football League season at CenturyLink Field, engineers expect travel times to decrease further as drivers become accustomed to the new roadway configuration.

Mayor Murray names new SDOT Director

Mayor Murray today named former deputy commissioner of the City of Chicago Department of Transportation and former associate director of the District of Columbia Department of Transportation Scott Kubly as his appointment for director of the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT).

“Scott is a transportation visionary,” said Murray. “He has a proven track record in Chicago and Washington, D.C. of advancing innovative solutions that address the full range of transportation needs of residents and businesses. He’s also a transportation renaissance man who’s virtually done it all: he’s worked on bikes issues, car share programs, traffic management and pedestrian safety strategies, rapid transit and street cars; he’s done long-range budgeting, strategic planning, cost reduction, major capital project development, and performance measurement and accountability. Scott is the transportation leader this city needs to take us to the next level in creating more livable, walking communities.”

“Seattle is growing incredibly fast,” said Kubly. “To accommodate that growth and preserve the city’s great quality of life, we need a transportation system that doesn’t just get the basics right like freight mobility and safety, but that also invests in new, high quality transit, bikeshare, new bike lanes for Seattleites from 8 to 80 to ride in, and improving the pedestrian experience throughout the city. It also means creating an environment in which the private sector can provide transportation services that complement the public transportation network.  This means creating an environment that allows transportation network companies and taxis to thrive, carsharing to expand, or for new types of transportation services to evolve. The fact is, people aren’t tied to individual transportation modes, they’re tied to outcomes – and we must continue bringing forward options that will deliver the positive outcomes they need and expect.”

Murray said Kubly will lead his administration’s efforts to merge the city’s many various transportation modal planning efforts into a single comprehensive, multi-modal transportation system for Seattle.

“Scott is the right person with the right temperament and the right talent-set to move us beyond picking winners and losers between pedestrians, bikes, transit, roads and freight, and instead lead the integration and prioritization of our many planning needs into one comprehensive Move Seattle plan,” Murray said.

Kubly is currently the acting president at Alta Bicycle Share, the largest bikeshare operator in North America. His previous roles include deputy commissioner of the City of Chicago Department of Transportation, associate director of the District of Columbia Department of Transportation, and planning manager roles at the Office of the Mayor in Washington, D.C. and the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority. Kubly is a graduate of the University of Missouri. He holds an MS in Community and Regional Planning from the University of Texas and a MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.

“Seattle needs a transportation director who recognizes the importance of a balanced transportation system and can help guide our city’s transition from auto-dependence,” said City Council Transportation Committee Chair Tom Rasmussen. “Mr. Kubly’s experience in Chicago and Washington, D.C. shows a commitment to accomplishing just that. I look forward to our discussions with Mr. Kubly over the next several weeks. I also encourage the public to participate in the confirmation process.”

“Scott’s experience and values matches up very well with the themes we heard from over 30 community advisory committee members representing over 30 stakeholder groups, 350 comments received from the community through our on-line outreach, and input received from a citywide neighborhood summit,” said John Okamoto, co-chair of the Search Committee that conducted the search process for the next SDOT director. “The selection committee was impressed with his innovation and creativity, transportation integration, and mix of project experiences.”

“Scott and I have worked together in Washington, D.C. and Chicago and he was one of the best hires I made,” said Gabe Klein former transportation commissioner of Chicago. “From innovative finance to transit planning, and making active transportation a primary focus and mode of transportation, Scott has a deep understanding of the challenges, the solutions, and has the ability to execute and get the job done which is the key.”

“I have worked with Scott in various capacities over the past 10 years,” said Leah Treat, director of the Portland Bureau of Transportation. “Most recently, in Chicago, Scott and I served side by side as deputies to Commissioner Gabe Klein. Scott will be a strong visionary leader for Seattle, bringing a unique blend of project management, financial acumen and innovative thinking developed over the years in both transit and transportation agencies. Scott will take calculated risks and pilot new techniques in an effort to deliver high quality services and maximize resources. Seattle is lucky to have attracted his talent to the Pacific Northwest.”

“When he was leading our city’s efforts to create a streetcar program, Scott Kubly fully engaged the business community so that we became willing partners in both helping to plan and implement a new system of public transportation for DC,” said Richard Bradley, president and CEO of the Downtown D.C. Business Improvement District. “He understood the needs and concerns of the business community, as he did other communities of interest in our city, and was responsive to these issues. I think he has the potential to deliver both outstanding leadership as well as dedicated professional management to Seattle’s Department of Transportation.”

“Scott has a real passion for multimodal transportation solutions,” said Rob Johnson, executive director for Transportation Choices Coalition. “I look forward to working with him to make Seattle’s transportation system the innovative, world class, system I know we’re striving to become.”

The Seattle Department of Transportation’s mission is “to create and maintain for Seattle a safe and reliable transportation system which enhances neighborhoods, the environment and the economy.” Everything the department does is aimed at enhancing mobility within the city; this department has as its vision “to be the most innovative and responsive transportation agency in the region.” The viability of Seattle’s neighborhoods and the health of our region’s economy are dependent upon access and mobility.

The Director of Transportation reports to the Mayor and has management oversight of more than 750 employees and an annual operating budget of more than $400 million.

Kubly will start on July 28 and will earn an annual salary of $180,000. This position is subject to Council confirmation.