Seattle Department of Transportation

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Seattle Department of Transportation
Department overview
FormedNovember 18, 1996 (1996-11-18)
Preceding department
TypeDepartment of transportation
JurisdictionSeattle, Washington
HeadquartersSeattle Municipal Tower
700 Fifth Avenue, Suite 3800
Seattle, Washington
47°36′18″N 122°19′47″W / 47.60500°N 122.32972°W / 47.60500; -122.32972Coordinates: 47°36′18″N 122°19′47″W / 47.60500°N 122.32972°W / 47.60500; -122.32972
Annual budget$429 million (2015)
Department executive
  • Sam Zimbabwe, Interim Director
Child department

The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) is a municipal government agency in Seattle, Washington that is responsible for the maintenance of the city's transportation systems, including roads, bridges, and public transportation. The agency is funded primarily by taxes that are supplemented by voter-approved levies from other sources; its budget in 2015 was $429 million.


The Seattle Transportation Department was formed in November 1996, as part of the re-organization and eventual dissolution of the . The division was renamed to the "Seattle Department of Transportation" in 2004.

Administration and management[]


The department is managed by the Director of Transportation, a position appointed by the Mayor of Seattle and confirmed by a majority vote from the Seattle City Council. The position is subject to re-appointment and re-confirmation every four years.

Since 1997, eight people have held the office of Director of Transportation: The current director is Sam Zimbabwe, formerly of the District Department of Transportation in Washington, D.C., who was nominated and confirmed in early 2019.

Name Tenure Mayor(s)
Daryl Grigsby 19972002 Norm Rice, Paul Schell
Grace Crunican 20022009 Greg Nickels
Peter Hahn 20102013 Michael McGinn
Goran Sparrman (acting) 2014 Ed Murray
Scott Kubly 2014-2018
Goran Sparrman (acting) 2018 Jenny Durkan
Linea Laird (acting) 2018–19
Sam Zimbabwe 2019–


In 2015, SDOT had an adopted budget of $429 million. The largest portion of the budget, approximately $186 million, is allocated to major capital projects, including collaborations with regional and state agencies.

Transportation levies[]

Much of SDOT's long-term funding comes from voter-approved funding levies and other taxes. In 2006, the $365 million "Bridging the Gap" levy was approved by Seattle voters, using property taxes and parking fees to fund nine years of transportation improvements. The levy was replaced in 2015 by the voter-approved "Move Seattle" levy, funded by a new property tax, that will provide $930 million over a nine-year period.


Seattle Streetcar[]

SDOT maintains the citywide streetcar network, which consists of two lines, as of 2016: the South Lake Union Streetcar, opened in 2007; and the First Hill Streetcar, opened in 2016.

Transit funding[]

In addition to road funding, SDOT also provides funding for public transit improvements through partner agencies. The 2015 Move Seattle levy includes funding for expansion of King County Metro's RapidRide system into Seattle, replacing existing bus routes.

Cycling infrastructure[]

Since the passage of Bridging the Gap in 2006, SDOT has funded $36 million in bicycle infrastructure, including 129 miles (208 km) of bicycle lanes and sharrows, 98 miles (158 km) of signed bicycle routes, and 2,230 bicycle parking spaces.


As of 2015, SDOT has an estimated $20 billion in transportation assets within the city of Seattle. It maintains 3,954 miles (6,363 km) of streets, 122 bridges, 609 stairways, 158 traffic cameras, 1,061 signalized intersections, and 29,073 curb ramps. The Urban Forestry division maintains over 41,000 street trees, as well as 110 acres (45 ha) of managed landscape areas.


  1. ^ "Seattle Department of Transportation". City of Seattle 2015 Adopted Budget and 2016 Endorsed Budget (PDF) (Report). Seattle City Budget Office. February 17, 2015. p. 426. Retrieved September 2, 2017.
  2. Seattle City Council (November 18, 1996). "City of Seattle Ordinance 118409". City of Seattle Legislative Information Service. Office of the City Clerk. Retrieved September 2, 2017.
  3. Lewis, Peter (November 19, 1996). "Council OKs $3.7 billion budget". The Seattle Times. p. B3. Retrieved September 2, 2017.
  4. Seattle City Council (March 19, 2004). "City of Seattle Ordinance 121420". City of Seattle Legislative Information Service. Office of the City Clerk. Retrieved September 2, 2017.
  5. "Seattle Municipal Code Chapter 3.12: Seattle Department of Transportation". City of Seattle. Retrieved September 2, 2017 – via .
  6. "Facts About Seattle: City Officials". Seattle Municipal Archives. Retrieved September 2, 2017.
  7. Groover, Heidi (April 23, 2019). "'No small job': Sam Zimbabwe confirmed as new Seattle transportation director". The Seattle Times. Retrieved April 23, 2019.
  8. "Bridging the Gap — Building a foundation that lasts". Seattle Department of Transportation. June 20, 2016. Retrieved September 2, 2017.
  9. Lindblom, Mike (October 25, 2006). "Transportation levy would be biggest ever". The Seattle Times. Retrieved September 2, 2017.
  10. Lindblom, Mike (November 8, 2015). "Move Seattle passage means $930M to hit the streets; repaving, school zones first". The Seattle Times. Retrieved September 2, 2017.
  11. "Bicycle Program". Seattle Department of Transportation. Retrieved September 2, 2017.
  12. "SDOT Transportation Infrastructure Inventory". Seattle Department of Transportation. December 9, 2015. Retrieved September 2, 2017.

External links[]