Department of Transportation Administration and Communication Division Digital Photographs, 2005-2022

Overview of the Collection

Seattle (Wash.). Dept. of Transportation
Department of Transportation Administration and Communication Division Digital Photographs
2005-2022 (bulk)
388 digital image files
Collection Number
Digital photographs of various neighborhoods and sites in Seattle
Seattle Municipal Archives
Seattle Municipal Archives
Office of the City Clerk
City of Seattle
PO Box 94728
Seattle, WA
Telephone: 2062337807
Fax: 2063869025
Access Restrictions

Records are open to the public.


Historical NoteReturn to Top

The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) was formed by combining transportation planning from the former Strategic Planning Office (SPO) with the former Seattle Transportation Department (SeaTran) to bring a more comprehensive approach to transportation service delivery. A major element of SDOT's creation was the establishment of the Policy, Planning, and Major Project's division, which is charged with transportation system planning and providing increased control and influence over major projects under construction in Seattle.

SDOT is currently organized into eight divisions. The Director's Office, Human Resources, and Communications constitute the Executive management division. The Capital Projects and Roadway Structures division includes the Transportation Capital Improvement Program and operation and maintenance of the city's bridges and other structures. Street Use & Urban Forestry provides permitting for all work including planting, pruning, and removal of trees. Responsibility for long-range transportation planning, and developing transportation policy for the city of Seattle falls to the Policy & Planning division. Initiation of large projects and program development is lead by the Major Projects division. Financial oversight of the department, information systems and administrative support is directed by the Resource Management division. The Street Maintenance division has responsibility for street resurfacing, cleaning and general maintenance and Traffic Management is responsible for operation of the city's street system, and neighborhood and operational programs.

This department has had a long evolution beginning with the Department of Streets and Sewers which was responsible for planning, construction, repair, and cleaning of the City's streets, sidewalks, and sewers. City Council appointed Seattle's first Street Commissioner in 1875. The position came under the jurisdiction of the Board of Public Works in 1890. The position of Superintendent of Streets, Sewers and Parks was established in 1896; authority over parks was removed in 1904. In 1936 the Engineering Department assumed the responsibilities of the Department of Streets and Sewers and the Traffic Department and the Department became the Maintenance Division of the Engineering Department.

An ordinance creating a Department of Transportation was passed in July 1971. The legislation provided for the appointment of the Director of Transportation, specified the duties of the Transit Advisory Board, provided for the Seattle Transit Commission, and transferred all remaining operational aspects to the newly organized department. The Seattle Transportation Department was created in 1997 when the traffic and transportation functions of the Engineering Department were consolidated. By June 2002, SDOT and SPO consolidated to form a newly organized department which absorbed responsibilities for maintenance and operation of streets, bridges, retaining walls and seawalls, and traffic control systems in the City. An ordinance passed in 2004 changed the department's name to Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT).

Other Descriptive InformationReturn to Top

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

Images depict Seattle neighborhoods including Ballard, Fremont, Wallingford, Downtown, Capitol Hill, Queen Anne, South Lake Union, Beacon Hill, Belltown, and SODO. Also included are images of Pike Place Market, Pioneer Square and the Stadium District. Common subject matter is transit-oriented and includes bridges, ferries, buses, the waterfront trolley, railyards, the Alaskan Way Viaduct, street scenes, and traffic signage. Bike paths and cyclists are also featured. Scenic images included capture the Space Needle, Mount Rainier, Golden Gardens beach, and the Downtown skyline. Also included are images of damage resulting from the 2006 Hanukkah Eve Wind Storm. More than 250 images show Seattle streets and neighborhoods, emplty parking lots and playgrounds, social distancing sinage, Stay Healthy Streets, and more during the COVID-19 pandemic Stay Home Stay Safe order.

Use of the CollectionReturn to Top

Preferred Citation

[Item number.] SDOT Administration and Communication Division Digital Photograph Collection, Record Series 8100-01. Seattle Municipal Archives.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top

Acquisition Information

Photographs acquired through the Seattle Municipal Archives Digital Image Management Program.

Future Additions

This series may grow due to continued accessioning through the Digital Image Management Program. This finding aid will be updated to reflect additional accessions.

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

Subject Terms

  • Alaskan Way Viaduct (Seattle, Wash.)
  • Beacon Hill
  • Bridges--Washington (State)--Seattle
  • Buses--Washington (State)--Seattle
  • Downtown
  • Ferries--Washington (State)--Seattle
  • Golden Gardens Park
  • Neighborhoods
  • Photographs
  • Storms--Washington (State)--Seattle
  • Traffic signs and signals
  • Transportation--Washington (State)--Seattle

Corporate Names

  • Seattle (Wash.). Dept. of Transportation

Geographical Names

  • Ballard
  • Capitol Hill
  • Fremont
  • Queen Anne
  • Seattle
  • Seattle (Wash.)
  • SoDo (Seattle, Wash.)
  • South Lake Union

Form or Genre Terms

  • Wallingford