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City of Seattle
Ed Murray, Mayor

SUBJECT: City Begins Construction of New McGraw Square

9/24/2010  12:15:00 PM

City Begins Construction of New McGraw Square
Enhanced plaza will better serve pedestrians and transit users downtown

SEATTLE – To better support pedestrians and enhance access to transit options, the City of Seattle today began construction of the new McGraw Square plaza. To be completed in two months by the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT), the new plaza will make it easier for pedestrians to enjoy or travel through McGraw Square, and enhance connections to other transit options like bus lines and Link Light rail.

“Whether you are a pedestrian, bicyclist, or transit user, the new McGraw Square will make your downtown trip more enjoyable,” said Deputy Mayor Darryl Smith. “Projects like this allow Seattle to break down the barriers that keep all of us from walking, biking and riding transit.”

Once completed the newly reshaped space will feature:

• major enhancements to McGraw Square Park, an historic landmark;

• new trees, landscaping, natural drainage, architectural lighting, and seating;

• covered bicycle parking and amenities;

• improved pedestrian connections to the retail core and Downtown Transit Tunnel;

• improved safety for all users by simplifying a complicated five-way intersection; and

• a left-turn only lane from Stewart St to Fifth Ave and channelization changes on Westlake Ave.

The new plaza will better connect the South Lake Union and Denny Triangle neighborhoods to the existing retail core while offering a “sense of place” that better supports housing and economic development. It aids Seattle’s goal of making Westlake one of three transportation hubs serving downtown (along with King Street Station and Colman Dock) and the Center City Strategy of encouraging new residents and businesses in the urban core.

To build the pedestrian plaza at the current terminus of the South Lake Union Streetcar, SDOT permanently closed Westlake Ave between Olive Way and Stewart St. Westlake’s traffic volumes were low and the closure reduces pressure on the Fifth Ave and Olive Way intersection. The closure began on Thursday, September 23, and construction is expected to be completed by Thanksgiving. The Seattle Streetcar and buses on Fifth Ave will remain in service during construction.

The project will cost approximately $780,000 and is being funded via a transit mobility grant from the Washington State Department of Transportation. For more information, please visit

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Seattle Department of Transportation

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