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City of Seattle
Ed Murray, Mayor

SUBJECT: City Opens New McGraw Square

2/9/2011  12:15:00 PM

City Opens New McGraw Square
Reshaped plaza makes it easier to travel around and enjoy downtown

SEATTLE – The city of Seattle today opened the new McGraw Square plaza. Constructed by the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT), the new plaza makes it easier to travel around downtown, and enhances connections from the South Lake Union Streetcar to other transit options like buses and Link Light rail.

The newly reshaped plaza now features:

  • major enhancements to McGraw Square Park, an historic site dedicated to the former governor;
  • new trees, landscaping, natural drainage, architectural lighting, and seating;
  • a second loading platform for the South Lake Union Streetcar;
  • 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 lane changes on Westlake Ave.

The new plaza supports the city of Seattle’s goal of making Westlake, along with King Street Station and Colman Dock, one of three transportation hubs serving downtown. It also better connects the South Lake Union and Denny Triangle neighborhoods to the existing retail core while offering a “sense of place” that encourages new residents and businesses in Seattle’s 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 project cost approximately $900,000 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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