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23rd Avenue Corridor Improvements Project

Updated March 26, 2015

Phase 1 Construction | Current Schedule | Background | Outreach | Materials | Cost | Contact Us

Translated project materials available below

  • 中文 /Chinese
  • Español /Spanish
  • Tiếng Việt /Vietnamese
  • 한국의 / Korean
  • አማርኛ / Amharic
  • ትግርኛ /Tigrinya
  • Oromiffa/Oromo
  • Somali/Somali


Project updates – April 3 2015

Construction forecast at-a-glance

Major construction on 23rd Avenue is now scheduled to begin in mid-May, starting with Work Zone A located between S Jackson and E Cherry streets. However, before the contractor can begin rebuilding the street, Seattle Public Utilities need to complete some preliminary work.

Seattle Public Utilities intermittent work on 23rd Avenue April 6-30

Starting as soon as April 6, Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) crews will replace older water service lines intermittently throughout the month of April in preparation for replacing the 100-year-old water main underneath 23rd Avenue (planned to begin in mid-May). See the basics below.

What to expect during SPUs utility work:

  • Short-term lane closures (up to one in each direction between S Jackson and E Cherry streets)
  • Driveway and sidewalk access will be maintained
  • Temporary parking restrictions on side streets
  • Work hours:
    • Weekdays between 9 AM and 3 PM
    • Weekends (Saturday and Sunday) between 9 AM and 6 PM
  • Temporary water service interruptions for some customers
    • See SPUs work notice for more details
    • SPU will continue to work with affected properties to coordinate the short-term water shut-offs

March 5 open house

Thank you to the more than 100 people who attended our March 5 open house at Garfield High School! We were glad to be able to share more information about upcoming construction and hear from you. Common themes from attendees included: cut-through traffic, pedestrian safety, impacts to businesses, passenger loading near community service centers and Metro bus route changes, as well as how the new roadway will operate after construction is complete. Miss the open house? Check out our online open house! You can view the same open house materials, submit comments and sign up to receive construction updates.


Improving safety and mobility in your neighborhood

In May 2015, the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) will begin constructing improvements along 23rd Avenue between S Jackson Street and E John Street. These improvements will improve safety and mobility for drivers, pedestrians and transit riders. The project includes:

  • Modifying 23rd Avenue from a four-lane street to a three-lane street - one lane in each direction with a center left-turn lane (key intersections will stay four lanes)
  • Repaving 23rd Avenue
  • Widening sidewalks to at least five feet and repairing broken and buckling sidewalks
  • Installing new streetlights
  • Upgrading traffic signals to give transit priority at key locations
  • Consolidating bus stops to improve transit speed
  • Replacing a 100 year-old water main that runs underneath 23rd Avenue
  • Installing public art near 23rd Avenue and E Union Street
  • Implementing a greenway adjacent to 23rd Avenue, to create a quieter, safer route for people to bike and walk

What to expect – northbound closures and detours during construction

Construction between S Jackson Street and E John Street is expected to last approximately 20 months. To ensure the safety of pedestrians and drivers, as well as to allow enough space for crews to safely complete their work in a timely manner, northbound traffic in the active work zone will be detoured to Martin Luther King Jr Way. Southbound traffic will be maintained, though reduced to one lane at most times. The graphic below illustrates why there is not enough space in the road to accommodate more than one lane of traffic during construction.

To minimize the impact of construction in front of your home, business or route to school or work, construction will be divided into three zones.

  • Zone A: S Jackson Street to E Cherry Street – Approximately 8 months
  • Zone B: E Cherry Street to E Union Street – Approximately 6 months
  • Zone C: E Union Street to E John Street – Approximately 6 months

While construction is happening in your zone, you should expect the following:

  • Full northbound closure of 23rd Avenue (23rd Avenue will be reduced to one southbound lane while work is taking place in a zone)
  • Northbound detours to Martin Luther King Jr Way
  • Multiple weekend closures at major intersections
  • Occasional night work
  • Short-term driveway closures and sidewalk detours
  • Temporary loss of parking on side streets
  • Heavy equipment and trucks traveling and staging
  • Noise, dust and vibration

How to use the detour

Northbound traffic will be detoured east to Martin Luther King Jr. Way. To access a home or business mid-zone, drivers will need to use Martin Luther King Jr. Way (or another nearby arterial) to travel northbound and turn onto an east-west street at the end of a zone – S Jackson, E Cherry, E Union or E Madison/John streets – to then go southbound on 23rd Avenue. Use the detour map at right to determine how to access a business or residence mid-zone on 23rd Avenue.

We expect the first few weeks of detours to be a challenge as you adapt to the new routes. We appreciate your patience as we make adjustments to keep traffic and people moving – please plan for extra time as you travel through the corridor.

Metro bus detours and stop changes

Visit Metro’s Rider Alerts page to get the latest information about your route and any changes during construction. Generally, detours will only be in place when necessary, as affected by construction. For example, northbound Route 48 will use Martin Luther King Jr Way when work is happening in a zone, and then cut back over to 23rd Avenue to continue north. Southbound bus service on 23rd Avenue will be maintained, but likely experience some delays.
In advance of bus route changes, Metro will:

  • Update the Trip Planner
  • Update data for OneBusAway website and smartphone app
  • Post Rider Alerts at affected stops
  • Post routes changes on the Rider Alerts page
  • Notify Rider Alert subscribers of the changes via text message

Keeping your neighborhood safe and moving during construction

To balance the various needs of everyone who lives, works, plays and goes to school on and around 23rd Avenue, we have identified some tools to help manage traffic and keep people safe on the neighborhood’s streets. These include:


  • Signal timing modifications to keep traffic moving
  • Signage, including detour information
  • An adjacent neighborhood greenway to provide a safe place for people to walk and bike


  • Uniformed police officers (UPOs) and flaggers on site
  • Traffic speed and volume analysis
  • “Local Access Only” signs and speed trailers where warranted, based on analysis

Neighborhood Greenway

Phase 1 installation of the Central Area Neighborhood Greenway has begun. The greenway will provide a space for people to bike and walk next to 23rd Avenue, but generally away from active construction.

Your favorite businesses and organizations will be open during construction

In addition to safety and mobility, we want to ensure the local businesses and places you visit regularly remain accessible during construction. To help local businesses stay accessible and minimize some of the construction impacts they may experience, the City will:

  • Ensure the contractor provides pedestrian and vehicle access for customers
  • Place “Businesses Are Open” signs to encourage patronage during construction
  • Provide businesses with project information cards for front counters and/or customized maps or materials to support their individual marketing efforts
  • Limit the number and duration of interruptions to driveway access
  • Keep the project area as tidy as possible throughout construction
  • Provide advance notice about construction activities, including email updates and door-to-door flyers
  • Host monthly drop-in sessions to discuss construction updates and any community concerns
  • Have a community liaison available on-site or by phone 24 hours a day
  • Maintain a website with updated construction information

The City also has additional resources available for businesses and organizations affected by construction. If you are a local business/organization and would like more information, please contact the Office of Economic Development directly at 206-684-8090.

Construction contact information

Construction can be difficult. If you experience any issues or have questions during construction, please contact the community liaison via phone or email anytime, day or night:

Phone: 206-727-8857 

Staff are currently available during normal business hours; a 24-hour hotline will be accessible just prior to – and during – construction

Email address:


Phase 1 (S Jackson Street to E John Street)

  • Construction: April 2015 – early 2017
    • Zone A (S Jackson Street to E Cherry Street): approximately 8 months
    • Zone B (E Cherry Street to E Union Street): approximately 6 months
    • Zone C (E Union Street to E John Street): approximately 6 months

Phase 2 (S Jackson Street to Rainier Avenue S)

  • Planning: Spring 2013 – 2015
  • Design: 2015 – 2016
  • Construction: Likely 2017, pending funding

Phase 3 (E Roanoke Street to E John Street transit stop improvements)

  • Planning: Spring 2013 – 2015
  • Design: 2015 – 2016
  • Construction: Likely 2017, pending funding


The Corridor

23rd Avenue is an essential arterial that connects a variety of users to businesses, educational institutions and residences in the Central District and beyond. Approximately 13,400-20,000 vehicles use 23rd Avenue each day. This area also serves high volumes of pedestrians, bike riders, and transit users (approximately 6,000 daily transit riders).

The corridor is in poor condition, with narrow lanes and no turn lanes, many pothole patches and restricted and uneven sidewalks. The City of Seattle is investing in the Central District by improving 23rd Avenue to make it safer for those who drive, take transit and walk.


The new roadway – opportunity for a safer 23rd Avenue

On streets with 25,000 vehicles per day or fewer, redesigning a street from four lanes to three can increase safety by reducing collisions, reducing speeding, allowing vehicles to turn without blocking traffic, managing drivers cutting in and out of lanes, creating space for wider sidewalks, making streets easier to cross and making it easier for freight and transit to travel. At most bus stops, the road will flare to approximately 18 feet, where buses can pull to the side and vehicles can pass the stopped bus in the travel lane. The City is also working with King County Metro to determine the benefits of electrifying the Route 48 line. The results from the study can be found in the Project Materials section below.


cross section

Public Outreach

SDOT is committed to engaging with the community and understanding the needs in the project area. To get ready for construction, we are conducting door-to-door outreach, briefing community groups and businesses, sending email and online notifications, and hosting a pre-construction open house. Please contact us if you would like to request a community briefing. 

To receive project email updates, sign up below!

Email address:

Project Materials

Current materials

Translated materials

  • Phase 1 Construction Handout


Previous materials


Project Cost

The project is being funded by a number of sources – local, state and federal. To date, the City of Seattle has allocated $45 million for improvements to the corridor. Phase 1 is fully funded. Phases 2 and 3 design are fully funded. Additional funding is needed for Phase 2 and 3 construction.

Questions or Comments?

Call the 24-hour project construction hotline: 206-727-8857

Maribel Cruz
Project Communications Lead

Ron Scharf
Project Manager

To request information in another format:

If you need this information translated, please call (206) 727-8857.

Si necesita traducir esta información al español, llame al (206) 727-8857.

如果您需要此信息翻譯成中文 請致電 (206) 727-8857.

Kung kailangan mo ang impormasyon na ito na nakasalin sa Tagalog mangyari lamang na
tumawag sa (206) 727-8857.

Nếu quý vị cần thông tin này chuyển ngữ sang tiếng Việt xin gọi (206) 727-8857.

የዚህን መረጃ ትርጉም ከፈለጉ፣ በዚህ ስልክ ቁጥር ይደውሉ፡ (206) 727-8857.

ናይዚ ሓበሬታ ትርጉም እንተደሊኹም፣ በዚ ቁጽሪ ስልኪ ይድውሉ፡ (206) 727-8857.

Odeeffannoon kun akka siif (206) 727-8857.

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