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23rd Avenue Corridor Improvements Project

Project updates – July 2014

Phase 1 construction begins in late 2014/early 2015! More details will be available soon.

Also, visit the upcoming Central Area Neighborhood Greenway drop-in sessions to learn more about the greenway design in Phases 2 and 3, and share your input for completing the north and south connections.

Drop-in schedule

Phase 2 (S Jackson Street to Rainier Avenue S)
Tuesday, July 15, 4:30 – 7 PM
St. Mary’s Church school house (611 20th Avenue S)

Phase 3 (E John Street to E Roanoke Street)
Thursday, July 17, 4 – 6:30 PM
Miller Community Center (330 19th Avenue E)


The Corridor

23rd Avenue is a principal 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 5,800 daily transit riders – the 8th highest ridership in King County). Today, the roadway is in poor condition with hundreds of patches where potholes existed, narrow lanes and no turn lanes, and is bordered in many places by constricted and uneven sidewalks.  

A Call for Better Mobility

The condition of the 23rd Avenue corridor creates a poor environment for pedestrians, bike riders, and vehicles. This concern prompted a broader evaluation and community conversation about the needs and opportunities to improve the corridor. Through several grants, SDOT expanded its original plans to only repave along 23rd Avenue (from E John Street to S Jackson Street) to include a larger project area (E Roanoke Street to Rainier Avenue S) and address safety and accessibility interests in other modes of transportation. Guided by Complete Streets guidelines, community input, as well as the near-term needs for bike riders, pedestrians and transit users, as demonstrated in recently updated master plans, SDOT expanded the project’s scope.

The New Roadway – Opportunity for Rechannelization

On streets with 25,000 vehicles per day or fewer, redesigning a street from four lanes to three can reduce collisions, reduce speeding, allow vehicles to turn without blocking traffic, manage drivers cutting in and out of lanes, create space for wider sidewalks, make streets easier to cross, and make it easier for freight and transit to travel. To balance the needs of users in the area, SDOT proposes to reconfigure 23rd Avenue between E John Street and Rainier Avenue S (Phases 1 and 2) from the current four lanes (two lanes in each direction) to three lanes (one lane in each direction and a center turn lane). The roadway will remain in the four-lane configuration between E Roanoke Street and E John Street (Phase 3). The work in phase 3 is focused on repaving sections of the road that are in poor condition and making near-term improvements for transit. Ongoing analyses continue for this portion of the project. SDOT’s current plans for Phase 3 do not preclude future changes or projects in the area. 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 corridor revisions aim to balance safety, mobility, and reliability needs for a variety of users in the area, as well as enhance the local community and natural environment. Traffic analysis completed to date shows that travel time for vehicles stays about the same (plus or minor less than one minute depending on the travel direction), while transit travel time is expected to improve by three minutes.

After previous analysis of a protected bike lane (also called a “cycle track”) on 23rd Avenue, and review and discussion with key stakeholders, SDOT will not include a protected bike lane on 23rd Avenue. This is primarily due to safety and traffic flow concerns. Instead, routes for an adjacent greenway are being considered. Designating a parallel greenway improves pedestrian and bike rider safety in the area, and provides a safer option to navigate through neighborhoods as compared to the busy 23rd Avenue arterial.

Project Phases

Click to view largerThe project is separated into three phases:

  • Phase 1 (E John Street to S Jackson Street)
  • Phase 2 (S Jackson Street to Rainier Avenue S)
  • Phase 3 (E Roanoke Street to E John Street)

Each phase will include:

    • New pavement
    • Sidewalk improvements
    • Lighting improvements
    • Increased transit s reliability
    • Traffic signal improvements
    • Public art
    • Adjacent neighborhood greenway

Current Schedule

Phase 1 (E John Street to S Jackson Street)

  • Design: Spring 2013 – Fall 2014
  • Construction: Late 2014/Early 2015 - Fall 2016

Phase 2 (S Jackson Street to Rainier Avenue S)

  • Design: Spring 2013 – Winter 2015
  • Construction: Fall 2015 – Spring 2017

Phase 3 (E Roanoke Street to E John Street)

  • Design: Spring 2013 – Winter 2015
  • Construction: Winter 2015 – Spring 2017

Public Outreach

SDOT is committed to engaging with the community and understanding the needs in the project area. Another public meeting will be held around the 60 percent design milestone, where the project team will be able to share the latest design and provide schedule updates.

As the project scope and geographic limits has evolved, so too have the outreach efforts. Previously, project outreach was limited to the relatively small re-paving project (Phase 1 area) and has since expanded to include all three phases of the corridor improvement project. To date, the project team has:

  • Hosted an open house (February 2014) where community members learned about the 23rd Avenue corridor, the planned improvements to the corridor and latest project schedule, as well as the selected route for the Central Area Neighborhood Greenway.
  • Hosted three public drop-in sessions throughout the corridor to share design and schedule updates and answer questions (January 2014).
  • Presented project information to community, business and educational organizations (Winter 2013/2014).
  • Coordinated with the 23rd Avenue Advisory Core Team (ACT), an advisory group that collaborates directly with the City of Seattle and the community to ensure that the shared vision and implementation actions pertaining to the 23rd Avenue Action Plan (Union-Cherry-Jackson) reflect the voices and balanced interests of the community.
  • Participated in the Central District Street Fair (August 2013), where more than 115 people visited the project booth to learn more and provide feedback for the project.
  • Hosted an open house (June 2013) and presented the preferred alternative – a 3-lane cross-section with a parallel greenway facility – which was selected through community input and a Complete Streets assessment. The concept reflected strong community interest in improving pedestrian crossings and bicycle facilities in the corridor.
  • Hosted an open house (March 2013) and presented several roadway cross-section improvements.
  • Presented to the City’s advisory boards (Pedestrian, Freight and Bicycle) and Council.

    See materials below.

The project team will continue to work with key stakeholders including neighborhood, business, and advisory groups as design is refined and construction details become available.

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Project 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.

Questions or Comments?


Maribel Cruz
Project Communications Lead

Kit Loo
Project Manager

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