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Third Avenue Transit Enhancements
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Third Avenue Transit Corridor Improvements

Join us on Third Avenue

Last fall you helped us create a list of potential improvements to Third Avenue. Next week, we invite you to meet us on the street to hear about design updates and share your thoughts:

  • Monday, August 31 – 3-6 p.m. on Third Avenue between Battery and Bell streets
  • Wednesday, September 2  – 3-6 p.m. on Third Avenue between Pike and Union streets
  • Thursday, September 3 – 11 a.m.-2 p.m. on Third Avenue between Yesler Way and S Washington Street

Third Avenue is downtown Seattle’s most heavily used transit corridor. More than 2,500 buses travel the corridor every weekday and about 42,000 people board at bus stops on the corridor each day.Thousands of visitors, workers, shoppers and area residents also use Third Avenue daily.

To help create a positive and inviting environment for transit users and pedestrians, the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) and King County Metro Transit are working together to make the corridor an inviting, accommodating, safe and attractive place where people want to be.

The Third Avenue Transit Corridor Improvements Project will complement and be coordinated with the many other improvement projects underway in the downtown area.

Project Updates

August 5, 2015

3rd Avenue Pike to Pine sidewalk & transit improvements nearing completion

Sidewalk and transit improvements begun in the spring along both sides of 3rd Avenue between Pike and Pine streets, as well as on Pine Street between 3rd and 4th avenues, are almost complete.

  • The temporary construction barriers on the sidewalk of the 1500 block of 3rd Ave (Pike-Pine) have been removed, restoring full access to the sidewalk.
  • The new "flexible loading zone" on the southbound (west) side of the street has been completed a week ahead of schedule and is in use.  The loading zone accommodates business deliveries and temporary parking during off-peak hours, while expanding bus transit load capacity during peak hours.
  • Pine Street between 3rd and 4th avenues has been restriped, creating 10 new back-in, on-street parking spaces, a commercial load zone, and 24-hour police parking.
  • During construction, the City also trimmed the street trees and improved the tree wells, upgraded the street lights with new LED lamps, and cleaned the pedestrian areas for a safer and more enjoyable pedestrian experience.

The project has been designed to improve the operational efficiency and commuter experience at these very heavily used bus stops, while improving also safety. 

This work was coordinated closely with the City's "9 ½ Block Strategy," a safety initiative which SDOT supported through modifications to the physical environment. 

SDOT and Metro are planning on keeping transit service at the temporary zones on Third between Pike and Union until the September service change on September 26th.

April 2015

Transit and sidewalk improvement construction to start in May.

Starting this May, construction will occur along Third Avenue, between Pike and Pine Streets, and along Pine Street east of Third Avenue. This work will address a critical transit bottleneck and introduce proposed improvements being considered for implementation along the entire Third Avenue corridor.

We expect construction to last for three months, from May through July. Construction work is weather dependent and the schedule may shift. This work will:

  • Install a new “flexible loading zone” southbound on Third Avenue to accommodate business deliveries and temporary parking while expanding transit loading capacity and maintaining pedestrian safety (shown above).
  • Relocate the northbound loading zone to a new location around the corner on westbound Pine Street.
  • Remove the bus island currently on Pine Street to accommodate a new loading zone and permanent Seattle Police Department parking.

What to expect during construction – View a map of construction here

  • Temporary relocation of the northbound and southbound bus stops one block south between Pike and Union Streets.
  • Typical weekday work hours, 9 AM to 3 PM and some evenings from 6 PM to 10 PM.
  • Typical weekend work hours, 8 AM to 6 PM.
  • Business delivery loading zones along Third Avenue between Pine and Union Streets will be closed. New temporary loading zones on Pine and Union Streets will accommodate deliveries
  • Temporary sidewalk narrowing to accommodate safe construction.
  • Noise, dust and vibration associated with concrete sawcutting, chipping, pouring and paving.

November 2014

The Urban Design report is now available

The report presents a corridor-wide urban design plan for transit and pedestrian improvements for Third Avenue between Denny Way and S. Jackson Street.  It approaches the corridor as three segments on the corridor:  Belltown, the Business District, and Pioneer Square, and illustrates corridor-wide and segment-specific design concepts for every block on the corridor. View the report here.

Metro tests ticket machine in downtown Seattle

Metro installed a new bus ticket vending machine at the northbound bus stop on Third Avenue between Pine and Stewart streets (in front of Macy's). Riders can use the machine to buy tickets while waiting for the bus.

The six-month pilot project will last through May 2015. At the end of this time, Metro will assess how well the machine performed, how many riders used it, and potential benefits to bus schedules before deciding whether to expand the program.

Learn more about the ticket vending machine here and share your opinions in the online survey.

October, 2014

The project team is close to finalizing 10% concept designs for the corridor! Proposed design options include:

  • New red bus zone curbs to delineate transit zones and feature pavers that organize and designate sidewalk uses
  • Landscape enhancements and tree drainage systems
  • Improved lighting throughout the corridor, including pedestrian, intersection and bus identity light columns
  • Updated transit canopies in certain areas along the corridor
  • Art integration and blank facade treatments

We Want to Hear from You!

SDOT and Metro want to know what you think will better connect and improve Third Avenue for transit users, pedestrians, business and visitors alike as we design future improvements along the corridor.

Thanks for joining us on Third Avenue!

Thanks for sharing your ideas on proposed design ideas at our series of Third Avenue Neighborhood Sessions Oct 9-16. We had over 300 people stop by our events and share their thoughts about Third Avenue with project staff. An outreach report is now available.

Project Background

The Third Avenue Transit Corridor Improvements Project is part of a larger plan to create a vibrant, safe and thriving Third Avenue. It will improve transit function and create a more welcoming urban environment along the corridor between Denny and Jackson streets. The project has extended transit priority measures approximately .75 miles north through the Belltown neighborhood.

The initial phase of the project focused on the blocks between University Street and Stewart Street. This phase included both drafting the 10% concept design for this four-block area as well as rebuilding the sidewalk and bus stop on the east side of Third Avenue between Pine and Stewart streets, otherwise known as the “Macy’s Block.” This new block showcases and tests improvements similar to those planned at bus stops along Third Avenue over the next few years. The construction in this particular block included a number of features, some new to Seattle:

  • A transit information kiosk (similar to other kiosks located along Third Avenue)
  • Ticket vending machine
  • New sidewalk paving with “smog-eating” photocatalytic material
  • A sidewalk widened by six feet to better accommodate bus commuters and passing pedestrians
  • New trees at the north end of the block (near Stewart Street)
  • An expanded bus stop during most hours of the day to allow more buses to serve the stop at the same time
  • Design a new transit canopy
  • New lighting to improve visibility and comfort
  • A new “street elements zone” to organize trash cans
  • A new red curb treatment to emphasize the loading zone and improve safety

The project team has completed  a 10% design that updates and expands this conceptual design through the entire corridor. The final urban design report is available in the project library.

SDOT and Metro are committed to working with area residents, businesses, commuters and other stakeholders throughout the project to ensure that designs consider the needs of a variety of users.


This work is supported by federal and local funds and jointly sponsored by the City of Seattle and King County Metro Transit. Both agencies allocated local funds to match federal grants that provide about $9.6 million for design and construction of physical improvements.


Project Library

Third Avenue Fact Sheet

Nov 2014 - Public Outreach Report

Nov 2014 - Urban Design Report
Appendix Part 1
Appendix Part 2

Fall 2014 – 10 % Concept Design | Denny Way to Jackson Street

Oct 9-16 Neighborhood Sessions Display boards
Fall 2014 Third Avenue Transit Corridor presentation
Crime and Safety Technical Memorandum

Fall 2013 – Draft 10% Concept Design | University to Stewart

Full Third Avenue University to Stewart 10% Design Report
Postcard for 10% Concept Design Open House

More information

SDOT Contacts:

KC Metro Contact:



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