Accessible Mt Baker

Last updated: October 14, 2020

What's Happening Now?

In late 2019, we received hundreds of responses to our survey and held various public workshops in multiple languages to collect input on near-term improvements at the Rainier Ave S and Martin Luther King Jr Way intersection. See this fact sheet and these visuals for more details on the improvements. We generally heard from neighbors that all the improvements are important. 

In 2020, we needed to reassess funding and determine what is feasible to implement. We are moving foward with design focusing on 6 out of the 8 near-term improvements. Because the 6 projects overlap with the MLK Protected Bike Lane project, that team is going to take the lead on design and then procuring funding for construction by 2023. 

The 2 projects not included at this point are: art enhancements to the pedestrian bridge and closing the north section of Mt Baker Blvd to vehicles (#4 and #6 within this poster).

Community workshop

We're also working with an inter-agency partnership to take larger steps toward the greater Accessible Mt Baker vision including potentially relocating the Metro Transit Center closer to the light rail station. The concept studying for relocating the transit center is currently paused due to revenue reductions, but it is still a priority to start again when we have more funding. 

Check out our email archive for the latest updates.

Project Overview

The Mt Baker Station Area has been the focus of several planning processes in the past 10 years in which the community has articulated a vision for a thriving, diverse, sustainable, and affordable town center.

Part of that vision is improved transportation safety and connections, which is our piece of the puzzle.  

SDOT is currently working on 3 efforts that serve as steps toward the greater vision:   

  • We're partnering with King County Metro and Sound Transit to study the feasibility of potentially relocating the Metro Transit Center closer to the Mt Baker Light Rail station. We know from previous outreach this is a desired change, so now we're working on the technical details and opportunities internally. We have early concepts for this relocation and the final design and construction are currently unfunded.   

Mt Baker Transit Center

Existing Transit Center that will potentially be relocated to improve transit connections and pedestrian safety.

  • We're collaborating on a multiagency team focused on Mt Baker Station Area Planning to identify feasible and tangible actions that best meet the community's vision. This process is being led by the Office of Planning and Community Development. 
  • We're studying near-term walking/biking improvements to help people get to the transit center and light rail station at Rainier and MLK. Based on past outreach, we shared this list of potential projects with neighbors and learned neighbors generally support all the improvements. We generally heard from neighbors that all the improvements are important. In 2020, we needed to reassess funding and determine what is feasible to implement. We are moving foward with design focusing on 6 out of the 8 near-term improvements. Because the 6 projects overlap with the MLK Protected Bike Lane project, that team is going to take the lead on design and then procuring funding for construction by 2023. The 2 projects not included at this point are: art enhancements to the pedestrian bridge and closing the north section of Mt Baker Blvd to vehicles (#4 and #6 within this poster).

AMB map

Click for larger view. 

[Map of the Mt Baker Station area with a list of the near-term improvements being considered: 1. Extend sidewalk corners (i.e. add curb bulbs) at east side of intersection of Martin Luther King Jr Way S and Rainier Ave S. 2. Widen and repair sidewalk on the east side of Rainier Ave S. 3. Widen crosswalks at Rainier Ave S and S Forest St, Martin Luther King Jr Way S, and S Mt Baker Blvd. 4. Change north lane of Mt Baker Blvd to walk and bike only 5. No right on red heading north from Rainier Ave S to Martin Luther King Jr Way S. 6. Artistic enhancements to the pedestrian bridge 7. New crosswalks across Rainier Ave S and Martin Luther King Jr Way S at S Mt Baker Blvd (includes relocating existing signal) 8. Improve pedestrian crossings on S McClellan St at Rainier Ave S and Martin Luther King Jr Way S]

Project Background

Rainier Ave S and Martin Luther King, Jr. Way S (MLK) are key southeast Seattle corridors for people driving, taking transit, and moving goods. It's also an important connector to I-90 and I-5. The existing intersection has been a problem for the neighborhood - it causes truncated transit connections, pedestrian/vehicle conflicts, disconnected bike routes, as well as congested and confusing traffic movements. 

In 2015, we worked with neighbors and built on past plans to come up with a concept to reconfigure the intersection of Rainier and MLK. Recognizing the need and community's desire for safety, accessibility, and vibrancy, we developed a long-term Multimodal Plan consistent with the objectives of the North Rainier Urban Village AssessmentNorth Rainier Action Plan, and Mt Baker Town Center - Urban Design Framework

Over the next few years, we'll design and build near-term improvements, and work toward the Accessible Mt Baker plan in partnership with other agencies. 

Intersection of Rainier and MLK

The Rainier and MLK intersection is in the middle of major destinations including the Mt Baker Link Light Rail Station, King County Metro Transit Center, Franklin High School, housing, and retail.

Near-term improvement outreach

In 2019, we conducted community outreach to prioritize the list of potential near-term walking/biking improvements. We held 7 community workshops, a community survey, and reached out to local businesses. Descriptions for each activity are included below and the full input summaries are linked here.

Community Workshops & In-Language Small Group Meetings

We held 7 community workshops from September through December 2019 in the Mount Baker neighborhood. We shared information about the location, cost, and anticipated impact of each of the 8 proposed improvement accompanied by photo examples of similar improvements. We answered questions from attendees, who were asked to either rank or mark their top 3 improvements. Dates and audiences for each workshop are included below:

  • September 20: Franklin High School / Mt Baker Hub Alliance workshop
  • November 21: Vietnamese small group meeting (included Vietnamese interpreters)
  • November 21: Cambodian small group meeting (included Khmer interpreters)
  • November 23: Mt Baker Hub Alliance workshop
  • December 10: ACRS youth workshop
  • December 17: Public workshop (included Vietnamese, Amharic, Spanish, Tigrinya, Khmer, and Somali interpreters)
  • December 19: Mt Baker Village residents and ACRS youth workshop (included Khmer and Vietnamese interpreters)   

Community Survey

The survey was available Wednesday, November 20, 2019 through Thursday, December 19, 2019 and administered both online through SurveyMonkey and in person via paper. The survey shared information about the location, cost, and anticipated impact of each of the 8 proposed improvements accompanied by photo examples of similar improvements. It then asked respondents to rank the list of possible near-term improvements.  

Business Outreach

We conducted business outreach at two events in South Seattle in December 2019. We also setup an information table in the break room at QFC (Rainier/McClellan) to hear from grocery store staff about their priorities. We administered a paper survey, which shared information about the location, cost, and anticipated impact of each of the 8 proposed improvements accompanied by photo examples of similar improvements. It then asked respondents to rank the list of possible near-term improvements. Dates and audiences for each activity are included below:

  • December 4: Rainier Ave Business Coalition tabling
  • December 9: South Seattle Business Development tabling
  • December 10: QFC staff break room tabling

Schedule

2019
  • Work with Metro/Sound Transit on developing transit center relocation concept
  • Design team reviews near-term improvements and determines what to implement
  • Outreach team collects input on near-term improvements to inform on what to implement
2020 Bring selected near-term improvements to final design
By 2024 Build near-term improvements by 2024 as part of Martin Luther King Jr Way S Protected Bike Lane project

Funding

Early design and near-term improvements are funded by the Levy to Move Seattle, a 9-year $930 milion levy approved by voters in 2015. Final design and construction of the greater Accessible Mt Baker plan are not yet funded. 

Related Projects

We're coordinating with the various projects in the area including:

Materials

2019

Updated map of potential walking/biking improvements (November 2019)

Visuals of potential walking/biking improvements (November 2019)

Accessible Mt Baker fact sheet (November 2019)

Map of potential walking/biking improvements (October 2019)

Email archive 

December 2016

Plan & Illustration

November 12, 2015 Open House

Planning Documents