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Ballard Neighborhood Greenways

Creating a network of family-friendly residential streets

Project Update

October 17, 2016

We are building a network of greenways and are studying a potential route connecting Historic Ballard to the Burke-Gilman Trail. Our latest efforts have been to survey the project area. This work was requested in June and recently occurred.   Whether or not the project moves forward, this is standard practice so that we have accurate information about elevation, curb location, sidewalks, driveways, above-ground utilities and drainage.  The information is stored in our city data systems and helps inform future transportation requests and projects as well. Should the neighborhood greenway project move forward on NW 53rd St, the data would be used to analyze things like how trucks can make turns within the right of way. Please note, before any decisions are made, we'll talk with the community and representatives from adjacent properties. Thank you for staying engaged.

Project Description

Ballard has become one of Seattle's most popular and fastest growing neighborhoods. Families live here.

It is home to important maritime and industrial jobs.

It is also home to great shopping and cultural events.

Photo credit: Flickr /kallu
Photo credit: Flickr /kallu

We are investing in a number of locations to make walking, biking and riding transit in this growing, vibrant neighborhood easier. Along with creating a neighborhood greenway network, a northbound bus only lane is planned for 15th Ave NW between NW Leary Way and NW Market St and walking and biking connections to the Ballard Bridge are being improved. It is important to acknowledge that as well as being a bus priority street, 15th Ave NW is a Major Truck Street and some of the improvements are taking place in Ballard's industrial zone. Let's work together to keep people and goods moving in an organized and predictable way that supports business and residents.

Ballard Transportation Projects Map

Click to enlarge

Our work builds off recommendations collected during previous greenway outreach; a 2015 workshop with freight, walking and biking neighborhood representatives; and through the Move Ballard planning effort competed last year—recommendations are expected this Spring.

Reconnecting the neighborhood and adding a bus only lane on 15th Ave NW

15th Ave NW is a major street carrying around 50,000 vehicles a day. It is a bus priority corridor and a major truck street. RapidRide D and the 15 Express use the street and move about 15,000 people a day. Currently bus routes experience delay northbound between NW 51st St and NW Market St. We want to retain and grow the number of people taking the bus. So to make service more reliable and faster, we're planning a bus only lane in this area. Buses can then bypass traffic that occurs when the drawbridge is lowered. To make room for the bus only lane, we'll remove the center turn lane.

Cross-section of planned changes (click to enlarge)

Removing the center turn lane means people can no longer make left turns on NW 15th Ave at NW 52nd and NW 53rd streets. Some people and service providers will have to change their routes to get home or access businesses. However, the change will make the intersections safer. The chart below shows recommended thresholds for having a center turn lane and why restricting turns at these locations is a good idea.


Threshold Value for Two-Way Left Turn Lane

15th Avenue NW between NW 51st and NW Market


3 crashes per million vehicle miles

5.3 crashes per million vehicle miles

Traffic Volumes

28,000 vehicles daily

Greater than 50,000 vehicles daily

Number of Lanes

2 lanes or less in each direction

3 lanes in each direction

Recognizing 15th Ave NW is a truck street we wanted to make sure people and goods continue moving smoothly. We conducted studies to understand possible impacts to nearby intersections. The study found they will continue to perform at acceptable levels of service.

This busy street also divides the neighborhood. There is almost a half a mile between traffic signals at Leary and NW Market. To help reconnect the neighborhood we're adding a pedestrian signal. The improvement is currently proposed at NW 53rd St.

Example of what the crossing would look like. Click to enlarge

New Neighborhood Greenway

We are also building a network of neighborhood greenways in Ballard. Currently there greenways on NW 58th St and 17th Ave NW. Neighborhood greenways are safer, calmer residential streets for you, your family, neighbors and customers. On streets with low car volumes and speeds a greenway can:

  • Improve safety
  • Help people cross busy streets
  • Discourage cut-thru traffic
  • Protect the residential character of our neighborhoods
  • Keep speeds low
  • Get people to where they want to go like parks, schools, shops and restaurants

Neighborhood greenways are not car free zones, do not add bike lanes and there are minimal if any on-street parking impacts.

The routes being considered take advantage of the new pedestrian signal on 15th Ave NW. During our first round of outreach, some people asked that we study a connection at Ballard Way NW instead. This location is being studied as a potential route in the the Burke-Gilman Trail Extension Project (Missing Link) Environmental Study. Our project will focus on the routes shown on the map above.

Project Funding

These projects are funded by the Levy to Move Seattle. Approved by voters in 2015, the 9-year, $930 million Levy to Move Seattle provides funding to improve safety for all travelers, maintain our streets and bridges, and invest in reliable, affordable travel options for a growing city.

Project Schedule


Project Materials

Project Contacts

Summer Jawson, Neighborhood Greenway Project Manager,
(206) 684-8264

Dawn Schellenberg, Neighborhood Greenway Community Engagement Liaison,, (206) 684-5189

Jonathan Dong, RapidRide D Bus Improvements Project Manager,, (206) 233-8564

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