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North Waterfront Access

Revised March 26, 2002

The waterfront's historic transportation functions and present-day urban environment come together most dramatically at the intersection of Broad Street and Alaskan Way. Broad Street provides a link for vehicle traffic to and from Seattle Center, the Mercer corridor and the Ballard/Interbay corridor, but is subject to significant delays when trains block the intersection at Alaskan Way. The intersection is also an increasingly important environment for recreation, site of the future Olympic Sculpture Park and Potlatch Trail.

From a regional perspective, Broad Street is viewed as a component of the "Fast Corridor" concept for improving freight mobility in the central Puget Sound region. (Fast Corridor is comprised of over $350 M in grade separation and port access projects from Everett to Tacoma.)

SDOT has addressed the complex transportation and urban design issues at Broad Street through the North Waterfront Access project. SDOT assessed the nature and magnitude of transportation conflicts at the Broad Street crossing of the BNSF rail line and engaged all stakeholders in an evaluation of the urban design and transportation issues in the north waterfront area.

Key Findings

Existing and immediately foreseeable conflicts are not of a magnitude that warrants bearing the cost and impact of a grade separation solution.

Existing conditions can be improved without vehicular grade separation. Possible improvements may include a one-way couplet for vehicle traffic at Broad and Clay Streets, a transit/taxi/drop-off zone on Elliott, improved safety devices, and/or a grade-separated pedestrian connection.

Grade separation may become warranted in the future if rail traffic increases significantly.

The preferred grade separation options is a vehicle underpass. The underpass could be accommodated as part of the Alaskan Way Viaduct project or as an independent project.

For more information, contact Ron Scharf at (206) 684-5192, or via e-mail at

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