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Seattle Pedestrian Master Plan: The Pedestrian System

Seattle wants to ensure that streets are walkableWhat is a system plan?
A system plan addresses the basic infrastructure needed to ensure that streets are walkable and destinations accessible on foot. Please note that defining a “walkable system” for Seattle does not imply that all streets within the city must have a sidewalk to be walkable; other solutions may be more appropriate in certain situations.

How is a system plan used?
A system plan is used to identify areas where pedestrian improvements are needed and to prioritize those improvements. A system plan can be used to develop an annual work program and to make the case for increased funding for the future.

What are the elements of the system plan?
Land uses that support and encourage pedestrian activity—as well as the specific attractors or generators of pedestrian activity within the city—form the basis of a system plan. Certain land use patterns and destinations stimulate higher volumes of pedestrians and must be planned for accordingly.

Seattle’s urban villages and transportation corridors, particularly the Urban Village Transit Network, are typically locations with high volumes of pedestrians, and the Comprehensive Plan identifies these locations as areas where pedestrian improvements should be prioritized. Information about destinations and transit is combined with population and economic growth data to quantify expected pedestrian volumes.

Urban villages and transportation corridors in Seattle are typically locations with high volumes of pedestrians, and the Comprehensive Plan identifies these locations as areas where pedestrian improvements should be prioritized. Information about these locations is combined with population and economic growth data to quantify potential pedestrian volumes.

Many of the city’s residential, non-arterial streets are in areas where there is little or no pedestrian infrastructure such as sidewalks, walkways, and curb ramps. The system plan framework examines the proximity of these residential streets to pedestrian generators, the urban villages, and transportation corridors to identify residential areas where higher pedestrian volumes will occur.

Street types are used to identify the relationship between vehicle volumes on the street and the adjacent land use. The street types were used to identify the priority pedestrian network in Seattle. The current street types are as follows:

  1. Main Streets — an arterial adjacent to neighborhood commercial zoning with a pedestrian overlay
  2. Mixed Use Streets — an arterial adjacent to neighborhood commercial zoning
  3. Green Streets — a non-arterial in downtown Seattle with a pedestrian emphasis
  4. Regional Connectors — a principal arterial with any adjacent land use
  5. Commercial Connectors — a minor arterial with any adjacent land use
  6. Local Connectors — a collector arterial with any adjacent land use
  7. Residential Streets (Urban Village) — non-arterial streets within an urban village
  8. Industrial Access — an arterial adjacent to industrial or maritime land uses

To identify design elements for non-arterial residential streets outside of urban villages, a new residential street type will be developed as part of plan implementation . A non-arterial industrial street type will also be developed. With these two additional street types, every street in Seattle will have a designation that can be used to prioritize projects and to provide design guidance for improvements. For more information about the specific data elements of the walkable system and prioritization of those elements, click here. For the complete methodology used to complete the analysis, see the Methodology Appendix.

Seattle Pedestrians

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