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Center City Circulation Report


The goal of the Center City Circulation Report is to present a clear and coherent conceptual approach for maximizing access to downtown by improving and integrating downtown's public transit, bicycle and pedestrian networks. The project is a macro-scale effort to integrate several independent transportation projects that will affect the Center City, including light rail, bus, monorail, streetcar, ferry terminal, Alaskan Way Viaduct and Seawall (AWVS), and bicycle and pedestrian projects. The report synthesizes existing plans for the different systems into an easily understood overall concept. Particular attention is paid to:

  • Overcoming gaps between existing systems and addressing intermodal connections;

  • Improving travel to and from key multi-modal hubs and making them attractive destinations, including King Street Station/Union Station, the ferry terminal, and Westlake Station.

  • Identifying both simple, common sense improvements that can be completed within two years and long-term improvements that will be needed when major transportation projects are complete.

  • Explaining how all projects fit into the transit network to maximize existing investments for a superior transit system in downtown. Recommends bus transit service improvements downtown that make the system easier to understand and use.

  • Assessing transportation needs to accommodate projected growth downtown. An assumption for the AWVS and all projects using the PSRC model is that all growth in downtown transportation demand is on transit or non-SOV. This study investigates how transit could work to accommodate projected growth and meet Comprehensive Plan goals.

This report synthesizes existing policy and plans into an easy to understand concept plan. Gaps and opportunities for improved transit and non/motorized service are also presented. The project goal is to provide a document that is a multi-modal, system-wide blueprint for future work.


Several major transportation projects are converging downtown: the Alaska Way Viaduct and Seawall; the Monorail, Sound Transit light rail (including surface changes during the tunnel retrofit) and improved commuter rail service to/from Seattle; Metro bus improvements; and streetcar in South Lake Union. Other development issues like waterfront and ferry terminal redevelopment also provide opportunities for optimizing our transportation system. To make the most of the opportunities presented by these major transportation investments, Seattle needs a blueprint to provide excellent, transit and pedestrian-oriented circulation through Downtown Seattle and the greater Center City area.

We have lots of existing plans, from neighborhood plans to The Blue Ring Strategy to the Comprehensive Plan - this report brings together past thinking and adds some new ideas to make this a cohesive blueprint.

The area addressed by this report includes the Downtown Urban Center continuing south to South Atlantic Street (to include Terminal 46), First Hill/Capitol Hill Urban Center, Uptown Urban Center & South Lake Union Hub Urban Village. The focus was on the Downtown Urban Center and key connections to other major destinations within the study area.

The full text of the report is available on the right side of this webpage. The final report was prepared for SDOT with assistance from a consultant. The report presents conceptual recommendations to meet downtown's growth and access needs. Work with stakeholders and further operational analysis will refine the ideas in this report prior to any implementation.

Project Contact:

To learn more about the project or to get a copy of the report in another format, contact Ann Sutphin, Project Manager at 206-684-8374 or at

Related Links:

Seattle Transit Plan

SDOT Bicycle Program

SDOT Pedestrian Program

Center City Neighborhood Plans

Center City Circulation Report, December 2003

Click thumbnail or link for Future Center City Transportation Network Map (1.06 MB, PDF format)

Photos from October 9, 2003 Downtown Transit Integration Forum

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