4th Ave Mobility Improvements

Updated: August 6 2020

What's happening now?

We're planning to install a protected bike lane on 4th Ave between Madison and Pine streets later this summer!

The new protected bike lane will be two-way on the west side of 4th Ave between Seneca and Pine streets and one-way between Madison and Seneca. Future phases will extend the two-way protected bike lane from Pine St to Vine St in the north and from Seneca St to the 2nd Ave protected bike lane (via Dilling and Yesler Way) in the south.

Feel free to contact us with questions: ccbike@seattle.gov or 206-771-0481.

Project Overview

Protected bike lanes and signal upgrades in downtown Seattle help improve safety for everyone and connect pieces of the Center City Bike Network.

The first phase of the 4th Ave project will bring bike lanes to 5 downtown blocks that don't have separate lanes today. We plan to install these mobility improvements, including bike lanes, road re-channelization, parking changes, and signal improvements, later this summer. Crews may install the changes over several weekends.

Future phases of this project will extend the two-way protected bike lane from Pine St to Vine St in the north and from Seneca St to 2nd Ave Ext via Dilling Way in the south.

2nd Ave before protected bike lane installation

2nd Ave after protected bike lane installation

The new protected bike lane will look similar to 2nd Ave. Since protected bike lanes were installed on 2nd Ave, crashes are down and bike ridership is up.

Project Design

The 4th Ave Mobility Improvements project will add new bike lanes, make signal upgrades, and maintain bus accommodations on 4th Ave. 

The first phase will include a two-way protected bike lane on the west side of 4th Ave between Seneca and Pine streets. Between Madison and Seneca, the bike lane will be one-way northbound until future phases of the bike lane are built. It will separate people biking from moving vehicles with markings, plastic posts, and signal upgrades. Two travel lanes, a bus lane, and bus zones will be maintained.

Parking and loading: Like other downtown bike lanes, the parking and loading will be adjacent to the bike lane and available during off-peak hours. There will be some parking removal to accommodate the new left turn pockets. 

We've been talking with adjacent building and business owners to understand parking needs and maintain on-street loading zones during non-peak periods on most blocks. Access to alleys, off-street parking garages, and loading bays will be maintained.

Signal upgrades: We'll install protected left turns (meaning drivers get a green turn arrow rather than yielding) where 4th Ave intersects with Seneca and Union streets. These protected turns separate the signal phases for people walking/biking and people driving to improve traffic flow and make for a safer, more comfortable travel experience. Additionally left turns will be restricted at Pine St to reduce conflicts to keep traffic moving and reduce the frequency and severity of potential collisions for people biking and walking. This is low-volume left turn intersection and these changes are part of our Vision Zero goal to end traffic related deaths and serious injuries by 2030. 

Design map

Preliminary design cross sections

On-street loading and parking will be available next to the bike lane during off-peak hours where left turn pockets are not needed. Below is a typical cross section; the lane uses and widths vary along the corridor.  

Street cross section looking north

Program overview

We've made a commitment to build this network of separated bike facilities to make biking a reliable travel choice and calm traffic as more people compete for limited street space. A complete bike network improves Seattle's health and quality of life for people of all ages and abilities.

Improving safety for all

This project contributes to the City's Vision Zero plan to end traffic deaths and serious injuries by 2030. The protected bike lane will not only separate people biking from moving vehicles, it will separate the signal phases for all users, meaning drivers won't need to yield across people walking and biking to make left turns. This change will help reduce collisions and make the walking, biking, and driving experience more comfortable and predictable.  

Transportation options for the center city

We are faced with the fundamental challenge of moving more people and more goods in the same amount of space. By making biking a more attractive and more viable transportation option, we can lower the share of people driving alone to and through Center City. 

Protected bike lanes on 2nd Ave quadrupled the number of people biking there. Employers located near paths and protected lanes have higher bike to work numbers. Making biking a real choice means building out a network in our region's densest jobs center.  

Connectivity 

This protected bike lane is just one piece of the puzzle connecting to the bike lanes on Pike and Pine streets and was prioritized as part of the Center City Bike Network. The Center City Bike Network, launched in 2015, developed a network map of better bike streets that separate people walking and biking from moving vehicles, provide safer all-ages and abilities transportation options, and maintain transit priority downtown.

This network was the result of community engagement, which continued through the One Center City program to make sure any improvements to the bike network are well coordinated and complimentary to the greater transportation system for people walking, driving, taking transit, and delivering goods. 

We've made a commitment to build this network of separated bike facilities to make biking a reliable travel choice and calm traffic as more people compete for limited street space. A complete bike network improves Seattle's health and quality of life for people of all ages and abilities.

Economic benefits

Protected bike lanes boost economic growth by fueling redevelopment, boosting real estate value, helping companies attract and retain skilled workers, improving worker health and productivity, and increasing retail visibility and sales volume, according to a recent report. Other cities have demonstrated the economic benefits of protected bike lanes. Intercept surveys in Portland, OR, show that people arriving to retails stores on foot or by bicycle visit more frequently than those who drive, and they spend more money over the course of a month. Findings from a New York City protected bicycle lane implementation showed an increase in retail sales of up to 49% from locally based businesses on 9th Ave in Manhattan, compared to 3% borough-wide.

Equity

Sixteen percent of Seattle households do not have a motor vehicle for their use and nationwide the lowest income households bike for transportation most. Better bike lanes make biking a more viable transportation option to help people get to and from downtown. At the same time, not everyone is able to bike, which is why a high priority of the Center City Bike Network and this project is to maintain transit accommodations.  

Cowen PBL

Example protected bike lane near Green Lake

Center City Bike Network map 

Center City Bike Network map

Schedule

The first phase of the 4th Ave project, from Madison St to Pine St will be installed as soon as this summer. Installation may be performed over several weekends.

Future phases of this project will extend the protected bike lane from Pine St to Vine St in the north, and from Spring St to 2nd Ave Ext via Dilling Way in the south.

Funding

This project is funded by the 9-year Levy to Move Seattle, approved by voters in 2015. Learn more about the levy at www.seattle.gov/LevytoMoveSeattle

Levy to Move Seattle logo

Get involved

Have a question? Let us know! We’re committed to keeping you informed in a variety of ways, including:

  • (Virtual) briefings and meetings along 4th Ave
  • Project mailings
  • Updating this web page
  • Dropping off fliers at businesses and residential buildings
  • Posting signs
  • Responding promptly to emails and phone calls: CCBike@seattle.gov; 206-771-0481

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Resources

Seattle Vision Zero Plan
Seattle Bike Master Plan
SDOT's Protected Bike Lane Page
The Green Lane Project - Helping cities build better bike lanes
Bike Lanes, On-Street Parking and Business - A study of Toronto merchants and patrons
Protected Bike Lanes Mean Business - Case studies on how 21st century transportation networks help new urban economies boom
One Center City's Proposed Near-Term Projects