Dearborn Street Upgrades

Updated: July 11, 2019

What’s happening now?

SDOT crews installed a traffic diverter on the east side of the Dearborn and Rainier intersection on Saturday, June 1 which prevents people from driving westbound onto or across Rainier Ave S. See more on the traffic diverter below. Since the diverter was installed, our Traffic Operations team conducted vehicle counts and on-site observations in the area. We also received feedback from neighbors about how the diverter is changing traffic patterns, particularly at S Charles St and Hiawatha Pl S.

Based on that feedback and data, within a couple weeks, SDOT crews will add northbound and southbound stop signs on Hiawatha Pl S at S Charles St - making this an all-way stop. 

We expect that change to:

  • Organize the Charles/Hiawatha intersection more clearly
  • Facilitate smoother traffic movement on S Charles St

Please note that vehicles need to be parked 30 feet back from stop signs.  

Check out our project follow-up FAQ for additional questions. 

Watch this video for a feel of the new Dearborn protected bike lane!

Project Description

The Dearborn Street Upgrades project is now complete. The project included:

  • Repaving and re-striping S Dearborn St from 9th Ave S to Rainier Ave S
  • Re-striping and make minor pavement repairs from 6th Ave S to 9th Ave S
  • Adding a traffic diverter at Rainier Ave S and S Dearborn St to decrease delays for people driving and taking transit and reduce the number of drivers cutting through the Jackson Place neighborhood
  • Extending the existing protected bike lane to connect under I-5, upgrade traffic signals to include bike signals, and add physical barriers between people biking and moving traffic

Old photograph of S Dearborn St
Intersection of S Dearborn St and Rainier Ave S circa 1956

Project Area

This project area includes S Dearborn St between 6th Ave S and Rainier Ave S.

Project area map

Why add a traffic diverter?

Traffic diverter map

The intersection of S Dearborn St and Rainier Ave S, considered one of the busiest in the city, had a series of improvements as part of the project. To accommodate the width of the new protected bike lanes and allow longer green cycles for everyone traveling through the intersection, we are adding a traffic diverter to prevent people from driving westbound from S Dearborn St onto Rainier Ave S. This will decrease delays for people driving and taking transit on Rainier Ave S and help reduce the number of drivers cutting through the Jackson Place neighborhood.

Vehicle and people volumes
Current % of Vehicles and Total People Volumes approaching the intersection weekdays from 4 – 7 pm.
* Best practice assumption of 1.6 people per vehicle and transit ridership.

Traffic studies at the intersection and Jackson Place neighborhood show how these improvements will make it easier and safer for people to clear the intersection in a timely manner, while improving reliability on bus routes along Rainier Ave S. Access to bicycle facilities downtown and along the nearby neighborhood greenway on Hiawatha Pl S will also be more convenient with the new intersection improvements.

Updated percentages
Delay reduction percentages for people using transit and driving after diverter implementation.

To help people driving enter and exit the Jackson Place neighborhood, we upgraded the traffic signal at S Charles St and Rainier Ave S with a left turn arrow and left turn pocket. 

Diverter stats
Diverter will decrease overall delay at the intersection by approximately one minute when accessing the Jackson Place neighborhood.

Schedule

2015

Community outreach and project planning

2016

Project design and coordination with other projects

2017

Constructed first phase of work including installation of a buffered bike lane from 6th Ave S to just west of I-5 and from just east of I-5 to Rainier Ave S

2018

Starting in the summer and continuing through the fall, we are constructing the second phase of work:

  • Repave and re-stripe S Dearborn St from 9th Ave S to Rainier Ave S
  • Re-stripe and make minor pavement repairs from 6th Ave S to 9th Ave S
  • Add a traffic diverter at Rainier Ave S and S Dearborn St to decrease delays for people driving and taking transit and reduce the number of drivers cutting through the Jackson Place neighborhood
  • Extend the existing protected bike lane to connect under I-5, upgrade traffic signals to include bike signals, and add physical barriers between people biking and moving traffic

Community Outreach

DateDescription
Summer 2018 Began weekly email updates and individual stakeholder meetings to inform neighbors about construction
July 10, 2018 Delivered flyers to inform neighbors about construction start
October 24, 2015 Drop-in Session #2
October 20, 2015 Drop-in Session #1
October 20, 2015 CID Preservation and Development Authority Mtg
October 13, 2015 Jackson Place Community Council
October 11, 2015 Bing Kung Association
September 29, 2015 Chong Wa Benevolent Association
September 19, 2015 Gee How Oak Tin Apartments
September 3, 2018 Bush Hotel
August 27, 2015 Nihonmachi Terrace Apartments
August 26, 2015 Demingo Apartments
August 25, 2015 Little Saigon Public Safety Meeting
August 19, 2015 Eastern Hotel Tenants
July 6, 2015 12th Avenue Iron
July 1, 2015 Bicycle Advisory Board
June 24, 2015 Goodwill Industries
June 16, 2015 Freight Advisory Board
June 10, 2015 King County Metro

Funding

This project is funded by the 9-year 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.

Materials

Environmental Review

We have determined that the S Dearborn St Arterial Asphalt and Concrete (AAC) Project will not have a probable significant adverse impact on the environment. As a result, we issued a Determination of Non-significance (DNS) on February 5, 2018. This decision was made after review of a completed environmental checklist. The DNS and checklist may be examined through the links below:

The public is invited to provide comments on the DNS and checklist. Comments must be provided no later than 5:00 pm, February 19, 2018.

In addition, any interested person may appeal this DNS by submitting a Notice of Appeal and a filing fee to the Office of the Hearing Examiner no later than 5:00 PM on February 26, 2018.

Please see the DNS for more information on providing comments and submitting appeals.

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