MLK Protected Bike Lane

Updated: September 18, 2020

Creating a new bike connection and a safer street

What’s happening now?

Early Design Timeline Graphic

We are currently in the early design stage for this project and are focusing on gathering input and feedback from the community as we further develop the design for the chosen alternative. 

How you can get involved:

We recently hosted an online early design drop-in session on Tuesday, August 11
Transcripts available in English, 简体中文 (Simplified Chinese), Español (Spanish), and 繁體中文 (Traditional Chinese)

You can view the presentation on our YouTube channel by clicking the video below. Closed captioning is available in English. 

The early design online survey is now closed and we are currently reviewing what you've shared. In the coming weeks we will post a summary of the feedback we received.

Although the event is over and the survey is closed, we encourage you to email your questions or comments on the intial design at any time to our project email inbox. The input you share will help inform the next phase of design.

We will continue advancing design work in 2020 and plan to build the protected bike lane by the Judkins Park light rail station opening in 2023. This will be an important connection to both light rail stations as well as the I-90 Trail, Franklin High School, and the Metro Transit Center. 

Project Overview

SDOT is building a protected bike lane on each side of Martin Luther King Jr Way S between the Judkins Park and Mt Baker Link light rail stations (S Judkins St to Rainier Ave S). We want this design to work not just for people who love to bike, but also for everyone who live and work in the area. 

View the outreach summary to see the feedback we received. Feedback informed our decision to design single-lane protected bike lanes on each side of MLK Way. We continue to develop the design, and we expect to have updated designs to share in fall 2020.


  • Connect people to transit and schools: This will be an important connection to both light rail stations as well as the I-90 trail, Franklin High School, and the Metro Transit Center. The I-90 trail is a regional connection that will improve access to downtown and the region's growing trail network from Southeast Seattle.  

  • Improve safety for people who walk, bike, and drive on MLK: This section of MLK Way has high rates of speeding, head-on collisions, and off-the-road collisions compared to other parts of the city. Redesigning the street will help to reduce speeding and make the street safer, more predictable, and more comfortable for everyone.  

Protected bike lanes uniquely provide a separate, protected space for people biking that is differentiated from motor vehicle travel lanes, parking lanes, and sidewalks. The purpose of this new infrastructure is to improve neighborhood connectivity, increase mobility and transportation options, and enhance both pedestrian and bike safety in southeast Seattle.

Image of a person wearing a red hat, blue sweatshirt and jeans, and a drawstring backpack biking on a protected walkway. There are paint stripes and small, white flexible delineators acting as a buffer between the bike and traffic lanes.

A protected bike lane in Seattle (SDOT photo)

We're focusing on the section of Martin Luther King Jr Way S between the Judkins Park and Mt Baker light rail stations (S Judkins St to Rainier Ave S). We had been studying the feasibility of a protected bike lane on MLK between Rainier Ave S and S Henderson St., but we put a pause on that portion of the project in response to the significant decline of revenues for the City and our funding partners related to the COVID-19 crisis. Read more on the SDOT blog.

As part of the latest Bike Master Plan Implementation Plan, Martin Luther King Jr Way S was identified as an important southeast Seattle bike connection. SDOT uses the following criteria when prioritizing projects: safety, connectivity, equity, ridership, and livability, as well as policy directives, community interest, and geographic balance.

Project Map

An overhead map of the project area from S Judkins St to Rainier Ave S

Project Cross Sections

MLK Way and S Massachusetts St Cross SectionMLK Way and S Plum St Cross SectionMLK Way and S Bayview St Cross SectionMLK Way and S McClellan St Cross Section

Project Schedule

May 2020: Selected preferred alternative

Summer 2020: Develop 30% design

Fall 2020: Finalize 30% design

2023: Construction 

Community Outreach

We want this design to work for not just people who bike, but also everyone who lives and works in the area. SDOT is partnering with the Department of Neighborhoods to engage neighbors. Please feel free to get in touch with us to ask questions or set up a meeting: or 206-900-8750. 

Summer 2019 MLK was identified as an important Southeast Seattle bike connection as part of the latest Bike Master Plan Implementation Plan   
Early 2020 Phone interviews with project neighbors and interested stakeholders
Spring 2020 Online survey and other outreach to engage neighbors in the early design 
Summer 2020 Online early design drop-in session with Live Q&A, online survey and additional outreach to neighbors and community members
Ongoing Email and web updates


Thumbnail of first page of Q&A August 2020 Drop-In Session Q&A

Thumbnail of spring outreach summary Spring Outreach Summary

 Thumbnail of MLK PBL Factsheet page 1  March 2020 Fact Sheet  

Channelization thumbnailChannelization Graphics

Related Projects

We're coordinating closely with other projects in the area including:

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