East Marginal Way Corridor Improvement Project

Last updated: November 27, 2017

Project Updates

Thank you for all the emails and survey responses about the East Marginal Way Corridor Improvement Project that you have shared with us over the last few months.

Common themes emerged from your comments:

  • Physical separation of bikes and vehicles is a priority for safety
  • South segment needs better options for people walking and biking
  • North segment bike route should have minimal driveway crossings
  • Signal timing for bikes should be improved
  • Prefer a bike route not crossing East Marginal
  • Prefer a continuous bike route
  • Near-term improvements are needed

Based on this feedback, we are pleased to announce our recommended designs for the North, Central, and South segments. Scroll down the page to see maps and graphics of the recommended designs.

Next, we will start the design process for the recommended concepts. We expect to conclude early design in March 2018. The project needs significant grant funds to move into the construction phase. around March, we'll pause the design work and apply for grants. Once the project is fully funded, we'll finalize design with the objective of starting construction in 2021 or 2022.

Your comments on the proposed project scope are welcome. Please email comments to EastMarginal@seattle.gov. Comments can be sent at any point in the process, however those received by December 22, 2017 can be more easily incorporated into the design.

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Project Overview

As Seattle grows, improvements to freight mobility are essential to promote regional and international economic competitiveness. East Marginal Way is a major freight corridor that provides access to the Port of Seattle terminals, rail yards, industrial businesses and the regional highway system, and between local Manufacturing and Industrial Councils (MIC's). It is also a designated Heavy Haul Route, critical last-mile connector and vital route for over-sized trucks or those carrying flammable cargo.  In addition, the corridor provides a major connection for people who bike between the West Seattle Bridge Trail, downtown, and the SODO neighborhood.

This project will:

  • Improve safety and reliability in the movement of people and goods
  • Support freight loads by rebuilding the roadway
  • Promote efficiency through signal modifications and intelligent transportation systems (ITS)
  • Improve safety by better separating non-motorized modes from freight traffic

Map of Project Area

Project Details

North Segment

For the North Segment (S Atlantic St to S Spokane St), we are recommending a hybrid of the original proposed options 2 and 3. Recommended design includes:

  • 2-way protected bike lane on the east side of the street between S Atlantic St and S Horton St
  • Multi-use path on the west side of the street between S Horton St and S Spokane St
  • New signalized diagonal bicycle crossing at E Marginal Way S and S Horton St

North Segment
Click to enlarge

These recommendations are based on the public’s desire to avoid Port driveways on the west side of the road and to separate bikes and pedestrians. This hybrid proposal is consistent with existing northbound bike flow. Our design team evaluated placing the diagonal crossing at S Hanford St to take advantage of the existing traffic signal, however our analysis shows less delay for all users if we create a new signal at S Horton St.

The original three options that were proposed and considered before landing on this hybrid option can be viewed in the online open house materials.

Central Segment

We received comments about the area between S Spokane St and S Nevada St, where the SR-99 structure returns to the surface. This project aims to provide a clear route through this confusing area. The initial design we're considering takes advantage of the area to the east of the north-south Union Pacific Railroad tracks. Providing a multi-use pathway through this area would avoid some of the existing parking and loading activities on the east side of the street. Traveling south, this path would eventually need to move to the east side of the street to provide a 90-degree crossing of railroad tracks, and to take advantage of the existing stop-controlled crossing of the roadway. At this point, the route would lead to the west side of E Marginal Way by the concrete plant. This would mark the beginning of a multi-use pathway heading south. We'll be reviewing the right-of-way changes necessary to construct this option.

East Marginal Map Central Segment
Click to enlarge

South Segment

The South Segment (Duwamish Ave S to 1 Ave S) is part of SR 99. There are neither bike facilities nor sidewalks on the west side of the street, and some missing sidewalks on the east side. These factors contribute to a challenging walking and biking environment for people trying to move through the area. We heard that people want improvements for pedestrians, multi-use paths, and a connection to the 1st Ave S bridge.

Our recommended design for this section includes:

  • A new multi-use path on the west side of the street from north of Duwamish Ave S to Diagonal Ave S – we should have enough room for a planted buffer between the path and the roadway
  • Pedestrian improvements at each existing traffic signal
  • Constructing missing sidewalks on the east side of the street
  • Transit stop improvements
  • Signal enhancements where appropriate to improve predictability and safety for people walking and biking

We’ve developed a proposal to improve the connection to the 1st Ave bridge, however funding constraints will prevent this from being part of the core project scope. If we identify a grant opportunity that allows us to include this connection, we will do so.

Initial analysis of this section of the project also included evaluation of whether a lane of traffic on SR99 could be removed to allow construction of a protected bike lane, as called for in the Seattle Bicycle Master Plan. Due to traffic volumes on SR-99, removing a motor vehicle lane is not feasible at this time.

East Marginal Map South Segment

If you’d like more details on we’ve heard, you can view the summary of the online open house survey results here.

Project Benefits

  • Improved freight mobility –Support the economic vitality of our region including the Port of Seattle and local industrial businesses.
  • Safety - Better access and connections in combination with separating non-motorized modes to reduce potential conflicts.
  • Better pedestrian and bike connections – New and upgraded facilities for people walking and biking also improves access for employees using transit or non-motorized modes to get to work in the area.

Project Funding

Funding to evaluate alternatives and complete early design is provided by the 9-year Levy to Move Seattle, approved by voters in 2015. Learn more about the levy at Levy to Move Seattle.

Full funding is dependent on contributions from other public partners such as the Port of Seattle and the State, as well as competitive Federal grant programs such as FASTLANE. Learn more about FASTLANE grants at:  www.transportation.gov/buildamerica/FASTLANEgrants

Public Outreach

This project began in 2015 with the examination of existing conditions and community input. A variety of methods engaged stakeholders, such as briefings, a public workshop, and an online survey.

In 2017, we are using public input, data collection, and technical analysis to evaluate different options for the future of the corridor.

Nearby Projects

S Lander St Bridge Project

Georgetown Mobility Study

Project Materials

Fact Sheet November 2017

East Marginal Way Summary of Online Open House Survey Results June 2017

East Marginal Way Survey Comments

East Marginal Way Online Open House

Online Open House Postcard April 2017

Seattle Freight Board Presentation March 2017

Seattle Bike Advisory Board Presentation March 2017

Seattle Pedestrian Advisory Board Presentation March 2017

Fact Sheet March 2017

Draft Existing Conditions Report October 2016

Project Contact

Dawn Schellenberg, Communications Lead
(206) 684-5189

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