23rd Ave Corridor Improvements

Updated: March 14, 2019

What’s happening now?

The S Massachusetts St intersection will be closed the next two weekends

Good afternoon. Over the next two weekends, we will be working at the 23rd Ave S and S Massachusetts St intersection to replace the concrete panels on S Massachusetts St. Since we need to dig up the old panels and then form and pour new ones, we need to close both sides of the intersection, one side at a time. 

Right now, the plan is to close the west side of the intersection this coming weekend. We'll move to the east side the following weekend. We are holding a third weekend as a contingency in case we run into issues during the first two closures.

West side closure

Starting Saturday, March 16 around 7am and lasting through Monday, March 18 at 5am, the west leg of the 23rd Ave S and S Massachusetts St intersection will be closed. We are obtaining a noise variance to start work at 7am on Saturday. Neighbors will see and hear construction activity throughout the weekend. For the duration of the closure, motorists will be detoured to arterials. Local access will be maintained along S Massachusetts St between Rainier Ave S and 23rd Ave S. 

23rd Ave S East side detour map

East side closure

Similar to the west side closure, we will close the east side starting Saturday, March 23 around 7am and lasting through Monday, March 25 at 5am. We will have a noise variance to start work at 7am. Neighbors will see and hear construction activity throughout the weekend. For the duration of the closure, motorists will be detoured to arterials. Local access will be maintained along S Massachusetts St between 23rd Ave S and Martin Luther King Jr Way S. 

23rd Ave S West side detour map

All of this work is weather-dependent and the schedule and details are subject to change. I will send another email update as we get closer to the first closure and a reminder the following week about the second closure. Thank you for your patience!

Phase 2

What's coming next?

Phase 2 mapPhase 2 of the project stretches from S Jackson St to Rainier Ave S. Construction began on May 14, 2018 and is expected to last approximately one year. The project in this area will help enhance safety and mobility for people who walk, drive, and take transit. Phase 2 improvements vary throughout the length of the project and include:

  • Sidewalk improvements, such as sidewalks, crosswalks, and upgraded pedestrian crossing signals
  • Repaving the street
  • Redesigning the street from four lanes to three (one wider lane in each direction with a center turn lane) from S Jackson St to S Holgate St
  • Installing new storm drains
  • Landscaping and street trees
  • Replacing the water main under the street from S Jackson St to S Norman St
  • Replacing water service pipes and fire hydrants from S Norman St to Rainier Ave S
  • Transit improvements, such as real-time arrival information and bus pullouts (space for buses to stop outside of the flow of traffic)
  • Adjacent Central Area Neighborhood Greenway route

Construction Detour

Phase 2 detour map - click to view larger As of May 16, 2018, there is a southbound detour on 23rd Ave S in place while crews replace the water main and rebuild the street in the northern section of the project area. The detour is expected to last the full duration of construction on 23rd Ave S:

  • Southbound 23rd Ave S between S Jackson St and S Norman St is detoured to Martin Luther King Jr Way S
  • Northbound travel will be maintained on 23rd Ave S, with traffic reduced to one lane
  • We will maintain continual customer access to businesses
  • We will notify you in advance of any restrictions to your driveway; driveway access will be maintained except during temporary restrictions for activities such as driveway rebuilds, sidewalk work, water main installation, paving and striping.

Don’t hesitate to call (206-727-8857) or email us with questions about how to get around your neighborhood during construction.

The construction detour on 23rd Ave S also means long-term transit detours for King County Metro Routes 4 and 48 during construction. King County Metro and the Seattle Department of Transportation have been working together to limit impacts to transit riders during upcoming Phase 2 construction.

  • Route 4: Route 4 is being detoured to Martin Luther King Jr Way S.
    • From community feedback about Phase 1 construction, we heard the importance of maintaining Route 4 service to Judkins Park during construction. Since there is no trolley wire on MLK Jr Way S, Metro is using diesel shuttle buses to service all Route 4 stops south of E Jefferson St. On weekdays, continuing Route 4 riders need to transfer between the regular electric trolley bus and the diesel bus shuttle at E Jefferson St (on weekends, diesel buses serve all of Route 4 so there is no need to transfer).
  • Route 48: Route 48 is also detoured to MLK Jr Way S during 23rd Ave construction.

For more information about transit changes during construction, visit Metro’s website, look for posted Rider Alerts, or call 206-553-3000 (TTY Relay: 711).

Phase 1

23rd Ave reopened to two-way traffic in February 2017.

From June 2015 through early 2017, crews rebuilt 23rd Ave between S Jackson St and E John St. The new street includes:

  • Over 285,000 square feet of new concrete paving 105 new ADA-compliant curb ramps
  • Over 91,000 square feet of new sidewalks and driveways
  • Over 8,000 feet of a new water main to replace the previous, 100-year-old water main
  • Over 3,800 feet of new stormwater system (storm drainage) and 12 new storm drain filter systems 77 upgraded pedestrian lights, 87 upgraded street lights, and upgrades to 14 existing streetlights
  • 41 new street trees
  • New bus pullouts and real-time information signs at transit stops
  • New public art at the 23rd Ave and E Union St intersection

Schedule

The 23rd Avenue Corridor Improvement project includes three phases:

Phase 1

S Jackson St to E John St: June 2015 – spring 2017; major construction activities completed, minor close-out activities in progress

Phase 2

S Jackson St to Rainier Ave S – Construction began on May 14, 2018, and is expected to last approximately one year

Phase 3

North of E John St: Now the 23rd Ave E Vision Zero project.

Funding

SDOT has a total of $43 million in funding through a combination of local, state and federal sources. Phase 1 is estimated to cost approximately $31 million and is fully funded. Phase 2 is funded in part by the 9-year Levy to Move Seattle, approved by voters in 2015.

Background

Project area map

For a good introduction to the project, be sure to check out our overview video.

The Corridor

23rd Ave is an essential arterial that connects a variety of users to businesses, educational institutions and residences in the Central District and beyond. Approximately 13,400-20,000 vehicles use 23rd Ave each day. This area also serves high volumes of pedestrians, bike riders, and transit users (approximately 6,000 daily transit riders).

Why construct improvements on the 23rd Ave corridor?

Before the start of construction, the 23rd Ave corridor was in poor condition, including:

  • Many collisions (more than 900 reported in five years)
  • Poor road conditions (e.g. potholes, cracked pavement)
  • Narrow lanes
  • Back-ups created by left-turning vehicles
  • Narrow and uneven sidewalks
  • Inadequate buffers between vehicles and pedestrians

Improving safety and mobility in your neighborhood

In June 2015, the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) began construction on 23rd Avenue between S Jackson St and E John St. This is the first phase of a project to improve safety and mobility for people who drive, walk, bike and take transit in the area.

Project improvements vary by phase and include:

  • Modifying 23rd Ave from a four-lane street to a three-lane street - one lane in each direction with a center left-turn lane (key intersections will stay four lanes)
  • New pavement
  • Widening sidewalks to at least five feet and repairing broken and buckling sidewalks
  • Installing new streetlights
  • Upgrading traffic signals to give transit priority at key locations
  • Consolidating bus stops to improve transit speed
  • Replacing a 100-year-old water main that runs underneath 23rd Ave
  • Installing public art near 23rd Ave and E Union St
  • Implementing a greenway adjacent to 23rd Ave, to create a quieter, safer route for people to bike and walk

The new roadway – opportunity for a safer 23rd Ave

The new corridor will have wider lanes – one in each direction – plus a 10-foot-wide center turn lane. The turn lane will allow left-turning vehicles to make a safe left turn, while still allowing thru-traffic to continue through an intersection and down the street.

On streets with 25,000 vehicles per day or fewer, such as 23rd Ave, changing the street design from four lanes to three can increase safety by reducing collisions, reducing speeding, allowing vehicles to turn without blocking traffic, managing drivers cutting in and out of lanes, creating space for wider sidewalks, making streets easier to cross and making it easier for freight and transit to travel. At most bus stops, the road will flare to approximately 18 feet, where buses can pull to the side and vehicles can pass the stopped bus in the travel lane. The City is also working with King County Metro to determine the benefits of electrifying the Route 48 line. The results from the study can be found in the Project Materials section below.

Cross section

Get Involved

We are committed to engaging with the community and responding to community needs in the project area. Please stay tuned for more information about future public engagement opportunities, and contact us if you would like to request a community briefing.

Materials

Current Materials

Reference

Previous Materials

Previous translated materials