University/Cowen Paving Project

What's happening now

We’re designing the repaving project for University Way NE/Cowen Pl NE. We expect to wrap up design in late 2017 and begin construction in the spring of 2018. Work will take 6-8 months to complete, weather depending. We’re committed to working with the community to minimize construction impacts to the extent feasible. We’re reaching out to businesses, residents, and community members along the project area to understand needs and learn of conditions we may not be aware of. Click here to view the project factsheet with more information.

Continue reading to learn about the outreach we’ve been doing since 2016, how community feedback shaped the street design, and more about other projects in northeast Seattle.

Please note: to take advantage of grant opportunities, 15th Ave NE construction is moved to 2019.

Email is the best way to stay up to date on project progress. Click here to sign up for email updates!

Questions? Email the project team at or call (206) 615-0925.


University Way NE/Cowen Pl NE is collector arterial serving approximately 4,000 drivers on an average day and King County Metro routes 45, 71, 73, and 83. Between NE 50th St and NE Ravenna Blvd, University Way NE is a commercial and residential street that supports the University Heights Center, a community P-Patch, shops and restaurants, and the University District Neighborhood Farmers Market on Saturdays.

existing conditions photos side by side

15th Ave NE is a minor arterial serving northeast Seattle and approximately 7,000 drivers on an average day. 15th Ave NE connects the University District and Roosevelt neighborhoods with Lake City Way NE and is a major transit street, serving King County Metro routes 71, 73, and 83. Between NE 55th St and Lake City Way NE, 15th Ave NE is home to houses, apartment buildings, businesses, and Roosevelt High School.

Each year, we pave arterial streets in poor condition to make them safer, smoother, and to extend their useful life. We prioritize paving projects based on pavement condition, traffic volume, geographic equity, cost, and opportunities for grants or coordination with other projects in the area. Repaving streets also creates opportunities to improve street safety and move people and goods more efficiently in a growing Seattle.

Read more about our current paving projects.

Project description

As part of our paving program, we'll repave approximately 0.5 miles along University Way NE/Cowen Pl NE and 1.3 miles of 15th Ave NE make it safer and more comfortable to travel on and to extend the useful life of the pavement. Paving is an opportunity to cost-effectively update street designs to promote safety, build features called for in citywide transportation plans, and coordinate with other projects. We developed concepts for street designs along these corridors according to the needs of different users and the amount of space available.

In addition to paving, these projects will include upgrading curb ramps, sidewalk repair, bus stop improvements, protected bike lanes, and stormwater drainage improvements in select locations. See the image below for a look at these conceptual street designs for:

  • 15th Ave NE: NE 62nd St – Lake City Way NE
  • 15th Ave NE: NE 55th St – Cowen Pl NE
  • University Way NE: NE 50th St – NE Ravenna Blvd

Cowen Map and lane design

To take advantage of grant opportunities, 15th Ave NE construction is being moved to 2019 and will be considered as a separate project. This project will move to focus on University/Cowen paving project design and construction, scheduled as soon as 2018.

History and background

Since the summer of 2016, we've shared street design concepts with the community and asked how you get around your neighborhood. We sent mailers, offered an online survey, held an open house, dropped off materials, and visited businesses with door-to-door outreach.

We heard from hundreds of people about transportation safety and we appreciate everyone who took time to talk to us. Your feedback helped shape our design proposal for University Way NE and Cowen Pl NE. Here's what we heard from you:

  • Concerns about speeding
  • Desire to cross street more easily
  • Interest in using more transit and biking
  • Interest in maintaining parking
  • Discourage cut-through traffic
  • Desire for turn pockets and signals at key intersections
  • Preference for "protected" bike lanes
  • Interest in maintaining current operations of the University District Farmers Market

In addition to taking community feedback, we analyzed traffic and parking data and reviewed freight, transit, bike, and pedestrian master plan recommendations. Some of our findings* included:

  • Vehicle volumes: 4,000/average day
  • Vehicle speed: 29 MPH (85th percentile speed),
  • Collisions: 185 in 5 years
  • Peak hour parking restrictions: 7-9 AM (southbound) and 4-6 PM (northbound)

*Findings described are for University/Cowen Paving Project. Learn about data for 15th Ave NE paving in the Materials section at the bottom of this page.

Other transportation investments in the northeast Seattle


This is our anticipated project timeline for University/Cowen but dates are subject to change.

Summer/fall 2016

Northeast paving project planning and outreach

Spring 2017

Northeast paving project street concept design and outreach

Summer 2017

Begin University/Cowen design

Summer/fall 2017

Outreach to residents, businesses, and property owners along University/Cowen

Fall 2017

Finish University/Cowen design

Winter 2017/2018

Pre-construction coordination with community for University/Cowen

Winter/spring 2018

Begin University/Cowen construction

Fall 2018

Complete University/Cowen construction


Design and outreach for 15th Ave NE paving


This project is part of SDOT's Arterial and Asphalt and Concrete (AAC) Paving Program. Design and construction of our paving projects, as well as the safety and mobility improvements shown, are funded by the Levy to Move Seattle, approved by Seattle voters in November 2015. We also seek additional funding through grants, when available. Learn more about the levy at

Get Involved

We're committed to engaging with the community throughout the life of the project. We want everyone to have the opportunity to engage with us and ask questions. Outreach is being done throughout the planning, design, and construction phases and here are some of the ways to get involved during the different stages of a project's life:

The Four Stages of Getting Involved

  1. Planning
    What we do: COllect traffic data, review plans and gather community experiences to define options.
  2. Design
    What we do: Share updates as more details are know.
  3. Construction
    What we do: Provide construction schedule, expected impacts, and a contact for questions.
  4. Evaluation
    What we do: Gather feedback from those that work, live, play and travel near the completed project, and collect traffic data.
  • We conducted an online survey to gather feedback about how you travel around your neighborhood and what is working and what's not with these streets.
  • We shared draft street design concepts that included what we learned from the survey, as well as pedestrian, bike, freight, and transit master plan recommendations, and traffic data at two open houses.
  • We held a public comment period to gather feedback from residents, commuters, and businesses about their ideas on the draft concepts.
  • We held stakeholder briefings with our modal advisory boards, businesses, community groups, and schools and visited businesses along the project streets to

August 2017

Property owner outreach

Summer 2017

Begin project design

May 2017

Ravenna Bryant Community Association presentation

December 2016

Seattle Bicycle Advisory Board presentation

November 2016

U-District Livability Open House booth

Door-to-door business outreach

Wedgwood Community Council presentation

Roosevelt High School presentation

October 2016

University District Farmer's Market booth

Hosted Public Open House

July 2016

Seattle Freight Advisory Board presentation

June 2016

Seattle Pedestrian Advisory Board presentation

Seattle Bicycle Advisory Board presentation


To view a PDF of project-related materials, please click on the links provided below.

Outreach materials

Project planning


We're committed to building a productive, inclusive, and collaborative relationship with all who live, work, or travel in the project area. Please contact us with any questions.

Phone: (206) 615-0925

Community Outreach Lead
Rachel McCaffrey

Project Manager
Jack Bartman

If you need this information translated, please call (206) 615-0925.

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Updated: 5/25/2017