NE 43rd Street Improvements

Updated: March 8, 2019

What’s happening now?

This project is in its early design phases, and we’re collecting community input on the project. We are currently reaching out to community groups, businesses, residents and institutions in the project area for feedback on the four alternatives and ideas for optimizing the design to meet the needs of the community it serves. The preferred alternative will be selected by March 2019. We’ll use your feedback, data, and our citywide transportation plans for this updated street design.

Project Background

This project will implement streetscape and pedestrian improvements on NE 43rd Street between Brooklyn Ave NE and 15th Ave NE to improve access to the U District Link Light Rail station, which is scheduled to open in 2021. This project is in the University District, home to University of Washington’s main campus with over 56,800 students and 16,420 faculty and staff. The U District features some of the most complex and challenging multimodal network of transportation systems in the City. The complexity of its transportation systems will see dramatic changes when the U District light rail station opens in 2021, adjacent to the intersection of Brooklyn Avenue NE and NE 43rd Street. This extension of the light rail line will transform how people get around the surrounding neighborhood, is projected to serve between 22,000 and 26,000 riders daily by 2042.

In the immediate surrounding area there is the UW Bookstore, US Postal Office, a large church, multiple retail shops and restaurants, and apartments. The U District Link Light Rail UW Station at Brooklyn Ave NE and NE 43rd St is currently under construction. The construction area is between Brooklyn Ave and University Way from NE 43rd to NE 45th St. NE 43rd is currently closed to vehicular travel from Brooklyn Ave to University Ave for the station construction. The project is on schedule to reach substantial completion by February/March 2020 and be fully operational in the 3rd quarter of 2021. The main issues that have arisen as a result of construction are noise and garbage pick-up. Sound Transit has been responsive and addressed these two issues.

The benefit of the NE 43rd Street Improvement Project is to create safe access to the new U District Light Rail station safe for all modes of travel, whether people are walking, biking, or taking transit to the station. It will also benefit the nearby businesses who will have more people passing by and patronizing their shops. The new streetscape design will also enhance the environment of this highly dense urban village.

Project Area

Project area map

Proposed Alternatives

Existing lane configuration at NE 43rd street

Alternative 1, describing a pedestrian-only design

Alternative 2, describing a west-bound one way transit only lane and a bike lane

Alternative 3; one way lane open to all vehicles

Alternative four; two way lanes open to all vehicles

To learn more about the U District station, located on Brooklyn Ave NE between NE 45th and NE 43rd streets please visit Sound Transit's Project Webpage for more information. 

Project Schedule

Early 2019 Design work, community meetings, and community survey
March 2019 Preferred alternative will be selected
April 2019 30% plans complete
July 2019 60% plans complete
December 2019 100% plans complete
February 2020 Project is advertised
April 2020 Construction begins
March 2021 Project complete

Project Funding

The NE 43rd Street Improvements project is funded by the Levy to Move Seattle, a 9-year $930 million levy approved by voters in 2015.