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Rainier Corridor Improvements Program
Corredor Rainiero Programa de Mejoras
Chương trình cải thiện hành lang Rainier
Map of 2011/2012 Projects
Southeast Transportation Study
Rainier Traffic Safety Project

Rainier Corridor Improvements Program

The City of Seattle is investing nearly $12 million in the Rainier Corridor, with a comprehensive set of transportation-related improvements that began in 2010 and continue through 2012. Building on the Rainier Corridor Traffic Safety Project of 2006-2008 and guided by the 2008 Southeast Transportation Study (SETS), the enhancements listed below will improve safety along the corridor for all modes of travel.

Improvements include:

  • New pavement, striping, and curb ramps along much of the corridor as well as localized sidewalk reconstruction;
  • Fiber connections to better manage signals and traffic flow, transit priority signals for better bus reliability and real-time traffic information signs to help riders plan trips;
  • New lighting on the pedestrian bridge to Franklin High School and Mt. Baker Blvd;
  • New pedestrian signal at Rainier Avenue South and 39 th Avenue South (as recommended by SETS);
  • New pedestrian signal at Rainier Avenue South and S Frontenac Street (near Othello Playground); and much more.

The entire improvements package, which consists of a number of individual construction efforts, runs the length of Rainier Avenue South from South Jackson Street to 51st Avenue South and on 51st Avenue South to South Bangor Street, and follows the work in 2010 to construct better transit waiting areas; make signal improvements that increase bus reliability; install new pedestrian signals; repaint crosswalks; build curb ramps; and add street lighting, among other things. The upcoming projects in 2011 and 2012 focus on making mass transit a priority and maintaining the roadway, while ensuring pedestrian safety at key cross points.


As noted above, and in the area-wide map, there are a multitude of improvement projects going on this year and next year in the Rainier Corridor area. Specific project details will be made available here, with project web pages created as construction plans are finalized.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is all of the work happening along the Rainier Corridor?

A: There a four paving improvements planned in 2011 in the following areas:

  • Final paving at Rainier/Genesee, where pedestrian improvements were
    completed in 2010;
  • North of Columbia City (S Walden to S Alaska);
  • North of Rainier Beach (S Austin to S Cloverdale);
  • On 51st Ave S south of Rainier Beach (Rainier Ave S to S Bangor St).

The final paving of the Rainier/Genesee intersection takes place this spring and is expected to take only two weekends.  Construction of the larger paving segments will begin this summer and last through fall.  Early completion of the Rainier/Genesee intersection is expected to lessen impacts to this very busy cross point and the businesses around it during the more difficult paving work in the summer. 

In addition, sidewalk replacement work is planned in 2011 and 2012 in Columbia City and Rainier Beach, and other pedestrian crossing improvements are planned throughout the corridor, including new pedestrian signals south of Columbia City (at 39th Ave S) and at Frontenac.

Transit speed and reliability improvements were mostly completed in 2010. Additional “Intelligent Transportation Systems” improvements for better transit are planned in 2011, and new lighted bus shelters will be installed at several locations.

Finally, in summer 2011 SDOT will be adding lighting to the pedestrian bridge across MLK and Rainier near Franklin High School to improve safety.

Q: Why are you doing this work? What’s the benefit?

A: In addition to “regular” paving improvements, there will be sidewalk and crossing improvements and changes to improve transit speed and reliability. SDOT previously updated paving on Rainier Avenue in advance of light rail construction on MLK to accommodate traffic that detoured around construction. Paving in 2011 will include more significant “base repair” in the worst areas to help make sure paving improvements last longer. Transit and pedestrian improvements are part of the Walk Bike Ride initiative to improve safety and convenience for pedestrians and transit riders in one of the busiest transit corridors in the City.

Q: How have you been coordinating this work?

A: There are a number of separate projects we are coordinating to try to minimize construction impacts on local businesses and residents. Where possible, work will be completed within a single project or by a single contractor. Based on some of the delays we experienced in construction on Rainier in 2010, we’re placing additional constraints in our contracts to reduce the number of locations impacted by the construction at one time. We have put all of these improvements on a single map so that community members can see all of the things that are happening without having to search our website or attend separate meetings. We’re coordinating among the multiple City project managers involved to make sure our schedules are in sync as much as possible.


Safer Corridor – Better Transit

Rainier Avenue South carries 18,000 to 42,000 cars and trucks daily and in 2008 the corridor experienced nearly 50 crashes a month.  Injuries from collisions decreased eight percent since SDOT’s Rainier Traffic Safety Project and its multi-lingual “Stop. Look. Live.” campaign, but much work still needs to be done. 

Metro Transit operates several transit routes on this corridor, including Route 7.  Route 7 is the single highest ridership transit route in the State of Washington, carrying over 11,000 riders per day and over 3.4 million riders per year.  To improve safety and the transit waiting environment, SDOT constructed street and sidewalk improvements.  This included extending sidewalk spaces out to what’s called bus bulbs along South Jackson Street and Rainier Avenue South, with some electrical work, pedestrian signals, and asphalt paving/striping.  Work is set to wrap up this year. 

In the first six months of 2011, the Rainier Corridor will see work to continue improving transit through a host of other project elements focused on more efficient and reliable bus travel.  The second half of the year, construction begins to repave three main sections of Rainier Avenue South, including several blocks of sidewalk replacement and better lighting.  The upgrades are happening at multiple Rainier Avenue South locations from Seattle’s Chinatown-International District to Rainier Beach. 


Getting Results in the Southeast

The work noted above will have much-needed and very specific results, such as:

  • 5.6 lane miles of new pavement
  • 13,107 sq. ft. of Reconstructed sidewalk along Rainier Avenue South
  • 1,200 sq. ft. of New sidewalk along S McClellan Street
  • 2 new pedestrian signals
  • 14 new bus bulbs (completed in 2010)
  • 2 newly rehabilitated public stairways
  • 14 new electronic information signs at bus stops & 9 new controller cabinets (transit priority signals for a smarter corridor now and into the future!)

Bridging the Gap dollars have also funded considerable improvements in the Southeast over the last four years, including:

Highlights 4 Year Total (2007 thru 2010)
Street Name Signs (intersections)
New Blocks of Sidewalk
Sidewalk Blocks Repaired
Trees Planted
Trees Pruned
Bike Lanes and Sharrows Striped
Neighborhood Street Fund Projects

2010 Project Highlights-In and Around Rainier

Bridge Rehabilitation

  • Dr. Jose Rizal Bridge Rehabilitation - Complete
  • Airport Way S. Viaduct over Argo Railroad Yard Rehabilitation – Designed
    (construction expected to start Spring 2011)

Safe Routes to School Projects

  • Dearborn Park Elementary –Sidewalk extension and crossing relocation - Complete

Neighborhood Street Fund Large Project

  • Sidewalk improvements – S. Orcas St. between Beacon Ave. and 28th Ave. S - Selected

Crossing Improvements

  • Rainier Ave. S and S Andover St. - Complete
  • S. Lander St. between 17th Ave S and 18th Ave S - Complete
  • 12th Ave. S and S. Charles St. - Complete
  • Columbian Way at the VA Hospital - Complete
  • Rainier Ave. S and S. Graham St. - Complete

Other Projects

5 pedestrian crossing and safety improvements - Complete
20 cross walks remarked - Complete
2.8 miles of bike lane/sharrows striped - Complete
7.18 lane miles of bike facility maintenance - Complete
30 on-street bicycle parking spaces installed - Complete

More Information

As coordination continues regarding the many improvements planned for the Rainier Corridor, details will be disseminated to area organizations, businesses, residents and travelers. In the meantime, please direct questions to:

LeAnne Nelson, SDOT Project Communications, 206-684-3897

George Frost, SDOT Project Communications, 206-615-0786

Thank you!



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