Areaways Program


We recently conducted a structural analysis of the underground areaways in Pioneer Square. This analysis highlighted critical areaway structural vulnerabilities. Areaways are spaces that exist under sidewalks and between the street and the adjacent building, and the areaway foundation walls have deteriorated over time and need repair. We have made spot repairs in some locations in recent years, but we need to take a systematic approach. Our priority is to keep residents and businesses safe, so we're taking some preliminary steps to reduce the load on the areaways and prevent further issues, while maintaining reliable access for people and goods delivery in the neighborhood.

Schematic of an areaway

What's happening now?

Given the conditions in areaways, strict vehicle weight limitation, increased commercial vehicle enforcement, and an assessment of the current placement of load zones in Pioneer Square has occurred. We are adjusting loading zones to address demands and we must restrict vehicle loads on 1st Ave S between Marion St and Railroad Way S. Commercial vehicle load zones will be relocated according to the below map by the end of July 2019.

Vehicles over 10,000 pounds have been restricted to the inside lanes on 1st Avenue from Marion St to Railroad Way S and in other locations with structural vulnerabilities.

As part of this process, we'll engage tenants and building owners to share additional information and to collect information to help us plan for future work.    

What's next?

Throughout 2019 and 2020, we will install a monitoring system and conduct a complete assessment of the areaways to determine a long-term plan of action to repair necessary areas. In the meantime, our goal is to provide adjacent businesses and residents with accurate and timely information as we move forward to improve safety.

Estimated  Milestones

  • Completed in May 2019: curb lane load and turn restrictions and commercial load zone modifications on 1st Ave in place
  • By the end of July 2019: assessment and modification of other commercial vehicle load zone locations and associated traffic patterns in place
  • By the end of August/September: assessment and modification of other curb space usage in place

Pioneer Square areaway assessment and repair curb lane restrictions        Pioneer Square areaway assessment and repair, proposed load zone locations