North Downtown Mobility Action Program

Updated: December 3, 2019

What's happening now?

SDOT is scheduled to finalize the NODO Mobility Action Plan in December 2019. Plan implementation begins in December 2019 with presentations to the Seattle Bicycle Advisory Board and Seattle Center's Community Coordination Committee. Project-specific outreach will occur in 2020.

Overview

The purpose of the North Downtown Mobility Action Plan (NODO MAP) is to support access to and mobility through North Downtown (NODO), which includes Uptown, Belltown, and South Lake Union neighborhoods. This action plan will identify and prioritize transportation improvements for all modes building on existing community planning efforts. The NODO MAP is closely linked to the redevelopment of the new arena at Seattle Center. The City of Seattle is working with Oak View Group (OVG) as the arena developer on this project.

The draft October 2018 North Downtown Mobility Action Plan was prepared in partnership with the North Downtown neighborhoods through a community outreach process from Fall 2017 to Fall 2018. The plan built on existing community planning efforts; reviewed existing community plans and planned projects; identified ways to improve how we move, connect, and experience our streets and public places; and evaluated and prioritized potential projects.

Comments to the draft plan, along with review of the funding strategy, and coordination of improvement of the new arena and other development in the NODO area were incorporated into the final NODO Mobility Action Plan. The December 2019 final action plan identifies and prioritizes transportation improvements for all modes in the NODO neighborhoods, building on existing community plans, with an emphasis of delivering the priority projects in the next ten years.

In partnership with the neighborhoods, the Mobility Action Plan will:

  • Review existing community plans and planned projects
  • Identify ways to improve how we move, connect, and experience our streets and public places
  • Evaluate and prioritize potential projects
  • Proceed with implementation of prioritized and approved projects

Map

Map showing North Downtown Mobility Action Plan's 10 year investments and projects.

Project listings

NODO Project IDNameDescription
A 1st Ave N and Queen Anne Ave N Complete Streets Prioritize people taking transit, walking, and bicycling by including transit-only lanes and protected bicycle lanes. Intersection improvements include new signals to improve pedestrian safety, curb bulbs at select intersections, a transit queue jump to benefit transit speed and reliability, and signal upgrades to improve network connectivity through predictable bicycle and vehicular movements. Protected bike lanes on 1st Ave N and Queen Anne Ave N are consistent with the Bicycle Master Plan.
B 1st Avenue and Broad Street Complete Street Leverage improvements along 1st Ave N and Queen Anne Ave N to complete the bicycle connection between the 2nd Ave protected bike lane (PBL) and the future 1st Ave N PBL. The project will also upgrade signals to add a new pedestrian crosswalk at 1st Ave and Denny Way, provide bicycle signals, and enhance transit speed and reliability between 3rd Ave and 1st Ave N. 
C-West Seattle Center to Waterfront Greenway Seattle Center to Waterfront Greenway, also known as Thomas Street Greenway West, will improve and highlight the walking and bicycling connections between the Seattle Center and the Central Waterfront via the Thomas St overpass. Thomas Street Greenway West will build upon the longstanding vision for the Thomas Green Street and leverage intersection improvements at Thomas St and 1st Ave N and Queen Anne Ave N to establish a safe and obvious walking and biking connection between Seattle Center and the Thomas St overpass. SDOT will establish an all-ages and -abilities bicycle connection between the Thomas St overpass and Seattle Center by working with the topography to prioritize people riding bicycles along the least steep routes along 3rd Ave W.
C-East Protected Intersection at Dexter and Thomas Dexter/Thomas Protected Intersection, also known as Thomas Street Greenway East, will implement a key element of the community's vision for a pedestrian- and bicycle-friendly Thomas Green Street. A protected intersection at Dexter Ave N and Thomas St will include diverters to prohibit through vehicle travel across Aurora Ave N (now 7th Ave N) and a new signal.
D Pedestrian improvements in Belltown Enhance pedestrian safety and comfort in Belltown at 1st Ave and Battery St, a high-priority pedestrian crossing location. Intersection improvements include a new traffic signal, crosswalks, and potential paint-and-post curb bulbs to shorten pedestrian crossing distance and slow turning vehicles.
E Monorail improvements Enhance sustainable transportation options, mobility, and convenience for North Downtown residents, workers, and commuters with connections to the Westlake Hub and light rail in downtown. The City Arena Transportation Fund would provide $1 million in seed funding to leverage other partner investments to fund the improvements identified in the Seattle Center Monorail Stations Reconfiguration Evaluation Report (2018). These recommended improvements will enhance sustainable transportation options, mobility, and convenience for North Downtown residents, workers, and commuters with connections to the Westlake Hub and light rail in downtown. Community outreach indicated wayfinding and accessibility improvements as priorities.
F SR 99 to Waterfront Access and Mobility Contribution from the Port of Seattle are proposed to help fund SR 99 to Waterfront Access and Mobility project, which supports freight mobility with upgrades along Broad St and the western portion of Denny Way. The Freight Master Plan identified Denny Way intelligent transportation system (ITS) improvements as a priority project.
G Denny Way East from 4th Ave N to I-5 Upgrade 11 signals from 4th Ave N to I-5 to improve operating conditions in this key transit and freight corridor. Upgrades will include updates to signal timing, vehicle detection, and fiber communications to improve traffic flow.
H Harrison Street Corridor Improve 4 signals between 5th Ave N and Dexter Ave N connecting to the SR 99 north tunnel portal. Harrison St is also a future transit corridor that will benefit from the signal upgrades.
I Neighborhood-identified programmatic improvements Programmatic improvements include pedestrian and bicycle wayfinding; pedestrian improvements at high-priority intersections; pedestrian-scale lighting; and programs on Vision Zero education and encouragement, driver education and enforcement.

Once the new arena at Seattle Center opens and the priority are constructed, SDOT plans to reassess the improvements listed in the December 2019 NODO MAP to determine how to continue to best support the access and mobility of the population living, working, and visiting North Downtown.

Schedule

In 2017, SDOT began determining areas of focus and goals at internal and community meetings. SDOT then spent 2018 developing a prioritized project list based on public feedback and determining initial cost estimates before hosting an open house to gather more community input. Planning for specific projects began in 2019 and will continue through 2020 so SDOT can complete several projects by the time the new arena at Seattle Center opens, currently scheduled for 2021. Here is the anticipated schedule for NODO MAP's first round of projects (subject to change):

Chart showing schedules of each of the prioritized projects.

Funding

As part of the Seattle Center Arena Memorandum of Understanding, Oak View Group (the company redeveloping Seattle Center Arena) will contribute $40 million over 39 years to a City Transportation Fund ($1,025,000 each year, with no allowances for inflation). In addition, SDOT and the Port of Seattle are partnering for freight mobility improvements in the North Downtown area, including the corridors for the Ballard Interbay Manufacturing Industrial Center along the 15th Ave W/Elliott Ave W, Mercer St and Denny Way corridors. SDOT looked at a number of different ways to fund the projects outlined in the plan. Including:

  • Assigning various project improvements to leverage existing SDOT funding and use the OVG funding to augment existing funding to complete the improvements.
  • Borrowing a large sum (or annual borrowing in a series for a similar amount), then using the OVG funding to service the debt (paying back the borrowed princple, wiht interest and fees included). 
  • Using a pay-as-you-go scenario, using the OVG funding to closely match the work being completed on a yearly basis. 
  • A hybrid approach, using one or more of the methods above based on the best suited approach.

In the end, the hybrid approach seemed to make the most sense for funding these improvements. Based on these assumptions, we anticipate nearly $9 million in improvements being made between now and 2021 - with improvements made on a prioritized basis - and around $28 million in the first 10 years when combined with existing programs, mitigation resources, and other funding sources.

Materials

Related projects/programs

Outreach and engagement

April 2018 Open House

In April 2018 we held an open house to share the tiered project list. Our prioritization process got us to the tiered project lists below:

An important input was knowing the upcoming projects in North Downtown. In addition, we shared information on the Transportation Fund and our overall public outreach and anticipated schedule.

March 2018 Community Meetings

In March and early April we held a community meeting in each of the North Downtown neighborhoods of Uptown, Belltown, and South Lake Union. Below are the boards from the community meeting, including the new project ideas and maps that attendees voted on.

November 2017 Workshop

Kick-off Feedback and What’s Planned
Several maps highlight the feedback we received at the October project kick-off, indicating the hot spots where participants requested improvements. The feedback boards are followed by maps of SDOT’s funded projects as well as projects identified in citywide and neighborhood plans. The maps of what we heard and what’s planned are displayed by mode: driving and goods delivery, transit, walking, and bicycling.

Building an Evaluation Framework
Feedback we received at the October kick-off about the project’s guiding principles was translated into measures we could use to build an evaluation framework. We asked participants at the November Community Workshop to rate potential measures of success for evaluating projects to achieve our guiding principles, or suggest other potential measures.

Walking and Bicycling Tour Maps
Check out the maps for three different walking tours or a biking tour to explore the neighborhoods on your own. Have comments for improvements along the tour routes? Email them to northdowntown@seattle.gov.

Click on the following links to see snapshots of what we heard:

October 2017 open house boards

Partners

Project Belltown logo

South Lake Union Community Council logo Project Belltown logo
Updated: 5/4/2018