Thomas Street Redefined

Updated: October 2019

Overview

Plan drawing showing proposed changes to Thomas St between 5th Ave N to 6th Ave N.

Thomas St is an important east/west green street and public realm connection, linking the Cascade neighborhood through South Lake Union to the Seattle Center.

The 2013 Thomas Green Street Concept Plan was led by community stakeholders and adopted via SDOT Director's Rule. The plan prioritized pedestrians, cyclists, and the public realm. However, the street design concepts in this plan were not consistently implemented and were ineffective at transforming Thomas St to align with the original vision.

Heightened interest in Thomas St Greenway was initiated by community advocates in spring/summer 2019. On July 12, CM Bagshaw, with the support of the Mayor's Office and SDOT, hosted a design charrette to inform an amendment of the Thomas Green Street Concept Plan. The primary goal of this charrette was to identify transformative opportunities that could help realize the original vision of Thomas St, one that prioritizes pedestrian and bicycle connectivity. 

Image showing participants around the table with drawings and plan sets in discussion during the charrette.
Charrette participants in round table discussion.

Image showing participants going up to pinned drawings on the wall to add their ideas.
Participants sharing ideas and examples with each other during charrette.

Thomas Street Redefined reflects the outcomes of the July 2019 charrette. Thomas Street Redefined proposes significant changes to the 2013 Concept Plan. The three key moves include: 1) a half block closure at 5th and Thomas that would create a public plaza adjacent to the Seattle Center skatepark 2) the creation of a 36 feet wide pedestrian and bicycle promenade on the north curb and 3) a protected intersection at Dexter and Thomas.

Implementation of the new concept will require the utilization of multiple funds sources, such as: LCIP funds, BMP implementation funds, private development partnerships and grant sources.

Since the Thomas Street design charrette, and the release of the draft Thomas Street Redefined concept plan on September 20, 2019, the SDOT Team is developing an implementation strategy. The strategy will take into consideration scheduled improvements along Thomas St such as the new arena at Seattle Center, Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) (SR99 Surface Street Improvement), Seattle City Light (Broad St substation), Seattle Center (skate park), and private development. The implementation strategy will yield a phased approach to bicycle facilities, intersection design, signalization, and other improvements along Thomas St, with the draft work plan below. 

View the latest draft of the Thomas Street Concept Plan.

West of Seattle Center (Seattle Center to Waterfront Greenway)

Within the Uptown neighborhood, this project will construct an all ages and abilities bicycle connection between the Thomas St Overpass and the Seattle Center via Thomas St and Republican St. This project will build on the North Downtown Mobility Action Program (NODO MAP) outreach process to implement neighborhood greenway streets with low motorized traffic volumes and speeds that are designated and designed to give bicycle and pedestrian safe and pleasant travel priority.

Refer to the Neighborhood Greenway website for more details on the project status. Refer to the NODO MAP website for more information on the NODO program.

East of Seattle Center (Thomas St: 5th Ave N to Eastlake Ave E)

Improvements along Thomas St east of Seattle Center are planned to occur in phases primarily based on milestones of planned improvements of other projects along this corridor and funding availability. SDOT is continuing to seek development partnership and grant opportunities along this corridor.

Street closures for vehicular through traffic at 5th Ave N and at Dexter Ave N along Thomas St will be the first step for this corridor towards realizing Thomas Street Redefined. As a continuation of the current restriction of vehicular traffic along Thomas St from 5th Ave N to Dexter Ave N, and before opening of 7th Ave N and Thomas St signalized intersection by Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT), this project will construct an interim closure of 5th Ave N and Thomas St and install an interim turn/through restriction at Dexter Ave N and Thomas St. This work is planned to be completed in 2019. Refer to the Neighborhood Greenway website for more details on the project status.

Interim Schedule

Schedule showing the sequencing of the various parts of the Thomas St Redefined Concept Plan Projects.