3rd and Yesler Safety Improvements

Updated November 4, 2022

What's Happening Now?

We continue to improve safety and comfort for people traveling through the 3rd Ave S and Yesler Way intersection. We completed Phases 1 and 2 over the summer of 2022, which included interim (paint and post) improvements that reduced crossing distances, created more space for pedestrians, and made the bus operation more efficient at this intersection (signal changes). We are now moving into Phase 3 which will design and construct permanent improvements for this intersection.

This winter we will be developing the permanent design concept and conducting initial outreach. Our goals are to expand pedestrian space through permanent curb bulbs, improve ADA access via sidewalk repairs and better alignment of curb ramps, reconfigure the bikeway connection, and explore opportunities to incorporate art, trees, and other elements into the project. We are aiming to construct some of the identified permanent design elements by the end of 2023.

If you have questions about the project or would like a briefing, please contact the project outreach lead listed to the right.

Project Overview

Image shows the conditions today at 3rd Ave and Yesler Way looking north

Image above shows the conditions today at 3rd Ave and Yesler Way looking north 

3rd and Yesler and the nearby area is one of the busiest bus corridors in the state - collecting every bus that comes in and out of 3rd Ave downtown. It's also busy with people walking and biking serving key destinations like social services, the Pioneer Square Link Light Rail station, King County Courthouse, and major bus stops.

The intersection of 3rd/Yesler has been a High Collision Location for the past three years for people walking. There are persistent collisions where people driving hit pedestrians in the west and north crosswalks of 3rd and Yesler. ​

To improve safety and maintain or improve transit times, we plan to add more sidewalk space on both sides, reduce 3rd Ave and Prefontaine by one lane each, adjust the traffic signal timing, shorten crossing distances, and widen crosswalks.

We'll build the project in phases starting with a pilot phase that we expect to begin in summer 2022. The final scope of the improvements will be determined after the results of the pilot are analyzed and approved by SDOT and King County Metro. 

Image shows an aerial view of conditions today at 3rd Ave and Yesler Way

Image above shows an aerial view of conditions today at 3rd Ave and Yesler Way 

Project Map

Project map showing proposed pilot improvements and potential future improvements at 3rd Ave and Yesler Way.
Click on image above to enlarge.


Image shows a cutout of SDOT’s Public Life Action Plan

This project was originally identified as part of the One Center City Near-Term Action Plan​ which is a collaboration between King County, Sound Transit, and SDOT that identified key projects and programs that will help keep people and the economy moving even as major construction projects and growth-related congestion reduce street capacity.

It's also a safety priority identified within the Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety Analysis (BPSA).  

In 2019, SDOT conducted a public life study, which included Prefontaine Place and City Hall Park​. The findings at these locations found:

  • Very few women, youth, or elderly using these public spaces​
  • High concentration of people near busy transit locations​
  • City Hall Park was underutilized​
  • Spaces lack identity, a sense of place, and do not function as a cohesive network


Phase 1: Pilot Period (approximately 4 weeks in July - August 2022) ​

  • Temporary paint and plastic posts to delineate walkway and curb bulb space
  • Modify traffic signal timing ​​

Phase 2: Interim Period (immediately after the pilot period in 2022) ​

  • If pilot is approved, replace all temporary paint with more durable markings​
  • If pilot is not approved, restore original lane markings as needed 

Phase 3: Some Permanent Improvements (exact scope to be determined after interim period, but could include): ​

  • Closing Dilling Way to vehicle traffic​ and realign the protected bike lane toward Yesler; install new bike signals and add green "crossbike" pavement markings for the new segment of the protected bike lane on Yesler; remove the pedestrian island on the northwest corner of 3rd and Yesler
  • Install concrete curb extensions along 3rd Ave S, Yesler Way, and Prefontaine to shorten crossing distances and improve visibility for all travelers

Phase 4: Remaining Permanent Improvements

  • A larger SDOT capital project will take on any remaining improvements that were not able to be built with SDOT crews in previous phases, including the new sidewalk extensions and any additional sidewalk or street paving


This project budget is $1M and is funded by the One Center City program. The One Center City program is co-funded by King County, Sound Transit, and SDOT.​ 


  • SDOT's Public Life Action Plan (January 2020)

Translation and Interpretation

If you need this information translated, please call (206) 450-2530.

如果您需要此信息翻譯成中文 請致電 (206) 450-2530.

Kung kailangan mo ang impormasyon na ito na nakasalin sa Tagalog mangyari lamang na tumawag sa (206) 450-2530.

Si necesita traducir esta información al español, llame al (206) 450-2530.

Odeeffannoon kun akka siif (206) 450-2530.

Nếu quý vị cần thông tin này chuyển ngữ sang tiếng Việt xin gọi (206) 450-2530.

የዚህን መረጃ ትርጉም ከፈለጉ፣ በዚህ ስልክ ቁጥር ይደውሉ፡ (206) 450-2530.

ናይዚ ሓበሬታ ትርጉም እንተደሊኹም፣ በዚ ቁጽሪ ስልኪ ይድውሉ፡ (206) 450-2530.

당신이 번역이 정보를 필요로하는 경우에, (206) 450-2530 로 전화 해주십시오.


Greg Spotts, Director
Address: 700 5th Ave, Suite 3800, Seattle, WA, 98104
Mailing Address: PO Box 34996, Seattle, WA, 98124-4996
Phone: (206) 684-7623

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The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) is on a mission to deliver a transportation system that provides safe and affordable access to places and opportunities for everyone as we work to achieve our vision of Seattle as a thriving, equitable community powered by dependable transportation.