Rainier Improvements

Updated: April 25, 2019

Improving safety and bus reliability on Rainier

What’s happening now?

We’re in Phase 2 of the Rainier Corridor Improvement project to improve safety and bus reliability between S Kenny St and S Henderson St. Check out our fact sheet and FAQ for more info and see our email archive for the latest.  

2019: Change the street layout within about a third of the corridor and build targeted improvements to address crash patterns 

2020: Incorporate input and complete the street layout within the remaining project area to improve safety and bus reliability

Project Overview

Between 2005 and 2014, there were nearly 3,600 total collisions along Rainier Ave S. During a 6-month study in 2015, on average, there was 1 crash per day that took 45 minutes to clear.

In 2014, we launched a collaborative process to improve Rainier Ave S as part of Seattle’s Vision Zero program to reach zero traffic fatalities or serious injuries by 2030. During Phase 1, we redesigned the street between S Alaska St and S Kenny St and successfully improved safety. We’re now in Phase 2 between S Kenny St and S Henderson St.

Child playing with a hula hoop
Rainier Valley Summer Streets 2014

Project Background

Phase 1

In 2015, we redesigned one mile of Rainier between S Alaska St and S Kenny St from 4 to 3 lanes. This project successfully improved safety along Rainier Ave S in Columbia City and Hillman City.

Read the full evaluation report.

Highlights include:

  • Collisions reduced by 15%
  • Vehicle speeds reduced by 16% northbound and 10% southbound
  • Transit travel times improved by 1 minute in the southbound direction during the PM peak hour
  • There have been zero serious injury or fatal crashes in the area we redesigned

Phase 2

In 2017, we continued our work on Rainier Ave S from S Kenny St to S Henderson. In 2017, we asked for your feedback on two potential Phase 2 concepts. The two most common themes we heard were support for center turn lanes and a need for frequent and reliable Metro Route 7 service.

After reviewing community feedback, conducting more traffic analysis, and working with our transit partners, we’re refining “Alternative 1” which would include a northbound bus lane throughout the project area and southbound bus lane in sections.

We’re currently gathering input and designing short-term safety improvements that we’ll build along the project area in 2019. We’re also studying a concept to change the travel lane configuration on Rainier to improve safety and bus reliability in 2020.

What We Heard

Outreach in 2017 included over 1,200 survey responses in various languages, dozens of meetings with residents and business groups, and attendance at various community events. We’re continuing to engage adjacent businesses and residents by going door-to-door and meeting with community stakeholders. We appreciate your participation in making Rainier Ave S safer!

Below are the key trade-offs of each Phase 2 option, and key points of feedback we heard during 2017 outreach. You can learn more about what we heard in our Outreach Summary.

Option 1 (Dedicated northbound bus lane)Option 2 (Protected Bike Lanes)
Traffic Operational Impacts
  • Slight increase in delay at signalized intersections. The intersection with the highest delay is S Othello St, where drivers will experience wait an average of 34 seconds longer.
  • Substantial impacts to people driving, taking bus, and freight along Rainier
  • Need for center turn lanes throughout the project area, due to side street access demand
What We Heard
  • Support for center-turn lane
  • Support for dedicated bus lane(s) to improve bus travel times
  • Desire for frequent and reliable transit on Metro Route 7 and future RapidRide
  • Senior populations preferred Alterative 1, but expressed concerns about potential bus stop consolidation due to mobility challenges
  • Generally, women with children expressed they preferred Alternative 1, but selected Alternative 2 because they support their children having bike lanes in the future
  • Support maximizing number of parking spaces for adjacent multifamily use

Project Area

Rainier Corridor Improvements Phase 2 Map

Other Projects along Rainier

Our project team is in close coordination with following projects along Rainier:

Phase 2 Schedule

Summer/Fall 2017: Share lane configuration concepts

2018: Study selected lane configuration concept and identify revisions

2019: Change the street layout within about a third of the corridor and build targeted improvements to address crash patterns

2020: Incorporate input and complete the street layout within the remaining project area to ensure reliable bus service


We received funding from the Real Estate Tax to fund the second phase of the Rainier Ave S Corridor Improvements Project. The project is also funded by the Levy to Move Seattle, a 9-year $930 million levy approved by voters in 2015.

Phase 2 Outreach Activities

February 20 – March 27, 2017 Winter 2017 online survey Collected general feedback on the project and community needs and priorities, which were used to design alternatives 1 and 2
March 7, 2017 Community forum Held an open house, shared crash data with the community
May – July 2017 Community Conversations Worked with Department of Neighborhoods to share project information with historically underserved or underrepresented community groups; Delivered short presentations and held open discussions in small groups; Asked questions regarding transportation priorities
August 2017 Mailer to Rainier Valley residents (approximately 33,000 households) Raised project awareness; shared alternatives; invited community members to visit the online open house
August 1, 2017 Rainier Beach Neighborhood Night Out Shared alternatives with the community for feedback
August 3-31, 2017 Online open house (w/survey) Shared alternatives with the community, collected feedback on specific alternatives
August 12, 2017 Rainier Valley Heritage Festival Shared alternatives with the community for feedback
August 15, 2017 Bus stop survey intercepts Handed out project materials; raised awareness of online open house; requested feedback
August 17, 2017 Ethnic markets drop-ins & poster delivery Shared project information through translated posters and interactions with employees; collected feedback
August 21, 2017 Safeway tabling event Shared project information; collected feedback
August 29, 2017 Southeast Seattle Senior Center briefing Shared alternatives with the community for feedback
August 2017 Social media campaign (Facebook posts, ads, Twitter posts, SDOT blog, South Seattle Emerald Blog and eNewsletter) Raised project awareness; shared alternatives; invited community members to participate in the online open house
September 2017 Rainier Beach Action Coalition briefing Shared alternatives with the community (youth/teens) for feedback
August 12, 2018 Rainier Valley Heritage & Othello Int'l Festival table Shared project info and Vision Zero giveaways
August 19, 2018 BAAM Fest table Shared project info and Vision Zero giveaways
Late August-Early October 2018 Door-to-door outreach surveys along whole project area Shared updated project info and talked with businesses and residents about their operations needs such as deliveries, parking, etc.
October 29, 2018 Spot improvements workshop with Rainier safety advocates Shared updated approach/timeline and collected input on spot improvements to build in 2019
October 31, 2018 Boo Bash in Rainier Beach Vision Zero giveaways
December 7, 2018 Rainier Beach walk with neighborhood advocates Learned more about Rainier Beach priorities and shared plans for 2019 improvements
December 13, 2018 Rose St Triangle activation planning committee meeting Shared Rainier and Rose intersection plans and collected input
February 6, 2019 Seattle Neighborhood Greenways and Rainier Valley Greenways meeting Walked through each 2019 improvement and shared plans for 2020
March 8, 2019 South Shore PreK-8 meeting Shared plans for Cloverdale and Henderson and collected input
March 19, 2019 Rainier Valley Greenways meeting Answer questions about 2019 improvements and overall schedule
April 7, 2019 Small group workshop at Ethiopian Community in Seattle monthly Kurse Share project overview and collect input on Rainier/Rose intersection options
Ongoing Website and email updates Share up to date project information; opportunities for involvement


Phase 2 (S Kenny St to S Henderson St)

Phase 1 (S Alaska St to S Kenny St)

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