Starting June 8th, you’ll only have 20 months to wait for a much-improved 23rd Ave

The future of 23rd Ave (Image: SDOT)

The future of 23rd Ave (Image: SDOT)

Screen Shot 2015-05-18 at 10.40.08 AMThe 20-month first phase of a$46 million overhaul to improve the flow and safety of 23rd Ave will begin in early June. While the artery is hoped to be greatly improved by the time all phases of the 23rd Avenue Corridor Improvements Project are completed in late 2017, you might want to plan a few alternate routes in the meantime.

Monday night, planners will be on hand for the first of monthly community check-ins on the project:

First monthly community drop-in session on May 18
Each month throughout construction, SDOT will host a drop-in session to answer questions and share the latest construction information. Join us for the first drop-in on May 18 (see details below)! Don’t worry if you can’t make the drop-in session, we will post all information online.

Monday, May 18, 2015, 6:00 – 8:00 PM
Garfield Community Center – Arts & Crafts Room
2323 E Cherry Street, Seattle, WA 98122

Project details and updates can be found at Phase 1 will entail work on 23rd Ave from between S Jackson and E John. Phase 2 covers the work south of Jackson and Phase 3 will handle 23rd/24th from E John to E Roanoke in Montlake. Phase 2 and Phase 3 construction plans remain in the air, however, pending funding for the projects.

CHS wrote here about the road construction projects spanning Montlake, Capitol Hill, and the Central District that will transform the street into a new configuration with a center left-turn lane and improve the pedestrian and sidewalk experience. The new layout will also allow buses to pull completely out of the traffic lane at stops.Screen Shot 2015-05-18 at 11.02.42 AM

Meanwhile, work is also underway to complete the adjacent Central Area Neighborhood Greenway with bicycling and pedestrian improvements hoped to create a safer overall transit corridor.

Screen Shot 2015-05-18 at 10.40.48 AMThe Seattle Department of Transportation says the first phase is set to begin June 8th:

On June 8, crews working for the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) will begin major construction on 23rd Avenue between E John and S Jackson streets. Phase 1 construction will start in Zone A, which is between S Jackson and E Cherry streets. To learn more, read the construction fact sheet or visit the virtual construction open house we launched in March.

Before major construction begins on 23rd Avenue, SDOT will be working to wrap up work on Phase 1 of the adjacent Central Area Neighborhood Greenway. We began installing the greenway in late February and we expect to complete work by the end of June. The greenway will create a quieter, safer route for people to bike and walk. For more info about the route or list of improvements, read this handout about Phase 1 of the greenway project.

Seattle Public Utilities has already been at work in the area preparing connecting lines for the utilities work that will accompany the 23rd Ave construction including replacing the 100-year-old water main beneath the roadway.

SDOT has created an “online open house” to keep residents and businesses informed about the 23rd Ave project. Detours for motor vehicles and buses will be in place at times during the construction.

23rd 2015 0505 Construction Factsheet

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34 thoughts on “Starting June 8th, you’ll only have 20 months to wait for a much-improved 23rd Ave

    • Yeah, I’m not excited about this either. 23rd Avenue is the only reasonable north/south connector in central Seattle, and now they’re going to neuter it? I don’t see this as an improvement.

      • I am disappointed to see they are adding bus pullouts. Forcing buses to pull out of traffic and then wait for an opening to rejoin traffic just slows buses down further and gives people waiting for the bus less space on the sidewalk. Why aren’t we doing everything we can to prioritize bus traffic?

      • I agree–a bus with 50 people on it waiting for one car to allow it back in the lane is a common sight in Seattle, but not a good situation.

      • You do know of course that RCW says that vehicles must let buses into traffic. It’s almost never followed but the law says you must allow the bus into traffic. But then again, I’m not surprised that drivers don’t follow the rules of the road. Dozens of times a day I see vehicles wait in a crosswalk to make a turn or even put the nose of their vehicles into the intersection. The city could be making $124 all over the place if cops ticketed all the bad drivers.

      • Of course you do! The law is not enforced. The law says that you must yield to buses but it is not enforced or rarely is. I will tell you this though if there should be a collision as a result of this the driver will be sited. It will not do the metro driver any good though since it will still likely go on their driving record.

      • So, you want to slow /everybody/ down to the speed of the slowest moving vehicle on the road?

        Yeah, real efficient idea.

      • Isn’t that the duty of every NW driver? I thought that was the reason people drive 55mph on the left lane of every major road.

      • Well you’re right that buses are slow. Which is why they deserve more priority on our streets. Slowing down other vehicles is a small price to pay for speeding up buses. Well worth it.

      • I think bus pullouts are a great idea….they improve traffic flow and reduce the chances of accidents as motorists try to edge their way around a stopped bus. But, yes, motorists need to do their part by allowing a bus to pull into the traffic lane when the bus driver puts his signal on….I do this all the time, and I see other motorists do it too, but it needs to be done more often. It’s called “sharing the road.”

      • 3 and 4 make sense but did they just make up the numbers for 1 & 2? Reducing lanes is not going to make things go faster…

      • Not really the same. No parking is being removed and they are not adding stripping where zero existed before. Apples to Oranges.

      • Apparently, from your link, that’s not at all what happened on 75th. 75th didn’t lose a lane, but added a center turning lane and bicycle lanes on what was an un-marked two-lane road. Of course that would smooth out and speed up traffic patterns. Losing a lane on 23rd…I’m not so sure.

      • It’s pretty much exactly the same. NE 75th was effectively 4 lanes. No one parked on it, and cars drove side-by-side all the time. Buses run on NE 75th (granted, not as much as run on 23rd). Traffic volumes on NE 75th were 20k per day. Traffic volumes on 23rd are actually less – 16k per day.

        But hey, people predict mayhem and congestion every time a road diet is done, and it never happens. I’m sure this time will be different, right?

        Count me in as one of the people disappointed at the lack of in-lane stops for buses. On NE 75th, people use the center turn lane to get around a stopped bus. Perhaps due to the higher bus volumes, SDOT felt that sort of behavior would be too dangerous?

  1. Its a shame so much effort is begin spent on this stretch meanwhile the rest of the city continues to crumble.

    So many problems would be solved it we just repaved broken streets, repaint stripes and arrows, level failing sidewalks and made crosswalk safer. This would also benefit a greater audience, not just a handful here and there like this overkill project does.

  2. Increasing lanes from 4 to 8 makes traffic worse. Studies have shown time and time again when you increase lane width, it distances people from goods and services and increases the need to drive places. I live nearby and see it at a cut-through to get to other parts of the region. If you need to get to north Seattle then take i5 and sit in traffic or take these slower, safer lanes that will slow your commute by 1-3 minutes each direction. More lanes creates more problems and 23rd ave completely sucks right now. It cuts right through the heart of the CD and doesn’t encourage growth on that sector. I’ll bet the people living on 23rd won’t be complaining in 4 years when they see the value of their house catch up to the values of houses one block off 23rd.

    I live in the area and welcome the change, if it means I can’t go 45-50 down 23rd anymore so be it.

    • Amazing you live in the neighborhood but drive at excessive speeds? 45-50mph on 23rd is reckless and dangerous. So I guess you’re the reason why they are needing to calm traffic.

      Who’s suggesting increasing to 8 lanes? When you decrease to 1 single lane then add 1 car waiting for pedestrians as they make a right turn you create havoc for those behind you – this is what increases travel times.

  3. Some bus services, including the 4, will temporarily be cut in this area for several months. This is a social justice issue because the only bus that goes from south of Cherry in the CD to the hospitals is the 4. While the 48 is temporarily being moved to MLK, SDOT has decided to terminate the 4 near 23rd and Jefferson instead of continuing it South as it does now. People in the CD, myself included, need bus service for work, hospital appointments, and other things in first hill. I ride the 4 nearly every M-F from the CD to first hill for work. I am lucky enough to be fit enough to walk my route, but not when I work late shifts that end late at night or when it is pouring rain.

    Please sign this petition to ensure that the CD has bus access to first hill and the hospitals:

  4. i.) I often slow down as the current roads barely hold two cars in a direction. Next you are heading that way notice that cars checker board all the way until Jackson.

    ii.) I would hate to have to cross that road between cherry and union. No stop lights and four lanes to navigate. As a driver I used to stop but that is just encouraging a tragic end for someone.

    iii.) This is going to be an insane mess with the cut through traffic, it already is terrible this is just going to increase aggressive drivers onto 22/24th.

    iv.) 30 is the top speed limit in Seattle, you must yield to transit, you can’t edge your car into the intersection when turning left and can not stop on a sidewalk.

    v.) This has been several years in the making. I have been going to meetings on this for at least 3 years. That said the southbound only on 23rd was news to me, but makes sense. Next school year I will have kids at three south end schools and we live on N. Capitol hill. Oh well. Here is hoping for the best.

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