3rd and Yesler Safety Improvements

Updated July 18, 2022

What's Happening Now?

We completed installation of the pilot safety improvements on the weekend of July 16 and 17!

We're improving safety and comfort for people walking near the intersection of 3rd and Yesler. The early design includes adding more sidewalk space on both sides of 3rd, shortening crossing distances, widening crosswalks, and reducing the number of lanes on a short portion of 3rd Ave and Prefontaine.

Because this area has so many buses passing through, a high priority is to maintain or improve bus travel times. To help meet that goal, we installed a pilot of improvements this summer that can be adjusted to meet both safety and transit needs.

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.

Background

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

Schedule

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

Funding

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.​ 

Materials

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