Mercer Corridor Project – Where We’ve been and what’s next

The Mercer neighborhood
Whether you’ve attended a concert at Seattle Center, watched the Fourth of July Fireworks around Lake Union, or dined at one of the many area restaurants, you’ve probably traveled along Mercer Street at some point. For more than 40 years, the Mercer Corridor has been a sticky transportation challenge. A priority for SDOT is addressing the needs of all users in the area which includes the 80,000 vehicles using the I-5 interchange daily, in addition to the growing number of pedestrians and bicyclists as people and businesses move into South Lake Union. SDOT is dedicated to keeping people, goods, and services moving on this major corridor in our city. Together with WSDOT’s North Portal project, the two projects will rebuild the street grid across Aurora Ave. N to connect South Lake Union, Uptown, and Seattle Center.

Mercer construction – nearly complete!
In early 2010, SDOT began the first phase of construction, Mercer East, and in August 2012 Mercer St. opened to two-way traffic between I-5 and 9th Ave. N. The next phase of construction, Mercer West, began in 2013, and focused on the corridor between Dexter Ave. N and 5th Ave. W. SDOT is pleased to announce that substantial completion for Mercer West is anticipated to occur later this summer.

In June, final lane striping along Mercer St. was completed and the intersection of Mercer St. and Dexter Ave. N was changed into its final configuration. This means that all turns are now legal – but please be sure to obey the signals to protect other vehicles, pedestrians, and bicyclists! Crews are currently working to complete sidewalks and landscaping along Mercer St. as well as a median between 8th and 9th avenues. The intersection of 5th Ave. N and Thomas St. will also be completed with final striping, crosswalks, and signal timing in August. At this point, Mercer Street and 5th Ave. North will be in their final configurations. This means that all signals, turn lanes, crosswalks, and sidewalks will be open and in their final configurations.

While construction on Mercer Street is nearly complete, the Project will be adding work for WSDOT’s North Portal Area Projects to our contract. The Mercer West Project will install a large storm water detention pipe in Roy Street between Fourth Ave N and Fifth Ave N this fall. This will provide storm water detention to meet code requirements for WSDOT’s North Portal Area Projects. SDOT and WSDOT have coordinated with Seattle Public Utilities and determined that this new facility is the most cost-effective way for WSDOT to meet the storm water detention requirements under the Seattle Municipal Code. It is also the preferred approach for Seattle Public Utilities who will own and maintain the detention system.











Keep in touch

Even though Mercer Corridor construction only has a few months left, we are always happy to answer any and all questions about its construction and your travels through the area. The best way to reach us is via email at or via the 24-hour construction hotline at 206-419-5818. To receive up-to-minute construction updates, visit our website and join our project email list at always, SDOT thanks you for your patience while project construction nears completion.

First Hill Streetcar Testing Update

Here is a video clip of the Test Run:

The new First Hill Streetcar visited all its neighborhoods from Capitol Hill to Pioneer Square on Tuesday as part of its ongoing testing program. These low-speed tests focused on the braking performance when traveling downhill in traffic. Many of our tests are performed late at night or on the 8th Avenue S maintenance facility track–some will even be performed with the new car delivered to the South Lake Union line–but this was a nice opportunity to show off for the lunchtime crowd on a sunny July day!  We are working hard with the manufacturer to get the vehicles ready for passenger service. The start date is still not fixed as we need the manufacturer to complete this iterative process of testing and fine-tuning to safety-certify the vehicles before we can finalize our start-up activities.

Test Team in Pioneer Square

Test Team in Pioneer Square








The Test Team completed the tests and will be back out soon. #TheStreetcar

The First Hill Streetcar is an important link in the regional transit system, and connects the diverse and vibrant residential neighborhoods and business districts of Capitol Hill, First Hill, Yesler Terrace, Central Area, Chinatown ID and Pioneer Square. For more on the streetcar please visit:

SDOT is Focusing Repairs on our Busiest Streets

Thanks to SDOT’s Arterial Major Maintenance (AMM) program, SDOT paving crews recently replaced several damaged concrete panels on NE 55th St.  This is the route of the #71 bus, which connects the UDistrict to neighborhoods to the north and to Downtown.  Sections of NE 55th St were showing a lot of wear and tear from heavy vehicles.  SDOT had filled multiple potholes on this street, but the 7000 block had come to a point where it needed repairs that were bigger than filling potholes but smaller than full road reconstruction.

The AMM program maintains our busiest streets by making strategic small scale pavement repairs ranging from just few hundred feet long to a couple of blocks.   By focusing our finite repair dollars on the key locations in greatest need on our most vital streets, we can provide a big bang for the buck.

This year the AMM program will complete nearly 100 projects throughout the city.  In addition to new pavement on streets, the program pays for related work such as curb ramps, drainage improvements and street trees.

When you add up all those individual concrete panel replacements and short stretches of fresh, smooth asphalt, the AMM program will repair over 10 lane miles of streets in 2015.

NE 55th Street Before

NE 55th Street Before Panel repairs


After Panel repairs

NE 55th Street After Panel repairs









The Maintenance Operations Division of Seattle Department of Transportation is responsible for keeping street pavement clean and in good repair. The crews sweep and flush streets, remove snow and ice, repair potholes, and take care of minor asphalt and concrete paving jobs. The Division monitors the performance of City streets and establishes multi-year repaving priorities.






Capitol Hill “No Park” Management Pilot Program

No park easel_crop

In order to keep traffic and pedestrians flowing around construction zones, it is sometimes necessary to temporarily restrict parking near construction sites. But “No Parking” easels, such as the one pictured on the right, can contribute to mobility problems as they often partially block the right of way. Because they are easily movable, enforcement can also be problematic. To address these issues, we are working with Capitol Hill contractors on a pilot program to replace these cumbersome easels with a system of temporary, slim-profile posts and interchangeable meter hoods.

How does the program work?

Upon approval of a contractor’s application for a temporary no-park zone, SDOT will install a type of temporary sign post known as a Gorilla Post™ in the permitted area(s). A Gorilla Post uses magnets to securely lock delineators and signposts to a precise position, and is removable only with system-specific tools. The base onto which the signpost is affixed is ADA compliant, so mobility for all is maintained even when the signs are in place.

GP demo

Once posts are in place, contractors will be required to install one of two types of hood, the hood type being dependent on which type of no-park zone is permitted. Contractors are responsible for purchasing all hoods and SDOT-approved padlocks for securing the hoods, and for ensuring that all hoods adhere to required signage standards. Most importantly, hoods must include days and times of parking restriction, as well as a contractor contact phone number.

No park hood_crop       No park hood example1_cropNo park hood example2_crop

What are the benefits of the new system?

This program will allow us to better track and review impacts of No Parking signs, adding a coordinated planning element that improves efficiency and access for all. Since each no-park zone will be reserved for a single contractor and the new signs are not easily moved or altered, the program will also facilitate more reliable enforcement.

The pilot will run now through December 31, 2015, at which point we will assess how effective the new program has been and will consider extending the program to other Seattle neighborhoods.

For contractors interested in finding out more about hood/lock design specifications and vendors, you can view our vendor information sheet here. If you have any questions about the new program, please feel free to contact the Capitol Hill Construction Hub Coordinator, Wayne Gallup at 206.681.6099 or

Come share your ideas for the Center City Bike Network 7/21 at Town Hall

What’s your vision for a more vibrant city and safer traveling experience for people walking, biking and driving downtown? Please join us for the Center City Bike Network open house to meet the project team and share your vision for the project.

Tuesday, July 21 at Town Hall Seattle, 1119 8th Ave, from 5:00 – 7:00 PM

  • Learn the history and next steps in the selection and design process
  • Share specific input as well as your vision for a more vibrant city and safer traveling experience for people walking, biking and driving downtown
  • We’ll have activities for kids too!


The Seattle Department of Transportation is studying and prioritizing locations for a protected bicycle lane network in downtown Seattle. This work builds on outreach and data collected as part of Seattle’s 2014 Bicycle Master Plan. SDOT plans to implement the Center City Bike Network of protected bike lanes by 2020, pending funding availability.


Why Protected Bike Lanes?

U.S. cities are increasingly embracing protected bike lanes that separate people on bikes from people in cars by using physical barriers such as posts, parked cars or simple landscaping.
Seattle’s downtown network of protected bike lanes aims to:

  • Improve safety and predictability by separating all modes of travel
  • Expand connectivity throughout downtown and the rest of Seattle as our city continues to grow
  • Boost business by offering more travel options for getting to them
  • Promote physical activity and increase ridership by supporting people of all ages and abilities
  • Provide affordable travel options


Design that Builds on Best Practices

Like all good transportation systems, protected bike lanes require smart investments and careful planning. SDOT will use a combination of technical analysis, ongoing public input and coordination with projects such as the Center City Connector streetcar and Waterfront Seattle to design and phase-in cost-effective complete streets that are a win-win for everyone.

Outreach Process

Below is our outreach process for implementing bicycle projects (Bicycle Master Plan, page 94). This project primarily focuses on step 2, helping us prioritize the network and move through a portion of its design. Seattle has an ambitious schedule for implementing protected bike lanes in the Center City. Check out our five-year implementation plan.

As a part of the outreach for the project, SDOT has developed a Sounding Board made up of community members representing businesses, freight, people who bike, private development and residents. Learn more about the Sounding Board here.

Get Involved

Better bike infrastructure can benefit everyone especially when various perspectives are involved in the planning. SDOT is seeking input and guidance from people who live, travel and work downtown and in adjacent neighborhoods.

Outreach will include open houses, briefings, regular email updates, and a Sounding Board made up of Center City stakeholders.

Click here to sign up for email updates.

Project Contacts

Project Email:
SDOT Project Manager: Sandra “Sam” Woods
SDOT Communications Lead: Dawn Schellenberg

Free Parking on Seattle’s Waterfront Saturday July 11 from 10am -7pm, Details below!

If you’re heading down to visit the Seattle Waterfront Saturday July 11,  The Downtown Seattle Association parking program, and WSDOT are providing free parking (for up to four hours) on Saturday, July 11 when visitors patronize a participating Waterfront business.


Check out the link for more:

Participating businesses are: Argosy Cruises & Tillicum Village, Elliott’s Oyster House, Elliott’s Cafe 56, Ivars’ Acres of Clams, Ivar’s Pier 54 Fish Bar, Seattle Aquarium, Seattle Shirt Company, Simply Seattle, The Crab Pot, The Fisherman’s Restaurant & Bar, The Great Wheel and Ye Olde Curiosity Shop.

How to get the free parking:

  • Park in one of these participating parking facilities: 1st & Columbia Garage (721 1st Ave.), Hillclimb Court Garage (1422 Alaskan Way), Western & Seneca Lot (1101 Western Ave.) or Watermark Garage (1100 Western Ave.)
  • Patronize a participating Waterfront business (listed above) to receive a free parking voucher
  • Present voucher to booth attendant upon exiting the parking facility (drivers are responsible for additional parking cost beyond four hours)

The DSA’s Metropolitan Improvement District (MID) Parking Ambassadors will also be out and about along Seattle’s waterfront, assisting drivers locate the free parking garages, as well as the year-round low-rate parking on other key summer weekends.

Seawall Update:

The weather is warm and Seattle’s waterfront is bustling with activity as Seawall Project construction takes a summer break between Pike and Madison streets. Businesses are now open at historic Piers 54, 55, 56 and 57. The seawall is complete adjacent to Waterfront Park, and nearly 70 on-street parking spaces are available in between the Seattle Aquarium and Pier 57.

The piers have reopened and the seawall is complete adjacent to Waterfront Park.

The piers have reopened and the seawall is complete adjacent to Waterfront Park.

Nearly 70 on-street parking spaces are now available adjacent to Waterfront Park.

Nearly 70 on-street parking spaces are now available adjacent to Waterfront Park.


The view from below the sidewalk of the completed seawall adjacent to Waterfront Park, including the new seawall face, habitat shelves, marine mattresses and overhanging light penetrating sidewalks.

The view from below the sidewalk of the completed seawall adjacent to Waterfront Park, including the new seawall face, habitat shelves, marine mattresses and overhanging light penetrating sidewalks.

Seawall Promenade

This summer, you can access your favorite businesses and attractions from a temporary, park-like pedestrian promenade from University to Madison streets. In this area, you’ll find plenty of special activities including street performers, ping pong tables, and more! Parts of the in-progress Seawall are open for viewing through the excavated areas adjacent to the promenade. Businesses on piers 54, 55, 56 and 57 are open and accessible via pedestrian bridges that span the seawall work zone.

A pedestrian promenade is now open along the central waterfront.

A pedestrian promenade is now open along the central waterfront.

Bridges provide access to the piers, where businesses have reopened.

Bridges provide access to the piers, where businesses have reopened.

Construction will continue near Colman Dock throughout the summer, between Madison Street and Yesler Way. Check out the most recent project flyer for more information.


Take a self-guided seawall tour

This summer’s construction hiatus provides an once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see portions of seawall assembly at various stages of completion from Union to Madison streets. When seawall construction is complete in 2016, most of the massive seawall support structure will be covered up by soil, pavement and concrete. Throughout the summer, visitors to the waterfront can learn more about one of Seattle’s most critical pieces of infrastructure via a self-guided tour that provides educational information and unique insights about the Seawall Project.

Keep an eye out for self-guided tour banners – like this one – along the waterfront and learn more about seawall construction.

Keep an eye out for self-guided tour banners – like this one – along the waterfront and learn more about seawall construction.

Post your #SeawallSelfie

Visit the waterfront this summer and snap a photo of you and your friends or family. Tag your photos with #seawallselfie and post them on Facebook or Twitter. We’ll share our weekly favorites!

Come on down to the waterfront this summer, snap a #seawallselfie and share with the Seawall Project on Facebook or Twitter!

Come on down to the waterfront this summer, snap a #seawallselfie and share with the Seawall Project on Facebook or Twitter!

Seawall Project – Summer 2015


Learn more!

For more information about seawall construction, visit the Seawall Project website, or visit the self-guided tour online. If you have questions, email ( or call the 24-hour hotline (206.618.8584).


How Should Seattle Grow? Seattle 2035: Draft Plan Published

The Seattle Department of Planning and Development (DPD) has released a Draft City of Seattle Comprehensive Plan. Entitled Seattle 2035, the Draft Plan is now available for public comment.  This important milestone brings the City one step closer to completing an updated Comprehensive Plan – our roadmap for Seattle’s next 20 years.


The Draft Plan is informed by the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) that was released in May 2015.  The Draft Plan identifies proposed goals and policies to help achieve our vision for Seattle’s future.  Seattle is expected to grow by 120,000 residents and 115,000 jobs in the coming twenty years.  The Draft Plan also includes a new Future Land Use Map, showing a pattern of growth that supports the City’s vision.

The City of Seattle is seeking public feedback on proposed goals and policies as we continue to evaluate strategies to build a safe, vibrant, affordable, interconnected, and innovative city for all.  City staff has already received hundreds of public comments on the DEIS and on the overall direction of the Plan document.

DPD is seeking public comments on the Draft Plan during a three-month public comment period, from July 8 through the end of September.

Here’s how to join the discussion about Seattle’s future and provide comments:

  • Join the Seattle 2035 Online Community Conversation at and discuss the potential pros and cons of proposed policies with other Seattleites
  • Attend our Draft Plan Public Event on September 15 – Stay tuned for more details
  • Follow Seattle 2035 on Facebook and Twitter
  • Send comments by the end of September:
    • Email: Send comments to
    • Mail: Send comments to the City of Seattle Department of Planning and Development, Attn: Seattle 2035, 700 5th Avenue, Suite 2000, PO Box 34019, Seattle WA 98124-4019.
    • In Person: Attend our Draft Plan Public Event on September 15. Stay tuned for more details!



New Green Tech, Eco-friendly material donated to SDOT as Tree surround covering

SDOT recently worked with 3 local contractors to install donated eco-friendly material called “Flexi-Pave” (made of recycled passenger car tires and granite aggregate) around several trees in Seattle to demonstrate its use. The manufacturer K.B Industries of Florida provided the material to the city free of charge to show how it works and train local contractors to install it.

The highly porous material can displace water quickly and can be installed without migration meaning it doesn’t get washed away or moved by external forces like weather.  It can be used for a variety of applications including the tree surround covering, paths and roadways.

Please checkout our latest Blog Video:


Flexi-pave has been installed at eight trees along Pine Street between Second and Third avenues, and around five trees in McGraw Square.

Here are some of the advantages of using the flexible porous material in the tree surrounds:

  • A safe, stable surface for pedestrians
  • Allows air and water to pass into the soil to keep street trees healthy
  • Zero to low maintenance with no weed or unplanned vegetation growth and removal
  • Cheaper than traditional tree grates and doesn’t wash away
  • 400 Square feet of tree surround was covered using about 220 recycled passenger car tires


The Landscape Architect Unit provides Landscape Architectural design, design review & construction inspection services for City of Seattle Capital Improvement Projects and Department of Planning and Development private development projects to ensure tree preservation and code compliant landscape architectural improvements in the Right of Way (ROW).

The City of Seattle recognizes the importance of the preservation and stewardship of the trees and landscapes that make us the “Emerald City”.

Please Join us at our Upcoming 35th Ave SW Safety Plan Meetings

SDOT would like to invite you to our next public meetings for 35th Ave SW happening this month. Since October 2014, we’ve been working with community members and our West Seattle neighbors to get ideas on how to improve safety on 35th Ave SW.

35thSW image

Our next open house meetings will be held to discuss our upcoming plans:

• Wednesday, July 15th from 7 – 9 PM at the Neighborhood House (6400 Sylvan Way SW)

• Thursday, July 16th from 6 – 7:45 PM at the Southwest Branch of the Seattle Public Library (9010 35th Ave SW)

We’ll be presenting our traffic analysis results and our plans to improve safety along this corridor.

We previously held four public meetings about 35th Ave SW and hosted one walking tour in May.  We heard a lot of good comments at our events and are incorporating a majority of them into our design and appreciate the feedback and community participation.

35th Ave SW at SW Cambridge Street

The Safety Project corridor is 35th Avenue SW between SW Roxbury Street and SW Avalon Way.

Safety is the City’s number one priority, and we are committed to preventing collisions and improving safety for all users of the transportation system.

Please join us at the open house and learn how we plan to improve the safety for everyone along 35th Ave SW.

We hope to see you there!


Play Streets Pilot EXTENDED!

Did you have such a good holiday weekend that you feel like dancing in the street? Well you’re in luck. SDOT is very pleased to announce that due to its popularity we are extending our Play Streets pilot program until April 2016! So far, over 75 of your Seattle friends and neighbors have joined the fun and hosted their own Play Street, each offering its own unique flair.

In case you’re not familiar with the program, Play Streets are like mini block parties that open the streets up to local residents for a variety of activities. Hosts of Play Streets obtain a permit from SDOT to temporarily close the street to through traffic with removable barricades for hours defined by the permit. To be approved, any Play Street must meet the following four criteria:


  1. The Play Street should be no more than one block long.
  2. The street should be a non-arterial street (click here to learn your street classification).
  3. There must be clear visibility from each intersection.
  4. The play street must have neighbor support.


Most of the time, Play Streets are developed around the idea of providing more community play space for kids, but adults often get in on the fun too. Some recent Play Street themes have included bicycle courses, street dances, and hopscotch courts. We have even seen people of all ages come together to do yoga in their Play Street!

To provide people with a better idea of what the Play Streets pilot program is all about, our fabulous multimedia folks recently put together a video featuring Play Street hosts and SDOT staff (and kids playing in the street!) telling stories about their experiences with the program:

Our team also produced the following three videos, each featuring a specific idea for Play Street programming:

Bike Rodeo – 

Instrument Making – 

Craft Tutorial –

Are you interested in hosting a Play Street yourself? Visit our Play Streets webpage here, for more information. Ready to apply to host a Play Street? Download the application here. We are currently accepting applications and can’t wait to see all the creative ideas you have for activities on your new Play Street!