Northgate Investment Plan in Action

4-month long project begins July 2

The project to make intersection and pedestrian improvements at NE Northgate Way and Fifth Avenue NE starts construction Monday, July 2 and will wrap up before the holiday shopping season.  The work is part of the Northgate Coordinated Transportation Investment Plan, which guides private and public transportation investments until 2030.  It’s also part of the Fifth Avenue NE Streetscape Plan and applies a design developed in partnership with the Northgate community from 2006 through 2009 (plans then awaited full funding, now in place) when the intersection at NE Northgate Way and Fifth Avenue NE looked like this…

Photo taken in 2006

Back in 2006 private projects like 507 Northgate were in the planning stages as well, so the City worked with developers to plot out how the two designs would come together once funding enabled the transportation work.  Coordination of the two includes replacing landscaping and as a standard City policy any trees that have to be removed for a project are replaced at a 2-to-1 ratio.

SDOT’s Urban Forestry Division will place the new trees in the immediate neighborhood and as close in proximity to the originals as possible. Community comments on specifically where the extra trees might be planted are welcome, to help prioritize locations.  Neighbors will also see several trees wrapped in orange material, to protect them, and getting a trim so that construction does not damage the limbs.  Ironically, in its survey of the trees around the intersection, Urban Forestry discovered that one on the southwest side of NE Northgate Way isn’t alive anymore so removing it is a necessary safety precaution.

The NE Northgate Way and Fifth Avenue NE Intersection and Pedestrian Improvements Project, once complete, will create a safer, more attractive pedestrian environment with a new signal system; stamped crosswalks on all four sides of the intersection; new sidewalks; and a landscaped median with trees on NE Northgate Way, just west of the intersection.  A key focus of the project is to relieve congestion while improving access to the mall from the east and enhancing transit speed and reliability.  This will be accomplished with an additional left-turn lane from westbound NE Northgate Way onto southbound Fifth Ave NE and an  extended northbound Fifth Avenue NE right turn lane onto NE Northgate Way.

Project construction starts along the southwest corner of the intersection.  Crews will be working there until mid-August and then plan to move counter-clockwise around the intersection.  During Phase One there will be temporary lane and sidewalk closures on eastbound NE Northgate Way from Third Avenue NE to Fifth Avenue NE; and southbound on Fifth Avenue NE, from NE Northgate Way to just south of Key Bank.

Bridging the Gap, state and local funds all contribute to the $1.9 million construction cost.