LEVY DOLLARS AT WORK | We’re starting work on our 12th Ave S Vision Zero Project this week to make walking, rolling, and biking easier and safer.

Community crosswalk in Little Saigon at 12th Ave S. Photo Credit: SDOT Flickr.

Summary: 

  • The neighborhood around 12th Ave S is growing rapidly, and we want to make sure people traveling in and around it are safe.  
  • This Vision Zero project – funded by your tax dollars through the Levy to Move Seattle – aims to reduce vehicular speed on 12th Ave S and reduce crashes that injure people walking, rolling, and biking. 
  • Safety improvements along this busy street are imperative. At the same time, we understand that construction has an impact on neighbors and local businesses. 
  • The final design is composed of projects that will make people walking, rolling, and biking safer. On the whole, the project brings together multiple programs funded by the Levy to Move Seattle.  
  • The projects are concentrated around S King, S Weller, and S Charles Streets. 
  • There will be some impacts to traffic and transit. Please use caution and expect delays when traveling in the construction zone. 

The neighborhood around 12th Ave S is growing rapidly, and we want to make sure people traveling in and around it are safe. This Vision Zero project – funded by your tax dollars through the Levy to Move Seattle – aims to reduce vehicular speed on 12th Ave S and reduce crashes that injure people walking, rolling, and biking. 

12th Ave S is an important connection for people walking, rolling, biking, and driving between Beacon Hill and Capitol Hill, and is also part of the commercial and cultural hub of Little Saigon. Between 2004 and 2017, there were over 44 collisions between people driving and people either walking/rolling or biking at three major intersections along 12th Ave S at or between S King St and S Charles St.  

Our Vision Zero program aims to end traffic deaths by 2030. This project is one of many we have completed and will undertake to prevent collisions and traffic fatalities through smarter street design, targeted enforcement, partnerships, and thoughtful public engagement. 

This is yet another example of your tax dollars at work through the Levy to Move Seattle. You are helping to make and keep your community safe through this voter-approved, 9-year levy.  

Despite our need to pause some projects due to budget shortfalls and an unprecedented set of challenges almost every industry has faced this year, this important project along 12th Ave S and many more are still moving forward. We’re excited to share our Quarter 3 (Q3) Levy Progress Report with you later this month! 

Safety improvements along this busy street are imperative. At the same time, we understand that construction has an impact on neighbors and local businesses.  

We balanced safety, access improvements, and community priorities by working with community stakeholders as we developed the designs. 

The final design is composed of projects that will make people walking, rolling, and biking safer. The project brings together multiple programs funded by the Levy to Move Seattle: Vision Zero, Bicycle Safety, Bridge Replacement, Planning & Design, and Sidewalk Safety Repair.  

The improvements are concentrated around S King, S Weller, and S Charles Streets and include: 


A new protected northbound left turn signal at 12th Ave S and S Weller St, and left turn restrictions at S King St and S Weller St. 


Protecting this northbound left turn, so that people driving can only make left turns when there is a green arrow, is expected to reduce the number of collisions and increase safety. This is our biggest safety improvement in this project, which enables other projects below. For example, we now have room to add a protected bike lane due to this change! 

Left turns will not be allowed in these locations: 

  • The southbound lane of 12th Ave S onto S Weller St. There are multiple alternatives to this left turn, including turning right onto S Weller St from Rainier Ave S. 
  • The northbound lane of 12th Ave S onto S King St. Instead, people driving can use the new northbound left turn pocket at S Weller St (that will have a green arrow for left turns). 

Narrowing and reducing the number of travel lanes across the Jose Rizal Bridge to reduce speeds.


Jose Rizal Bridge with rendering of future protected bike lane. 

Narrowing streets is a common traffic calming measure that has been shown to reduce speeds.  

Parts of the work near Jose Rizal Bridge is funded by the Levy’s Bridge Replacement, Planning, & Design program. Typically the program funds structural bridge design, but $10 million is also set aside for safety projects to support people walking, rolling, and biking. This is an example of our teams’ efficient, strategic use of funding to support safety and mobility on and around our city’s bridges. 


A protected bike lane on either side of 12th Ave S from S King St to S Charles St.


Rendering of the protected bike lane on the west side of 12th Ave S, between S Lane St and S Weller St, looking north. 

This will create a safer connection between Beacon Hill, the S King St Neighborhood Greenway, the Mountains to Sound Trail, Little Saigon, and Capitol Hill.  


Improved walking and rolling connections along and across 12th Ave S


Rendering of bicycle and walking/rolling crossings at the northeast corner of 12th Ave S and S King St. 

We will conduct “spot” repairs on sidewalks along 12th Ave S – one between S King Stand S Lane St and another between Jose Rizal Bridge and S Charles St – to fix areas where pavement is broken or uplifted. 

At S King St, we will upgrade crossings for people walking, rolling, and biking. This includes a raised crosswalk to slow people driving in both directions. See the project webpage for additional renderings. 


In-lane bus stops at 12th Ave S just south of S Weller St.


Bus stops can be seen in the left-hand side of this rendering.

Retaining both bus stops on 12th Ave S and S Weller St was a priority by the community. Through community feedback, we designed in-lane bus stops adjacent to the protected bike lanes at both stops.  

These bus stops enable us to: 

  • Meet the needs of the community, 
  • Improve safety at this intersection by adding a northbound left turn pocket for vehicles, and 
  • Install the protected bike lane mentioned above.  

Installing 13 lamp posts within and around the project area.  


Lamp posts can be seen in the left-hand side of this rendering.  

Back in 2018, we set aside funding for 13 lamp posts to be installed under the I-5 overpass on S King St. The community had requested these to improve lighting and safety.  

There are many community-identified places in the neighborhood that also need lighting improvements, according to the 2019 Chinatown/International District Lighting Study. So, with community guidance, we identified areas to re-locate these lamp posts to ensure the funding can be used efficiently and effectively to light priority areas of the neighborhood. Still, Seattle City Light plans to upgrade the existing lighting on the underside of the I-5 overpass by the end of 2020. 

Coinciding installation of these new lamp posts with the other projects we are completing along 12th Ave S is also a great way use funding efficiently, improve lighting where it’s needed most, and minimize construction impacts on neighbors. These are the same lamp posts installed in Chinatown, so they help to visually connect the two parts of the neighborhood.  

Here’s a map of the project area, which shows existing and new facilities. 

Traffic and Transit Impacts

Please use caution and expect delays when traveling in the construction zone. Beginning this week, 12th Ave S will reduce to one lane in each direction between S King St and S Charles St (Golf Dr S). Northbound left turns will be restricted at S Weller St while work occurs at the intersection.  

We will also begin work at the southwest corner of 12th Ave S and S Weller St, near the existing route 36 and 60 southbound bus stop. Currently, only the southbound bus stop is impacted and temporarily relocated to just north of S Weller St, on the same side of 12th Ave S. 

Further information will be provided about impacts to the northbound stop in advance of work beginning on the east side of the street. For more information about this temporary bus stop relocation, please visit King County Metro’s website. 

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