The community-led revisioning of Melrose Ave in Capitol Hill is starting to come to fruition!

We’ve completed the final designs for improving safety & the walking & biking experience on Melrose Ave from E Roy St to University St. Construction expected to start later this year. 

To the east of I-5 in the Capitol Hill neighborhood, Melrose Ave is a key walking and biking connection.  

Melrose Ave is lined with residential buildings that overlook the city. On the southern end between E Olive Way and E Pike St, it’s a destination for local culture lined with restaurants, cafes, shops, and bars. 

I-5, built in the 1960s, created a barrier between Capitol Hill and downtown. In recent decades, Capitol Hill neighbors have envisioned creating the Melrose Promenade to reconnect to the city. Our project is a foundational step toward the community’s Melrose Promenade vision. 

Car parked on street outside the Melrose Market
Melrose Market is a popular destination on Melrose Ave. Photo credit SDOT Flickr 

Melrose Ave is included in our Bicycle Master Plan as a street that is integral to our connected bike network.

We’re improving Melrose Ave for people to bike, walk, roll, and drive more safely. Right now, some sidewalks and pavement are damaged, drivers are exceeding the speed limit, and some intersections can be difficult to cross. 

Between 2013 and 2018, there were a total of 141 reported collisions on Melrose Ave between Roy St and University St. All but 1 of the serious injury collisions involved someone walking or biking between Denny Way and Pike St.  

Map showing project area and improvements along Melrose Ave E between E Roy St and University St. For details, call 206-529-4295

Changes coming to the street will improve safety for people biking, walking, rolling, and driving.

This year we’re building: 

  • A redesigned intersection at E Olive Way with new a crosswalk 
  • Safety improvements at the intersections of Melrose Ave and E Denny Way, E Pine St, and E Pike St 
  • New protected bike lanes to reduce collisions 
  • A raised crosswalk at E Pine Street and a raised intersection where E Pike St, Minor Ave and Melrose Ave meet 
  • Pavement repair, sidewalk repair, and new curb ramps to make the street more accessible for people of all abilities 
  • Changes to parking including some parking removal as well as adding Restricted Parking Zone signage to support residential and short-term visitor parking; we’re also relocating and adding load zones to support neighbors 

Significant pedestrian safety improvements are coming to the intersection Melrose Ave and E Olive Way.  

With funding from the new Washington State Convention Center, we’re reconfiguring the I-5 on-ramp and adding a new crosswalk on the west side of Melrose Ave crossing E Olive Way.  

Before, with only three crosswalks at the intersection, a person walking or rolling on the west side of Melrose Ave would need to cross three streets and wait for three pedestrian signals to get to the other side of E Olive Way. By shifting the I-5 on-ramp, we’re able to add a signalized crosswalk on the west side of Melrose Ave. This move also eliminates a conflict point between people attempting to cross at the unmarked crosswalk and drivers who are revving up to freeways speeds. 

We’re also making safety improvements at three other high-traffic intersections:  

  • E Denny Way & Melrose Ave
  • E Pine St & Melrose Ave
  • Minor Ave, E Pike St, & Melrose Ave 
Before and after photos of an intersection that had curb bulbs installed
Example of an intersection that had curb bulbs and curb ramps installed.

At each of these intersections we’re adding curb bulbs and new curb ramps.  

Curb bulbs extend the sidewalk into the street, reducing the time and distance it takes a pedestrian to cross. They also make it easier for drivers and pedestrians to see one another because pedestrians are brought farther out into the street, making crossing locations more recognizable. And curb bulbs can prevent drivers from parking in front of crosswalks or blocking curb ramps.  

Curb ramps increase accessibility and ensure those using wheelchairs and strollers can move smoothly and safely from sidewalk to crosswalk. (Read our blog about the Anatomy of a Curb Ramp to learn more!)  

New protected bike lanes added between Denny and Pike to reduce collisions.  

This stretch of Melrose Ave will have one-way protected bike lanes on each side of the street. The bike lanes will be protected with pavement markings and plastic posts to better separate people biking from moving vehicles.  

People walking on Melrose Ave

The block between Pike and Pine already attracts people with local shops and restaurants. This project will better match the street and sidewalks to meet the needs of this vibrant block.  

Pedestrians will feel much more welcome here with a new “raised intersection” at the Pike/Melrose/Minor intersection that will include the colorful crosswalk that’s there today. We’ll also convert the colorful crosswalk at the north end of the block to a “raised crosswalk.” Raising intersections and crosswalks makes people walking much more visible to drivers and act as natural traffic calming.  

We’re also expanding the sidewalk on the west side of the block and “bulbing out” a section of the sidewalk so it’s 18 feet wide allowing much more space for people to eat outside, park bikes, and pass each other comfortably. 

Thank you to everyone who participated in the planning process, joined us at community meetings, and provided feedback!  

Now that the designs are final, we’re working on finalizing our federal grant. This is our anticipated timeline:  

  1. Spring 2021 – Advertise Melrose Promenade construction contract 
  1. Late spring 2021 – Select contractor and contractor begins planning construction work and timing 
  1. Early summer 2021 – Construction begins and will likely continue through the end of 2021 or early 2022 

Tell us your needs during construction! 

We expect construction to start in early summer. If you live, work, or visit Melrose Ave, please complete this short survey to help us understand your needs during construction. This will help us to best accommodate neighbors and keep you in the loop. 

Stay connected with the Melrose Promenade project