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SDOT, Sound Transit, King County Metro, and Community Transit win national “Best Transit Expansion” award of 2021!

John Lewis Memorial Bridge and the new Northgate Link light rail station. Photo Credit: Tim Durkan.

We at the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) and our partners have been recognized as part of TransitCenter’s 2021 “Frequencies” Awards! The award recognizes the regional coordination and infrastructure improvements that went into the Northgate Link Extension project. 

Watch the announcement from TransitCenter, below:


Frequencies2021 train bus lightrail Seattle

♬ original sound – TransitCtr
Watch the announcement from TransitCenter.

TransitCenter is a national foundation that works to improve public transit and urban mobility through grantmaking, research, technical assistance, and public programs in cities across the country. TransitCenter’s annual “Frequencies” Awards recognize outstanding work by transit agencies, workers, and advocates to improve transit service. 

Since three new light rail stations opened in early-October, we’ve seen thousands of people use the expanded transit options and connections in North Seattle and beyond. Several recently completed SDOT projects helped create these new multimodal connections: 

  • The NE 43rd St Improvement Project built new protected bike lanes, transit pathways, and street improvements between the University of Washington campus, the new U District light rail station, and west into the heart of the U District. Related improvements on 12th Ave NE included roadway repaving, sidewalk and curb ramp restoration, installation of protected bike lanes, installation of King County Metro bus layover space and Metro bus trolley infrastructure. These changes help buses avoid congestion from previous bus operations on NE 45th St and better serve the front entrance to the new U District station. 
  • Installation of new red-painted, transit-only lanes in the U District along 15th Ave NE between NE 45th St and NE 40th St, and along NE 45th St between 8th Ave NE and 15th Ave NE. 
  • Installation of a new bus stop, adjacent bicycle facilities, and traffic signal improvements near the new Roosevelt Link light rail station at 12th Ave NE at NE 67th St. Coming next spring, an additional bus stop, bicycle facility, and pedestrian crossing improvements will be completed at Roosevelt Way NE between NE 67th St and NE 65th St. 
  • Updates to more than 100 blocks of Residential Zone Permit (RPZ) area and addition of 85 paid parking spaces in the Roosevelt neighborhood to ensure parking availability for local businesses and residents, and discourage “hide-and-ride” commuter parking near the new Roosevelt Link light rail station. 
  • The Seattle Transit Measure (Proposition 1, approved by Seattle voters in November 2020)  funds additional bus service within the North Link project areas, including Night Owl service, improved mid-day service on frequent routes in the area, and twice as frequent buses on the new Route 20 (which reconnects the Lake City neighborhood with a frequent connection along Lake City Way and Northgate Way to the Northgate Transit Center). 
  • Integrated micro-mobility (bike share and scooter share) at the three new station areas, in coordination with King County Metro and Sound Transit. 
  • SDOT also worked in areas beyond the Link light rail station areas to make revised bus routes safer and more convenient for riders. These smaller projects included 13 new bus stops across Seattle, as well as roadway improvements to support transit service in Lake City, Bryant, Wallingford, Fremont, and First Hill. 

SDOT’s projects were coordinated to provide access to some major works from our local and regional transit partners! 

  • Sound Transit‘s Link light rail provides fast, high-capacity access to jobs, schools, and other important destinations, and the Northgate Link Extension added service to the new Northgate, Roosevelt, and U District stations. Sound Transit also re-oriented many of its ST Express regional bus routes serving Snohomish and North King County to serve these new light rail stations.  
  • King County Metro’s and Community Transit‘s updated bus service helps facilitate smooth connections to Link light rail. This expands safe, affordable, and accessible transit options to move across the region more easily. King County Metro completed a substantial restructure of local and peak commute time-oriented bus routes across North Seattle and North King County to serve the new Link light rail stations, and Community Transit for the first time now provides access to the new Northgate Link light rail station from multiple areas in Snohomish County. 

After years of planning, design, community engagement, and construction, Seattle can be proud of the connections and opportunities in North Seattle – and the close community and agency partnerships that helped make them all a success! Thank you to everyone who contributed to this effort. 

Please check out our John Lewis Memorial Bridge project recap video to take a look back at the work and partnerships that made this project a reality. You can also read this blog post to learn more about the new connections made possible by the bridge. We also wrote a blog post about the significance of the bridge’s naming, and how it is intended to honor the life’s work of civil rights icon Congressman John Lewis.