Addressing safety on Aurora Ave N is a critical step in our work to achieve our Vision Zero goal of ending traffic deaths and serious injuries on Seattle streets by 2030 

The intersection of Aurora Ave N and N 95th St, in north Seattle’s Licton Springs neighborhood. Photo: SDOT

We are committed to achieving our Vision Zero goal of ending traffic deaths and serious injuries on Seattle streets by 2030. Addressing the safety challenges on Aurora Ave N (State Route 99) is a critical step in our work to achieve this goal.  

Aurora Ave N, as well as other major arterial streets in the city, has continued to see a concerning and tragic trend of life altering and life ending crashes. Over the past five years, 18 people have lost their lives in a traffic crash on Aurora Ave N (between Mercer St and N 145th St). This includes 15 pedestrians. This is unacceptable, and we are determined to make Aurora Ave N safer for all travelers, especially people walking and rolling, who are often the most vulnerable in cases of traffic collisions as they are not protected by the shell of a vehicle. 

This work to keep people safe reflects our commitment to serving everyone, regardless of their mode of travel or socioeconomic background – part of our One Seattle efforts to work across departments, and bridge gaps to come to better outcomes, together. 

We see many opportunities to improve Aurora Ave N so that everyone can travel safely. Today, the street is not a comfortable place to walk, roll, or bike, and access to transit could continue to be improved.  We look forward to working with the community, and with our partners at the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) and King County Metro, who have also shown their desire to improve safety in this corridor.   

Gov. Jay Inslee joins in celebration with attendees and speakers of the Mukilteo Ferry Terminal bill signing event on March 25, 2022.
Gov. Jay Inslee joins in celebration with attendees and speakers of the Mukilteo Ferry Terminal bill signing event on March 25, 2022. Photo: Washington State Governor’s Office 

Last month, Governor Jay Inslee signed the 16-year “Move Ahead Washington” transportation funding package. This is a major milestone for transportation projects across the state, Puget Sound region, and Seattle.

This transportation package will help us make these vital safety improvements along Aurora Ave N. In addition, the package includes funding for the Ballard-Interbay Regional Transportation System (BIRT), extension of the automated traffic enforcement system pilot program, completing the reconstruction of the SR 520 corridor in Seattle, an assessment of traffic safety, climate change impacts, efficiency, and preservation of Interstate 5, and more!  

Colorful mural on Aurora Ave N near Green Lake Drive N.
Colorful mural on Aurora Ave N near Green Lake Drive N. Photo: SDOT 

This summer, we’ll begin working with residents, businesses, travelers, and our partners at WSDOT and King County Metro to create a comprehensive, long-term plan for Aurora Ave N.  

This $2 million safety study was previously announced in July 2021 and will be funded through a WSDOT grant and our SDOT investments, in addition to the $50 million in funding allocated by the Move Ahead Washington transportation package. This safety study will help determine the course for future safety improvements, including the investment from the Washington State Legislature.  

We are grateful to the legislature for providing this funding and we also appreciate the work of Aurora Reimagined Coalition and other community groups who have been a strong voice providing ideas and raising awareness of the need for a safer Aurora Ave N. 

Lastly, we have also been working already to help slow vehicle speeds in locations throughout Seattle based on proven data that shows that slower vehicle movements lead to significantly better safety and health outcomes for people walking, rolling, and biking. You can check out more information about our work to improve safety in Seattle, and how it relates to our overall Vision Zero safety goals, at our Speed Limits web page. As we work to develop long-term plans for Aurora Ave N, we are also continuing to make other near-term safety improvements, which are detailed below. 

Conceptual rendering of the preferred project design along Aurora Ave N, on the west side of Green Lake’s Outer Loop.
Conceptual rendering of the preferred project design along Aurora Ave N, on the west side of Green Lake’s Outer Loop. Graphic: SDOT 

We recently announced plans to build a new bike and walking path along the Green Lake Outer Loop portion of Aurora Ave N. Construction could start at the earliest by summer of 2022.  

Last summer, we installed vertical posts in the middle of the State Route 99 Aurora Bridge to make the center line separating northbound and southbound traffic more visible. This was intended as a near-term safety improvement while we continued to work with WSDOT to plan the larger, long-term corridor safety project now funded by the Legislature and Move Ahead Washington transportation package.  

Installation of a 25 mph speed limit sign last year.
Installation of a 25 mph speed limit sign last year. Photo: SDOT 

Safety improvements to the Aurora Ave N corridor represent a vital part of an overall citywide effort to improve traffic safety for all travelers in Seattle. 

We have made numerous investments to make our streets safer, including reducing speed limits and creating safer crosswalk signals citywide – as well as redesigning other dangerous streets with a shown history of traffic collisions resulting in serious injuries and fatalities, including Rainier Ave S. We recognize that traffic safety trends are not improving and there is significantly more work to do to elevate and enhance safety for all travelers, particularly people walking, rolling, and biking, who are some of the most vulnerable travelers when compared to people driving or riding transit.  

We will continue to work to design and implement a safer transportation system, and this investment to Aurora Ave N will be an important part of that overall strategy. Thank you for your interest, and let’s all help to keep each other safe out there as we travel where we need to go.