Coming soon to Ballard Ave NW: improvements for people walking and nearby businesses

People enjoying an outdoor meal and walking on the sidewalk along Ballard Ave NW, on a busy summer weekend. Photo credit: Jordan Samson.

In June, we shared a blog post highlighting an exciting partnership with Councilmember Dan Strauss, the Ballard Alliance, and local businesses to further improve mobility and access for people walking and support businesses on Ballard Ave NW between 20th Ave NW and 22nd Ave NW, also known as the Ballard Ave Café Street.

This current work builds on our previous efforts since 2020 to adapt to the COVID-19 pandemic with a new street concept that gave people the space they needed to stay healthy and encourage people to enjoy their neighborhood businesses. For example, restaurants and businesses in the area installed new curbside cafes to support outdoor dining. We also made Ballard Ave NW one-way, northbound, in this area.

This month, we have an exciting update: project implementation is beginning!

In the next few weeks, we will be:

  • Updating the striping on Ballard Ave NW to reflect the existing one-way northbound street. New striping and painted areas on the street will make these changes clear.
  • Adding interim “curb bulbs” with paint, flexible posts, and planters to open up intersections and crosswalks so people walking are more visible to people driving.
  • Converting the intersections on Ballard Ave NW at 22nd Ave NW and NW Vernon Pl to all-way stops.
  • Improving street tree pits with a firm and level walking surface. We won’t affect planting areas maintained by adjacent businesses.
  • Painting parking areas on Ballard Ave NW between street cafes for easier access.
  • Clarifying curbside loading locations and the times of day for loading based on ongoing conversations with local businesses.

Map of planned street configuration in the project area

Project area map along Ballard Ave NW, between 20th Ave NW and 22nd Ave NW that shows locations of parking, loading, curb bulbs and sidewalk cafes.
Project area map along Ballard Ave NW, between 20th Ave NW and 22nd Ave NW that shows locations of parking, loading, curb bulbs and sidewalk cafes. Graphic: SDOT

What you can expect

Work will take place on weekdays between approximately 7 a.m. and 3 p.m., and is expected to last about three weeks. 

  • Week of July 25: We’ll start repairing bricks on Ballard Ave NW to get ready for future flexible posts. Intersections will be temporarily closed during working hours to allow crews to complete this work safely and efficiently.
  • Week of July 25: We’ll put out “no parking” and “no stopping” signs along Ballard Ave NW and begin marking where crews will add new paint to the street.
  • Week of August 1: We’ll install new signs, planters, and flexible posts.

This work is weather dependent and subject to change. We’ve scheduled the work to avoid any disruptions to the Ballard Farmers Market and minimize effects to the community. Thank you for your patience as we install these improvements along Ballard Ave NW!

People enjoying a meal outdoors at a restaurant along Ballard Ave NW. Potted plants and other buildings are in the foreground and background.
People enjoying a meal outdoors at a restaurant along Ballard Ave NW. Photo: SDOT.

Next steps after installation

Following installation of this project, Councilmember Strauss will host another design charrette to reflect on what has worked well, what can be improved, and the long-term design. This project also gives us the ability to test ideas, get more feedback, and then create policies for café streets at other locations in the city.

To learn more, please visit our project website or contact us via email at BallardAve@seattle.gov. Thank you for your interest!

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