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More street improvements are coming to the Ballard Ave Café Street!

Planters and striping added to Ballard Ave NW as part of the interim street improvements made in 2022. Photo Credit: SDOT

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The Ballard Ave Mobility and Access Improvements project is entering Phase 2! Based on community feedback, we’ve designed new interim refinements to the Ballard Ave Café Street. Read more below to see what’s coming and how you can get engaged. 



In August 2022, we completed installation of Phase 1 interim street improvements on Ballard Ave NW between 20th Ave NW and 22nd Ave NW, also known as the Ballard Ave Café Street. These changes included: 

  • All-way stops 
  • Interim “curb bulbs” at intersections 
  • Improved street tree pits 
  • Updated striping to reflect the new one-way traffic flow for vehicles and load zones 

We are now designing our next phase of proposed interim refinements to the street. These improvements include more space for people and gathering, slower vehicle speeds, improved freight/delivery and accessibility, improved visibility of pedestrians, and more space dedicated to people walking and rolling. 

A person in a black dress uses a painted crosswalk to cross NW Vernon Place on Ballard Ave outside Olympic Athletic Club.
The all-way stop at Ballard Ave and NW Vernon Pl features striping, painted curb bulbs, and planters installed during Phase 1 of the project. 

Phase 2 Interim Improvements 

Last year, we surveyed folks and asked what was working and what needed to be refined along Ballard Ave. We also held a design charrette with local businesses and stakeholders. There was overwhelming support for the curbside cafés and providing more space for pedestrians and outdoor retail.  

This input helped us develop proposals for Phase 2 refinements of the street design, which include:

  • Establishing the Ballard Ave Café Street to enhance the experience of walking, rolling, shopping, and dining on Ballard Ave  
  • Further support for freight/delivery and business access with curbside adjustments that increase load/unload zones, ADA parking, and food pick-up priority areas.  
  • Increasing and defining space for people walking and rolling to accommodate pedestrian volumes and support Ballard Avenue’s draw as a major Seattle destination. 
  • Improving pedestrian visibility and safety at the intersection of Ballard Ave NW and 20th Ave NW.  
  • Exploring community partnerships to add movable benches and tables in newly created public space.  
  • Adding bike parking racks, and bike share and scooter share parking spaces to serve Ballard Ave NW. 
  • Exploring paid parking on several blocks around the neighborhood to further support business access.   
  • Maintaining the one northbound travel lane on the Leary side of the street. 
A narrow, horizontal map showing the locations of planned improvements on Ballard Ave between 20th Ave NW and 22nd Ave NW. Temporary and commercial load zones are represented in orange, passenger load zones in yellow, new street cafes in purple, new ADA parking spaces in blue, and interim curb bulbs in green.
Map showing the locations of proposed interim refinements on Ballard Ave. Click to enlarge. Graphic Credit: SDOT 

Later this summer, after we conclude outreach, we’ll make refinements to the corridor, continue to evaluate the changes, and engage folks to understand how the street is working for them. 

Transforming Ballard Avenue into a Café Street has allured people to come here, improved the economy of our neighborhood, and has become recognized by people across the world. When Jonsi, lead singer of the band Sigur Rós, visited Ballard this spring he exclaimed, unprompted, that ‘Ballard Avenue is poppin!’ These changes formalize how pedestrians and drivers use the space on Ballard Ave with the focus on safety — making this street a safer place to shop, dine, drive, park, walk, bike, and deliver the freight we depend on.

— Seattle City Councilmember Dan Strauss

Ballard Avenue is quickly becoming one of the most vibrant retail, restaurant, and farmers market spaces in our city. The Phase 2 improvements further optimize the street as place to congregate, have fun and enjoy community.

— SDOT Director Greg Spotts 

“Ballard Ave has become a thriving destination for commerce, tourism and entertainment.  The street cafes and the changes made to the avenue itself have not only helped business push through the pandemic, but maintain a steady balance of growth and service to its community during a difficult time.  It is a success story, and we are so grateful for everything being done to preserve its longevity.”

– Tommy Patrick, business owner on Ballard Ave

Project Background  

In response to restaurants and other businesses building curbside cafes on Ballard Ave NW in 2020 under the Safe Starts Permit Program, we began the process of reimagining Ballard Ave as a more community-centered space.  

We partnered with Seattle Councilmember Dan Strauss, the Ballard Alliance, and local businesses to design and install people-focused and business-friendly interim street improvements. The primary goal of these improvements was to enhance safety and accessibility for people and goods on Ballard Ave NW between 20th Ave NW and 22nd Ave NW, also known as the Ballard Ave Café Street. 

Check out the project web page for more information and updates on our work! 

Questions or concerns? 

Contact our project team by emailing