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New walk/bike signal, crosswalk, traffic-calming landscaped median added to 15th Ave NW paving project in response to community safety conversation | LEVY, SEATTLE TRANSIT MEASURE DOLLARS AT WORK

Image of NW 51st St and 15th Ave NW. The graphic illustrates the new signalized east-west crosswalk on NW 51st with landscaped median along 15th Ave NW. The crosswalk leads to the 17th Ave NW Neighborhood Greenway, connects the neighborhood, and helps people get to RapidRide D stations. Graphic Credit: SDOT

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The design for the 15th Ave W/NW and Ballard Bridge Paving and Safety Project is complete. We’re scheduled to start construction preparation by the end of the year. Learn more about our plans, including new safety enhancements, traffic calming features, and bus-only lane markings.  


  • Community feedback informed our final design which includes a new signalized pedestrian crossing connecting the Ballard Ave Landmark District to the Ballard Brewery District. 
  • A new median will make travel safer for everyone, while keeping people and goods moving reliably. 
  • The project is funded by the voter approved Levy to Move Seattle and Seattle Transit Measure.  
  • Construction is scheduled to start by the end of the year and last about a year. 
  • Detour routes will be informed by community input gathered when the project launched.

The 15th Ave W/NW and Ballard Bridge Paving and Safety Project designs are complete. The final designs were informed by community input and our Vision Zero goal to end traffic deaths and serious injuries on city streets. The project aims to keep people and goods moving reliably and includes new enhancements to make the RapidRide D bus line more reliable and to make travel safer for everyone.

Two young people walk down the sidewalk parallel to the Leary Way Bridge.
View of the Leary Way Bridge looking north from the 15th Ave NW and Leary Way RapidRide station. Photo credit: SDOT 

The final design includes all the original elements from earlier design stages as well as new traffic calming and pedestrian safety enhancements.

“When I came to Seattle, I promised our communities that I would center safety in every activity and program at SDOT. Rather than simply paving 15th Ave NW and locking in an outdated street design, we listened to community members who asked for a safer and more crossable street. In our final design, you’ll see a new traffic signal to assist people walking and biking between the east and west parts of Ballard, and a new landscaped median to calm traffic and help create a gateway to the business district. These elements, along with additional markings for buses, will also help people taking RapidRide.”

– SDOT Director, Greg Spotts.

New enhancements include:

  • Install a new signal and crosswalk at NW 51st St, making it easier to walk, roll, or bike around the neighborhood as well as connecting people to Ballard businesses, attractions, and transit.   
  • Replace a southbound lane on 15th Ave NW with a new landscaped median between NW 50th St and NW 54th St to calm driver speeds and reduce the likelihood of serious crashes.  
  • Add a new southbound transit lane with red “bus only” markings on 15th Ave NW between NW 54th St and NW Market St.   
  • Add a new southbound transit lane with red “bus only” markings on 15th Ave NW between Leary Way NW and NW Ballard Way.  
  • Improve and add new lighting under the bridge along Leary Way NW and on the pedestrian path near the intersection of 15th Ave NW and W Nickerson St.

Original project elements:

  • Pave 15th Ave W/NW from W Emerson to NW 57th St, including the fixed portions of the Ballard Bridge. 
  • Replace worn out bridge expansion joints to maintain smooth transitions between paving panels. 
  • Improve earthquake safety by strengthening the north end of the Ballard Bridge (also called the Leary Bridge). 
  • Repair sidewalks, driveways, and stormwater drainage areas.  
  • Upgrade curb ramps to meet current ADA standards along 15th Ave NW. 
  • Build missing curb ramps at all east-west crossings along 15th Ave NW. 
  • Update pedestrian crosswalk signs and refresh striping for better visibility.  
  • Plant new trees and replace old trees in select areas.   
  • Install new or expand existing tree pits to keep trees healthy. 
  • Add red “bus only” lane markings to the existing northbound bus lane on 15th Ave NW between NW 52nd St and NW Market St.

These improvements are illustrated in the maps and renderings below.

Click here to view these planned enhancements on a map in a new tab.

“As co-chairs of the Seattle Pedestrian Advisory Board, we support the proposed new southbound transit lane, new median, and new crosswalk from NW 50th Street to NW 54th Street.  The proposed improvements will enhance the safety and comfort of people walking and rolling along and across 15th Avenue NW. The Board looks forward to continuing to advise SDOT and advocate for pedestrian improvements along both ends of the bridge.”

– Chris Grgich & Maria Sumner, Co-Chairs, Seattle Pedestrian Advisory Board

Full Project Area

A graphic map displaying the physical locations of the planned enhancements listed above.
Graphic: SDOT

Safety Improvements North of the Ballard Bridge

Project Renderings

NW 51st St and 15th Ave NW: New crosswalks with protective median and signal, improving access to buses and connecting the neighborhood. Graphic: SDOT
NW 53rd St and 15th Ave NW:  Maintain signalized crossing and add landscaped median from NW 54TH to NW 51st St. Graphic: SDOT
15TH Ave NW: New southbound bus-only lane between NW 54th St and NW Market St. Graphic: SDOT

“Ballard-Fremont Greenways is very supportive of the latest design update for 15th Ave NW. Kudos to SDOT for listening to neighbors in Ballard who asked the City to invest in making 15th Avenue NW safer for pedestrians, bicyclists, and drivers. These features will reconnect communities and businesses in East and West Ballard, and we look forward to their construction.”

– Ballard-Fremont Greenways

Please continue to visit the project webpage and sign up for project emails to get updates about construction and potential impacts. Our outreach team is available to answer any questions or feedback from the community. You can contact the project team at or (206) 512-3950.

This work is possible thanks to Seattle voters approving the Seattle Transit Measure and the Levy to Move Seattle! 

Your tax dollars are hard at work improving our transit network, repaving our streets, making it safer to walk, roll, or bike, making our bridges safer in the event of an earthquake, and much more. Each year, we pave arterial streets in poor condition to make them safer, smoother, and to extend their useful life. Keeping our transportation system in a good state of repair helps lower the cost of future maintenance. Like many of our arterials, it’s important to maintain them since they are primary routes for moving people and goods through the city. They also connect neighborhoods and business districts to one another as well as the regional transportation network.

15th Ave W/NW and the Ballard Bridge is one of the City’s most heavily used arterial streets. Repaving 15th Ave W/NW (between NW 57th St and W Emerson St) and the approach spans for the Ballard Bridge will restore the pavement condition of a critical piece of Seattle’s arterial network.

This project also received funding from the Seattle Transit Measure (STM), a Puget Sound Regional Council (PSRC) grant, and a National Highway Freight Program (NHFP) grant.

Thank you for your interest! We look forward to completing this Levy to Move Seattle project.