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Waterfront Seattle | Cellular utility work coming up, plus new bike and pedestrian connection now open south of Yesler Way

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Editor’s Note: This is a blog post from the Waterfront Seattle Program.

The Waterfront Seattle Program is led by the City of Seattle’s Office of the Waterfront and Civic Projects, working closely with other City departments, external partners, civic leaders, stakeholders, and the broader Seattle public to create a “Waterfront for All.”

Coming soon south of Yesler Way: Utility work for 5G cellular connection

Work will begin as early as November on below-ground utilities for increased 5G service on the east side of Alaskan Way, south of Yesler Way. 

Residents, businesses, and visitors have a need and expectation for fast and reliable mobile technology. As a result, carriers are beginning to create “small cells,” which are low-powered cellular radio access nodes that create new available spectrums, to increase the network capacity in places with a lot of online traffic. These small cells will be installed on large poles along the waterfront corridor.

Installation of 5G poles is not a part of Waterfront Seattle improvements and will be conducted by carriers. Carriers use their own resources to determine where small cells are needed along the waterfront and they work directly with the City of Seattle to install them at convenient times to help minimize impacts. For more information about 5G in Seattle, we encourage you to take a look at the City of Seattle 5G and Small Wireless Facilities (SWF) on Seattle Poles FAQ.

This work will require some partial street closures. We encourage you to sign up for Waterfront Seattle’s construction emails to hear more about this work in the coming months.

A construction worker works on installation of a pole foundation along a section of the street. A large piece of construction equipment is in the upper left side of the photo. Dirt is in the foreground, with blue skies above.
5G pole foundation installation from earlier this year.

Recent progress south of Yesler Way: Permanent sidewalk and bike lane now open to the public

Following the shift of vehicle access to Colman Dock to its final configuration on Alaskan Way, Waterfront Seattle was able to complete the sidewalk and bike improvements between S Main and S Washington streets.

This new stretch of sidewalk and protected bike lane completes a missing segment that was, until recently, the driveway access for vehicles accessing Colman Dock from the temporary remote holding area. These improvements will enhance the pedestrian and bicyclist experience from the stadiums up to Bell St upon project completion in 2025. A new bike lane at Yesler Way and Colman Dock was also recently completed to create a dedicated connection to the ferry terminal across Alaskan Way.

A person bikes away from the camera on a bike lane. A large tree is to the left, with cars and a bus to the right. Large buildings are in the background.
Recently opened bike lane connection near S Washington St.

The graphic below illustrates the final configuration of transit, pedestrian, and bicyclist access on Alaskan Way S, between S King St and Yesler Way.

A large infographic shows the final configuration of Alaskan Way S, and notes the vehicle access to Colman Dock on Alaskan Way S. Lane and path diagrams show the locations where the routes travel.
Final configuration of Alaskan Way S; vehicle access to Colman Dock on Alaskan Way S.

The width of the protected bike lane along Alaskan Way in this area ranges between 10 and 12 feet, with the majority of the facility having a 12-foot width. The areas that are 10 feet wide are for short segments at the intersections. Please note that the narrowing, as well as the bike lane curves provided near intersections, are intentional safety features that encourage bicyclists to slow down as they approach the crosswalks, which are located at key pedestrian mixing zones. When traveling at slower speeds, bicyclists have more time to react to pedestrians in the crosswalk.

Planning for the protected bike lane began in 2013, with detailed consideration given to calming areas where the facility interfaces with pedestrian crosswalks and vehicular traffic. At key points during the design process, plans were reviewed by the Bike Advisory Board and Seattle Design Commission, and presented at open houses and at stakeholder briefings, including with the Cascade Bicycle Club, Washington Bikes, Feet First, and Transportation Choices Coalition. The feedback received during this process informed the design of the bike facility currently taking shape along the waterfront.

New art south of Yesler Way: Migration Stage by Buster Simpson

Another recent and notable addition to the area south of Colman Dock is the final piece of Migration Stage, a permanent artwork installation by Buster Simpson, located beside the Pioneer Square Habitat Beach. This art opened to the public in July. Acting as seating, the artwork evokes sacks of grain and sandbags – reminding you that you’re both near a port and a body of water subject to sea level rise.

A person wearing headphones sits on the new public artwork installation. Concrete walkway is in the foreground, with trees, a bus, and other vehicles in the background.
SeaBearers is made up of 30, six-foot-long reinforced concrete units arranged in three, 30-foot sections that serve as artwork, as well as utilitarian seating along the promenade.

To learn more: