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Waterfront Seattle | Three-block section of Pike St permanently changing to one-way (eastbound) just east of I-5, as early as mid-November

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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.”

Quick link: Sign up to receive Waterfront Seattle’s Pike Pine weekly construction email to stay up to date on the project and what to expect during construction. 

As early as Saturday, November 18, Waterfront Seattle will permanently remove westbound vehicle access on Pike St, between Bellevue Ave and Terry Ave/Hubbell Pl to make Pike St a one-way, eastbound street. This is the first step in making Pike and Pine streets one-way from 1st Ave to Bellevue Ave, Pike St one-way eastbound, and Pine St one-way westbound. Westbound bike travel on Pike St will remain accessible during construction until improved routing to Pine St is established.

By reconfiguring Pike and Pine streets into one-way streets, there will be more room for people walking and biking, creating a safer and more pleasant experience for all travelers. On the bridges over I-5, we will be making the sidewalks about twice as wide as they currently are to buffer pedestrians from freeway traffic. The project also adds taller railings with integrated lighting and landscaping, and improves protected bike lanes with concrete curb buffers and planters.

What can I expect with this change?

  • People driving west on Pike St will turn north towards Pine St or south towards Union St at Bellevue Ave.
  • People driving north and south on Bellevue Ave will continue straight or turn eastbound at Pike St.
  • People driving north and south on Melrose, Minor, and Boren avenues will continue straight or turn eastbound at Pike St.
A map showing access for people driving in the Pike and Pine St vicinity, near downtown Seattle. An orange area between Hubbell Pl/Terry Ave and Bellevue Ave on Pike St is shown in orange where work will be taking place.
Map of upcoming work area and access changes for people driving.
A graphic rendering or visualization of people walking and riding bikes along a large sidewalk and bike area, with large buildings and trees in the background.
Rendering of bridge over I-5 on Pike St, west of the intersection with Terry Ave/Hubbell Pl, looking west (upon project completion). Graphic credit: Waterfront Seattle

We will be constructing the following improvements on Pike St between 9th and Bellevue avenues and on Pine St between 8th and Melrose avenues:

  • The permanent reconfigurations of Pike St to a one-way eastbound street and Pine St to a one-way westbound street between 1st and Bellevue avenues
  • Wider sidewalks to buffer pedestrians from freeway traffic and noise
  • Higher railings with integrated lighting on the bridges over I-5
  • Increased landscaping with native plants and improved protected bike lanes with concrete bike buffers

What have we constructed so far?

Improvements on Pike and Pine streets kicked off with a groundbreaking event in February 2023. Since then, work has progressed eastbound from 1st to 9th avenues producing a variety of improvements, including:

  • New crosswalks with a color and texture unique to the corridor to improve visibility and uniformity
  • Additional concrete protection for the existing bike lanes, including new raised protected bike lane buffers ready for future landscaping
  • A curbless street on Pike St between 1st and 2nd avenues
  • Public benches
  • Improvements to curb ramps
  • New public artwork that creates a distinctive identity for the Pike Pine corridor

One of the most visibly different areas has been the block on Pike St between 1st and 2nd avenues with the City piloting a green and healthy street by keeping it as pedestrian-only. This curbless street was designed to provide flexibility so that it can be used like a plaza or festival street without general-purpose traffic. Note that new cherry trees will be installed on this block in the coming weeks, and additional planters and bike racks will be installed later next year as well.

Construction on Pike St between 1st and 2nd avenues was completed in June and the space between 1st Ave and the mid-block alley has since remained closed to vehicles as part of Mayor Harrell’s Downtown Activation Plan. Photo credit: Waterfront Seattle

We have also started to incorporate artwork from Derek Bruno and Gage Hamilton on concrete bike buffers. The concept of their artwork seeks to unify Pike and Pine streets, creating a legible path from Capitol Hill through the downtown retail core to Pike Place Market and to the new Waterfront Park.

Speaking of the new protected bike lanes, we began installing leaning rails near intersections on both Pike and Pine streets, as shown here. Photo credit: Waterfront Seattle

Speaking of the new protected bike lanes, we began installing leaning rails near intersections on both Pike and Pine streets to allow people biking to take a stable rest break until the light turns green.

A new leaning rail in downtown Seattle. Photo credit: Waterfront Seattle

One of the most noticeable improvements to Pike and Pine streets are the new crosswalks being constructed. The crosswalks along the corridor are designed with alternative and contrasting colors that follow a color scheme similar to those in other areas of the corridor, such as the red brick paving at Westlake Park as well as at 1st Ave and Pike St. Making crosswalks more visible and providing a different texture improves accessibility while creating a unique identity for Pike and Pine.

What’s next for the Pike Pine Streetscape and Bicycle Improvements project?

  • In mid-to-late November, eight new cherry trees will be planted along Pike St, between 1st and 2nd avenues approaching the Pike Place Market and a plaque highlighting the cultural and historical significance of these trees will be installed.
  • Construction on the bridges over I-5 will widen existing sidewalks, improve protected bike lanes, add greenery, feature public artwork, and improve railings and lighting.
  • Work will continue to move east from 9th Ave to Bellevue Ave to improve pedestrian crossings, protected bike lanes and landscaping.
  • Pine St, between 1st and Bellevue avenues, will become one-way westbound for vehicles in early 2024.

As you can see, we still have a lot of work to do so be on the lookout for these upcoming changes if you are traveling in the area. The best way to stay informed about construction impacts is to subscribe to the weekly Pike Pine construction email to know what to expect with construction moving forward. Thanks for your interest.

Editor’s Note (11/9/2023): This blog post was updated to add a map graphic.