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Alaskan Way Safety Project nears 100% design milestone | LEVY DOLLARS AT WORK

View looking north along Alaskan Way (photo taken in May 2023). Photo: SDOT

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  • We’re nearing 100% design for the Alaskan Way Safety Project and expect construction to begin later this year.
  • Since the 90% design milestone, we’ve been working with the Port of Seattle on a plan for removing and replacing bollards located in front of Pier 66 during cruise sailing days.
  • This project will make a variety of safety enhancements to Alaskan Way from Virginia St to Broad St, which are detailed in this post.
  • The project also helps connect nearby bike and pedestrian upgrades in the area being delivered by the Waterfront Seattle program and the Elliott Bay Connections project.
  • To stay informed, please visit our website and sign up for project email updates.

We’re nearing final design on the Alaskan Way Safety Project and would like to share an overview of what the project will build, and how it ties in with other projects in the area. Once complete, this project will support a safer, more connected, and more comfortable environment for people to bike up and down Seattle’s waterfront and visit the many cultural, commercial, and recreational destinations located nearby.

Project elements include:

  • A continuous 0.6-mile protected bike lane installed at street level on the west side of Alaskan Way, between Virginia St and Broad St. This provides a straightforward route by reducing street crossings, as planned in the original concept.
  • Lanes in this part of Alaskan Way will be reduced from 4 to 2 (1 in each direction). This change aligns with our Vision Zero program and the Safe System Approach, which shows that reducing lanes on multi-lane arterial streets leads to fewer people illegally speeding and improves pedestrian safety. The street will continue to support freight movement and adapt to changing traffic patterns related to Waterfront activities.
  • On cruise sailing days, an east side shared path from Blanchard St to Wall St will be available when the protected bike lane in front of Pier 66 is closed.
  • Intersection safety upgrades include adding a Head Start Walk Signal, bike signals, No Turn on Red signs, shorter pedestrian crossing distances, and vehicle left turn lanes to boost pedestrian visibility.
  • Additionally, sidewalk repairs and updates to ADA-accessible curb ramps along the project corridor will improve accessibility for people walking and rolling.

You can visit our website to view the most current design plans. This project helps complete the citywide bike network by connecting to the Central Waterfront bike infrastructure. In addition, the Elliott Bay Connections project will add a pedestrian and bicycle greenway trail on the east side of Alaskan Way.

Project map

A map showing the area of the Alaskan Way Safety Project (2024) in a dotted orange line. The Elliott Bay Trail is shown in a dark brown line to the north, and the New Park Promenade & Bike Path is shown with a solid blue line to the south. All lines are on Alaskan Way, near a body of water (Elliott Bay).
Map of the project area on Alaskan Way, between Virginia St and Broad St. Graphic: SDOT

Collaboration toward 100% design

We’ve worked closely with project neighbors and partners to create a design that works for everyone. In response to feedback from bicycle advocates, we widened segments of the west side protected bike lane from 10 feet to 12 feet.

Collaboration with the Port of Seattle resulted in a design in front of Pier 66 that effectively balances bicyclists’ needs with cruise sailing day needs. In addition, conversations with waterfront businesses have been integral to the development of our design.

Other nearby bike projects

The Alaskan Way Safety Project will connect to the Waterfront Park Promenade and Bike Path currently being built by Waterfront Seattle. The Alaskan Way Safety Project will seamlessly connect to the Waterfront Bike Path near Pier 62, creating a continuous and convenient bike route along the entire west side of the waterfront.

In August 2023, the City of Seattle, Port of Seattle, and Downtown Seattle Association announced the launch of the Elliott Bay Connections project, a public-private partnership that will build new greenway and park improvements along the Seattle Waterfront on the east side of Alaskan Way. The Elliott Bay Connections project, expected to be completed by summer 2026, is funded entirely by private philanthropic donations.

The Elliott Bay Connections project will build a pedestrian and bicycle greenway trail on the east side of Alaskan Way, connecting the new Waterfront Park to the Olympic Sculpture Park, and restore and revitalize Myrtle Edwards and Centennial Parks. The project is in design, and the public may provide feedback on the conceptual designs by taking a survey by June 9.

The bike path being built by Waterfront Seattle and the Elliott Bay Connections project are both separate efforts from the Alaskan Way Safety Project. Nonetheless, all three projects will complement each other and work together to create beautiful and inviting connections along the waterfront. We have coordinated closely with Elliott Bay Connections, the Port of Seattle, and the Office of the Waterfront and Civic Projects during the design of the Alaskan Way Safety Project, and will continue doing so during construction.

Ongoing work to create a beautiful, inviting, and vibrant Waterfront

We are enhancing safety with many improvements on Alaskan Way for people walking, biking, rolling, driving, and visiting Seattle’s waterfront. The Alaskan Way Safety, Waterfront Seattle, Ocean Pavilion, and Elliott Bay Connections projects will work together to reimagine the Seattle Waterfront as a welcoming space for all.

The Alaskan Way Safety Project will create seamless connections for people biking between the new Seattle Waterfront and the Olympic Sculpture Park and will enhance safety and accessibility along this important arterial with intersection improvements, lane changes, and sidewalk and curb ramp repair. In addition, this project will redesign Alaskan Way to enhance safety for all users, respond to changing traffic patterns following the opening of Elliott Way, and support smooth sailing operations at Pier 66 and 69.

With the new street changes and improvements being constructed on Alaskan Way including a west side two-way protected bike lanes as part of the Waterfront Seattle project and east side pedestrian and bicycle greenway trail as part of the Elliott Bay Connections project, we have an opportunity to build a bike connection between this future Waterfront Seattle bike facility from Virginia St and the existing Elliott Bay Trail at Broad St via Alaskan Way.

When complete, the project will connect the Waterfront Park Promenade and Bike Path to the Elliott Bay Trail in Myrtle Edwards Park, providing a continuous all ages and abilities bike facility along Seattle’s central waterfront. Additionally, it will connect to the Seattle Aquarium’s Ocean Pavilion expansion, projected for completion in late 2024.

This project is funded in part by the 9-year Levy to Move Seattle, approved by voters in 2015. It also includes funding from the Puget Sound Regional Council (PSRC), and the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT).

Editor’s note – May 29, 2024: We corrected the closing date of the Elliott Bay Connections project survey to be June 9, 2024. It had been incorrectly listed as July 9 in the original post.