Third Avenue Transit Corridor Improvements

Third Avenue Corridor

Third Avenue is downtown Seattle’s most heavily used transit corridor. More than 2,500 buses travel the corridor every weekday and about 42,000 people board at bus stops on the corridor each day. Thousands of visitors, workers, shoppers and area residents also use Third Avenue daily.

To help create a positive and inviting environment for transit users and pedestrians, the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) and King County Metro Transit are working together to make the corridor an inviting, accommodating, safe and attractive place where people want to be.

The Third Avenue Transit Corridor Improvements Project will complement and be coordinated with the many other improvement projects underway in the downtown area.

Project Updates

New bus stop coming to Third Avenue, between Union and Pike

Starting November 23, several routes that currently serve stops on Third Avenue between Pine and Pike will begin serving two new stops one block south, between Pike and Union streets.

The Seattle Department of Transportation and King County Metro will install two new bus stops along Third Avenue between Pike and Union Streets. These stops will split routes that currently serve the stops at Third and Pike into two pairs: Rapid Ride routes and their companions will continue to serve the stops between Pike and Pine, while other routes now serving Pike-Pine will move on block south beginning Monday, November 23. (see routes listed on map below).

Pike-Union Bus Stops

Adding these new stops will help improve transit capacity and rider’s access on Seattle’s most heavily used transit corridor. It also supports the goals of the Third Avenue Transit Corridor project to make Third Avenue a place where people feel safe and comfortable while waiting for transit or walking along the street.

The construction will:

  • Establish new transit stops, one in each direction, along Third Avenue between Pike and Union Streets including a shelter with trash cans in the northbound direction
  • Fill in the existing load zones along Third Avenue between Pike and Union Streets
  • Establish a new loading zone on Union Street east of Third Avenue

Construction impacts during the next two weekends:

  • Construction is scheduled the weekends of November 13-15 and 20-22
  • Work hours from 9 AM to 3 PM weekdays, and 6 AM to 3 PM weekends
  • Temporary sidewalk narrowing along Third Avenue to accommodate construction activities
  • Noise, dust, and vibration associated with concrete work activities
  • Delivery loading zones along Third Avenue between Pike and Union Streets will be closed. A new loading zone along Union Street east of Third Avenue will continue accommodating business deliveries

Project Information and Contact:

Feedback

Thanks to all who shared your thoughts—in person or via our online survey—on how best to improve Third Avenue for bus riders, pedestrians and visitors. We'll use the feedback we received to refine the project design and prioritize elements for the first phase of construction.

You can still learn about the design efforts underway on Third Avenue:

We'll continue to keep you informed and provide more opportunities to weigh in.

Feedback

Neighborhood sessions produced feedback.

We heard some great in-person feedback this week during our Neighborhood Sessions.

If you didn’t make it, you can still learn about the design efforts underway on Third Avenue and provide your input.

Join us on Third Avenue

Neighborhood sessions are back. Meet us on the streets.

Last fall, we collected public input to help us create a list of potential improvements to Third Avenue in downtown Seattle. Next week, we invite you to meet us on the street to hear about design updates and share your thoughts:

  • Monday, August 31 – 3-6 p.m. on Third Avenue between Battery and Bell streets
  • Wednesday, September 2 – 3-6 p.m. on Third Avenue between Pike and Union streets
  • Thursday, September 3 – 11 a.m.-2 p.m. on Third Avenue between Yesler Way and S Washington Street

We hope you can join us on Third Avenue to learn more and share your input.

Open the flyer »

Third Avenue improvements nearing completion in downtown Seattle

Photo of a flexible loading zone installed on the southbound side of Third Ave.

A flexible loading zone installed on the southbound side of Third Ave.

Sidewalk and transit improvements along Third Avenue and on Pine Street between Third and Fourth avenues are almost complete.

  • The temporary construction barriers on the sidewalk of the 1500 block of Third Ave (between Pike and Pine) have been removed, restoring full access to the sidewalk.
  • The new flexible loading zone on the southbound (west) side of the street was finished a week ahead of schedule and is in use.  The zone accommodates business deliveries and temporary parking during off-peak hours, while expanding bus transit load capacity during peak hours.
  • Pine Street has been restriped between Third and Fourth avenues to create 10 new back-in parking spaces, a commercial load zone, and 24-hour police parking.
  • During construction, the City of Seattle also trimmed street trees and improved the tree wells; upgraded street lights with new LED lamps; and cleaned the pedestrian areas.

The project was designed to improve bus operations, commuter experiences, and safety at these heavily used bus stops. 

This work was coordinated with Seattle's 9½ Block Strategy, an anti-crime initiative that included changes to the physical environment, such as moving bus stops.

The Seattle Department of Transportation and Metro are planning to keep transit service at the temporary bus stops on Third Avenue between Pike and Union streets until the next service change (Sept. 26).

Third Ave, Pike & Pine bus stop relocation and construction

Photo of Southbound 3rd Ave Loading Zone Revision to Mountable Curb.

Southbound 3rd Ave Loading Zone Revision to Mountable Curb.

The City of Seattle in coordination with Metro Transit is temporarily closing two bus stops on both sides of Third Avenue between Pike and Pine streets in downtown Seattle to address crime concerns and make improvements to increase transit capacity along the city’s busiest transit corridor. The bus stops will be relocated one block south between Pike and Union Streets.

The closures are scheduled to begin May 4 and continue through July 2015. The improvements will be evaluated for possible implementation along the entire corridor as part of the Third Avenue Transit Corridor Improvement project.

Over the next three months SDOT will

  • Install a new flexible loading zone southbound on Third Avenue to accommodate business deliveries and temporary parking while expanding transit loading capacity and maintaining pedestrian safety (shown below).
  • Relocate the northbound loading zone to a new location around the corner on westbound Pine Street.
  • Remove the bus island currently on Pine Street to accommodate a new loading zone and permanent Seattle Police Department parking.
3rd Ave Construction map.

3rd Ave construction map

Construction impacts

  • Temporary relocation of the northbound and southbound bus stops one block south between Pike and Union Streets
  • Routes 7, 11 and 84 Night Owl will be rerouted. See the map
  • Temporary relocation of business delivery loading zones along Third Avenue between Pine and Union Streets
  • Temporary sidewalk narrowing to accommodate safe construction
  • Noise, dust and vibration associated with concrete saw cutting, chipping, pouring and paving
  • Construction zones will be fenced off but storefront access will be maintained for businesses
  • Typical weekday work hours, 9 AM to 3 PM and some evenings from 6 PM to 10 PM
  • Typical weekend work hours, 8 AM to 6 PM

Information for Metro riders

  • Rider Alert signs will be posted to notify riders of the temporary bus stop locations
  • Transit Alert subscribers will receive electronic notifications about any impacts to their bus route or stop
  • Service Advisories will be available on Metro Online
  • Information will be on King County Metro Facebook and Twitter

The Urban Design report is now available

An artist sketch of Third and Pike looking north.

An artist sketch of Third and Pike looking north.

The report presents a corridor-wide urban design plan for transit and pedestrian improvements for Third Avenue between Denny Way and S. Jackson Street. It approaches the corridor as three segments on the corridor: Belltown, the Business District, and Pioneer Square, and illustrates corridor-wide and segment-specific design concepts for every block on the corridor.

View the report here:

Metro tests ticket machine in downtown Seattle

Conceptual photo of the ticket vending machine

Metro installed a new bus ticket vending machine at the northbound bus stop on Third Avenue between Pine and Stewart streets (in front of Macy's). Riders can use the machine to buy tickets while waiting for the bus.

The six-month pilot project will last through May 2015. At the end of this time, Metro will assess how well the machine performed, how many riders used it, and potential benefits to bus schedules before deciding whether to expand the program.

Design team finalizes 10% of the concept designs

The project team is close to finalizing 10% concept designs for the corridor! Proposed design options include:

  • New red bus zone curbs to delineate transit zones and feature pavers that organize and designate sidewalk uses.
  • Landscape enhancements and tree drainage systems.
  • Improved lighting throughout the corridor, including pedestrian, intersection and bus identity light columns.
  • Updated transit canopies in certain areas along the corridor
  • Art integration and blank facade treatments.

Thanks for joining us on Third Avenue

Thanks for sharing your ideas on proposed design ideas at our series of Third Avenue Neighborhood Sessions Oct 9-16. We had over 300 people stop by our events and share their thoughts about Third Avenue with project staff. An outreach report is now available.

Project Background

The Third Avenue Transit Corridor Improvements Project is part of a larger plan to create a vibrant, safe and thriving Third Avenue. It will improve transit function and create a more welcoming urban environment along the corridor between Denny and Jackson streets. The project has extended transit priority measures approximately .75 miles north through the Belltown neighborhood.

Third Avenue Corridor: Denny Way to South Jackson Street

The initial phase of the project focused on the blocks between University Street and Stewart Street. This phase included both drafting the 10% concept design for this four-block area as well as rebuilding the sidewalk and bus stop on the east side of Third Avenue between Pine and Stewart streets, otherwise known as the "Macy's Block." This new block showcases and tests improvements similar to those planned at bus stops along Third Avenue over the next few years. The construction in this particular block included a number of features, some new to Seattle:

  • A transit information kiosk (similar to other kiosks located along Third Avenue)
  • Ticket vending machine (pilot project)
  • New sidewalk paving with "smog eating" photocatalytic material
  • A sidewalk widened by six feet to better accommodate bus commuters and passing pedestrians
  • New trees at the north end of the block (near Stewart Street)
  • An expanded bus stop during most hours of the day to allow more buses to serve the stop at the same time
  • Design a new transit canopy
  • New lighting to improve visibility and comfort
  • A new "street elements zone" to organize trash cans
  • A new red curb treatment to emphasize the loading zone and improve safety

The project team has completed 10% design that updates and expands this conceptual design through the entire corridor. The final urban design report is available in the project library.

SDOT and Metro are committed to working with area residents, businesses, commuters and other stakeholders throughout the project to ensure that designs consider the needs of a variety of users.

Budget

This work is supported by federal and local funds and jointly sponsored by the City of Seattle and King County Metro Transit. Both agencies allocated local funds to match federal grants that provide about $8.1 million for design and construction of physical improvements.

Schedule

Schedule

Project Library

We want to hear from you

SDOT and Metro want to know what you think will better connect and improve Third Avenue for transit users, pedestrians, businesses and visitors alike as we design future improvements along the corridor.

Contact Information

From SDOT:

From Metro Transit: