3rd and Yesler Safety Improvements

Updated March 2024

What's Happening Now?

We continue to improve safety and comfort for people traveling through the 3rd Ave S and Yesler Way intersection. We completed Phases 1 and 2 over the summer of 2022, which included interim (paint and post) improvements that reduced crossing distances, created more space for pedestrians, and made the bus operation more efficient at this intersection (signal changes). We are now in Phase 3 and designing permanent improvements for this intersection.

The project is now at 100% design. We're finalizing the project design and plan to begin construction as soon as spring 2024. If you have questions about the project, please contact the project outreach lead listed to the right. You can also sign up for email updates to stay informed on the project's construction schedule. 

Project Overview

Image shows the conditions today at 3rd Ave and Yesler Way looking north

Image above shows the conditions today at 3rd Ave and Yesler Way looking north 

3rd and Yesler and the nearby area is one of the busiest bus corridors in the state - collecting every bus that comes in and out of 3rd Ave downtown. It's also busy with people walking and biking to and from places like social services, the Pioneer Square Link Light Rail station, King County Courthouse, and major bus stops.

The intersection of 3rd and Yesler has experienced a high number of collisions for people walking and biking, particularly where people driving hit pedestrians in the west and north crosswalks of 3rd and Yesler. ​We’re making safety improvements in three phases.

Phase 1: Pilot Period (July 2022)

We installed paint and posts and removed a northbound travel lane on 3rd Ave across Yesler Way and removed the right-turn slip lane from southbound 3rd Ave to Yesler Way. We also used paint and posts to create bulbs at street corners with pedestrian crossings. The project also revised parking near the intersection and connected the Yesler Way protected bike lane to 4th Ave S along Dilling Way. We worked with King County Metro to monitor bus traffic and found that buses traveled efficiently with these changes. Based on the success of the pilot project, SDOT and Metro supported permanent improvements.

Phase 2: Interim Striping (August 2022)

We added more durable materials and striping to the pilot project elements. We also began designing permanent safety improvements. 

Phase 3: Permanent Improvements

We’re finalizing design of the permanent improvements, and expect to begin construction in 2024. The permanent improvements will:

  • Improve safety and areas for people walking and rolling: Align and shorten pedestrian crossings, repair and widen sidewalks, install curb ramps and curb bulbs, and permanently remove the travel lanes that were removed in the pilot project.
  • Upgrade protected bike lane: Install bicycle signal heads, provide permanent bike lane protection along Yesler Way west of 3rd Ave, repave the bike lane on Dilling Way, and redesign the bike crossing across 3rd Ave to separate people on bikes from people walking.  
  • Improve public spaces: Provide additional street trees, pedestrian lighting, and wayfinding signs. We continue to explore art opportunities (such as sidewalk inlays or special concrete stamping) that will be installed with the nearby Fortson Square Redevelopment project

Below is the current project design. Specific improvements may change as design is finalized. 

Project map showing proposed permanent improvements and potential future improvements at 3rd Ave and Yesler Way.

Pilot project design changes that we're making permanent

A photo showing new striping and flex posts on 3rd Ave A photo showing new striping and flex posts on 3rd Ave

We used paint and posts to remove a northbound travel lane and southbound right turn lane on 3rd Ave at the Yesler Way intersection.

A photo of the current crosswalk at 3rd and Yesler, with temporary paint and flex posts which will be narrowed using installed curb bulbs A photo of the current crosswalk at 3rd and Yesler, with temporary paint and flex posts which will be narrowed using installed curb bulbs

We’ll be replacing temporary paint and posts with concrete to create curb bulbs that will shorten and align pedestrian crossings.


Image shows a cutout of SDOT’s Public Life Action Plan

This project was originally identified as part of the One Center City Near-Term Action Plan​ which is a collaboration between King County, Sound Transit, and SDOT that identified key projects and programs that will help keep people and the economy moving even as major construction projects and growth-related congestion reduce street capacity.

The project was also selected because of high collisions around 3rd Ave and Yesler prior to the installation of the pilot project. It's also a safety priority identified within the Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety Analysis (BPSA).  

In 2019, SDOT conducted a public life study, which included Prefontaine Place and City Hall Park​. The findings at these locations found:

  • Very few women, youth, or elderly using these public spaces​
  • High concentration of people near busy transit locations​
  • City Hall Park was underutilized​
  • Spaces lack identity, a sense of place, and do not function as a cohesive network

A graphic map showing an aerial view of conditions today at 3rd Ave and Yesler Way

For more information about other improvements we're making to 3rd Ave for people walking, biking, and taking the bus, visit our 3rd Ave Improvements webpage


Phase 1: Pilot Period (July 2022) ​

Phase 2: Interim Striping (August 2022) ​

We are here!

Phase 3: Permanent Improvements. We’re finalizing design of the permanent improvements and expect construction to begin as soon as spring 2024.


This current project budget is $2M and is funded by the One Center City program, Landscape Conservation and Local Infrastructure (LCLIP) program, Bicycle program, and Vision Zero program. The One Center City program is co-funded by King County, Sound Transit, and SDOT.​


Translation and Interpretation

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Greg Spotts, Director
Address: 700 5th Ave, Suite 3800, Seattle, WA, 98104
Mailing Address: PO Box 34996, Seattle, WA, 98124-4996
Phone: (206) 684-7623

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The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) is on a mission to deliver a transportation system that provides safe and affordable access to places and opportunities for everyone as we work to achieve our vision of Seattle as a thriving, equitable community powered by dependable transportation.