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Hopes Dashed for Pedestrian Only Street in Seattle

The city of Seattle is planning for street improvements around the University District station under construction on NE 43rd Street. But the latest designs don't allow for a street designed exclusively for pedestrians.
October 6, 2019, 9am PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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U District Station
U District Station under construction.

"After a long process around what the front door of Sound Transit’s University District station on NE 43rd St will look like at the start of transit service there in 2021, the latest designs reveal that Seattle will have to wait for another street to become its first full pedestrian-priority street in front of a rapid transit station," reports Ryan Packer.

According to Packer, the pedestrian street idea fell victim to competing demands, like bus lines, a nearby parking garage, and the fire department's use for the street. As for the shape the city will take, Packer reports that the redesigned street will include "an 11-foot westbound lane that will be shared by people on bikes, King County Metro buses, and for a segment of the street general purpose vehicle traffic."

A previous article by Natalie Bicknell notes public support for converting NE 43rd Street to entirely pedestrian use. In response to that public support, according to Packer, "NE 43rd St will be recreated without curbs, with a similar treatment to E Denny Way in front of Capitol Hill Station or Bell Street Park. Sound Transit, however, is planning curbs on their portion of the street in front of the station."

Packer provides a lot more detail on the emerging vision for the future of NE 43rd Street. The U District station is one of the stops on Sound Transit's Northgate Link Extension, currently under construction and expected to open in 2021.

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Published on Friday, October 4, 2019 in The Urbanist
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