SDOT says next phase of work has begun on 2-way Columbia Street transit ‘pathway’

In recent discussions of excruciatingly slow West Seattle-bound bus journeys from downtown, there’ve been many reminders that buses’ use of 1st Avenue South is temporary, with new permanent “pathways” in the works. Construction started today on the next phase of creating one key route, the 2-way version of Columbia Street (prep work was done more than a year ago). Here’s the city’s announcement:

With the former on-ramp to the Alaskan Way Viaduct now fully demolished, construction began today on Columbia Street for transit and pedestrian improvements between 1st Avenue and Alaskan Way. As part of the Waterfront Seattle Program, the City of Seattle’s Office of the Waterfront and Civic Projects is transforming Columbia Street into a two-way corridor with bus-only lanes and improved sidewalks. This critical transit pathway is expected to be completed and operational by early January 2020. Once operational, transit will use Columbia Street and Alaskan Way for both inbound and outbound travel between downtown and southwest King County.

Construction of the Columbia Street improvements is expected to take about four months and includes new underground utilities. Work will mostly take place during daytime and weekday hours, with occasional overnight and weekend work. Columbia Street will be closed to vehicles at 1st Avenue, with other intermittent traffic closures on Western, Post, and 1st avenues. Columbia Street will remain open to pedestrians throughout construction, with sidewalks open on at least one side of the street.

Later this fall, the City will begin rebuilding Alaskan Way, as soon as Viaduct demolition is complete. The City is committed to keeping the waterfront open and accessible throughout construction. To learn more visit, call 206-499-8040 or email

The plan has been long in the making – back in 2012, when decisions about downtown traffic flow were being made, we reported on Columbia being “in the lead” over other possibilities.

8 Replies to "SDOT says next phase of work has begun on 2-way Columbia Street transit 'pathway'"

  • Roms August 6, 2019 (7:17 am)

    That’s nice of them. Now there’s only about 24 weeks left to suffer the awful afternoon southbound commute, which only totals to about 220 hours lost in buses stuck on 1st avenue (2 hours lost per day for 24 weeks 5 days a seek, to which we can exclude a couple weeks for people to recover from the madness). Thanks SDOT! Way to go! Don’t bother fixing the mess you created.

  • J August 6, 2019 (7:38 am)

    Finally! Hopefully it goes smoothly with no further delays

  • Angry West Seattle Voter August 6, 2019 (7:54 am)

    January 2020!? It’s so infuriating that our leaders think that another nearly half of a year of the current bus situation on 1st is ok. Dow Constantine: your inaction on this won’t soon be forgotten.

  • Chris August 6, 2019 (8:56 am)

    I dont understand why half these busses cant go down 3rd ave.  There are way too many being pushed into an area that cannot support this level of traffic.   SDOT and Metro need to use some common sense, especially when they know there are going to be activities at either of the stadiums        

  • Brayton August 6, 2019 (10:37 am)

    Remember what Lilly Tomlin’s character said. SDOT and Metro don’t care because they don’t have to. 

  • Matt P August 6, 2019 (11:42 am)

    Glass half empty says less than 5 more months of this madness. Glass half empty says no way it’s ready by January.Did anyone notice the light timing changes having any positive effect or have they not gotten around to those yet?

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