Capitol Hill Seattle Blog: It is only three blocks but Pike readied for big, bike-friendly one-way change on Capitol Hill

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Rendering of Pike Street bridge

This story was originally published by the Capitol Hill Seattle Blog on Nov. 15, 2023.

The Seattle Department of Transportation says it is time to begin the transition that will change Pike and Pine between the waterfront and Capitol Hill into one-way streets.

Pike, you’ll go first.

“As early as” this Saturday — depending on weather and the construction schedule — westbound vehicle access to Pike on Capitol Hill between Terry and Bellevue will come to an end.

(Image: Waterfront Seattle)

“This is the first step in making Pike and Pine streets one-way from 1st Ave to Bellevue Ave, Pike St one-way eastbound, and Pine St one-way westbound,” the city says. “Westbound bike travel on Pike St will remain accessible during construction until improved routing to Pine St is established.”

CHS reported here in October as the first construction work crossed onto Capitol Hill in the $17.45 million project from the City of Seattle’s Office of the Waterfront and Civic Projects in coordination with the Downtown Seattle Association and SDOT to “improve east-west connections between the waterfront and surrounding neighborhoods” with new bike lane protections and the overhaul to Pike and Pine in downtown and on Capitol Hill below Bellevue into one-way streets. The project will bring wider sidewalks “buffering pedestrians from freeway noise” and higher railings with integrated lighting on the bridges over I-5, increased landscaping, and protected bike lanes “separated from traffic by curbed buffers and planters,” the city says.

Bike leaning rails are being added along the route. Guess what! They’ll also help protect riders from drivers. (Image: Waterfront Seattle)

The overhaul has urbanists, transit, and mobility proponents stoked in work that will be especially beneficial to bike riders and the scooter crowd. “When complete, riders will no longer have to choose between awkwardly riding on the sidewalk or sharing a lane with fast-moving traffic to get between two of the city’s busiest neighborhoods,” the Urbanist development and transit advocacy media organization writes.

As for how a city changes a busy set of neighborhood streets from two-way to one-way configurations, SDOT says drivers have a few things to learn about the new Pike setup:

  • People driving west on Pike St will turn north towards Pine St or south towards Union St at Bellevue Ave.
  • People driving north and south on Bellevue Ave will continue straight or turn eastbound at Pike St.
  • People driving north and south on Melrose, Minor, and Boren avenues will continue straight or turn eastbound at Pike St.

As construction wraps up on the downtown portions of the overhaul, SDOT says it still has eight new cherry trees to be placed along Pike between 1st and 2nd Ave near Pike Place Market along with a plaque highlighting the cultural and historical significance of the trees. Construction on the bridges over I-5 continue with wider sidewalks and protected bike lanes, plus new greenery, public artwork, and the improved railings and lighting. Work will continue to move east from 9th Ave to Bellevue Ave.

As for Pike’s twin, its one-way below Bellevue days are coming. Pine between 1st and Bellevue is scheduled to become one-way westbound for vehicles sometime in early 2024 with work across the entirety of the project hoped to be completed before the fall.