A snapshot of the potential impacts on transportation coming to downtown Seattle as the One City Center plan goes into effect between this year and 2020. The removal of the Alaskan Way Viaduct, the opening of Alaskan Way, and the SR 99 tunnel will affect West Seattle and Burien as well.

Herbold: One Center City update and potential West Seattle impacts

District 1 Seattle City Councilmember Lisa Herbold has outlined changes coming to downtown transportation in her constituent newsletter, and points out potential impacts on commuters from West Seattle and Burien as a variety of planned changes are implemented.

"Since late 2016, the One Center City working group has been meeting to coordinate management of a high volume of changes coming to Downtown transportation between 2017 and 2019. The working group includes SDOT, Sound Transit, King County Metro, and the Downtown Seattle Association. Different government agencies would implement elements of the proposal.

Upcoming projects in that time frame include the removal of the Alaskan Way Viaduct and opening of the SR 99 tunnel; the closure of the Downtown Transit Tunnel to buses with the arrival of light rail to Northgate, Lynnwood and the Eastside; the re-opening of Alaskan Way; a 1st Avenue Streetcar; a Bus Rapid Transit line on Madison; and the proposed Convention Center expansion (see chart above).

On June 8 One Center City released a “Proposed Near-term Projects” plan; you can download the pdf file here. While most of the proposals affect Downtown, some of the projects could impact West Seattle bus access to Downtown.

The proposal includes potential changes to rush-hour only Routes 37, 56 and 57 in the Alki, Admiral and Alaska Junction neighborhoods, as well as to buses from White Center and Burien (see slide 23), by re-routing buses onto to go by the Pioneer Square Light Rail Station on 3rd Avenue, then proceed eastbound to First Hill.

King County Metro will begin a public engagement about these potential service revisions beginning in July.

A second potential impact on West Seattle service would be during 2019, when the Alaskan Way Viaduct is closed. Buses such as the C Line that currently access Downtown via the Alaskan Way Viaduct will access Downtown by Alaskan Way when it reopens in 2020. However, this leaves a gap of around a year where buses will need to be re-routed. In my discussions with SDOT and King County Metro, 1st Avenue and 4th Avenue have been mentioned as potential options, but there isn’t a specific proposal yet.

A potential concern is regarding the construction of the 1st Avenue Streetcar project. SDOT is planning to phase work in conjunction with Viaduct removal, though it will need to be well managed to avoid any delays; any work on 1st Avenue must be completed or paused if West Seattle bus routes such as the C Line are re-routed onto 1st Avenue during 2019-2020.

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