Pike Pine Renaissance clears latest hurdle on track to construction in 2022

Update: SDOT’s SEPA checklist listed a 2023 start date but the department has confirmed a planned construction start of Fall 2022. Good news! 

In 2017, when protected bike lanes were installed in Downtown Seattle for a short stretch on Pike and Pine Streets, the city was already planning permanent replacements for those bike lanes. Since 2016, the Pike Pine Renaissance project has been in the works as a complete revamp of the entire corridor between Pike Place Market and Capitol Hill, with major streetscape changes coming alongside upgrades to the bike facilities.

The City of Seattle just completed its environmental review for the project, with the deadline to appeal the city’s Determination of Nonsignificance (DNS) now passed. The city’s submittal notes that construction is now scheduled to start in June of 2022 and complete by December 2023. The project will come in at close to $40 million dollars, coming from both the Local Improvement District (LID) created to fund the new waterfront, as well as from public benefit funding required as part of the now short-on-cash Washington State Convention Center expansion project.

Map of Pike and Pine Street between 1st and Bellevue

Scope of the Pike Pine Renaissance project. (Click to enlarge)

The 2017 bike lane installation on Pike Street stopped at 6th Ave; originally the City was planning to come back and bridge the gap between 6th Ave and 9th Ave, where the protected lanes the city installed in 2019 pick up. Now we know that won’t happen until the Pike Pine Renaissance is completed. What could be nearly four three more years of people biking having to navigate this gap is not great news.

As part of the project, the existing two-way segments of both Pike and Pine Street will be converted to one-way streets for motor vehicles, making the streets consistent all the way from 1st Ave to Melrose Ave. For nearly the entire length of the corridor, the bike facility is going to be maintained or upgraded, staying on the left side of each one-way street.

One way streets for bikes and vehicles

Planned direction of travel lanes for people biking and driving on Pike and Pine. (Click to enlarge)

The exception to that is the block between 1st and 2nd Avenues, which is planned to be converted to a curbless “shared street” on both Pike and Pine. It only takes one driver to turn a shared street into a dangerous street, of course, and the removal of a protected bike lane that the city has somehow never been able to maintain on Pike Street is frustrating.

19 and 27 foot sidewalks with 18 foot "shared lane" and an 8 foot parking lane

Rendering of the block of Pike Street between 1st and 2nd Ave.

Pike Street matching the description in article with shared lane

Illustration showing the block of Pike Street between 1st and 2nd Ave

Pine Street with shared lane

Illustration showing the block of Pine Street between 1st and 2nd Ave

One segment of bike lane on Pine Street between 3rd and 4th Aves is planned to be raised up at sidewalk level like the PBL on 7th Avenue in Denny Triangle. The renderings show a clear attempt to activate this space near the McDonalds, long a goal of the Downtown Seattle Association, with the raised bike lane likely an attempt to slow people biking through the block; this will likely just turn frustrating in practice. Some illustrations show space for an espresso stand (like below) while others indicate space for a mobile SPD unit to be stationed.

Raised bike lane in front of McDonalds

Illustration showing 3rd and Pine. (Click to enlarge)

The biggest improvements will come from the segment bridging I-5. Finally people biking down Pine Street will have separated space to get through Boren Ave, where the paint bike lane disappears into a turn lane currently. Both Pike and Pine are planned for substantive sidewalk expansions here, with the protected bike lanes at street level and separated from traffic by planter boxes. If this segment works out as planned, it will be pretty transformative.

Two travel lanes heading downhill with bike lane and wide sidewalks

The vision for Pine Street looking toward Capitol Hill. (Click to enlarge)

Two travel lanes heading uphill with bike lane and wide sidewalks

The vision for Pike Street looking toward Capitol Hill. (Click to enlarge)

East of Bellevue Avenue, Pike Street will maintain having protected bike lanes in both directions, so the plans include a one-block two-way protected bike lane between Bellevue and Melrose to transition. Melrose Ave, getting upgrades this year as part of the Melrose Promenade project, will serve as the connector between people using Pike Street to head west on Capitol Hill to get over the Pine to head downtown.

Two way PBL on Pike between Melrose and Bellevue

Planned two-way protected bike lane between Melrose and Bellevue Ave on Pike Street. (Click to enlarge)

SDOT is planning a massive raised intersection at Pike and Melrose but Melrose will continue to permit vehicle traffic despite being so ripe for pedestrianization.

Huge raised intersection with community crosswalk at Melrose and Pike

Planned intersection improvements at Pike and Melrose happening this year. (Click to enlarge)

In 2021, we should get even more details on what the overall changes planned on Pike and Pine look like as the project gets to 60% design. The project has always been primarily about improving downtown streetscapes, but some big mobility improvements are coming along as well.

About Ryan Packer

Ryan Packer is Temporary Editor of Seattle Bike Blog.
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6 Responses to Pike Pine Renaissance clears latest hurdle on track to construction in 2022

  1. This corridor is in sore need of mobility improvements. Exciting design progress, thanks for the update! And thanks to Central Seattle Greenways for helping make this happen.

  2. ronp says:

    this is great. my commute is so much better with the 4th Ave bike lanes too.

    now get the non cars out of place market and put shop stalls in their place. win win.

  3. Scott says:

    ugh, its so frustrating biking up to Capitol Hill with the lack of protected bike lanes. Pike is such a mess with the PBL stopping at 6th, and then it starts again in a few block on the opposite side? It’s super dangerous to cross those two lanes of traffic to get over. And its the same thing with Pine coming down the hill. I was hoping this would get fixed sooner.

    Thanks for the reporting!

  4. asdf2 says:

    The old configuration with a protected bike lane on the for two blocks was a joke. The unprotected lane on blocks prior is on the right, so to reach the protected lane, you have to cross over a the lanes. I usually ended up just taking the right hand car lane, instead.

    Except for special cases, like a critical trail gap, a bike lane that spans all of two blocks is usually useless.

  5. Ed says:

    Anyone know why the westbound route doesn’t jog north on Minor instead of Melrose?

  6. eddiew says:

    The 30 percent plans were reviewed. They depend on the Center City Connector Streetcar; it may not be built. We would be better off with two one-way PBL on Pike Street and two-way transit service on Pine Street. Pine Street is atop Westlake Station, so transfer walks would be minimized. It looks like the plans add much wider sidewalks and leave transit in fewer congested lanes. The Pike Street PBL could extend east to 12th Avenue. The current PBL are interrupted by the eastbound bus stop at Boren Avenue. The bus routes could shift to Pine Street. Does the fiscal crisis of the Convention Center expansion imply that the Renaissance has a funding issue?

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