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1st Avenue NW neighborhood greenway to get first permanent ‘Healthy Street’ upgrades

The Seattle Department of Transportation announced that it will start work on upgrades to the 1st Avenue NW neighborhood greenway later this month, the first set of permanent improvements made to Seattle’s Stay Healthy Street network. SDOT will continue the signed restrictions on through-vehicle with “Street Closed” signage that allows people walking and rolling to use the roadway instead of being restricted to the sidewalk. Painted markings and planter boxes will take the place of A-frame signs and traffic control barrels.

Since it is the first Healthy Street to be constructed, the changes in Greenwood are notable because that street will become the de-facto prototype for the rest of the Healthy Street network. Last year, Mayor Jenny Durkan committed to making 20 miles of the approximately 25 miles of open neighborhood streets permanent.

These 2021 upgrades to 1st Avenue NW will only be seen between NW 73rd Street and N/NW 79th Street. A second phase of the Healthy Street is planned to be installed in 2022 all the way up to NW 100th Street.

In addition to the intersection treatments and “traffic calming features” along 1st Avenue NW, SDOT is adding the same features on streets that intersect 1st Ave. Nearby residents in community meetings brought up NW 73rd Street as an “unofficial arterial” with heavier, faster traffic than adjacent streets, and where the Healthy Street ends at a T intersection. SDOT will paint and post traffic circles with speed cushions between them. Also at NW 79th Street, which sits adjacent to St. John Catholic School, SDOT will see speed cushions and relocated stop signs for increased visibility.

Illustration of traffic circles along N/NW 73rd Street as shown at a recent community meeting. (City of Seattle)