SDOT finalizes design plans for 15th Ave NW and Ballard Bridge paving project

The design plans are finalized for the upcoming project to repave and create safety improvements on the Ballard Bridge and 15th Ave NW in Ballard.

SDOT has been working on the paving project plans for over a year; conducting research and community outreach alongside surveys to gain feedback from the public. Now, they have a set of finalized designs and they’ll start construction at the end of 2023.

Improvements will include a new walk/bike signal, a crosswalk, and a traffic-calming landscaped median down the center of 15th Ave NW.

Some of the additional elements SDOT added after community feedback include a new signalized pedestrian crossing to connect the Ballard Ave downtown area to the Ballard Brewery District.

New safety enhancements

SDOT will include the following elements:

  • Install a new signal and crosswalk at NW 51st St, making it easier to walk, roll, or bike around the neighborhood as well as connecting people to Ballard businesses, attractions, and transit.   
  • Replace a southbound lane on 15th Ave NW with a new landscaped median between NW 50th St and NW 54th St to calm driver speeds and reduce the likelihood of serious crashes.  
  • Add a new southbound transit lane with red “bus only” markings on 15th Ave NW between NW 54th St and NW Market St.   
  • Add a new southbound transit lane with red “bus only” markings on 15th Ave NW between Leary Way NW and NW Ballard Way.  
  • Improve and add new lighting under the bridge along Leary Way NW and on the pedestrian path near the intersection of 15th Ave NW and W Nickerson St.

Some of the original project elements include the following (from SDOT):

  • Pave 15th Ave W/NW from W Emerson to NW 57th St, including the fixed portions of the Ballard Bridge. 
  • Replace worn-out bridge expansion joints to maintain smooth transitions between paving panels. 
  • Improve earthquake safety by strengthening the north end of the Ballard Bridge (also called the Leary Bridge). 
  • Repair sidewalks, driveways, and stormwater drainage areas.  
  • Upgrade curb ramps to meet current ADA standards along 15th Ave NW. 
  • Build missing curb ramps at all east-west crossings along 15th Ave NW. 
  • Update pedestrian crosswalk signs and refresh striping for better visibility.  
  • Plant new trees and replace old trees in select areas.   
  • Install new or expand existing tree pits to keep trees healthy. 
  • Add red “bus only” lane markings to the existing northbound bus lane on 15th Ave NW between NW 52nd St and NW Market St.

Full Project Area

A graphic map displaying the physical locations of the planned enhancements listed above.
Graphic: SDOT

Safety improvements on 15th Ave NW

Below are renderings of the enhancements planned for 15th Ave NW.

NW 51st St and 15th Ave NW

SDOT will install new crosswalks with a protective median and signal to improve access to buses and connect the neighborhood. The crosswalk leads to the 17th Ave NW Neighborhood Greenway.

NW 53rd St and 15th Ave NW

SDOT will maintain the signalized crossing and add a landscaped median from NW 54th to NW 51st Streets.

15th Ave NW between NW 54th St and NW Market St

SDOT will include a new southbound bus-only lane.

For more info you can visit the project webpage and sign up for project emails to get updates about construction and potential impacts. SDOT’s outreach team is available to answer questions or receive feedback from the community—contact the project team at or (206) 512-3950.

Photos and renderings by SDOT