WASHINGTON, D.C. – Representative Adam Smith (D-Wash.) secured $750,000 as part of the INVEST in America Act for the Seattle Department of Transportation’s MLK Jr. Way S Safety and Accessibility Improvements Project.
“We can save lives with safer streets as part of the Invest in America Act,” said City of Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan. “Seattle has implemented a series of improvements along Rainier Ave S – Seattle’s most crash prone, high-injury street, but our work to improve this corridor is far from done. This project will help reduce the disproportionately high rates of speeding and head-on and off-the-road collisions that now plague this segment of Rainier and MLK Way, providing a safer connection to the Judkins Park and Mt Baker light rail stations, the I-90 trail, Franklin High School, and the Metro Transit Center.”
The project will build protected bike lanes, mark and signalize missing crosswalks, fill a sidewalk gap, and make other safety and accessibility improvements and repairs along 1.1 miles of Martin Luther King Jr. Way S at the north end of Seattle’s Rainier Valley. This project will connect the existing Mt. Baker Station on Sound Transit’s Central Link light rail line with the soon to open Judkins Park Station on the East Link line via a bicycle facility that will be attractive to existing and potential riders of all ages and abilities.
During public outreach for Seattle’s Bicycle Master Plan in 2019, a north-south bicycle route in the Rainier Valley emerged as a top citywide priority. This will help ensure that residents and workers in Seattle’s most diverse neighborhoods have better transportation choices and safe connections to the regional light rail system.
The project will also make a series of improvements at and near the critical Rainier Ave S and MLK Jr. Way S intersection, where three people walking have been killed in traffic collisions in just the past two years. This neighborhood has seen recent investment in affordable housing with several hundred units already open or in various stages of the development pipeline, but the busy intersection at its center makes walking and biking a challenging and dangerous experience.
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