New Metro on Third Avenue

Third Avenue serves as the main surface artery for transit in Downtown Seattle between Denny Way and S Jackson Street. Over 42,000 people board some 2,500 buses in the corridor every weekday. To create a better environment for bus riders, King County Metro Transit and the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) have joined forces.

Right now, the two agencies are in the process of developing designs for bus stops along Third Avenue in Downtown Seattle. The project is approaching the 10% design phase meaning that it’s still in the conceptual design phase and subject to significant change. To kick off the project, demonstration improvements have already been made at bus stops between University Street and Stewart Street. At the Third Avenue and Pine Street stop (in front of Macy’s), you may have noticed some significant improvements like extended sidewalks, real-time arrival and information kiosks, painted curbs red for loading zones, planted street trees, and improved lighting. But Metro and SDOT are also exploring other improvements at Third Avenue stops like:

  • Ticket vending machines
  • Smog eating photocatalytic material in sidewalks
  • Longer bus stop platforms to add bus capacity
  • Canopies
  • Common locations for containers of waste and recycle
  • New bus shelters and waiting areas for riders
  • Art to help activate the street and pedestrian experience


Final design of the project is still quite some time away with an anticipated completion in early 2016. The agencies have a tight budget of about $9.4 million for the the full length of the Third Avenue corridor. Besides establishing a laundry list of ideal features, determining the priority and significance of each stop along the corridor is an important step in the project’s evolution. Metro and SDOT will need to identify appropriate treatments for each stop based upon resource constraints and the priorities set by the public.

Metro Third Avenue Schedule

Metro and SDOT want your input on how they can improve this vital transit corridor. One way to do this is by taking the online survey. Another is to meet up with staff over the next week at the following locations and times:

  • Thursday, October 9 from 3pm-6pm, east side of Third Avenue between Battery Street and Bell Street
  • Saturday, October 11 from 11am-2pm, east side of Third Avenue between Stewart Street and Pine Street
  • Wednesday, October 15 from 3pm-6pm, west side of Third Avenue between Seneca Street and Spring Street
  • Thursday, October 16 from 11am-2pm, east side of Third Avenue between Yesler Way and S Washington Street

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Stephen is an urban planner with a passion for sustainable, livable, and diverse cities. He is especially interested in how policies, regulations, and programs can promote positive outcomes for communities. Stephen lives in Kenmore and primarily covers land use and transportation issues for The Urbanist.