Reconnecting Ballard

Ballard : Reconnected

Ballard || Divided

Speeding traffic along the four lanes of 15th Ave NW divides Ballard in half, separating communities, and creating numerous hazards for people who live, work, and play in this Urban Village:

  1. 15th Ave is unsafe, noisy, and dirty with drivers flying by at highway speeds despite running through the Ballard Urban Village
  2. There are few safe places for pedestrians & cyclists to cross 15th Ave NW
  3. The narrow, harrowing sidewalks of the Ballard Bridge create a barrier for crossing the Ship Canal to all but the bravest pedestrians & cyclists

Reconnecting Ballard would remove (literal) barriers, making it possible for people of all ages and abilities to move freely and safely through the neighborhood while enjoying all that Ballard has to offer:

  1. A parent pushing a stroller could walk from Starbucks to the Gilman Playfield with only a brief wait to cross at NW 53rd St
  2. A resident of the Vive apartments could safely roll their wheelchair to pick up their groceries at Amazon Fresh in only a few minutes by crossing at NW 51st St
  3. A tourist could walk from Reuben’s Brews Taproom to dine at Hattie’s Hat in ten minutes along calm local streets
  4. A new cyclist could commute to work along NW 53rd St as part of a clearly-marked bicycle network that supports riders of all ages & abilities
  5. A pedestrian coming from Interbay could safely exit the Ballard Bridge to grab a bowl at Mike’s Chili Parlor on NW Ballard Way
  6. A vulnerable neighbor in West Ballard could comfortably walk to the Ballard Food bank at 14th and Leary along quiet side streets

Connect Old Ballard to the Brewery District & Ballard Blocks

This repaving project presents an opportunity to mitigate the divisions created by 15th Ave NW. While Ballard-Fremont Greenways fully supports SDOT’s plans to improve and add both ADA-compliant curb ramps and street trees along the corridor, SDOT can further improve the quality of life for neighbors while also fostering local businesses by using this project to connect the bicycle and pedestrian network in Ballard that is currently blocked by 15th Ave NW. This work can also lay the foundation for providing access to the future light rail station for people walking, biking, & rolling.

Creating a Connected Bike & Pedestrian Network in Ballard

  1. Improve the underutilized crossing at NW 53rd St
  2. Create a signalized crossing at NW 51st St
  3. Connect these crossings to the Greenways along 17th and 6th Avenues NW
  4. Add wayfinding to popular walking & biking destinations
  5. Address unsafe conditions for cyclists & pedestrians accessing the Ballard Bridge


Reconnecting Ballard

Improve Safety for all Road Users

  1. Reduce incidents of unsafe driving through speed feedback & automated enforcement
    1. Install red-light cameras at all signalized intersections
    2. Place radar speed signs to discourage speeding
    3. Implement automated enforcement of the speed limit
    4. Bridge Ramps: Add lane markings where two-lanes exist to discourage high speed turns or painted shoulders
  2. Protect people walking and biking across the Ballard Bridge
    1. Warn drivers to watch for people walking & biking
    2. Extend the railings to protect people from out-of-control vehicles

Expand Mobility for People Walking, Biking, and Rolling

  1. Improve accessibility through direct outreach to the disabled community in Ballard and incorporate their feedback into the final design
  2. Prioritize crossings for people walking, biking, and rolling
    1. NW 53rd St: Improve this under-utilized intersection to make the crossing safer and more useful to people walking & biking
    2. NW Ballard Way (east): Add a protected pedestrian/bike refuge area at the exit from the Ballard Bridge and prohibit right turns onto Ballard Way from the northbound exit of the Ballard Bridge
    3. NW Ballard Way (west): Create a physically protected ramp for cyclists and pedestrians to access the sidewalk on the Ballard Bridge
    4. Paint crosswalks across ALL cross streets and ensure that all curb ramps align with crossings
  3. Connect the heart of Old Ballard to the Brewery District and the future light rail station by tapping into existing walking & biking routes
    1. NW 53rd St: Add wayfinding markings and signs to popular destinations to raise awareness of this under-utilized crossing
    2. Bike & Scooter Parking: Work with local businesses to install accessible bike and scooter parking to address the lack of secure parking options
    3. NW 51st St: Install a new signalized crossing

Plan for a Greener Future

  1. Prepare for subsequent infrastructure investments in walking, biking, and rolling by using lane closures and temporary signals as “natural experiments” for collecting data to evaluate potential improvements, including:
    1. Repurposing a lane on the Ballard Bridge for a two-way bike lane
    2. Designating transit-only lanes or a shifting center commuting lane on the Ballard Bridge
    3. Creating a signalized crossing at NW 51st St
  2. Support walking & biking routes to the future Ballard light rail station by establishing connections to the planned bike & pedestrian route along 14th Ave NW
  3. Position Ballard to be a “low pollution” neighborhood by prioritizing support for walking, biking, and transit in the final design for 15th Ave NW

Explore More

See our detailed set of recommendations : BFG 15th Ave Recommendations.pdf