23rd Avenue in Capitol Hill and the Central District is currently a disaster for pedestrians and bus riders. The right-of-way is far too narrow to support four traffic lanes and pedestrians comfortably, to say nothing of bicycles. The pavement has been torn up by heavy bus use, and needs replacing. So it’s great news that the city has cobbled together $14M for a full redesign of 23rd Ave from John St. all the way to Rainier Ave. Central District News reports on the project here, which could start as soon as 2014. Community outreach is still ongoing, and final designs and lane configurations have not been set.
According to Bill Bryant at SDOT, the redesign will consist mainly of transit signal priority, fiber optic upgrades, and passenger facility improvements. Electrifying the corridor, which could benefit many transit riders well beyond the CD, would cost an additional $12M or so, funding for which has not yet been secured.
Update: great point by Zach in the comments. The past 40 years of road infrastructure in the CD (such as the widening of Cherry St. in the 1950s) have been about speeding up through traffic: getting people (in cars) through the neighborhood instead of to the neighborhood. Hopefully we’re seeing a the beginnings of a reversal to that trend.