NE 51st Street Improvements

Location: NE 51st Street between and 150th Ave NE and 156th Ave NE

Project Phase: Design

Estimated Timeline: Construction start is pending coordination with SoundTransit to construct this project within the next couple of years.

Project Manager: Peter Dane, 425-556-2816

Page Last Updated: 04/12/18

Project Overview:  The City of Redmond is designing a transportation project on NE 51st Street with two components.

  • The first component will add a two way left turn lane to serve 154th Avenue and complete bicycle lanes between the Eastbound SR 520 ramps and 156th Avenue.
  • The second component will adjust curves and pedestrian crossings on 51st Street at the intersections with the eastbound and westbound SR 520 ramps.

NE 51st Street Project Location Map


Project History:

City Plans

NE 51st Street is designated as a minor arterial street with plans for roadway improvements including bicycle lanes and turn lanes in Redmond’s Transportation Master Plan.

Microsoft Development

Microsoft proposed the construction of two new buildings south of NE 51st Street approximately ten years ago. New buildings are required to undergo a transportation review. This review required several transportation projects to be completed as mitigation for the new buildings:  

  • Intersection improvements at 156th Avenue at 45th Street
  • Turn lanes at the intersection of 51st street and 154th Avenue
  • A bicycle lane on the south side of 51st Street from the eastbound 520 off ramp to 154th Avenue 

In 2016 Microsoft agreed to fund the NE 51st Street improvements paid for by Microsoft through a financial mechanism called a “community facility district”. Redmond City Council approved the petition for a community facility district with the condition that Microsoft also fund the completion of bicycle lane on the north side of 51st Street from 154th Avenue to the eastbound 520 on ramp, as called for in the Transportation Master Plan.

Redmond initiated design of the 51st Street Improvements in late 2016. To date the City has updated the 2008 Microsoft transportation study, advanced design to 60%, and held a public meeting to review the project in March of 2017.  

Summary of 51st Street Improvements public meeting:

The City project team held a public meeting in March. We heard significant interest in the project from the community around three main themes: 1) Support for the addition of an eastbound left turn lane at 156th Avenue, 2) Concern about ingress/egress at 51st Street and 154th Avenue, and 3) Traffic issues on 156th Avenue north of 51st Street. A summary of each theme and next steps is provided below.
         Support for the addition of an eastbound left turn lane at 156th Avenue

    1. What we heard: There is strong community support to add an eastbound left turn lane at the intersection of 51st Street and 156th Avenue. Commenters not only supported the project but some called this the most important investment in the project limits (51st Street from SR 520 to 156th Avenue). Those that commented on the westbound approach options favored Option 1 – replacing one of the two uphill lanes with a dedicated westbound left turn lane.

    Next steps: Microsoft is funding the 51st Street Improvements. The City will review the cost of the total project and work with Microsoft to determine if the eastbound left turn lane at 156th Avenue can be funded as part of this project.

    Concern about ingress/egress at 51st Street and 154th Avenue

2.  What we heard: Attendees provided a variety of comments about the intersection of 154th Avenue with a general theme of concern about ingress/egress. One set of comments oriented around support and opposition of an attendee proposal to add a signal at this intersection while another set of comments focused on other ingress/egress issues to/from the north side of the intersection and the south side.

Next steps: Based on this feedback the project team will conduct a full signal warrant review of this intersection. The results will be uploaded to the project website at

Traffic issues on 156th Avenue north of 51st Street

What we heard: There are concerns about traffic volumes and speeds on 156th Avenue north of 51st Street. Numerous attendees requested that the existing I-405 directional sign be removed due to concerns that it is misdirecting drivers to continue north past 51st Street. Other issues included sight distance and cars turning around in residential driveways.

Next steps: The City is working with a property owner to help address sight distance issues at 51st Street and 156th Avenue. In addition, the design team will review existing directional signage and evaluate use of different directional signs.