2.2 Relationship to Modal Plans

Last Updated: 7-17-2017Print page

Street types have been created based on land use and mobility needs. Graphics in Streets Illustrated show many different modal options across street types, even when designation of a particular modal network may be rare on certain street types (for example, bicycle facilities on Industrial Access streets). These modal options are to illustrate how the design standards can achieve modal integration per Street Type.  Individual plans have been developed for freight, transit, bicycle, and pedestrian transportation modes to identify the unique needs of, and a network of streets to facilitate movement and access for, each of these modes. The adopted modal plans dictate where modal facilities should be located and they are reflected in the Street Type Map.

In many cases each of these modes can be accommodated on the streets identified in the respective modal networks. However, in some cases there are design challenges to accommodate multiple competing modal needs, in addition to other right-of-way uses. The Street Types assignments and the corresponding required right of way widths have been created based on the modal plan recommendations. SDOT will review street designs and operational characteristics to ensure that a reasonable balance is achieved among competing uses, or that some uses are prioritized over others where appropriate. The Right of Way Allocation policy in the Seattle 2035 Comprehensive Plan and SDOT’s Complete Streets principles will help guide these decisions. This role is critical in Seattle, where there is often limited space within the right-of-way to accommodate the needs of pedestrians, transit, bicyclists, freight, motorists, landscaping, utilities, public space activation and parking.

Freight Master Plan

The Freight Master Plan (FMP) addresses the unique characteristics, needs, and impacts of freight mobility. The FMP focuses on urban truck freight movement to support Seattle’s increasing demand for goods and services in a safer and reliable manner.

The Freight Master Plan includes typical elements that are part of the other citywide modal master plans such as an existing conditions report, a policy framework, future conditions assessment, identification of near- and long-term improvements, design guidelines, and the creation of an implementation strategy that includes a data-driven prioritization framework. The plan provides an updated freight network, that includes Limited Access, Major Truck Streets, Minor Truck Streets and First/Last Mile Connectors .

 A description of the function and design objective for the four freight street classifications is shown in the table below:



Roadway  Type

Truck Volumes

Design Objective

Limited Access Facility

Serves long-distance through trips between the city and the rest of the region



Design to be limited access facilities and to standards that facilitate all types of trucks*

Major Truck Street

Serves through trips between Manufacturing and Industrial Centers, intermodal facilities, urban centers/villages, and the regional system

Minor arterial or higher

500+ trucks per day

Design to accommodate all truck types, as practicable

Minor Truck Street

Serves both through and to/from trips connecting urban centers/villages and commercial districts; provides secondary connections to major truck streets

Collector arterial or higher

500+ trucks per day

Design to accommodate truck needs in balance with other modal needs of the street

First/Last Mile Connector

Serves trips to/from industrial facilities, within the Manufacturing and Industrial Centers

Minor arterial or lower, including non-arterial streets

250+ trucks per day

Design to facilitate the movement of all truck types and over-dimensional loads, as practicable

Transit Master Plan

The Transit Master Plan (TMP) is a comprehensive and 20-year look ahead to the type of transit system that will be required to meet Seattle’s transit needs through 2030. The TMP defines a network of corridors throughout the city providing a consistently high standard of capacity, reliability, frequency, and customer service amenities.

The Frequent Transit Network (FTN) is a vision for a network of transit corridors that connect the City’s urban centers and villages with high-quality transit service within a short walk for most residents. Making capital investments in priority transit corridors that develop and enhance the FTN is a key focus of the TMP.

  • High Capacity Transit Corridors: These represent the top tier of citywide corridors that were evaluated for suitability for rapid streetcar and Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) modes.
  • Priority Bus Corridors: The remaining citywide corridors were considered for transit priority and infrastructure improvements, assuming rubber-tired transit would continue to be the dominant mode. Those corridors that provide transit access through downtown include a focus on Center City circulation, broadly benefiting transit service operating in and through downtown, and serve critical connections between many of Seattle’s densest neighborhoods.

Bicycle Master Plan

The Bicycle Master Plan (BMP) includes a bicycle network map, which recommends the appropriate location and facility type of bicycle improvements throughout the city. Designing and building this network over time will help achieve major goals of the plan by increasing safety and connectivity, and therefore increasing ridership.

The bicycle network is comprised of two complementary networks:

  • Citywide Network: a network of “all ages and abilities” bicycle facilities with comfortable separation from vehicles and a focus on intersection safety. The network is composed of off-street trails, protected bike lanes, and neighborhood greenways.
  • Local Connectors: provide access to the Citywide network, parallels the Citywide Network, and also serves destinations. Facility types include: off-streets trails, protected bicycle lanes, neighborhood greenways, in-street, minor separation and shared streets.

The existing Bicycle Network is shown on the Seattle Bike Map, which is updated annually to reflect extensions of the current network, and the planned network is presented in the Bicycle Master Plan, Recommended Bicycle Network map.

Pedestrian Master Plan

The Seattle Pedestrian Master Plan is a long-term action plan to make Seattle the most walkable city in the nation. The plan establishes the policies, programs, design criteria, and projects that will further enhance pedestrian safety, comfort, and access in all of Seattle’s neighborhoods.

Key components of the plan include:

  • Prioritization framework to determine where to build new sidewalks and walking paths
  • Identification of intersections for potential crossing improvements
  • Toolbox of options to improve walkability and accessibility


In addition to modal plans, the City has additional classifications such as Boulevard Classifications that describe the existing system of boulevards, most of which are owned by the Seattle Parks and Recreation (SPR). Traffic is accommodated on boulevards and design features must be approved by both SDOT and SPR, and the Historic Landmarks Board.