Contact Information
Keith Woolley
Project Manager

Wells-Williams Conversion Project Background

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Image of a Two Way Traffic Sign

The Wells-Williams Conversion Project improves connectivity and access in downtown to make it a more vibrant and livable area.

  • Sidewalk and crossing improvements will increase pedestrian mobility and safety while enhancing the street environment

  • Converting Wells Avenue South and Williams Avenue South to two-way traffic will also make it easier to access businesses downtown

  • Upgraded lighting, street furniture, bike racks, and other amenities will also strengthen downtown’s character and welcoming feel

Please continue supporting downtown businesses during construction.

During this work, we will continue to follow recommended guidelines to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Work is weather dependent.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the project timeline?

The Wells-Williams Conversion Project started in April 2020 and has experienced schedule delays because of COVID-19, the limited availability of specialized subcontractors, pausing to work at Houser Way S while BNSF was available, and discovering discontinued infrastructure underground. We empathize with the impact on the community and are also frustrated by the delays. We are planning to substantially complete the project by the end of February 2022.

The city plans to convert S 2nd St and S 3rd St to two-way traffic in a future project.

The timing of specific construction activities is subject to change due to weather dependent work and the unpredictability of underground utilities. Crews frequently adapt their short-term schedule to keep the project on schedule overall and minimize impacts.

Tree Planting, Removal, and Replacement

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At the four downtown intersections reconstructed as part of this project, we plan to remove 12 trees and plant at least 22 new ones. The design seeks to maximize the number of trees at each intersection while avoiding conflicts with underground utilities, which are harmful to both trees and utilities. Street trees are being removed and replaced for many reasons, including to accommodate new utilities, make sidewalks more accessible, improve visibility at intersections and because the of the tree’s age or health.

Additional information can be found in our tree flyer.

How can I learn about upcoming construction work? How can I contact the project if I have a question or concern?

Our email listserv is the primary channel to learn about upcoming construction.

Sign up to receive our weekly updates. If you have a question related to construction or the project, you can call the project hotline at 425-363-1007. The hotline is staffed from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. You can also email your questions to [email protected].

What should I expect during construction?

In general, you can expect the following during construction:

  • Typical work hours: Weekdays from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. We may also work overnight or on weekends.

  • Noise, dust and vibration: We’re trying to reduce the dust as much as possible by increasing how often we water the work area, cleaning up daily, and adding temporary pavement.

  • Parking restrictions: There may be some on-street parking restrictions near work zones; please follow directions on “No parking” signs. The City Center Parking Garage offers up to 10-hours of free parking. For more information about places to park downtown, please check out the city’s Downtown Parking Map.

  • Temporary utility impacts: Service interruptions will be minor; utility providers will notify properties in advance of any temporary service disruptions that will impact them.

  • Pedestrian detours: The construction crews are implementing longer-term pedestrian detour routes at mid-block in some areas, so people walking and driving can have greater predictability when traveling downtown during construction.

  • Minor detours for drivers: There may periodically be detours for drivers. 

Will you work overnight or early in the morning?

We may work overnight or on weekends to keep the project moving forward. If overnight or weekend work is planned, we will notify nearby businesses and the public of what to expect.

 

How are you supporting businesses?

We are working to minimize impacts to businesses during construction. We are coordinating with businesses on upcoming work and impacts to mitigate their effects as much as possible. We are also working on individualized signage for businesses to communicate with the public that businesses are open.

The City Center Parking Garage’s free parking hours have also been increased from 2-hours to 10-hours. We also added banners and signs around the City Center Parking Garage to make it easier to find.

Because the Wells-Williams Conversion Project is funded through federal grants, the City of Renton cannot create a mitigation fund to compensate businesses for potential loss of revenue.


What are you doing to reduce noise and dust?

With COVID-19 we recognize some businesses are currently using the sidewalk for to-go orders. Underground utility work can generate a fair amount of noise and dust so please keep that in mind, particularly when the work is directly in front of your building. We’re trying to reduce the dust as much as possible by increasing how often we water the work area throughout the day.

How will parking be affected?

We are trying to minimize parking impacts as much as possible.

The City Center Parking Garage offers up to 10-hours of free parking. A monthly permit for the City Center Parking Garage can also be purchased for $35. We also added banners and signs around the City Center Parking Garage to make it easier to find.

There are several public parking lots downtown that offer up to 2 hours of free parking and convenient access to downtown businesses. For more information about places to park downtown, please check out the City’s Downtown Parking Map.

I see construction workers parking in no-parking spaces, why can’t I do the same?

The public is not allowed to park in no parking spaces for several reasons:

  • The contractor will often stage equipment nearby in no parking space for easy access to tools to support and speed up their work.

  • There’s only a single-point of entry/exit for parking that is adjacent to a single-lane closure. This creates a scenario where cars could be blocked in for several hours at a time, which is not ideal for residents, customers, or employees that come and go into downtown Renton at different times. It can also lead to confusing signage.

  • The contractor is liable for the work zone, which extends into no-parking spaces. If a community member crosses the work zone to park and damages something, the contractor is liable.

Stop Signs on Williams Ave S and Wells Ave S

These four intersections will operate as all-way stops until the transition to two-way traffic on Williams Ave S and Wells Ave S.

As a reminder, yield to the right and people walking have the right-of-way.

When will you convert Wells Ave S and Williams Ave S to two-way traffic?

We are planning to convert Wells Ave S and Williams Ave S to two-way traffic in January 2022.

 

How will construction affect public transit stops and schedules?

We coordinated with King County Metro and do not anticipate that the project will affect King County Metro bus stops or schedules, although may periodically require slight route detours. There are currently no bus stops within the project area, only a layover location for driver’s breaks. We’ll continue coordinating with King County Metro to identify any potential transit disruptions as construction continues and evolves.

How much does the project cost? Where is the funding coming from?

The Wells-Williams Conversion Project costs $7 million. A large majority of the funding comes from a STP grant from WSDOT in the amount of $3,850,000. The remaining portion of the project cost is funded through city revenue and smaller grants.

My water, Internet, gas, or electricity just went out—what should I do?

The Wells-Williams Conversion project does not anticipate any utility outages from our direct work. However, several utility providers are relocating and upgrading their utilities at the same time. Service interruptions will be minor; utility providers will notify properties in advance of any temporary service disruptions that will impact them. If you do experience an utility outage, please contact your utility provider to notify them of the service disruption.

How does COVID-19 impact the project?

  • Safety: The project has implemented several safety precautions to keep our contractors and community safe. The contractor has a COVID-19 safety plan in place. The city will continue to actively monitor the latest COVID-19 guidance and notify you if there are any changes to the project schedule or planned work. 

  • Business resources: The city is providing assistance and locating other useful resources.

If you have a question about how or where to find business assistance, please contact the City's Economic Development staff through the Small Business Hotline at (206) 503-1742 or by emailing [email protected].

 

Background Information

Current Construction

During this work, we will continue to follow recommended guidelines to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Work is weather dependent.

Find the latest construction information, including details on any street closures, detours, and other impacts. If you have a question or concern about the project please don’t hesitate to call (425) 363-1007 or email the project at [email protected].

Please continue supporting downtown businesses during construction.

Project Videos

The Wells-Williams Conversion Project provides pedestrian and bicyclists facilities and enhancements, traffic operation and circulation improvements in downtown. The improvements include adding raised intersections with bulb outs, lighting, street furniture, streetscape, bike racks, signage, wayfinding and converting Williams Avenue South and Wells Avenue South to two‐way traffic operations.

Project Overview (June 10, 2021)

If you want an in-depth project overview on the Wells-Williams Conversion Project or want a preview of the Downtown Utility Street Improvement Project, the video below explains the purpose of the projects and their construction impacts.

You can also explore the presentation slides or listen to the Q&A portion of the briefing, which answers questions related to water utility transfers, intersection closures and other construction impacts.

 

Intersection Work Webinar (Feb. 3, 2021)

On Feb. 3, 2021, the Wells-Williams Conversion Project held a webinar on the planned intersection work, minor detours for vehicles, and what to expect with the phase of work. A recording of the webinar is available below. You can also explore the presentation slides.

 

 

Your Title VI Civil Rights

The City of Renton hereby gives public notice that it is the City's policy to assure full compliance with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Civil Rights Restoration Act of 1987, and related statutes and regulations in all programs and activities. Title VI requires that no person shall, on the grounds of race, color, sex, or national origin be excluded from the participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be otherwise subjected to discrimination under any Federal Aid Highway program or other activity for which the City of Renton receives Federal financial assistance.

Any person who believes they have been aggrieved by an unlawful discriminatory practice under Title VI has a right to file a formal complaint with the City of Renton. Any such complaint must be in writing and filed with the City of Renton Human Resources within one hundred, eighty (180) days following the date of the alleged discriminatory occurrence. Title VI Discrimination Complaint Forms may be obtained from the City's website (www.rentonwa.gov) or from the Human Resources office at no cost to the complainant by calling (425) 430-7655.

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