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City of Seattle
Ed Murray, Mayor

SUBJECT: City Completing On-street Improvements to Help Transit

10/21/2014  3:30:00 PM

City Completing On-street Improvements to Help Transit
Red bus lane for Battery Street the first of four

SEATTLE – With the start of Seattle’s first red bus lane, the City of Seattle today highlighted a package of improvements being installed this year to help buses move around the city faster and more reliably. Throughout the remainder of 2014, transit riders will benefit from enhanced transit only lanes, new right turn pockets to reduce blockages, and bus stop upgrades on Holman Road and Northgate Way. This will be followed by additional transit improvements planned for 2015 on Market and 45th, in South Lake Union and along Greenwood Avenue N.

“With these targeted improvements, we’re supporting faster and more reliable bus service to accelerate everyone’s trip,” said Seattle Mayor Ed Murray. “The red transit lanes alone will help nearly 600 buses each day reach their destinations more quickly.” 

The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) will mark four initial locations with high visibility red Business Access and Transit (BAT) lanes to raise the profile of transit on-street and improve driver compliance with the restrictions. The red lane markings will be installed at the beginning, middle and end of each block in the following locations: Battery Street (Third to Denny), Midvale Place, NE Pacific Street and Wall Street (Denny to Fifth). Each of these lanes will help make transit a faster, more reliable and more competitive choice for thousands of bus passengers per day. 

“If there’s one thing our riders appreciate, it’s being on time and staying on time,” Metro Transit General Manager Kevin Desmond said. “Innovative improvements like red bus lanes give us the advantage we’re always looking for to make our buses faster and more reliable.”

To help address transit delays created by right-turning vehicles, SDOT will also install right-turn “pockets” for use by all vehicles on Third Avenue in Belltown. During particularly congested periods, SDOT and King County Metro Transit determined these improvements will save buses up to several minutes per trip on an especially busy corridor. Third Avenue is one of the busiest – if not the busiest – bus streets in the United States with more than 40,000 bus riders travelling Third Avenue in Belltown every weekday.

“Effective transit is critical for a booming city like Seattle,” said SDOT Director Scott Kubly. “New right-turn pockets on Third Avenue should save each bus rider several hours a year during peak commute hours, meaning hundreds of thousands of hours saved annually along this corridor.”

The city is also now completing significant bus stop upgrades on Holman Road and Northgate Way, providing new lighting, sidewalks, bike racks and other improvements. More than 1,100 riders of the busy RapidRide D line and Route 40 will enjoy safer and more welcoming bus waiting areas. 

SDOT additionally announced 2015 projects that will also aid transit users. Next year SDOT will install electronic real-time schedule signs at 11 busy bus stops on the Route 44 corridor (Market/45th) between Ballard, Wallingford and the U District. Riders of numerous routes, including the Route 44’s 7,000 weekday riders, will benefit from state of the art real-time signage at stops on this corridor.

Other 2015 improvements include new bus lanes at South Lake Union pinch points, significant sidewalk and bus stop upgrades on Greenwood Ave N between N 90th and N 105th, more transit signal queue jumps, extended bus lane hours at select locations and additional bus stop lighting.

The total cost of the improvements is $2,171,000 for 2014 and $3,985,000 for 2015, and will be paid for using local, state and federal funds.



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