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Transit Improvements for NW Market and 45th Streets Previous Projects and Improvements

Summer 2012

Construction has begun in Ballard and Wallingford. Bus bulbs, new traffic signal controllers and the Midvale queue jump are all under construction. Construction is expected to finish up in late summer. For details and updates from the construction team, click here.

You can see a video about the project, photos and enter to win prizes from along the corridor at

Earlier Updates

Winter 2011

Latest Information

SDOT will begin constructing transit improvements at numerous locations on NW Market Street and 45th Street along Metro Route 44, connecting Ballard, Wallingford and the University District in the April/May 2012 time frame.  The following improvements are part of this project:


  • Expand sidewalks (bus bulbs) and install passenger amenities for existing bus stops at NW Market/28th eastbound and westbound and NW Market/11th Avenue eastbound and westbound
  • Reconfigure NW Market/24th Avenue intersection, e.g. add turn pockets, and upgrade traffic signal to be a state-of-the-art “fully actuated” signal
  • Add fiber communications and new traffic signal equipment to give buses priority treatment at key intersections.


  • Add westbound transit lane, or queue jump, on Midvale Avenue at N 46th Street
  • Add bus bulbs and passenger amenities at three existing NE 45th Street bus stops: 1) Woodlawn (eastbound), Corliss (westbound) and Thackeray (eastbound)
  • Add fiber communications and new traffic signal equipment to give buses priority treatment at key intersections.

SDOT worked with community members to select sidewalk designs for the new bus bulbs being built as part of the project. 

For the University District corridor segment, Route 44 improvements were completed on 15th Avenue NE last September as part of SDOT’s 15th Avenue NE AAC pavement project. Two bus bulbs were constructed at NE 43rd and NE 40thand the northbound left turn pocket at the NE 45th Street/15th Avenue NE intersection was converted to transit only during the weekday p.m. peak period.  Concurrently, University of Washington, King County Metro and SDOT partnered on a complete remodel of the northbound bus stop at NE 42nd Street.   

NW Market/45th Street Transit Priority Corridor Improvements are funded through the Bridging the Gap transportation funding measure and a $4 million Washington State Regional Mobility Grant. This project, part of the Walk Bike Ride Initiative, will make riding transit easier, e.g. Route 44 should experience travel time savings from 15-20%.

Please contact Jeff Bender at (206) 684-8837 or for more information.

Spring 2011
Since January 2011, SDOT has been working with Ballard area business and industrial stakeholders to finalize a preferred design alternative for NW Market/24th Avenue NW intersection.  Several intersection design alternatives were analyzed and discussed. SDOT adjusted the final alternative to most effectively meet the needs of all roadway users.

SDOT has completed designs for transit improvements at numerous locations on NW Market Street, 45th Street, and 15th Avenue NE along Metro Route 44, connecting Ballard, Wallingford and the University District. Construction is underway on 15th Avenue NE and is scheduled to occur on the rest of the corridor in 2011 and 2012. 
Transit improvements identified for 15th Avenue NE in this project, e.g. bus stop improvements and revised lane markings, are included in SDOT’s 15th Avenue NE AAC pavement project which is scheduled to be completed this summer.

Fall 2010
During September 2010, SDOT held two open houses to gather public input on transit improvements proposed for the NW Market/45th corridor. The first open house was at Swedish Medical Center’s Ballard Campus on September 16. The second open house was at Good Shepherd Center in Wallingford on September 28.
The project team provided open house attendees an overview of SDOT’s transit priority corridor program, describing the different strategies that can be used to give transit priority over other traffic, e.g. bus bulbs, transit signal queue jumps, transit signal priority, and bus stop consolidation.

At the Ballard open house, people were interested in proposed changes to the NW Market Street and 24th Avenue NW intersection and its potential impacts on single-occupant vehicles and trucks, and proposed bus bulbs in the vicinity of NW Market Street and 28th Avenue NW and NW Market Street and 11th Avenue NW.
At the Wallingford open house, information was provided on the planned bus queue jump at Midvale Place and three bus bulbs on N 45th Street at Woodlawn, Corliss, and Thackeray.

Finally, there was information on how much it should improve transit travel time. King County Metro staff were available to answer questions about possible bus stop consolidation in the corridor and Metro’s decision making process.

Fall 2009
In fall 2009, SDOT and HNTB, analyzed traffic alternatives proposed for the NW Market/45th Street transit corridor used by Metro’s Route 44. The team assessed a variety of traffic alternatives that SDOT could use in this corridor to improve Route 44 transit operations and overall mobility. Recommendations can be found in this report.

SDOT and its project advisory panel discussed and reviewed recommended traffic alternatives. SDOT selected alternatives to advance from 30% to 60% design level.

List of Improvements


Proposed Change

NW Market/28th

  • Install 2 Bus Bulbs – Eastbound (EB) and Westbound (WB)

NW Market/24th

  • Improve intersection operations for transit – study in progress
  • Add traffic signal priority for transit (TSP)

NW Market/17th

  • TSP

NW Market/11th

  • Install 2 Bus Bulbs – EB and WB

NW Market/3rd

  • TSP


  • TSP


  • TSP


  • TSP

Midvale Place

  • Add WB Queue Jump (Transit lane)
  • Parking Restrictions (approx. 8 spaces, north side of street)

Stone Way/45th

  • TSP


  • Install Bus Bulb – EB


  • TSP


  • Install Bus Bulb – WB
  • TSP

Thackeray Place/45th

  • Install Bus Bulb – EB
  • TSP


  • TSP

15th /45th

  • Convert Northbound (NB) Left Turn Pocket to Transit Only (under construction)
  • TSP

15th /43rd

  • Install Bus Bulb – Southbound (SB) (under construction)
  • TSP

15th /42nd

  • TSP

15th /41st

  • TSP

15th /40th

  • Install Bus Bulb – NB (under construction)
  • TSP

Pacific/Pacific Place

  • TSP

A map of the project’s improvements is shown below. It includes potential bus stop closures that SDOT and King County Metro are planning for additional improvements to Route 44 travel time and reliability.

Click for Larger

Midvale Improvements

On January 21, 2010, SDOT staff conducted a design workshop with community members in the vicinity of the proposed transit queue jump at Midvale Place. It resulted in a design for landscape and pedestrian improvements to the north side of Midvale Place.

Timeline for NW Market and 45th Street Transit Improvements




Community discussions

July 2009 – December 2009

Achieve 30% design

April 2010

Resume design at 30%

October 2010

60% design completed (note: 15th Avenue NE segment already at 100% design)

November 2010 90% design complete

Summer 2011

15th NE segment construction

2011-2014 (to be determined)

Remaining segment 100% design, permitting & construction

Project Advisory Panel Members’ Affiliations

The project advisory panel met 8 times in 2009 and 2010. Numerous neighborhood and other groups are represented on the advisory panel:

Wallingford Neighborhood Office

Wallingford Chamber of Commerce

Wallingford Community Council

Fremont Chamber of Commerce

Roosevelt Neighbors Alliance

University of Washington

University District Community Council

University Park Community Club

Greater University Chamber of Commerce

Ballard Chamber of Commerce

Green Lake Community Council

Ballard Resident

Wallingford Center


Other Community Discussions

SDOT staff have discussed the project with numerous individuals and community groups, including:

Freight Mobility Advisory Committee

Ballard District Council

Northeast District Council

UW Pan-Hellenic Council

UW Inter-fraternity Council

Wallingford Community Council Executive Committee

Seattle Bicycle Advisory Board

NW Market Condominium Owners Association

Nordic Heritage Museum

Washington State Department of Transportation

Seattle Pedestrian Advisory Board

King County Metro

If you don’t see your community group listed, or you want an update, please let us know!


Transit improvements are designed to help move people quickly and reliably throughout the day on heavily used Metro corridors. They are made possible by Bridging the Gap, the City’s voter-approved transportation funding measure.

To provide more efficient transit service and implement elements of “bus rapid transit” and make using transit an attractive option for more people, SDOT constructs the following traffic signal and road improvements:

  • Traffic signal priority (TSP) so green lights stay green longer or red lights change to green faster as buses approach a traffic signal
  • Modifications to signalized intersections so buses can get a head start on general traffic (queue jump) when the signal turns green
  • Sidewalk extensions (bus bulbs) so buses save time by no longer pulling in and out of parking lanes to pick up passengers while providing added waiting space and more room for passenger amenities

The NW Market/45th Street Corridor is a major east-west transit corridor with high transit demand. Improving speed and reliability in this corridor will attract new riders and transit will become a more convenient travel option for existing riders.

Project goal is to achieve average transit travel time savings of at least 10% throughout the day while improving reliability. Bus stop passenger waiting area improvements are also included in the program.

SDOT’s team has been working with Metro to evaluate distances between bus stops to ensure that bus stop intervals effectively balance the need for access with the need for faster, more reliable transit. Prior to project construction, Metro will propose consolidation of closely-spaced bus stops (for example, stops that are one block apart) on the route.

Route 44 is currently one of the most popular routes in Seattle, carrying over 6,000 riders per day. It runs frequently during the day with buses arriving every 10 to 15 minutes, seven days per week, about 18 hours a day. Other Metro bus routes in the area carrying thousands of riders each day will benefit from the proposed improvements as well.

Route 44 operates with clean, quiet electric trolley buses. Electric buses are powered by Seattle City Light, which emits zero net climate-altering greenhouse gases.   


For questions about street improvements to benefit transit, please contact:
Jeff Bender
(206) 684-8837

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