Route 44 - Transit-Plus Multimodal Corridor

Updated: May 26, 2020

Making bus trips faster, more reliable, and improving safety

What’s happening now?

This project is currently nearing the end of the early design phase (30% design) and is anticipated to move into more detailed design later in 2020.

In spring 2020, we identified corridor improvements that will move forward into design. These improvements were selected based on technical and cost analyses, as well as a review of public input received from the community survey and the fall 2019 drop-in sessions.   

The designs currently include:

  • Dedicated bus lanes on NE 45th St from 9th Ave NE to 15th Ave NE, and on 15th Ave NE from NE 45th St to NE Pacific St
  • Extension of the westbound left turn lanes on NW Market St at 15th Ave NW, and modifications to the turn signal on NW Market St at 14th Ave NW, to improve traffic flow along the corridor
  • Pedestrian safety upgrades, including:
    • A new pedestrian signal to cross NW Market St at 11th Ave NW
    • A crosswalk realignment at the 3-way intersection of N 46th St, Green Lake Way N, and Whitman Ave N
    • Sidewalk repairs near bus stops
  • Lane reconfigurations to improve traffic flow on portions of NW Market St, N 46th St, NE 45th St, and 15th Ave N
  • Optimization of bus stop locations and traffic signal upgrades on N 46th St to prioritize transit  

We'll be in touch to share information about how you can get involved and provide feedback at an engagement opportunity this summer.
Work is scheduled to be complete in 2023.

Project Overview

Partnering with King County Metro, we'll improve transit reliability, reduce transit travel times, and enhance pedestrian safety and access along the Route 44 corridor. Since 2019, we've been working to identify the improvement projects that will move forward into design. We began by studying a variety of possible improvements, and we held neighborhood drop-in sessions in fall 2019 to better understand community priorities along the corridor. Last year, we also received more than 800 responses to our community survey. (See our Fall 2019 Outreach Summary for more information.)

Improvements made as part of the Transit-Plus Multimodal Corridor may include:

  • Dedicated bus lanes and queue jumps: Bus-only lanes and signals that give buses a head start to separate buses from traffic and increase speed and reliability
  • Signal upgrades or optimization: Transit signal priority extends or activates green lights to reduce waiting times for buses at signals 
  • Channelization changes or turn restrictions: Changes to roadway channelization and limiting certain turns can allow buses to move faster, avoid conflicts, and improve safety
  • Safety improvements: Improvements to crossings and transit connections to help people get to bus stops more easily

The Route 44 corridor was identified in the 2012 Seattle Transit Master Plan (TMP) as a Priority Bus Corridor and in the 2016 TMP Update as a RapidRide corridor. King County Metro identifies the Route 44 corridor as a future RapidRide corridor in METRO CONNECTS, the King County Metro long-range plan adopted in January 2017. Metro is currently defining funding, timeline and phasing for delivery of the countywide METRO CONNECTS RapidRide Program. SDOT and Metro anticipate implementing transit speed and reliability upgrades in this corridor in 2023, prior to Metro's future delivery of RapidRide.

Route 44 Background

Route 44 is one of the highest-ridership routes in Seattle, serving over 9,300 daily weekday riders. It is a 10.7 mile east-west trolley route in North Seattle that serves the Ballard, Wallingford, and University District neighborhoods, including the University of Washington and University of Washington Medical Center. It also provides important connections to several current and future major north-south transit routes. Over 35,000 people live within a quarter mile of the corridor and over 32,000 people work within a quarter mile of the corridor.

While the Route 44 is scheduled to arrive every 10 minutes or better, buses on this route can be slow and unreliable. This project will identify and implement improvements that provide faster, more reliable transit service for the Route 44.

Key Transit Connections

Route 44 connects with two RapidRide routes: the E Line at Aurora Ave/SR 99 and N 46th St and the D Line at 15th Ave NW and NW Market St. These RapidRide routes are the top 2 King County Metro routes by ridership. Additionally, Route 44 connects to the current terminus of the Sound Transit's University of Washington Link light rail Station.  Once the Northgate Link light rail extension is completed, Route 44 will also connect with the U District Station. 

See more on the RapidRide program update.

See more on the comprehensive assessment of the Levy to Move Seattle.

Project Map


Other Projects Along this Route

SDOT and Metro are focusing many investments along the Route 44 TPMC route. Our project team is in close coordination with the following projects: 

Community Outreach

October 2019 Community Engagement Survey
November 2019 Open Houses: November 19, 20, and 21

The Three Stages of our Projects

Project Timeline

1. Planning
What we do: Collect traffic and transit data, review previously completed studies, develop concepts and gather community experiences to define options.

2. Design
What we do: We work with the community and produce a more detailed project design.

3. Construction
What we do: We construct the project and keep the community informed on the latest construction updates, schedule, and expected impacts.

Project Materials

To view a PDF of project-related materials, please click on the links provided below. 

Design Phase

 Planning Phase


This project is being funded by a combination of Local and State funds.  The source of the local funding is  the 9-year Levy to Move Seattle, approved by voters in 2015, and the source of the state funding is a Washington State Regional Mobility Grant.


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