Route 44 - Transit-Plus Multimodal Corridor

Updated: October 29, 2019

Making bus trips faster, more reliable, and improving safety

What’s happening now?

Seattle Department of Transportation and King County Metro are partnering to explore concepts for speed and reliability improvements for King County Metro Route 44, which runs from the Ballard Locks to the University of Washington Station. 

We're in the early planning phase, reviewing the corridor needs, and identifying community priorities to determine what improvements are most beneficial and feasible. Those improvements will then move forward to final design and construction. A variety of transit speed and reliability improvements along the Route 44 corridor will be considered, such as bus lanes, channelization modifications, intersection improvements, signal optimization, and transit signal priority. 

 Work is scheduled to be complete in 2023.

Project Overview

Partnering with King County Metro, we'll improve transit speed, safety, and reliability throughout the Route 44 corridor consistent with commitments made for the voter-approved Levy to Move Seattle.

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 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 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 2 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 Station.  In the future, once the Northgate Link Light Rail Extension is completed, Route 44 will also connect with the future 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

Image of 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. 

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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