Route 44 - Transit-Plus Multimodal Corridor

Updated: September 15, 2023

Improving transit travel times and safety

What’s happening now?

We’re nearing the finish line! Crews will be in the University District this weekend at the following locations:

  • Signal work at 45th and University Way: Starting as early as 5 PM on Saturday, September 16, crews will be on site to do signal work at the intersection.
  • Painting road markings on 45th: Starting as early at 7 PM on Saturday, September 16, crews will be striping NE 45th St from Brooklyn Ave N to 15th Ave NE. Crews will work through the night.

During this work, you can expect lane shifts and crews directing traffic around the work. We expect this work to be wrapped up by Sunday morning.

In the coming days and weeks, crews will be on site at various locations completing punch-list items, including electrical work at the following locations:

·        N 46th St and Green Lake Way N

·        NW Market St at 11th and 15th avenues NW

·        N 46th St and Linden Ave N

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    The Route 44 project area extends from Ballard through the U-District with improvements being made along the route at key intersections and road stretches. You can click the links below to see where we will be completing the outstanding parts of the project in the coming months.

    Click here to see a map of sidewalk improvement locations along with project corridor.

    N 46th St and Aurora Ave N

    Crews have been working along N 46th St from Woodland Park Ave N to Aurora Ave N to improve safety for all travelers, increase pedestrian access, and streamline travel for buses through traffic.

    The changes at the on and off-ramps of Aurora Ave N are intended to provide several improvements over the previous configuration, which has elements that date back to the original grade-separation of Aurora that was designed in 1933.

    While most of the concrete and underground work is done at the on-ramp (Phinney Way N) and off-ramp (Green Lake Way N), the remaining traffic signal, crosswalk, bus stop, and landscaping work is not yet complete. 

    When complete, the key features of the project near Linden Ave N will include: 

    • A new full traffic signal on N 46th St and Linden Ave N/Phinney Way N. This signal will provide benefits over the prior condition:
      • Protected-only left turns from westbound N 46th St to Phinney Way N. Protected-only left turns have been shown to have lower crash rates, but they can cause longer queue lengths, so moving the ramp farther west for left turning vehicles will reduce the likelihood of queuing extending back to Green Lake Way N. 
      • A new signalized and marked pedestrian crossing across N 46th St at Linden Ave N.
      • Signalized control of northbound Linden Ave N to reduce conflicts with the westbound left turns at Phinney Way N and with the new crosswalk. 
    • Consolidation of eastbound bus stops to a new single stop at Phinney Way N and relocation of the westbound stop. The recently-closed eastbound bus stops were only about 700 ft apart, about twice as close as the quarter-mile spacing that is recommended by King County Metro’s bus stop spacing guidelines. Moving the westbound stop from Fremont Ave N to Linden Ave N allows to the stop pair to be together and reduces the walking distance for transfers between the Route 44 and the E Line.

    At Green Lake Way N, the project will: 

    • Shorten the length of three crosswalks: the two crossing N 46th St and the southeast crossing of Green Lake Way N.
    • Adjust the channelization and signal phasing to increase eastbound green time for the Route 44 through this intersection. This also includes a longer Walk indication for pedestrians in the south crosswalks across Green Lake Way N. 

    Once complete, throughout the segment from Fremont Ave N to Green Lake Way N, pedestrians should experience upgraded curb ramps, improved pedestrian lighting, longer Walk indications at signals, and reduced vehicle/pedestrian conflicts. 


    Previous conditions prior to construction at Aurora and N 46h St


    Work at Aurora and N 46th St

    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.) In September 2020, we conducted a survey and hosted an online presentation to get feedback on the design of these improvement concepts at the 30% design milestone. (See our 30% Design Outreach Report for more information.) 

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

    • Dedicated bus lanes: Bus-only lanes that separate buses from traffic and improve transit travel times 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 that 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 and safely
    • Sidewalk upgrades: Repaving sidewalks and upgrading ADA-accessible curb ramps in key locations  

    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 Station serving Link light rail. 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

    Project Map

    Sidewalk work 

    As a part of this project, we'll repair more than 4,500 linear feet of sidewalk near bus stops and upgrade more than 50 curb ramps to meet current ADA standards to improve access and mobility along the transit corridor. The sections of the corridor where we will make these sidewalk upgrades are shown on the map above.

    Community outreach

    Date Event
    October 2019 Community Engagement Survey
    November 2019 Open Houses: November 19, 20, and 21
    May 2020 Release 30% Design Concepts
    September 2020 Online presentation: September 10, 2020
    September 2020 Community Engagement Survey

    Project materials

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

    Construction Phase

    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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    Greg Spotts, Director
    Address: 700 5th Ave, Suite 3800, Seattle, WA, 98104
    Mailing Address: PO Box 34996, Seattle, WA, 98124-4996
    Phone: (206) 684-7623

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