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District Council concerned about Route 44 changes

Posted by Geeky Swedes on May 27th, 2010

The Ballard District Council is raising concerns after a presentation to the group by the Seattle Department of Transportation. During the talk, Bill Bryant with SDOT highlighted proposed changes to Metro route 44 and Market Street. (Read about it here.) This week the president of the council sent a letter to Peter Hahn, the director of SDOT, with some concerns about the proposed changes.

An SDOT rendering of a curb bulb

We are concerned by the following proposals:
1) 11th Ave. and Market St.– curb bulb
• A condominium driveway may pass through the curb bulb. This makes the proposed bulb less safe.

2) 14th Ave. and Market St. – stop to be eliminated
• This stop serves those shopping at Ballard Market and Safeway. Without this stop, shoppers will need to cross both Market St. and 15th Ave., or walk to the 11th Ave. stop with their groceries.
• A new high rise 238 unit apartment (Avalon Bay) building will be constructed on the 1400 block of NW Market, increasing demand for bus service.

3) 17th Ave. and Market – stop to be eliminated
• This stop is the primary access point for the Swedish Hospital facility and surrounding medical services. Swedish will open its 6-story family clinic later this year; and has just announced its development of a cancer treatment facility to be located on Tallman Ave across from the hospitals’ main entrance.
• The 80 unit Compass Center project and other likely development activity just north of Market will add to this demand.
• The new apartment building at 1545 NW Market St. recently added 251 new housing units near the east-bound stop at this intersection

4) 26th and Market – stop to be eliminated
• These stops also serve as an additional transfer point to routes 17 and 46. Connection points are crucial to a functioning system
• These stops serve the residents of a dense multifamily neighborhood north of Market St., including the residents of Ballard House, the 85-unit Seattle Housing Authority low income senior housing project at 2445 NW 57th.
• The new Nordic Heritage Museum and other new commercial development (e.g. at the former Jacobsen boat property) is anticipated along Market between 24th NW and 26th NW.

5) 28th and Market – curb bulbs
• The design of this intersection must accommodate turning freight vehicles, access to the future Nordic Heritage Museum, and to commercial redevelopment on the north side of Market.


A look at the pilot project. “Curb lane must turn right except buses.”

The letter to Hahn also questions the planned pilot project for the right-turn only lanes for the east/west-bound traffic at 24th and Market. The letter states that further study is needed before implementation. “Peak summer traffic conditions may not be the ideal time for this experiment,” Jennifer Macuiba, the council president says. In closing, the Macuiba invites SDOT and Metro to a future BDC meeting to answer their concerns.

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21 reader comments so far ↓

  • 1 PrincessShilshole // May 27, 2010 at 2:10 pm

    Excellent points!

    I’ve been dreading that “right turn only” change at the Market Arms. I usually am taking a right turn anyway, but considering how backed up traffic gets already, I think it’s going to be a lot worse. Unless they ADD a right turn lane – that would be great. Especially on Sundays.

  • 2 Mo // May 27, 2010 at 2:15 pm

    Getting back across Market safely isn’t easy. Getting across 15th is horrible. If they took out the bus stop at 14th & market, I’d just not shop that Safeway again. And getting rid of a bus stop that’s convenient to a hospital and medical center? That’s insane.

  • 3 snoopy // May 27, 2010 at 3:51 pm

    so it sounds like the stop at 15th and market is the one to eliminate.

    does the ballard district council ever support anything?

  • 4 phinneynotballard // May 27, 2010 at 4:31 pm

    I don’t understand. How is the stop at 14th and Market superior to the one at 15th and Market when shopping at Safeway or Ballard Market?

  • 5 Alysse // May 27, 2010 at 5:22 pm

    @snoopy, I think they were raising concerns, not necessarily against the changes. There are many tradeoffs in any proposed change.

  • 6 Your Fed Up Neighbor // May 27, 2010 at 6:53 pm

    They’re worried about all the increasing demand there? Fine. Stop the compass bum high-rise, that will be a good first step.

  • 7 Plasticbags // May 27, 2010 at 7:02 pm

    Has the Ballard District Council ever taken the 44 before? It has way too many stops. Everyone thinks their stop is the most important. For example, if you eliminate the Market and 26th stop, you can still transfer to the 17 at 28th, 30th, or Ballard Ave. Will it render the system useless to have 3 transfer points rather than 4?

  • 8 bbb1 // May 27, 2010 at 8:01 pm

    Get involved. Attend a BDC meeting.

    A few voices, raised loudly enough, can control a simple process – that’s the good news and the bad news about local ballard politics. You can make a difference, but so can your neighbors, if they bother to show up, or get invited.

    Check out what Metro has planned, and if you support removing stops, or not, let them know.

    The squeaky wheel……….

  • 9 gobigblue // May 28, 2010 at 7:23 am

    crossing the street at 15th and Market is hard? really? all those people who take the 15 back and forth to downtown seattle must know something you don’t

    if you’re not going to shop at safeway because the bus stop will no longer be right in front of the store, where are you going to shop instead?

    news flash – lots of people in seattle actually have to walk more than one block to catch a bus or after getting off a bus to reach their final destination

    unless you work for metro and have information and data other than your personal, anecdotal experience on the bus, you really aren’t qualified to say whether the proposed changes are good or bad

  • 10 gobigblue // May 28, 2010 at 7:30 am

    i’m willing to bet the closing and relocating of bus stops is in reaction to and preparation for all the new condos that have gone up and the ones that are still going to be built. Car traffic across Market street has increased as a result of all the condos and will continue to do so. It makes perfect sense that eliminating or moving some stops may enable the buses to move faster and minimize the delays caused by having to get around cars going in and out of the condo parking garages…

  • 11 only happy when it rains // May 28, 2010 at 7:38 am

    SDOT clearly isn’t paying attention to what’s important here – a man dressed all in pink? I’m just sayin’

  • 12 SPG // May 28, 2010 at 10:18 am

    But where is the monorail stop?

  • 13 East Ballard Resident // May 28, 2010 at 12:07 pm

    I would support removing even more stops on the 44. I take it every day, and it is NEVER. EVER. ON. TIME. It’s consistently at least 5 minutes late by the time it reaches East Ballard/Lower Phinney. I realize access for folks in wheelchairs (or those who might be less mobile for other reasons) is an important issue, but I think one extra block isn’t changing anyone’s quality of life.

  • 14 Barfly // May 28, 2010 at 9:42 pm

    Thank god I use a car!

  • 15 sweetrose // May 29, 2010 at 6:56 am

    The closing of stops is basically a way to increase coverage without spending more money. Seattle is unwilling to spend more money but wants better service. Less stops means faster buses which means more trips and more service using the same number of buses and drivers. It’s not a perfect answer but it is about the only answer they can offer considering the circumstances. Yeah people will have to walk a few blocks. They will survive. Expect to see this on all routes soon.

  • 16 ballardissmallilikeanonymity // May 29, 2010 at 6:25 pm

    Oy! Just how obvious can the Council’s members be that they never use the thing and have no idea what they’re talking about.

    Step-by-step, laborious dismantling of their quibbles:

    1. No condos here. Are they talking about a future project? Whose design could therefore not possibly be set in stone?

    2. The current eastbound 15th Ave stop is closer to the Safeway entrance than the one at 14th. Speed the light cycle up a bit (in all four directions) and crossing the street won’t seem such an impediment to the westbound stop.

    3. The 20th Ave (actually Tallman Ave) eastbound stop is literally in front of Swedish’s under-construction addition. The westbound 17th and 20th stops are equidistant from the new building, and 20th street is barely 200 feet further from the main building.

    4. Hardly anyone uses this stop already. And not one person has ever, or will ever, use this particular stop to transfer buses. The residents of the developments north of here mostly drive. The street grid makes the 28th stop just as convenient for most as the 26th stop. The whole point of siting the new Nordic Heritage Museum here is the easy of pedestrian access from central Ballard!

    5. I can’t even understand what point they’re trying to make here. This intersection is wide open; no dearth of space whatsoever.

    6. The center lanes are already free-flowing. The right lanes back up thanks to lackadaisical pedestrians allowing only 1 or 2 right-turners through per cycle. Any driver worth his/her salt — including bus drivers — knows to get in the center lane. All the change does is codify this (it would be better it DIDN’T include the “right turns or buses” language that will encourage bus drivers to get in the slow lane).

  • 17 JoshMahar // Jun 1, 2010 at 10:21 am

    I’m pretty sure that if SDOT put a bus bulb in at 11th and Market that would preclude any future driveway. However, even if there was a driveway, someone explain to me how a bus bulb with a driveway through it would be any less safe than just a sidewalk with a driveway through it?

    Sounds to me like BDC’s underlying concern is vehicle traffic flow, with little understanding of, or regard for, transit users.

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