Updated: Proposed changes to the Metro bus route 44, means possible changes for drivers along Market Street.
SDOT photo of route 44
The Seattle Department of Transportation is proposing to conduct a three-month pilot project at the intersection of 24th Ave NW and Market to see if changes to the lane structure along Market will help the flow of traffic, Bill Bryant with SDOT told the Ballard District Council. Under the plan, the right lane in each direction of Market Street will be right-turn only, except for buses.
A look at the pilot project. “Curb lane must turn right except buses.”
The whole point of the project, Bryant says, is to improve the 44 but their studies show these changes should also improve traffic flow. “I’m not saying it’s going solve all the problems that exist,” he told the District Council, “this is a very busy intersection.”
If this temporary pilot project is successful, the changes will be made permanent soon after the completion of the project. The project will either take place during the beginning of the summer or the end of the summer, when traffic is at its peak.
Other proposed changes to route 44 along Market include closing existing bus stops at 14th Ave NW, 17th Ave NW and 26th Ave NW. “We find a tremendous savings in transit travel time just by reducing the number of stops,” Bryant says, explaining that under the proposed changes stops would be a quarter mile apart instead of the current 1/8th of a mile.
An SDOT rendering of a bus bulb.
Proposed changes also include the installation of bus bulbs on Market at 11th Ave NW and 28th Ave NW. A bus bulb pushes the sidewalk out to the lane of traffic, so buses don’t have to pull in and out of traffic.
There is another SDOT project team looking at the flow of 24th Ave NW between Market and 56th and possibly up to 57th, Bryant says. The proposal for that stretch of road will be coming out at some point in the future.
We’ve updated this post to clarify that the pilot project is just a proposal at this point. Bill Bryant with SDOT tells us that there are still a couple of meetings left before the final decision is made on the project.