Route 44 changes hit design milestone, with some pedestrian improvements

Route 44 will see some significant changes in the coming years, with traffic amendments and pedestrian improvements on the agenda throughout the transit corridor.

The popular bus route between Ballard and the University District carries over 9,300 riders a week, and has been notoriously unreliable. The Route 44 Transit-Plus Multimodal Corridor Project—a joint project between King County Metro and the Seattle Department of Transportation—aims to fix that, making changes to help improve the flow of traffic through the transit corridor while adding pedestrian improvements.

Notable changes in the Ballard segment of Route 44 will include alterations to NW Market St at 26th Ave NW to 24th Ave NW (see below). SDOT plans to extend the eastbound right-turn pocket and create an eastbound left-turn lane to provide more capacity for left- and right-turning vehicles and free up the travel lane for buses and through traffic.

At NW Market St and 15th Ave NW, SDOT plans to extend westbound double left-turn lane and restrict westbound left turns from the Safeway parking lot. SDOT says this will “provide more storage for westbound left-turning vehicles and will eliminate cross-traffic turning conflicts which will allow the westbound through lanes to operate more efficiently for buses and through traffic.”

At NW Market St and 14th Ave NW, SDOT will add a new left-turn signal for both west- and eastbound traffic on NW Market St at 14th Ave NW.

At 11th Ave NW, SDOT plans to add pedestrian crosswalks and traffic signal on NW Market St to provide safer access to transit for people walking and biking across NW Market St at 11th.

The improvements for the Transit-Plus Multimodal Corridor project will serve dedicated bus lanes, signal upgrades or optimization, channelization changes or turn restrictions, safety improvements, and sidewalk upgrades. The Route 44 project will repair more than 4,500 linear feet of sidewalk near bus stops. They will also upgrade more than 50 curb ramps for improvement of access and mobility. 

The changes on NE 43rd Street between Brooklyn Ave NE and 15th Ave NE are to improve the access to the U District Link Light Rail station. The project will allow safer access to the light rail station for people walking, biking, or taking the transit to the station.

The new changes in the Phinney segment on N 46th St at Greenwood Ave N to Fremont Ave N would be the removal of a westbound travel lane, including an addition of a westbound travel lane and a two-way left-turn lane.

Construction work in U District will begin this summer and be completed before the new Sound Transit U District Link light rail station is expected to be open at the end of 2021.  Included in the construction progress for U District will be an eastbound bus-only lane on NE 45th St between Roosevelt Way  NE  and 15th Ave NE. As well as a southbound Business Access and Transit will also be included along 15th Ave NE between NE 40th St and NE 45th St. 

To read more about the Route 44 project, click here.

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