Final design complete for Route 40 corridor project to improve bus and freight traffic

The Seattle Department of Transportation has completed the final design on the Route 40 corridor, which promises to create a safer and more reliable bus route through downtown, Westlake, and North Seattle.

The Route 40 Transit-Plus Multimodal Corridor project will also create the city’s first freight- and bus-only lane. Route 40 serves the Northgate, Crown Hill, Loyal Heights, Ballard, Fremont, South Lake Union, Downtown Seattle, and Pioneer Square neighborhoods.

The project includes plans to add three total miles of new freight and bus lanes, along with 47 new ADA-accessible curb ramps and 6,000 feet of upgraded sidewalks.

People stand at an outreach table and community members speak with project staff. Large buildings, parked cars, and people are visible throughout the photo.
Talking with neighbors at a community engagement tabling event in the Fremont neighborhood in June 2023. Photo: SDOT.

The last few years of public outreach helped inform the design plans, which focused on several key themes such as:

  • Concerns from business owners about parking removal and changes to loading zones in Westlake, Fremont, and Ballard
  • Concerns from neighbors about increased traffic congestion in Fremont, Ballard, and Westlake
  • Concerns from Fremont business owners about personal and property safety near bus stops

SDOT says the project improvements are focused on four key areas: Westlake, Fremont, Ballard, and North Seattle.   

A map of the Route 40 corridor, including key areas of planned improvements at Westlake, Fremont, Ballard, and North Seattle areas.
Map showing Route 40 and planned project improvements along the corridor. Graphic credit: SDOT
A picture of a large building with streets and sidewalks in front of it. Cars and a motorcycle are in the background. A large white area is in the foreground extending out the existing sidewalk.
Rendering of planned future bus stop location and curb bulb improvement at the corner of N 35th St and Fremont Pl N in Fremont. Not to scale. Graphic: SDOT

SDOT is piloting the new freight- and bus-only lanes for Westlake Ave N, which supports a regular amount of truck traffic. People driving large freight vehicles (over 26,000 pounds) will be able to use the freight lanes. The pilot will last one year, after which SDOT will review data and input from freight drivers to decide if they should become permanent.

The transportation department is selecting a contractor as the next part of the process to complete the project, which the Levy to Move Seattle is funding. Construction is expected to start in 2024.

Renderings: SDOT