(Looking westward at the bus stop/future curb location, from the westbound Fauntleroy lane east of California)
If you use the Fauntleroy/California intersection in Morgan Junction, you know the “bus bulbs” that accompanied the RapidRide C Line debut last fall have led to some changes in the flow of other vehicle traffic. That in turn is leading SDOT to make another change at the intersection, as just announced to community leaders, who were invited to forward it to anyone they “deem(ed) appropriate,” so it found its way to us:
As a part of the city goal to improve Seattle’s walk, bike and bus transportation alternatives, the Seattle Department of Transportation, working in conjunction with King County Metro Transit, will be installing a safety curb in the street on the west leg of the intersection of Fauntleroy Way SW and California Avenue SW. The work will begin this Thursday, February 28, and is expected to take about two days to complete.
The yellow raised concrete curb will be installed between the opposing east and westbound lanes of Fauntleroy Way SW, adjacent to the westbound Metro bus stop. (See attached map for exact location.) The new permanent concrete curb will provide an additional indication to drivers that there is only one (1) westbound lane on Fauntleroy Way SW, west of California Avenue SW.
In 2012, as part of the improvements made for Rapid Ride bus service, a number of bus bulbs were installed in West Seattle for the C Line route. With a bulb, the bus simply stops in the travel lane instead of pulling in and out of traffic. This makes the bus service faster. However, at this particular location some drivers are crossing the center line to pass the bus, which has them driving in the oncoming eastbound left turn lane. In particular, drivers traveling southbound on California turning westbound onto Fauntleroy may not be able to see around buses serving the westbound bus stop, and may unexpectedly encounter oncoming eastbound vehicles. The raised curb is intended to deter such potential conflicts.
In addition to making the bus service faster, bus bulbs provide more space for passenger amenities – like shelters, benches, and real-time bus arrival signs – and the added waiting space helps keep sidewalks clear for pedestrians. However, bus bulbs can delay other traffic behind a loading bus. Motorists are reminded that buses typically spend 20 seconds or less serving each stop, and they are encouraged to build this slight additional travel time into their schedules in the interest of safety.
Here’s the map mentioned in the announcement. Meantime, we have a message out to SDOT to ask some questions, including whether this is being planned or considered anywhere else along the RapidRide route; we’re also hoping for a better visualization of what it will look like.