Just in from SDOT:
Starting on Saturday, September 19, 2015, the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) will mark the existing eastbound bus-only lanes on the West Seattle Bridge with high visibility red markings. Similar to those installed in locations such as Battery Street and NE Pacific Street, these markings raise the profile of the transit-only lane and improve driver compliance with the restriction.
“As new bus service comes on line, this improvement will buses flow more freely from West Seattle to Downtown,” said Mayor Ed Murray. “Painted bus-only lanes have been effective in increasing driver awareness in other areas of the city, and we will continue to use the approach in other key transit corridors.”
The red lane markings and “BUS ONLY” legends will be installed at the beginning of the bus lane and spaced approximately every 500 feet. The markings are intended to make drivers more aware of the bus-only lane, making transit more reliable and a more competitive choice for thousands of bus passengers each day. This addition to the existing transit lane will help 378 buses each day reach their destinations more quickly.
“As West Seattle continues to grow and welcome new residents, it is critical that we continue to improve infrastructure and operations in this corridor,” said City Council Transportation Committee Chair Tom Rasmussen. “We have been working with neighbors over time to make West Seattle roads safer and to create more transportation choices throughout the peninsula. We will continue to work with the community on this and future efforts to move Seattle in the right direction, and I look forward to this and other improvements that will keep vehicles moving safely and efficiently across the bridge,” Rasmussen concluded.
Last year, SDOT marked bus lanes with this treatment on Battery Street (Third Avenue to Denny Way) [photo here], Midvale Place, NE Pacific Street and Wall Street (Denny Way to Fifth Avenue). The most notable impact was on NE Pacific Street where violation rates have dropped from 59 percent prior to installing the treatment to 17 percent afterward.
“These are important first steps in providing effective solutions over concerns that have been raised by West Seattleites for a long time,” said SDOT Director Scott Kubly. “Our goal is to improve the experience for those traveling in and out of West Seattle.”
The red bus lane is one of several priorities for improving traffic conditions and connectivity between the West Seattle Bridge corridor and downtown Seattle identified in a new report commissioned by Mayor Murray and City Council Transportation Committee Chair Tom Rasmussen.
This report compiles recommended improvements in traffic operations, transit enhancements, bike connections and new infrastructure from a variety of existing studies and project proposals, and prioritizes these improvements for funding and implementation over the next 10 years.
Along with the red bus lane, the report also recommends immediate implementation of various recommendations from a study on Traffic Incident Management jointly produced by the Seattle Department of Transportation and the Seattle Police Department. The entire report and list of prioritized improvements will be presented to the Council Transportation Committee at Council Chambers on Tuesday, September 22 at 9:30am.
The total cost of the improvements is estimated at $200,000, and will be paid for using Bridging the Gap levy funds.