YOU’VE BEEN WARNED: SPD plans bus-lane enforcement on the bridge Wednesday

Just in from SDOT:

On Wednesday, March 2, the City of Seattle will conduct Bus-Only transit lane enforcement (eastbound) on the West Seattle Bridge from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m.

Officers from the Seattle Police Department will be issuing warnings and citations to motorists traveling in violation of posted restrictions that the Bus-Only lane should be used a through corridor by buses.

This is an effort to educate and enforce traffic laws that support transit. With 45 percent of downtown commuters using transit, the enforcement work will help ensure the reliable and efficient movement of transit riders along Seattle’s important bus corridors, and improve safety for all travelers.

Driving in violation of posted restrictions is a violation of SMC 11.53.230 (traveling in a bus only or BAT lane) can result in a fine of $136.

P.S. A few years back, SPD used to send out what it called the Aggressive Driver Response Team and follow it up with stat roundups like this one.

40 Replies to "YOU'VE BEEN WARNED: SPD plans bus-lane enforcement on the bridge Wednesday"

  • KT February 29, 2016 (4:59 pm)

    Why publicize?  If you aren’t smart enough to stay out of the bus lanes then you deserve what you get.

    • WSB February 29, 2016 (5:01 pm)

      Police say this over and over again: They would rather people know and consider NOT breaking the law. I know SPD has done bus-lane enforcement without an advance alert, but this time they sent a news release. They’ve been doing that for enforcement action all over town, by the way – this just happens to be the first WS enforcement alert I’ve seen; we obviously don’t publish the ones that have nothing to do with West Seattle. – TR

  • wsn00b February 29, 2016 (5:02 pm)

    Should be easy pickings. I’m guessing the SPD will make a couple of thousand dollars tomorrow. Other fun spots for the SPD: Prohibited left turn from SB 35th to EB Avalon; NB-99 bus lane. But seriously, I’m surprised they are issuing a notice/warning about this. While most drivers are clueless, lack of warning would help catch the entitled idiots who just drive through the bus lanes. 

    • J242 March 1, 2016 (9:17 am)

      I wish they would keep an eye on the “Bus Only” portion of Delridge & Andover as well. This morning alone at roughly 6:30 people were lined up in that lane, some of them later merging left to go under the bridge! I just don’t understand what the deal is with some other drivers. Then, I tried to let a big SUV in as the bus lane was coming up on the EB Bridge but instead what do they do? Speed up to almost 60 and only merge back to the regular 2 EB lanes just before the NB Viaduct cuts off. 
      That car had an “Alki” bumper sticker on it too, so I don’t see how there could be any excuse for it. 

      Grumble grumble… 

  • AnnoyedWSresident February 29, 2016 (5:06 pm)

    This seems like a waste of resources.  I commute on the bridge every day.  I have rarely, if ever, seen a motorist’s vehicle impede the progress of any buses.  The goal is to get people from point A to point B.  If motorists are not affecting that, stop spending money on this.  Or how about the special red decals that cost several hundred thousand dollars that were applied to the bus lane?  Those are already pealing off in places – even though they were supposed to be “better” than paint.  They certainly were more expensive than paint.

    • KM February 29, 2016 (6:57 pm)

      Perhaps the reason you don’t see many cars impede busses in this stretch is because it’s illegal to do so. Most drivers are respectful or aware of it. I imagine things would change if this wasn’t the case.

  • ACG February 29, 2016 (5:23 pm)

    Another warning, perhaps it has been already mentioned, but the yellow flashing school zone light northbound on Fauntleroy (at Gatewood Elementary) is not working. The speed zone camera, however, still is and is happily flashing and taking photos of all the cars that are driving over 20 mph.  The southbound warning lights are properly working, though. 

    • WSB February 29, 2016 (5:36 pm)

      If you haven’t, you might consider contacting SDOT to let them know? Or, Find It Fix It if you use that app. SDOT hotline is 206-684-ROAD. – TR

    • J242 March 1, 2016 (9:10 am)

      Thanks for the head’s up! That’s good info. Normally I’m only passing through Southbound during school hours so I’m glad that’s working still but folks need to know for those heading NB too. 

  • JS February 29, 2016 (5:48 pm)

    Will they also be issuing tickets / warnings to the busses that  go all the way through to the end of the gore point  to merge on the on ramp to NB 99? Just saying…

    • AMD February 29, 2016 (6:25 pm)

      No, because they’re supposed to do that.  

    • chemist February 29, 2016 (7:02 pm)

      I tend to agree.  There’s “zipper merge” and there’s pushing forward to the point where you’re driving in a 10 ft wide breakdown lane right in front of the “gore point” barriers to jump an extra 4 cars ahead.

      • Mickymse March 1, 2016 (9:18 am)

        They’re supposed to do that so that the bus is pulled out of the lane and not potentially blocking other buses behind it that continue in the bus lane to the 1st Avenue exit. It is also a safer maneuver because it helps to ensure that cars see the bus and come to a complete stop to let the bus in. Although if we’re going to get picky with state laws, perhaps we should remind car drivers that it is state law that you need to stop and allow buses to re-enter traffic.

  • JayDee February 29, 2016 (6:04 pm)

    A couple of Wednesday’s ago I was traveling to pickup my boss for a meeting in Skagit County. I got to sleep in but I had to commute at a time I don’t  normally do and was taking 99 NB through downtown because it looked better on the map before I left home. 

    I was doing OK until I saw a 99 readerboard message at the top of the Bridge saying 66 minutes to Ballard and I needed to be in Edmonds in 35 minutes.  I freaked out.  I admit it, I crossed the bus lane only to get tagged by the most obvious cop…Duh. I probably would have seen him if I wasn’t so frazzled. I pulled over and took my dose of medicine which should have been worse but got off with a warning.  So let he who is without sin cast the first stone. Now for the folks racing NB up the bus lane on 99 (which I would never do)…I am taking pictures….

    • Matt March 1, 2016 (7:54 am)

      Oh, your taking pictures?  Wouldn’t it be safer to leave the phone alone, concentrate on driving and let the cops do the policing?

  • TheKing February 29, 2016 (6:04 pm)

    The SPD should go after the drivers on their phones instead. What’s more dangerous, a lost out of towner or a zombie behind the wheel with the blue glow on their face?

  • Franci February 29, 2016 (6:20 pm)

    This is timely – I was on the bridge this morning, had my signal on that I would be moving over, I was waiting for the broken line  and had a driver behind me try to cut over for the 1st Ave Exit before the solid line became a broken line.. do they not understand the rules of changing lanes with the solid vs broken line or do they just not care?

    • StringCheese February 29, 2016 (7:13 pm)

      My peeve point? The end of the bridge EB getting over to take I-5 N. People always try to get over the second the clear the barriers, despite clear lines designating the proper place to move left is many yards ahead. Those of us who paid attention in driver’s ed and try to do this correctly get nasty looks from the early mergers and the poor vehicles they forced themselves in front of. 

      I wish they would add a requirement that, when you renew your driver license, you must watch a video detailing the proper way to merge and explain why waiting until the forced merge point and “zippering” is better for traffic in BOTH lanes.

      • AJP February 29, 2016 (8:16 pm)

        YAAAASSSSS!!! This is the worst! Also going NB on I-5 through the east-side collector, i.e. the Dearborn/James/Madison side. People string up and stop waaaay too soon and give you the stink eye for merging where the arrows are! 

      • JanS March 1, 2016 (12:59 am)

        that’s fine until someone won’t let you in and there’s traffic going up to Beacon Hillthat has to stop and wait…

        • Joe Szilagyi March 1, 2016 (8:02 am)

          that’s fine until someone won’t let you in and there’s traffic going up to Beacon Hillthat has to stop and wait…

          Honestly, just merge early when it is legally allowed. If we have to wait, we have to wait. 

  • David February 29, 2016 (6:59 pm)

    @Franci: To answer your question, they just don’t care. They know exactly what they’re doing. No traffic laws apply to them because they’re better than everyone else and only their schedule matters, no one else’s. While of course not always the case, I’ve observed that the majority are BMWs, Audis, and Mercedes (check it out next time you see that kind of driving and you’ll see what I mean). Too pampered to take the bus the short distance to downtown and actually do something about the traffic problem (because everyone else should be doing that, not them).

    • KM February 29, 2016 (7:07 pm)

      I agree most just don’t care as well, and this issue is not just limited to the WS Bridge, it spans all local roads. Poor driving exists at all “value of vehicle” levels, to all commute endpoints. It’s a regional issue.

  • Franci February 29, 2016 (7:25 pm)

    KM – I agree and its not just drivers, its pedestrians too.  They will step into the street and cross just as the light is changing against their favor, the are glued to their phones – walking into traffic – completely clueless.  I see them stop crossing in the middle of the road to digest what they are reading – regardless of anyone waiting to turn or even the light changing. 

     I don’t think a day goes by where I don’t see a few cars running red lights.  Really the list goes on and on.. and you are right its everywhere in the city, not just West Seattle.   On the bridge – even when there is no backup at all – I see drivers passing the cars in the left lane, then crossing the double white line to merge onto NB I-5.

    • WSB February 29, 2016 (7:34 pm)

      Just breaking in with a P.S. – I just noticed the city also issued an alert of some other downtown enforcement this week that might be of interest – including Columbia Street, which many use to access the southbound Viaduct in the afternoon/evening:

    • KM February 29, 2016 (8:55 pm)

      Well said!

    • Alan March 1, 2016 (8:49 am)

      I find it frustrating when people start shifting complaints from one mode of transportation to another, especially in complaints about pedestrians since we are all pedestrians at one point or another. The fact of the matter is that there is a percentage of people out there that are self-centered and/or distracted, lost, oblivious and in a hurry. Those people are a problem when they are walking, riding a bicycle or driving a car. When they are in a car, they have less fear of others, a larger sense of anonymity and are a far greater threat to others.

  • carole February 29, 2016 (8:56 pm)

    Too bad no cops out today to snag the fool in the white car, eastbound at high rate of speed, continuously weaving in and out, of all lanes, including bus lane,  then of course crossing the double lines to get to I-5.  Entitled indeed.

  • McFail February 29, 2016 (8:57 pm)

    How about the EB off ramp to NB 99?   Drivers come to a complete stop to merge when they have 1/4 mile of lane before it becomes bus only.  I think at that point it’s also a solid gore stripe ?

  • EmmyJane February 29, 2016 (9:11 pm)

    That bus lane saved me when I was in very active labor during rush hour. Not everyone in the bus lane is a total jerk. Just 99%. 

  • Joe February 29, 2016 (9:13 pm)

    Hope SPD will have more than the usual one officer. They need it to catch or have an effect on the entitled.

  • BD February 29, 2016 (9:45 pm)

    Well, in my view there is absolutely nothing wrong with cutting across the bus lane. It’s set up so that you can’t see the traffic situation or the reader board until after the bus-only restriction begins.  And it is totally easy to cut across without delaying a bus, there aren’t all that many of them.  If the restriction started 50 or 100 yards further east it would be better.

    • sam-c March 1, 2016 (8:38 am)

      Yes, I would agree.  They really don’t give you a good enough opportunity to check out traffic flow on I-5 before you’re forced to decide whether you’re taking I-5 or 99

      • elikapeka March 1, 2016 (6:36 pm)

        It would be much better if the bus lane restriction was moved about 100 yards east on the bridge.  As it is, you don’t have a line of sight to be able to evaluate the traffic flow and adjust your route.


  • anonyme March 1, 2016 (6:37 am)

    I’m just happy to see SPD enforcing anything – anything at all.  While on a C line yesterday, the driver (who was very obviously angled back out into the traffic lane, trying to merge) was passed by at least a dozen speeding vehicles, honking and swerving –  instead of yielding, as required by law.  If there were anything resembling traffic enforcement in Seattle, we might not have so many bad, entitled drivers.

  • Rick March 1, 2016 (7:58 am)

    Of all the money spent “fixing” things in this city I’m surprised this one hasn’t garnered more attention. Or maybe not.

  • March 1, 2016 (8:31 am)

    They also need to start enforcing the bus only on Avalon heading to the bridge, as every morning its a nightmare trying to get to Harbor Ave. because people can’t seem to understand that stretch of road.

  • KBear March 1, 2016 (11:06 am)

    BD, the reason it’s “totally easy” for you to cut across the bus lane is because most of the other drivers are obeying the law.

  • cristyptowm March 1, 2016 (4:56 pm)

    Many a time my bus has sat in the bus lane beyond a line of cars while getting on to the bridge.  Happy to see some enforcement, and wish there was no warning.

  • Fast Driver March 3, 2016 (12:16 pm)

    The SPD can kiss my entire ass.  I will continue to use the bus lane every day, because it’s a stupid rule and slows down traffic.  The occasional fine is worth the time it saves me.

Sorry, comment time is over.