If you’re wondering why Third Avenue has been under construction recently, we asked SDOT about the work and they told us that the corridor is receiving some great bus and pedestrian improvements.
The Third Avenue/Belltown Transit Priority Corridor Improvements Project is located on Third Avenue between Cedar Street and Virginia Street. The project will create more attractive sidewalks and dedicated passenger waiting areas, while improving bus travel times in the corridor.
Specific Improvements to the Third Avenue/Belltown Corridor Include:
• Building concrete bus bulb/curb and sidewalk extensions to eliminate buses having to pull in and out of traffic at passenger loading zones.
• Making improvements to street lighting
• Building new curb ramps
• Installing new bike racks
We asked Bill Bryant, the Transit Program Lead at SDOT for more information on bus bulbs and he sent a detailed reply.
“‘In-lane’ bus stops prevent bus delays caused by the need for buses to swerve into and out of the parking lane to service bus stops. In-lane bus stops exist in many places in Seattle, primarily where no parking lane exists,” Bryant told us. “Where a parking lane exists, a bus bulb is often the best answer.”
Bus bulbs seem to be popping up all over the city recently, with more to come. “Locations exist on University Way, Alaskan Way, N. 45th St, Market St, Pine St, and others. SDOT is currently constructing new bulbs at the six Third Ave stops in Belltown, and will soon begin construction of a number of bulbs along Route 7 on Jackson St and Rainier Ave. Additional bus bulbs are in design as part of SDOT’s Market/45th (Route 44) transit corridor project.”
More on bus bulbs after the jump…
Bryant also explained where bus bulbs make sense, and how their effectiveness is being measured:
“Bus bulb investments are generally most effective at locations with relatively large passenger and bus volumes. Designs usually include new pedestrian lighting, shelter and/or bench foundations, bike racks, trees (if none exist), and foundations and wiring for future real-time schedule information and off-board fare payment equipment (though actual installation of these pieces might be several years in the future). Consolidation of closely-spaced bus stops can often increase passenger activity at remaining stops to a level that justifies investments such as bulbs and new shelters at remaining stops.
“Considering the wide variation in traffic conditions, it is difficult to estimate travel time savings. In the past, SDOT has estimated an average of ten seconds savings per trip; however, with these new installations we plan to closely track before and after travel times. More important might be the reliability improvement, harder yet to quantify, that results from buses not having to wait for long lines of unyielding cars to pass before re-entering traffic. Besides travel time and reliability improvements, the impressions of riders, bus drivers, and neighboring businesses and residents will also be important.”
SDOT is being quite the unsung hero for aiding Metro provide reliable bus service. Kudos to them. More details on the construction are available at the SDOT website.