Just under a year ago, I wrote a post suggesting that SDOT install a southbound bus lane or queue jump, on 9th Ave just north of Mercer, to help keep Metro Route 40 out of the press of car traffic headed to Mercer and I-5. I’m very happy to report that SDOT is now planning to do something very like what I proposed (minus the bike facility I had suggested), as shown on the map above:
The Seattle Department of Transportation is planning to install the following changes on 9th Avenue between Westlake Avenue and Roy Street:
- Install a new southbound bus lane on 9th Avenue between Westlake Avenue and Roy Street;
- Restrict on-street parking on the west side of 9th Avenue N between Westlake Avenue and Roy Street between 6 -9 am and 3-7 pm;
- Remove restriction to on-street parking on the east side of 9th Avenue N between Westlake Avenue and Roy Street.
This project is part of the City’s efforts to relieve South Lake Union traffic chokepoints. General purpose traffic currently stacks up during both peaks, creating several minutes of delays to Metro Route 40, the primary bus line between Fremont, Ballard, and South Lake Union.
Changes on 9th Avenue N are scheduled to be installed before the end of December, weather permitting.
Assuming this bus lane is adequately enforced, this change should save Route 40 riders at least one signal cycle crossing Mercer in the peak periods. Riding the 40 southbound in the PM peak, I find it mortifying to be stuck on a motionless bus, while half a dozen cars are parked just to the right, squandering precious street space. Props to SDOT for getting this done; let’s have more like this.