— seattledot (@seattledot) September 25, 2015
I’m fond of criicizing local agencies (usually WSDOT) when events, planned and unplanned, bring pleas to take transit while those agencies take away any incentive to take that transit. So it’s only fair that, better late than never, I commend SDOT for their response to last September’s horrific Duck crash on the Aurora Bridge.
I finally got around to asking SDOT spokesman Rick Sheridan a few questions about it:
How did the emergency bus lane happen?
The day of the Ride the Ducks incident (September 24, 2015) is the only time recently that SDOT set up a temporary bus lane in response to an emergency. Recognizing that the loss of Aurora Avenue North would have significant traffic impacts, especially for transit, SDOT established a temporary, bus-only lane to aid transit’s movement to the Fremont Bridge.
What other times has SDOT implemented this since then?
We have not created any other emergency bus-only lanes since that incident.
Are there any data that measure how well this works?
Given its short term nature, we did not have the opportunity to measure how well the lane worked. Based on our traffic engineers’ observations and the response of the public, we believe its deployment was successful.
What do you anticipate going forward in terms of conditions where SDOT would choose to do this? Any formal policy, or continued improvisation?
SDOT does not anticipate creating a formal policy for emergency bus lanes. We will keep them in mind as a potential option should a future emergency situation warrant it.
Let’s applaud the instincts of whatever operatives made this happen in an emergency. Here’s hoping we see more of this agility in the future, both on dark days like September 24th and during more banal construction activities.