Weather permitting, this weekend SDOT will install a full-time bus lane on Olive Way between 4th Avenue and 8th Avenue. This will help 39 major regional bus routes from Metro, Sound Transit and Community Transit. SDOT estimates these routes combine for 33,000 daily riders.

You may recall that this stretch of downtown was where bus lane violations had gotten so bad that a frustrated bus rider recently took matters into her own hands to kick the cars out, prompting a follow-up citizen action from Seattle Greenways the following week.

Hopefully the paint will make such actions less necessary. Passing automatic camera enforcement legislation in Olympia would also help.

17 Replies to “Red paint coming to Olive Way”

  1. Unfortunately, CT buses must immediately merge left after serving Olive & 6th. A holding queue at 8th Ave will help, though it’ll also block Eastside routes serving that stop. But this will tremendously help Eastside riders though!

    1. And cars also have to cross bus lanes to turn right on Boren.

      I feel there’s no good solution for that street if we want both cars and buses to be able to enter the highway from Olive.

      1. Why not just have the bus lane on the leftmost lane, and the lane next to it be some combination of left turn bays and in-road concrete islands for bus stops? This already exists at Olive and Boren, just extend it west to 4th Av.

      2. And while they’re at it, they should add concrete curbs to separate 24/7 bus lanes. Make them mountable for buses and emergency vehicles, but in general paint fades and concrete doesn’t.

  2. What is the science behind putting




    I find this weird given that in English we read from top to bottom.

    1. I’m sure it’s just a hold over from the orientation specified by the MUTCD. Freeways and higher speed areas require wider spacing so you can’t read it as BUS ONLY, so instead it is applied as ONLY BUS, so drivers process the BUS element and then the ONLY element. In the eyes of the MUTCD, consistency is the most important thing, so if that’s the pattern at the freeway level, that needs to be the pattern at the city level.


      Interesting question with an interesting answer! From the link:

      “If you spend any time with the fantastically named FHWA MUTCD you’ll see that they don’t like to talk about words on pavement. There are reams of paper devoted to standing signs. But there is a not insignificant section on road markings. These are mostly lane indicators and other symbol-based communication.

      The most oft spec’d word marking is ‘ONLY’ for use in various lane directions. But there is a small section that speaks to multi-line messages. Here’s the actual spec from the FHWA:

      Word and symbol markings should not exceed three lines of information. If a pavement marking word message consists of more than one line of information, it should read in the direction of travel. The first word of the message should be nearest to the road user.”

      1. This standard has always bothered me. Is there anyone who is such a slow reader that they are scanning one line at a time while driving? And should someone who takes that long to read road signs actually be driving in the first place?

  3. Last I checked, the bus lanes on Stewart St. going the other direction still revert to parking during off peak hours. Will this ever change?

    1. They do (which is as annoying as 2nd). I assume Stewart isn’t getting the red treatment since we don’t have bus lane vigilantes?

  4. When the action is courteous, good-spirited, and to-the-point…always is. Thanks, guys. But above all….be careful out there.

    Mark Dublin

  5. Interesting that olive way routes seem to be consistently running 20 plus minutes late today as this boondoggle is implemented by our stellar government.

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