SDOT’s spot improvements program strikes again. This time, it’s a re-channelization of one block of 3rd Avenue at the downtown-Belltown border to allow southbound buses to more easily enter the 3rd Avenue transitway. SDOT says the change “will benefit approximately 168,000 daily bus riders on 36 key routes.”

The current configuration has two southbound GP lanes and a right turn lane, which seems excessive considering cars can’t go straight 13 hours a day.

I can give you about 168,000 reasons why Third Avenue ought to be transit-only all the way to Denny, but I guess we’ll take it one block at a time if we must.

While we’re on the subject of spot improvements: now that construction is wrapping up on Yet Another Amazon Tower, it looks like the Blanchard St bus-only lane is nearing completion. The full bus lane from 3rd to Westlake should provide to 4 minutes of time savings for riders of the 40 and C buses, per SDOT.

16 Replies to “Bus lane / queue jump coming to 3rd and Virginia”

    1. If there’s a neighborhood called Belltown that has borders, then presumably it’s bordering other neighborhoods. What is the name of the neighborhood to its south?

      1. Elliot Bay, Pike Market and the Central Business District. Here is the map: According to

        Belltown, Denny Triangle, the retail district, the West Edge, the financial district, the government district, Pioneer Square, Chinatown, Japantown, Little Saigon, and the western flank of First Hill west of Broadway make up downtown Seattle’s chief neighborhoods.

        Not everyone uses those terms, of course, but just everyone would consider Belltown part of downtown. Which just shows how ridiculous it is to stop the bus lanes there. They essentially stopped the bus lanes in the middle of downtown.

    2. To be even more pedantic, the City Clerk Atlas is not intended to be an official atlas. Belltown is definitely a distinct sub-unit of greater downtown, but the atlas does include some weird labels.

    3. >A bit pedantic, but…

      It seems obvious, but when a sentence begins like this, anything after the “but” should be ignored.

      Bonus: includes a link to a map that CLEARLY shows a Belltown/Downtown border.

      1. The map shows that Belltown is part of downtown. It is like a map of the U. S., listing all the states ( Just because the letters for Wyoming are adjacent to the letters for United States, doesn’t mean they are two different areas. The size of the font as well as the borders (drawn in blue for the Seattle downtown map, red for the U. S. map) is the key.

    4. >A bit pedantic, but…

      It seems obvious, but when a sentence begins like this, anything after the “but” should be ignored.

      Bonus: includes a link to a map that CLEARLY shows a Belltown/Downtown border.

  1. But will it be enforced? Stood on Rainier Avenue last night and watched seven straight cars motor down the newly reddened bus lane. How there wasn’t even an initial enforcement campaign boggles the mind no end.

    1. “How there wasn’t even an initial enforcement campaign boggles the mind no end.”

      How there isn’t an[y significant] enforcement [at all] boggles the mind [to] no end.

    2. It’s always going to be difficult to get appropriate use from intentional scofflaws without automatic enforcement. Hopefully this improvement will at least cut down on the folks that are forced into making an illegal movement by encouraging personal vehicles to queue in the right lane. As the road exists now, it’s very easy for drivers to stay in the left lane and reach the 3rd and Stewart intersection before seeing the restrictions that prohibit a through movement or left turn. Often times, those drivers are forced into an illegal movement because they get boxed in by a bus in the right lane which is proceeding through to service the stop on the next block. By channelizing so drivers are in the right turn lane, it puts them in a better position to make the legal movement when they become aware of the restriction.

  2. Yeah, it is crazy that the bus lane doesn’t go to Denny. But this is progress. I find it interesting that there is both a right turn lane, and a bus lane next to it. That gives the bus a lot of flexibility. The right lane is essentially a BAT lane — the bus can use it to go straight, but cars must turn right. The lane to the left is a transit lane, although cars will use it to get to the turn lane. It will be interesting to see how that plays out. The only weave that I can think of is on the West Seattle bridge. I guess as long as the turn lane doesn’t back up too far, this should be fine.

  3. Is anyone else having trouble with the new Metro trip planner? I am. It no longer recognizes my address as real and I can’t change the day or time of the trips I am planning. I informed Metro about it. I was told I needed to use it through Google Chrome for it to work. My computer freezes when I try and get Chrome.

  4. In another improvement, the downtown Macy’s closing will also mean that the bus stop and sidewalk at 3rd & Pike will no longer be randomly blocked by semis in their loading dock.

  5. Yes, I have tried to use the new Metro Trip Planner and I have the same concerns that it is not user friendly in that the times of travel are difficult to change and the system only wanted me to travel via Link Light rail when I wanted to know about #7 bus’ route to Columbia City. I don’t understand why KC Metro’s web resources are so difficult to use ; i.e. having to wait 24 hours to access your Orca card after payment is made either online or via phone, the continual outage of the bus travel signs at bus stops and the complexity of changing your password on the Orca website are troublesome coupled with any truly unprofessional customer service representatives are really beyond the pale. I’ve half jokingly suggest that I could get our software engineers to help fix this broken system….

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