March 26

More bus bulbs likely on N. 45th Street



The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) has proposed installing three bus bulbs along N. 45th Street in Wallingford to help move the 44 bus more quickly from Ballard through the University District. Bus bulbs are intended to make cars stop behind the bus so it doesn’t have to re-enter the flow of traffic to pick up and drop off passengers. The bulbs also clear the sidewalk for pedestrians and create more space for a bus shelter or other amenities.

Current bus bulb at N. 45th St. and Corliss (Photo courtesy of SDOT)

Jeffrey Bender from Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) sent us detailed information about the proposed bus bulbs, the construction of which he said would be funded by Bridging the Gap, federal grants, and/or state grants. Because of the funding uncertainty, the bus bulbs could be constructed as soon as 2011 or as late as 2013.

These are the proposed bus bulb locations in Wallingford:

  1. Woodlawn/45th (eastbound direction, near Solid Ground, Seattle Public Library),
  2. Corliss/45th (westbound direction), and
  3. Thackeray/45th (eastbound direction)

Until recently, Bender noted, SDOT proposed installing bus bulbs at Latona/45th (westbound direction) and Wallingford/45th (eastbound direction), but they determined that the transit benefits did not warrant these changes.

Bender said that the bus bulbs will have “a modest calming effect on car traffic in the Wallingford section of the corridor, mainly because cars will wait for buses at bus stops instead buses waiting for cars to stop or clear out.” He also pointed out that pedestrian traffic should move much more freely at bus bulb locations because people waiting for buses will not need to wait in doorways or the middle of the sidewalk.

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  1. Hurrah!!! It's about time, we've been working toward this solution for over a decade. As a bus rider and frequent pedestrian, these things are THE BEST!

  2. i'm a little confused about what they are, still. not sure what I am meant to be looking at in the photo?

    1. Basically, the sidewalk is built out into the street to make more space for bus passengers, and make it so buses don't have to wait for traffic to get back into the lane from the stop.

  3. I would think the business would object. I NEVER EVER drive 45th anymore to get anywhere. Those bulbs make travel impossible. You cannot get past a stopped bus – and if theya re loading a bike or wheelchair the stop can last up to 5 minutes. Apparently they don't want my business there. I travel east-west on 50th or Pacific.

  4. I'm a frequent bus rider and driver, but I generally lean towards solutions that make things easier for buses at the expense of drivers. In this case, the change seems to be unnecessarily disruptive to the drivers. Instead, we should concentrate on educating drivers to the law (and morally right thing to do) that when a bus signals to pull out, drivers need to stop and let it in.

    This change may be counter productive to the flow of buses. Right now, I always let a bus in because it's the right thing and it costs me little because the next time the bus stops, I can easily pass it. With bus bulbs, I may be reluctant to let the bus in from a non-bulb stop because I know that that will make me stuck at the following bulb stops.

    1. Like Kara, I am on the advisory panel and can repeat SDOT's promise that they are purposely leaving some stops formatted so cars can get around…car drivers should learn pretty fast that they will not be “trapped” behind buses for the whole length of 45th. I think the policy that cars should wait for buses instead of buses for cars is great! If the bus is half full, with 25 people aboard, it would have to hold up a heck of a lot of cars before tipping the balance. Think fairness and equity.

  5. First they put in traffic circles to force us onto 45th.
    Then they block 45th.
    This is supposed to calm us

  6. Hi – Kara here. as chamber pres i was asked to be on the advisory board for this project (all of bus route #44), along with few others from wallingford. having fought some of the curb bulbs due to businesses complaining, i mainly attended to fight the one proposed bus bulb in front of Wallingford Center. that would've been a recipe for disaster, with two traffic lights just to the west of it, and with the most-used crosswalk in wallingford just east of it. it was a great relief to attend the last meeting where SDOT announced they'd dropped that one!
    proving yet again that speaking up can cause change.

    1. As someone who frequents the Wallingford Center and other business (especially Lil Clippers and Kids on 45th) via transit, I would have appreciated the traffic calming effect of a curb bulb. Personally I feel that area's intersections are already a disaster. Please remember that many customers arrive via bus, stroller, wheelchair, bike, or foot, and fast-moving cars pulling into are a constant threat to our safety.

  7. As a bus driver who has driven the 44, I appreciate the bus bulbs (i did not know they were called that) on 45th. they make it a lot easier with not having to worry about cars winging around you in the middle lane.

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