One of the busiest stretches of Denny Way, eastbound from Fairview Ave E to Stewart St, is about to get a new transit-only lane—dedicated to moving many people efficiently. The project is part of a larger effort to address the historically late King County Metro Route 8, which serves an estimated 10,000 riders per weekday.
Work is starting this afternoon, August 24, to transform one underutilized westbound lane of Denny Way for eastbound general-purpose traffic to Capitol Hill and dedicating the middle eastbound lane of the resulting three, to mass transit around the biggest single bottleneck that Route 8 experiences. The area is already bordered by construction projects, so crews can sometimes use the existing lane closures.
Route 8 currently runs 6 buses an hour per direction in peak periods. Separating the lane of cars turning right onto Yale to get to I-5 is expected to reduce lane merging friction and reduce congestion headed east on Denny Way to Capitol Hill.
Comprehensive and coordinated planning over the last four years has focused on better reliability for this key route in this location, and on sections of Route 8 in Lower Queen Anne, South Lake Union, and Capitol Hill. Besides enhanced Route 8 reliability, the change is also expected to benefit riders by:
- Keeping more buses running on time, which in turn…
- Reducing bus-bunching (jamming up at a bus stop);
- Reducing wait times at important transfer locations (e.g. Capitol Hill Link); and
- Making transit a more attractive travel option for crosstown travel in some of Seattle’s densest neighborhoods.
Capacity for mobility is critical, as Seattle growth continues, from 608,660 people in 2010 to more than nearly 730,000 in 2018 (click chart image for more details).
Much of the employment growth in downtown Seattle since the recession has been in South Lake Union, and Route 8 is a crucial connection for residents to access jobs, cultural destinations, and housing in central Seattle.
The seated capacity of Metro’s 60-ft articulated coaches is 56 passengers, with a so-called ‘crush load’ equating to about 90- riders. As Route 8 riders likely know, crush loads are frequent during afternoon peak periods on this section of Denny, as are long wait times. Speeding up bus travel also provides operational savings to Metro and City-funded bus service.
The new bus lane is one piece of a set of improvements intended to enhance Route 8 speed and reliability. Although the changes are not expected to completely solve the reliability problems currently experienced on Route 8, together they should offer a noticeable improvement.
Originally expected to be installed last year, we accommodated Denny Substation construction needs and are now implementing the design. The reconfiguration project is expected to finish Tuesday, August 28.
What you can expect:
This afternoon crews are placing and bagging (until project completion) new signage between Fairview and Stewart.
Beginning at 7 AM Saturday, August 25, the team will hydro-blast (weather & equipment dependent) the street surface to remove existing street configuration markings; and then paint the new lines.
The moving operation will create additional, temporary lane closures through Saturday afternoon. Work is scheduled again Monday and Tuesday, 9 AM – 3 PM, to complete the project.
August 24, Friday | Noon – 3 PM | Closures
Crews need 1 – 2 rolling lane closures, and at times may be able to use those already in place for construction on both sides of Denny Way.
August 25, Saturday | 7 AM – 3 PM | Closures
As crews progress with mobile operations, there will be 1 – 2 rolling lane closures.
Monday, August 27 and Tuesday, August 28 | 9 AM – 3 PM | Closures
Expect rolling lane closures during work hours, to finish the project.
Thank you for your patience during this mobile operation!