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Wheels on the bus go round and round!

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Today, March 18th, is Bus Driver Appreciation Day!  Please take a minute and say thank you to your driver for getting you to your destination safely!   Bus drivers manage to keep a schedule, check fares, give directions, remember stop requests and more, all while safely maneuvering an extra-large vehicle through unpredictable traffic, bad weather and some really tight spaces! The fact is, bus drivers don’t have an easy job, they just make it look that way.

While we’re on the subject, today’s Bridging the Gap (BTG) status update addresses the Seattle Department of Transportation’s (SDOT) effort to make Seattle easier to navigate and expand your commute options.  Thanks to the 2006 BTG transportation levy, SDOT has been working hard to improve transit across the city through the BTG Transit Program which is made up of three components – corridor improvements, spot improvements and transit service hours.

The first component was to complete transit corridor projects along three key corridors – West Seattle, Ballard and Aurora Avenue.  (In 2012-2011? the West Seattle corridor x line began  and 2013 saw the opening of the Rapid Ride E line along Aurora Avenue which will serve commuters in north Seattle and provide bus riders with a critical link into the city.  Other corridor improvement project completed include: Market/45th Rainier/Jackson; Belltown Third Avenue; Delridge; Dexter Avenue; N/NW 85th Street; 15th Avenue NE; and Pacific Avenue NE.

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While the large corridor projects are most visible to the public, the second smaller component, key spot improvements, has been essential to keeping buses on time and on schedule.  Spot improvements have included parking and signal revisions, queue jumps, bus bulbs and stop upgrades (such as—-).  Projects have been completed at: N 85th Street and  Greenwood; Third  Avenue and Pine; Wall and Battery Street bus lanes; Columbia Street bus lanes; Fourth  Avenue S bus lanes; and the First Avenue bus lane.

The third component of the transit program is the 50,000 new hours of transit service that are in place.  The city is using $1.5 million levy funds annually to purchase additional bus hours for Seattle residents through the county’s Transit Now program.  Purchasing more bus service for these routes moves the city closer to its goal of having a network of reliable transit service running every 15 minutes or less, all day and late into the evening, seven days a week on corridors connecting neighborhoods with active business centers. Frequent, reliable transit service offers people options to driving and helps fight global warming. Many of the service additions are focused on electric trolley bus routes, which emit virtually zero greenhouse gases and other pollution.

The final and added piece to the BTG transit program was the development of a Transit Master Plan (TMP) that was completed in 2012 and will serve as a long-term guide to help direct future investments in transit across the city identifying key corridors for transit improvement and upgrades.  For information on the TMP please visit the webpage.

For more information on the BTG transit programs please visit our webpage. For additional information on BTG please visit our webpage.