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The Today File

Your guide to the latest news from around the Northwest

February 26, 2013 at 6:40 PM

Passing a RapidRide bus? You’re getting curbed

Mike Siegel / The Seattle Times

It was only a matter of time, after Seattle and King County Metro installed RapidRide bus bulbs at a certain West Seattle corner, before the city would corral drivers who veer into the oncoming left-turn lane to pass a stopped bus.

As we predicted last fall, the Seattle Department of Transportation will install a central curb to prevent passing — at westbound Fauntleroy Way Southwest, next to California Avenue Southwest — on Thursday and Friday.

That corner is especially apt for a curb, because drivers are turning right from California to Fauntleroy and passing the bus blindly, with no glimpse of the oncoming traffic, says SDOT spokeswoman Marybeth Turner, who added in an announcement Tuesday:

Motorists are reminded that buses typically spend 20 seconds or less serving each stop, and they are encouraged to build this slight additional travel time into their schedules in the interest of safety.

The city built median islands last year on North 45th Street to deter similar passing in the two-way left turn lane, around the stopped Route 44 buses. The rationale for bus bulbs is that transit loses precious seconds — or minutes in the course of an entire crosstown trip — if they need to pull off to the side, then wait to re-enter the travel lane in heavy traffic.

West Seattle Blog’s posting has already generated 57 comments Tuesday afternoon. For instance, from “gatewooder” :

Bad design at the beginning = lots of additional bad design to try to fix the original error.  A sad, expensive, and destructive exercise that is all too typical of SDOT.

Comments | More in Traffic & Transit | Topics: curbs, RapidRide


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