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August 11, 2013 at 4:38 PM

Aurora roadwork starts Monday for 2014 RapidRide route

Drivers on Seattle’s Aurora Avenue North can expect occasional slowdowns for the next three weeks, while construction workers refurbish the outer lanes for RapidRide bus service.

King County Metro Route 358, the system’s busiest line serving 11,700 passengers daily, will become the RapidRide E Line in mid-February, featuring the same illuminated stations and low-floor buses as RapidRide vehicles serving SeaTac, Overlake, West Seattle and Ballard.  Buses will run in “BAT” (business access and transit) lanes along Aurora that are used only by buses and right-turning cars — such lanes are already completed in Shoreline, just north of Seattle city limits.

Upcoming work will require lane shifts and parking restrictions:

* Signs and lane stripes will be replaced, beginning Monday, in a $600,000 federally funded project to finish the BAT lanes.  Then starting Sept. 8, the outer lanes from North 38th Street to North 115th Street will be for transit and right turns only, between 6 a.m. and 9 a.m. and from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. — except the southbound stretch approaching Green Lake, which will allow curbside parking except in the morning peak.

* Medians will be installed where Aurora passes North 87th and North 88th Streets.

* Signals will be re-timed in September for transit priority, so a bus can extend a green light or end a red light early.

Sidewalks will also be added to several streets approaching RapidRide stops.

The city is predicting that not only will buses save two to four minutes on peak trips, but that general traffic will improve. But during last year’s RapidRide startups in Ballard and West Seattle, signal re-timing took longer than planned, and at some locations, the passing drivers were slowed and confused in the early weeks.

Here is a city diagram of the road layout:

BAT lanes

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