Update on Route 44 bus stop changes

This past month Metro asked the community to give us feedback on reducing the number of closely spaced bus stops along Route 44 between Ballard and the University District.  Thanks to all of you that took the time to share your thoughts and ideas–we heard from more than 350 people during our three-week comment period. This feedback helped us refine the bus stop changes being implemented on Sept. 29.

Plan moving forward
Route 44 currently makes about 30 stops each direction between Ballard and the University District. Metro originally planned to remove 5 bus stops in each direction in late September 2012, increasing the average spacing between stops from about 900 feet to 1,050 feet. Following our outreach, Metro has decided to retain the pair of stops located at NW Market Street and 5th/6th Ave NW and move forward with closing stop pairs at:

– NW Market Street and 26th Ave NW
– NW Market Street and 17th Ave NW
– NW Market Street and 14th Ave NW
– 15thAve NE/NE Pacific Street

These stop closures will help buses move faster, keep to a more reliable schedule and reduce Metro’s operating and maintenance costs.

What we heard
The overwhelming majority of comments we received–nearly 70%–concerned the pair of stops located at NW Market Street and 5th/6th Ave NW. Most of these comments were related to access for nearby elementary and daycare field trips as well as trips by students to and from Hamilton International Middle School. We also heard from mobility impaired users who were concerned about getting to and from their intended destination due to the lack of curb cuts to the east.

Given this feedback from the community, Metro has decided not to close this pair of stops for the time being.

We also received a few comments from people concerned about the closure of the westbound stops at 14th and 17th Aves NW amidst all the construction on Market Street in the vicinity of 15th Ave NW.

We understand these concerns and apologize for the confusion – the ever shifting world of construction staging can be hard to keep up with. The westbound bus stop at 15th Ave NW has been temporarily relocated for long-term work on the adjacent property. The bus stop is located approximately 200 feet west, just past the first driveway to Hjarta. This relocation occurred Saturday, Sept. 15th. The stop will return to its original location when construction is complete.

3 thoughts on “Update on Route 44 bus stop changes

  1. The Ballard community made it clear to Metro and SDOT a year ago or more on the Route 44 “community advisory ” process that taking out ALL these stops would be a mistake and cut in transit service. Either SDOT forgot to mention that, or Metro decided to get a second opinon from a random survery, or iin either case, just ignored the community input. Do enough surveys and you will eventually hear what you want. This is a cut in transit service for other riders on this street, including the Route 44 and 17 and 61. Thanks not.

  2. Losing stops adversely impacts the elderly and handicapped. I’m also very shocked at how stops at transfer points are being eliminated. It means much longer walks in the rainy, dark mornings and evenings in winter, making commutes much longer.

    These new changes are going to be debilitating to our poor, elderly, handicapped and to women who now have to navigate sketchy areas. It also hurts people who depend on the bus for shopping and have to carry groceries much longer distances. My commute will be doubled to almost 2 hours each way with transfers in dangerous areas with a lot of panhandlers. It takes less than 30 minutes to drive that same distance at rush hour.

    I’m really baffled at how our wonderful bus system is being turned into what many of us left behind back east decades ago because those systems where inefficient and didn’t serve most of the people. I don’t see how getting rid of tens of thousands of riders will help with the county finances either. These changes to short bus hops (like the 61) seem random, odd, disjointed and impractical.

    I think these changes will also hurt many businesses and neighborhoods. 1st Avenue downtown has many closed businesses since the buses were moved to 3rd Avenue, and Pioneer Square is like a ghost town in many areas. The same thing will happen in other neighborhoods where buses are being eliminated.

    To Mr. Nordgren–you gave no reason for eliminating stops, I can only imagine that your stop isn’t affected and you don’t care about other people, or you drive and just want more parking. It’s amazing how many people in this city are anti-transit, but don’t realize that their commutes will get much longer even if they drive, as these changes will force many people like me to drive to work.

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