(Editor’s note: Maps added below to help customers prepare)

Is it like when the limo meets you in front of your favorite restaurant? Pretty much, only ours have bike racks.

Five bus routes will soon be connecting thousands of daily transit riders directly to and from the front door of Sound Transit’s U District Station. This exciting new development is thanks to a brand-new Seattle bus-only lane and clean, green overhead wires to power our electric trolley buses.

Red bus lane painted on westbound NE 43rd Street, flanked by buildings


The City of Seattle will open the Northeast 43rd Street westbound bus-only lane on June 25, helping riders on King County Metro routes 20, 44, 49, 70 and 372 access the brand-new bus stop at the station. Three of those routes are zero-emission trolleys who will being using the new overhead wires beginning June 27, expanding the reach of our zero-emission transit network. Map of NE 43rd Street and vicinity showing Bay 1 bus changes outlined in the blogpost and nearby bus routes on the Ave

Metro recently installed and tested the new overhead wires along the pathway, allowing our purple trolley buses to use the red westbound bus-only lane (as well as on 12th Avenue Northeast).

What else is cool about this project? (transit superfans only)

This project also delivers efficiency by providing easier access to where we temporarily park our buses (called layovers). Red bus lanes and a new layover location on 12th Avenue Northeast allow buses to get to their layover location more quickly at the end of their route. This means the bus spends less time on the road in traffic—and helps ensure operators can get their break time. Similarly, following a layover, buses can quickly get to the first stop of the route so they can welcome passengers aboard.

Increasing bus efficiency expands the benefit of the project to about 16,000 weekday riders on these routes, even if they aren’t boarding or exiting at U District Station.

The red bus lane network in the City of Seattle boasts more than 30 miles of transit priority, and the U District recently got several more blocks to move 10 bus routes better on Northeast 45th Street (read Red means go!). These include Routes 20, 31, 32, 44, 49, 70, 167, 372 and Sound Transit Express Route 586, as well as Route 48 on Saturdays.People on a tour of U District station exiting the south access, with a purple trolley bus in the background.

How popular is U District Station since it opened last fall?

Riders LOVE this station, which ranks in the Top 2 of Link stations based on ridership. Which is to say that we’re hoping many, many riders enjoy this new bus lane connection and it has an outsized benefit.

Shout-out to the U District Partnership. the University of Washington and all of the businesses in the area for their patience and support during construction as we made these improvements for customers (who switch from transit customers to students and restaurant-goers and back again!)