Cross posted from SDOT Blog

With input from the community, the final design on the Route 40 Transit-Plus Multimodal Corridor project has been completed and construction is set to begin in 2024.

Metro Route 40 continues to be an important route for our neighbors and we’ve heard their desire for neighborhood improvements for people who roll, walk, bike, and ride the bus.

This collaborative project between Metro and the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) will create a safer and more reliable bus route and Seattle’s first-ever freight- and bus-only lane. Since early 2020, we’ve engaged community members and bus riders to gather feedback on the Route 40 project design as it evolved.

Route 40 serves the Northgate, Crown Hill, Loyal Heights, Ballard, Fremont, South Lake Union, Downtown Seattle, and Pioneer Square neighborhoods. More than 95,000 people live within a half-mile of Route 40. 

Ridership is continuing to increase as more people look for sustainable ways to get to where they need to go. As of August 2023, daily ridership on Route 40 totaled over 7,500 people on the average workday, showing that this route remains one of King County Metro’s highest ridership routes. 

We’ve heard from neighbors and neighborhood groups just how important it is to make improvements to Route 40. We have a goal of reducing peak transit travel times by 5% to 10% and making the time between buses more consistent so trips take about the same amount of time, no matter the time of day.  

 The project improvements are focused in four key areas: Westlake, Fremont, Ballard, and North Seattle.     


Map of the Metro Rt 40 multimodal project
Map showing Route 40 and planned project improvements along the corridor. Graphic credit: SDOT
Rendering of 35th Ave and Fremont
Rendering of planned future bus stop location and curb bulb improvement at the corner of N 35th St and Fremont Pl N in Fremont. Not to scale. Graphic: SDOT

Supporting freight mobility and goods deliveries
To help keep freight moving along Westlake Ave N, a major truck street, we’re piloting new “Freight-and-Bus only” (FAB) lanes. People driving large freight vehicles over 26,000 pounds (about the size of a garbage truck, large box truck, or semi-truck) can use these lanes. 

These lanes will be piloted for one year. After the trial period ends, we will review data and input from freight drivers to help determine if they should be installed permanently along Westlake Ave N and potentially be added to our toolbox for other Seattle streets. 

The project also includes implementing Businesses Access and Transit-only lanes in certain locations (see map graphic further below). 

New watermain upgrades on Fremont Ave N
Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) is currently planning to replace a 100-year-old waterline under Fremont Ave between 34th & 35th St. When we conduct extensive reconstruction of street pavement panels, we often coordinate with SPU to determine if replacing old utilities infrastructure is needed, to avoid digging up a newly constructed concrete street in the future. This reduces impacts to the community by completing major construction activities at the same time. It also helps reduce travel impacts, minimize construction costs, and shorten construction timelines compared to if the projects were completed separately. 

Next steps
Later this year, we will begin pre-construction outreach, including reaching out to community and sharing more information about project plans, construction activities, when to expect construction impacts, and how we will coordinate with neighbors along the corridor. We plan to select a construction contractor and begin construction in 2024.  

For more information, you can sign up to receive SDOT project and construction notifications and  you find more project details on the project webpage.

“Our administration is committed to enhancing access to dependable transportation so people can easily reach their destinations. Route 40 is one of Seattle’s highest used transit routes that connect communities from Downtown to Crown Hill. We have an important opportunity to make improvements that increase transit reliability, improve safety, and develop innovative freight solutions. As this project continues, we will work with neighborhoods, transportation leaders, and the freight and business community to accomplish our shared goals and bolster our city’s economic vitality.”  – Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell

“As a frequent rider of the Route 40 bus, I’m thrilled to see this project completing design and preparing for construction. Connecting Westlake, Fremont and Ballard with downtown and Northlake, Route 40 is a vital transit route that will become safer, quicker and more reliable as a result of this essential project.” – Greg Spotts, Director, Seattle Department of Transportation

“Route 40 continues to be one of our busiest routes, serving neighborhoods with riders who are looking to us for faster and more consistent service. This is a corridor that serves drivers, bikers, rollers, walkers, and a growing number of bus riders. Metro is pleased to partner with SDOT in the development of a final design that will make it easier for more people to choose transit for their trips to the businesses that make Fremont such a unique community.”  – Michelle Allison, General Manager, King County Metro

“The Seattle Transit Advisory Board was happy to hear from the Route 40 Transit Plus Multimodal Corridor project team at our recent meeting. Route 40 is a backbone of the northwest Seattle transit network, and the proposed changes will cut travel times and boost reliability for the route’s thousands of daily riders.”  – Seattle Transit Advisory Board (April 2022 Letter to the Route 40 Transit Plus Multi Modal Corridor Team)

“This project has been updated significantly in response to community and stakeholder feedback and represents a modest transportation project that will tangibly improve connectivity, safety, and sustainability in some of Seattle’s fastest-growing neighborhoods. The Route 40 project represents a prudent investment by SDOT and King County Metro to improve the experience of current transit riders, while scaling up capacity to meet the future needs of thousands of new residents.”  – Ballard-Fremont Greenways

“The Urban Freight Lab at the University of Washington is excited to support the evaluation of SDOT’s pilot program to allow weight-eligible freight vehicles into the planned Route 40 bus lane along portions of Westlake. We are excited to see SDOT experiment with creative strategies to improve the efficiency of freight movement and the greater transportation network.” – Kelly Rula, Director, Policy and Partnerships, UW Urban Freight Lab