Route 44 - Transit-Plus Multimodal Corridor

Updated: May 16, 2022

Improving transit travel times and safety

What’s happening now?

Working with our King County Metro partners, we installed a new Business Access and Transit (BAT) lane on NE 45th St between Roosevelt Way NE and 15th Ave NE. The lane will benefit more than 12,000 daily riders on routes 44, 20, 31, 32, 48, 49, 70, 372, 167, and 586  

The new BAT lane is only for buses and people making right turns. These lanes help buses move more efficiently leading to greater on-time arrivals for transit and they reduce the need to buses to move in and out of the general traffic lanes. By creating a more reliable schedule for our electrified buses we can continue to encourage more riders to take transit and cut transportation emissions. You can read more about BAT lanes and their benefits here.

The Metro Route 44 bus uses the newly installed BAT lanes along NE 45th St.

Route 44 bus on NE 45th St

The Route 44 project area extends from Ballard through the U-District with improvements being made along the route at key intersections and road stretches. We expect additional work to begin as soon as June. You can click the links below to see where we will be completing the outstanding parts of the project in 2022.

As we continue into construction, please expect:

  • Typical construction weekday work hours of 7 AM - 5 PM
  • Occasional night work at specific locations along the corridor, such as striping
  • Temporary disruptions to on-street parking and sidewalks
  • Noise, dust and vibrations during work hours

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Project overview

Partnering with King County Metro, we'll improve transit reliability, reduce transit travel times, and enhance pedestrian safety and access along the Route 44 corridor. Since 2019, we've been working to identify the improvement projects that will move forward into design. We began by studying a variety of possible improvements, and we held neighborhood drop-in sessions in fall 2019 to better understand community priorities along the corridor. Last year, we also received more than 800 responses to our community survey. (See our Fall 2019 Outreach Summary for more information.) In September 2020, we conducted a survey and hosted an online presentation to get feedback on the design of these improvement concepts at the 30% design milestone. (See our 30% Design Outreach Report for more information.) 

Improvements made as part of the Transit-Plus Multimodal Corridor project will include:

  • Dedicated bus lanes: Bus-only lanes that separate buses from traffic and improve transit travel times and reliability
  • Signal upgrades or optimization: Transit signal priority extends or activates green lights to reduce waiting times for buses at signals 
  • Channelization changes or turn restrictions: Changes to roadway channelization and limiting certain turns that can allow buses to move faster, avoid conflicts, and improve safety
  • Safety improvements: Improvements to crossings and transit connections to help people get to bus stops more easily and safely
  • Sidewalk upgrades: Repaving sidewalks and upgrading ADA-accessible curb ramps in key locations  

The Route 44 corridor was identified in the 2012 Seattle Transit Master Plan (TMP) as a Priority Bus Corridor and in the 2016 TMP Update as a RapidRide corridor. King County Metro identifies the Route 44 corridor as a future RapidRide corridor in METRO CONNECTS, the King County Metro long-range plan adopted in January 2017. Metro is currently defining funding, timeline and phasing for delivery of the countywide METRO CONNECTS RapidRide Program. SDOT and Metro anticipate implementing transit speed and reliability upgrades in this corridor in 2023, prior to Metro's future delivery of RapidRide.

Route 44 background

Route 44 is one of the highest-ridership routes in Seattle, serving over 9,300 daily weekday riders. It is a 10.7 mile east-west trolley route in North Seattle that serves the Ballard, Wallingford, and University District neighborhoods, including the University of Washington and University of Washington Medical Center. It also provides important connections to several current and future major north-south transit routes. Over 35,000 people live within a quarter mile of the corridor and over 32,000 people work within a quarter mile of the corridor.

While the Route 44 is scheduled to arrive every 10 minutes or better, buses on this route can be slow and unreliable. This project will identify and implement improvements that provide faster, more reliable transit service for the Route 44.

Key transit connections

Route 44 connects with two RapidRide routes: the E Line at Aurora Ave/SR 99 and N 46th St and the D Line at 15th Ave NW and NW Market St. These RapidRide routes are the top 2 King County Metro routes by ridership. Additionally, Route 44 connects to the current terminus of the Sound Transit's University of Washington Station serving Link light rail. Once the Northgate Link light rail extension is completed, Route 44 will also connect with the U District Station. 

See more on the RapidRide program update.

See more on the comprehensive assessment of the Levy to Move Seattle.

Project map

Project area map

Sidewalk work 

As a part of this project, we'll repair more than 4,500 linear feet of sidewalk near bus stops and upgrade more than 50 curb ramps to meet current ADA standards to improve access and mobility along the transit corridor. The sections of the corridor where we will make these sidewalk upgrades are shown on the map below. 

Map showing areas of sidewalk work

Other projects along this route

SDOT and Metro are focusing many investments along the Route 44 TPMC route. Our project team is in close coordination with the following projects: 

Community outreach

Date Event
October 2019 Community Engagement Survey
November 2019 Open Houses: November 19, 20, and 21
May 2020 Release 30% Design Concepts
September 2020 Online presentation: September 10, 2020
September 2020 Community Engagement Survey

The three stages of our projects


1. Planning

What we do: Collect traffic and transit data, review previously completed studies, develop concepts and gather community experiences to define options.

2. Design
What we do: We work with the community and produce a more detailed project design.

3. Construction
What we do: We construct the project and keep the community informed on the latest construction updates, schedule, and expected impacts.

Project materials

To view a PDF of project-related materials, please click on the links provided below. 

Design Phase

 Planning Phase


This project is being funded by a combination of Local and State funds.  The source of the local funding is  the 9-year Levy to Move Seattle, approved by voters in 2015, and the source of the state funding is a Washington State Regional Mobility Grant.


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