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Author Topic: Seattle's Third Avenue  (Read 5099 times)

mrsman

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Seattle's Third Avenue
« on: January 15, 2017, 08:33:46 AM »

Just finished watching the recent streetfilms on the transit improvements being made to Seattle.

http://www.streetfilms.org/seattle-americas-next-top-transit-city/

My question had to do with Third Avenue.  It seems that Third Avenue's surface lanes are restricted to buses during rush hours in Downtown, but only on an every-other block basis.  I have not been able to find much detail about this.

How far north and south do the restrictions go?

What are the hours of the restrictions?

Are there exceptions made for deliveries?

If it's every other block, which blocks are OK, which blocks are prohibited?  Are there different blocks in NB and SB direction?

Anything else that may be relevant?
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Re: Seattle's Third Avenue
« Reply #1 on: January 15, 2017, 03:24:52 PM »

The restrictions are active between Yesler and Pine, during peak hours (6 to 9 am, 3 and 6:30 pm). Exceptions are not made for deliveries or even the Midtown Post Office at 3rd & University (the latter is the largest barrier to making 3rd transit-only all the time), which is why the turns are even allowed.

You have to turn off 3rd at the next block possible, no matter where you are. No thru driving.

3rd Avenue is also interesting because of its bus/rail tunnel and its surface-level amenities (real-time transit information, off-board ORCA payment, trolleybuses, etc.).

jakeroot

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Re: Seattle's Third Avenue
« Reply #2 on: July 30, 2018, 11:40:29 PM »

Third is going to transit-only all day, instead of just during "peak" hours: https://goo.gl/DFLr3s (link to post on the Urbanist). Buses only from 0600 to 1900 is the new rule.

Fine by me. The road is lightly used, even during off-peak hours. I say give it to those who need it most (especially now with the DSTT and Convention Center closures): buses.

One-block right-on-right-off travel by general traffic will still be permitted, as will 1+ block travel by commercial vehicles (who stop in designated areas).
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Bruce

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Re: Seattle's Third Avenue
« Reply #3 on: July 31, 2018, 12:35:38 AM »

Banning left turns will be a huge improvement. Now if only SPD bothered to enforce (I've only rarely seen them out at rush hour to catch drivers).


Bus lane enforcement on 3rd Avenue by SounderBruce, on Flickr

The other changes for bus riders will be very welcome (off-board payment kiosks, mostly), but I'd like to see similar treatments on 4th and 2nd during peak (using the handheld readers carried by Metro staff, who are used in the tunnel for now).

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Re: Seattle's Third Avenue
« Reply #4 on: July 31, 2018, 01:06:36 AM »

Banning left turns will be a huge improvement. Now if only SPD bothered to enforce (I've only rarely seen them out at rush hour to catch drivers).

While I don't see many drivers using it during peak hours these days (when they aren't supposed to), I have personally never witnessed enforcement. In fact, your photo is the first I've ever seen of it occurring -- I thought it was a myth!

Question for you: do you think it's okay to enter third going southbound from Stewart, to turn right onto Pine? Not sure how literal they mean the "right on right off" thing to be. I did this with a platoon of cars the other day, but ignorance in general seems rife along third, so I'm not tempted to think that it's okay just because a bunch of other drivers did it. I had to reach a patron with Lyft who was waiting on Pine between third and second -- didn't immediately know how to reach her without making a really complicated set of maneuvers; I would have had to turn right onto Stewart (no left in the evening), make a left on 2nd, go down to Pike, turn left, proceed to 4th, turn left, turn left again at Pine, and then proceed down Pine. I've confused a lot of people due to all the turn restrictions downtown, since they can see my maneuvers on the app. I usually have to explain the situation when they get in. Most people who walk are obviously not aware of turn restrictions.

The worst restrictions seems to be 5th at Pine; no turns period. Westlake is a popular pick-up spot. I have to go to Pike, turn left, turn left down the alley, and then turn left again onto Pine (really hard now due to the cycle path).

https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8815/28702681925_6280aea704_b.jpg

The other changes for bus riders will be very welcome (off-board payment kiosks, mostly), but I'd like to see similar treatments on 4th and 2nd during peak (using the handheld readers carried by Metro staff, who are used in the tunnel for now).

Is Metro planning to add off-board payment systems to all lines in the future? I know it's expensive, but it would really improve frequency, me thinks.
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Bruce

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Re: Seattle's Third Avenue
« Reply #5 on: July 31, 2018, 01:49:02 AM »

Question for you: do you think it's okay to enter third going southbound from Stewart, to turn right onto Pine? Not sure how literal they mean the "right on right off" thing to be. I did this with a platoon of cars the other day, but ignorance in general seems rife along third, so I'm not tempted to think that it's okay just because a bunch of other drivers did it. I had to reach a patron with Lyft who was waiting on Pine between third and second -- didn't immediately know how to reach her without making a really complicated set of maneuvers; I would have had to turn right onto Stewart (no left in the evening), make a left on 2nd, go down to Pike, turn left, proceed to 4th, turn left, turn left again at Pine, and then proceed down Pine. I've confused a lot of people due to all the turn restrictions downtown, since they can see my maneuvers on the app. I usually have to explain the situation when they get in. Most people who walk are obviously not aware of turn restrictions.

The worst restrictions seems to be 5th at Pine; no turns period. Westlake is a popular pick-up spot. I have to go to Pike, turn left, turn left down the alley, and then turn left again onto Pine (really hard now due to the cycle path).

And the 5th & Pine bus stop is very popular, which is why there should be a red lane (and I think the new new downtown plan has one). I believe 7th is still an option if you want to turn west onto Pine. Perhaps the TNC apps should be locked into only picking up at certain downtown locations that are easy (and legal) to get to...maybe we could bundle them all together and have a single driver serving multiple stops...

Quote
Is Metro planning to add off-board payment systems to all lines in the future? I know it's expensive, but it would really improve frequency, me thinks.

Nope, and the new fare enforcement policy seems to say that it's to be avoided if possible (due to the equity issues involved). I think it would be wise to introduce them to all trolleybus routes (as they are a distinct, high-traffic group by themselves), while commuter routes have absolutely no use for them.

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Re: Seattle's Third Avenue
« Reply #6 on: July 31, 2018, 02:19:24 AM »

Perhaps the TNC apps should be locked into only picking up at certain downtown locations that are easy (and legal) to get to...maybe we could bundle them all together and have a single driver serving multiple stops...

Hey, you know I love transit, but even Tokyo has taxis. A TNC/cab-less future is a way's off. Plus, it's an easy $30/hour, which is prime for a non-drinking student like myself. I'd be less interested if Uber/Lyft kept more of the fare.

I don't mind logical turn restrictions. Vulnerable road users have been mistreated for too long. But I didn't see anything unique about that right turn that necessitated a restriction. Most downtown intersections have a lot of peds, but very few have restrictions that aren't turns across traffic or a bike lane.

When are they gonna build that bus lane on Denny?

the new fare enforcement policy seems to say that it's to be avoided if possible (due to the equity issues involved). I think it would be wise to introduce them to all trolleybus routes (as they are a distinct, high-traffic group by themselves), while commuter routes have absolutely no use for them.

Forgot that off-board payment requires on-board enforcement. Never mind lol
« Last Edit: July 31, 2018, 02:22:12 AM by jakeroot »
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Bruce

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Re: Seattle's Third Avenue
« Reply #7 on: July 31, 2018, 03:45:28 AM »

Perhaps the TNC apps should be locked into only picking up at certain downtown locations that are easy (and legal) to get to...maybe we could bundle them all together and have a single driver serving multiple stops...

Hey, you know I love transit, but even Tokyo has taxis. A TNC/cab-less future is a way's off. Plus, it's an easy $30/hour, which is prime for a non-drinking student like myself. I'd be less interested if Uber/Lyft kept more of the fare.

I don't mind logical turn restrictions. Vulnerable road users have been mistreated for too long. But I didn't see anything unique about that right turn that necessitated a restriction. Most downtown intersections have a lot of peds, but very few have restrictions that aren't turns across traffic or a bike lane.

When are they gonna build that bus lane on Denny?

Most cities restrict taxi pickups to very small zones/nodes, which is what we should be moving towards. Most customers can walk the extra block or two to the zone.

The 5th & Pine turn can't be made because the bus stop is in the right-hand lane and there's heavy pedestrian traffic. A turner would block the lane for the entire cycle, while buses stack up behind and out into the Stewart/Olive mess (where 5th can barely fit a single artic bus at a time).

The Denny lane has been pushed back to 2019, last I heard. It's dependent on when the substation is finished with the under-street lines.

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Re: Seattle's Third Avenue
« Reply #8 on: July 31, 2018, 04:21:41 AM »

Most cities restrict taxi pickups to very small zones/nodes, which is what we should be moving towards. Most customers can walk the extra block or two to the zone.

That I'm fine with. I would much prefer specific pick up nodes. Makes the job much easier.

The 5th & Pine turn can't be made because the bus stop is in the right-hand lane and there's heavy pedestrian traffic. A turner would block the lane for the entire cycle, while buses stack up behind and out into the Stewart/Olive mess (where 5th can barely fit a single artic bus at a time).

If they switched the right lane to bus only, they could still allow right turns during off-peak hours with a lagging green arrow (at most maybe six seconds of green). During peak hours (preferably 1400 to 1900), the green arrow would be disabled since it wouldn't serve anyone, benefiting both peds leaving work and buses who need to get a move-on. A double solid white line could be used about 100 feet prior to the right turn, with flexible bollards in between the lines, to keep cars from turning from the middle lane (making them wait behind the bus) (the bollards would extend beyond the crosswalk but end before the right lane of Pine). Ideally, this would frustrate drivers enough for most to not bother at all.

Or, you could change nothing, as it works mostly fine as-is. But I like to be creative, and see what else might work. Dongho Chang and Co seem to have an endless budget, so if a bus lane finally did make its way to fifth, they could try and do some interesting stuff.

The Denny lane has been pushed back to 2019, last I heard. It's dependent on when the substation is finished with the under-street lines.

Thanks for the tip. I was reading an article on the Urbanist that said it was gonna happen this summer, but I've seen no progress.
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Bruce

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Re: Seattle's Third Avenue
« Reply #9 on: August 06, 2018, 10:47:24 PM »

Bus-only markings will be applied to 3rd Avenue sometime this month.

jakeroot

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Re: Seattle's Third Avenue
« Reply #10 on: August 06, 2018, 11:01:56 PM »

If they're going to apply the markings that closely, they should really place the phrasing from farthest to closest (i.e. top to bottom, the way things are read).
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