The notoriously undependable but much-depended on Metro 8 might be a little more trustworthy thanks to changes planned on Denny Way including two stretches of bus-only lanes and improved bus stops on Capitol Hill segments of its route.
“Though reliability increased when Route 8 was divided into two separate routes in March 2016, late buses are still a problem, especially during rush hour and major events at the Seattle Center,” the agency said in its announcement of the planned streamlining.
On Capitol Hill, Metro announced that “on-street parking will be restricted on short sections of Denny Way, Olive Way, East John Street, and East Thomas Street” and two bus stops on E Olive Way and E John will be expanded “so buses don’t have to leave and re-enter heavy traffic, and to provide more space and amenities for waiting passengers.”
Metro thinks the “most significant change” will be the conversion of the center westbound lane of Denny between Stewart and Fairview into an eastbound bus-only lane. The change is predicted to cut 8 travel time by about 60 seconds, “with minimal impact on traffic according to our traffic studies,” Metro says.
Federal grants will fund many of the projects including the Seattle Department of Transportation’s costs to design and construct changes to its streets. Metro will also add new shelters, benches, and better lighting at bus stops from Denny Way and Second Ave up to 15th Ave E on Capitol Hill.
The Capitol Hill 8 corridor is also being planned for upgrades to make the streets safer for pedestrians. In October, CHS reported on funding lined up for major pedestrian improvements at John/Thomas intersections from Capitol Hill Station to Miller Park.
To reduce construction impacts, Metro and the city are working to coordinate improvements with the Denny Way Substation Project at Fairview. There have been anecdotal reports that recent lane closures around the substation project actually improved traffic flow for buses through the busy area.
The work to better streamline the 8 will be completed in phases through 2017 and 2018, according to the announcement. We’re checking with Metro to learn more about any specific timing for the Capitol Hill elements.
Metro ridership stats put Route 8 at around 10,000 riders per day and early tallies showed the route gained riders after changes to Metro lines in coordination with the start of service at Capitol Hill Station. Projects coordinated between the transit agency and SDOT will stretch from parking changes in Lower Queen Anne to the work on Capitol Hill. The 8 also serves Madison Valley, Judkins Park, and Mount Baker beyond the Hill.