Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Hospital's Southbound Shuttles To Permanently Use NE 45th Street To Make Left On To Sand Point Way

At  Monday night's City's SAC (Standing Advisory Commiteee) Meeting, Paulo Nunes-Ueno, Children's Director of Transportation and Sustainability, announced that the temporary re-route of southbound shuttles onto NE 45th Street instead of the previous 40th Avenue NE route, would be permanent.

The shuttles are now re-routed onto NE 45th Street, off of 40th Avenue NE, where they make the left turn onto Sand Point Way and are no longer competing with on-coming traffic. Paulo told us that traffic at the 40th Avenue NE intersection flows more easily as shuttles are no longer waiting to turn with a back-up of cars behind them causing delays and safety issues.
Children's had been testing this revised route since last month after many drivers complained of congestion at the Sand Point Way and 40th Avenue NE intersection with the shuttles holding up traffic turning left on to Sand Point Way as they waited for on-coming traffic to clear at the short green light. In addition, cars backed up behind the shuttles trying to get around them to cross Sand Point Way onto 40th Avenue NE, with little view of oncoming cars. 
Last month the Laurelhurst Blog encouraged readers to submit comments to the Hospital and Paulo told us that the feedback was generally 15 to 1 in support of the change, along with several neighbors concerned about the potential back-up onto the already busy NE 45th Street and the long light at the three point intersection.
Following the feedback, Paulo hired Transpo, a traffic engineering company, to set up a data collection plan to create a baseline using measurements gatherlast month and this month.

"The results show that conditions on 40th Avenue NE and Sand Point Way improved markedly, while the intersection at NE 45the Street and Sand Point Way didn't experience significant changes. This in fact, is what we expected since the left turn from 40th to Sand Point Way causes all traffic to stop, while the primary movement at 45/SPW is a left turn onto Sand Point Way NE," Paulo said.

He added that "based on the data and the feedback we’ve received from the community, we will use this new route as our standard work. Clearly this was a win-win solution that reduces delay and improves safety." 
The previous route, making a left from 40th Avenue NE onto Sand Point Way, was decided by the CAC (Citizens Advisory Committee) during the Master Planning Process a few years ago, so as not to impact traffic on NE 45th Street, one of the main arterials into and out of the neighborhood.

About 18 shuttles per hour are now turning right onto NE 45th Street from 40th Avenue NE and queuing at the light and at less peak times about 6 shuttles are waiting at the light along with neighborhood traffic, Paulo told our staff.

These shuttles, that run every 15 minutes from campus, follow two routes offered exclusively to Hospital employees and patients. The "Green Line" goes from the Hospital to the downtown tunnel and the "Purple Line" goes to the University District for connection to public transportation.

(photo courtesy of SCH website)

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