Route 40 - Transit-Plus Multimodal Corridor

Making bus trips faster, enhancing reliability, and improving safety.

Updated May 24, 2024

What's Happening Now?

Construction on the Route 40 Transit-Plus Multimodal Corridor project set to begin as soon as early June!

Since 2020, the community has helped design quality street improvements to provide a safer place for people to get around and keep Route 40 reliable. Your feedback was important in helping us achieve the project goals which include improving reliability, access, and safety along the Route 40 corridor.  


Crews will begin construction starting on Holman Road NW and 3RD Ave NW, and also on N 105th St and N Northgate Way and Aurora Ave N. Construction will include installing updated sidewalks, ADA-compliant curb ramps, and bus stop improvements. 

Construction in Ballard will most likely start this summer while Fremont is scheduled to begin in 2025. We will proactively schedule this project to minimize conflicts, but as with all major construction, travelers should expect some disruptions and lane closures. We are also coordinating with the 15th Ave W/NW Paving and Ballard Bridge Safety Project which will start this summer.

The construction timeline is subject to change. These email updates will keep you informed throughout construction. Please visit our online engagement hub to learn more about the project design.

After construction is complete, we will have the following improvements:

  • Three miles total of business access and transit (BAT) or “Freight and Bus only” (FAB) lanes
  • 6,000+ feet of upgraded sidewalks
  • Three new or upgraded crosswalks
  • Upgraded watermain in Fremont
  • 47 upgraded curb ramps
  • Eight new bus bulbs
  • 5–10% transit travel time reductions

What you can expect during construction:

  • Noise, dust, and large vehicle traffic
  • Temporary parking restrictions for weeks at a time
  • Short-term driveway closures
  • Some nighttime and weekend work to minimize traffic impacts
    Periodic traffic detours
  • Vehicle lane shifts around work zones
  • Some full closures of major intersections
  • Pedestrian and bicycle detours around the work
  • Temporary utility service impacts
  • Flaggers to help direct traffic, as needed
  • Temporary bus detours and bus stop relocations

Fremont Bus Stop 

Based on feedback we heard from the Fremont business community, we are starting a process to move the proposed northbound bus stop on the northwest corner of Fremont Ave N and Fremont Pl N to approximately 250 ft west of it, next to the Lenin statue. As part of this new design change, we will be assessing what changes could be needed to other nearby bus zones along the new proposed bus stop.

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.

 We are committed to keeping you informed and maintaining open communication throughout the remainder of this project. If you would like to learn more about project and construction updates and  you can subscribe to receive our project emails.  

Partnering with King County Metro, we plan to make improvements to this vital transit corridor. 

The objectives of the project are to reduce transit travel times, improve transit reliability, and increase safety and transit access along the Route 40 corridor. 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.

Improvements made as part of this 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 lane markings, and restricting turns for other vehicles so that buses can move faster and avoid right-of-way conflicts, making all travelers safer
  • 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 curb ramps to become ADA-accessible in key locations 
  • New northbound bike lane connection on Fremont Ave N and Neighborhood Greenway connection near 20th Ave NW and Leary Way NW 

Route 40 corridor improvements were first identified as part of the Levy to Move Seattle and King County Metro's METRO CONNECTS program. Based on results of the 2018 Levy Workplan Report, Route 40 will not be transitioned to RapidRide during this project. However, improvements will be designed to align with potential future RapidRide expansion.

Route 40 Background

Running north to south, Route 40 is 13.5 miles long and passes through the neighborhoods of Northgate, Crown Hill, Loyal Heights, Ballard, Fremont, South Lake Union, Downtown Seattle, and Pioneer Square.

Before COVID, Route 40 was one of Metro's highest ridership routes, serving over 13,000 weekday riders — the third highest ridership route in the system behind the D and E Lines. During COVID pandemic, it remains one of Metro's top highest ridership routes, serving an average of over 7,000 customers each weekday.

Route 40 buses are scheduled to arrive every 5 to 10 minutes during peak periods and stops are located approximately every quarter mile throughout the route. However, buses on this route are often slow and unreliable, impacting thousands of people who rely on transit. This project will identify and implement improvements that provide faster and more reliable transit service for Route 40 and other bus routes that share the corridor.

Key Transit Connections

Route 40 connects with some of the highest ridership routes in our system, such as the RapidRide C, D, and E Lines, as well as Route 44. Additionally, Route 40 ends at the Northgate Transit Center, where many regional transit routes come together. Route 40 connects to the Northgate Link light rail station, completed in October 2021, and will connect to the Ballard station to be completed in 2037-39.

Project Map

Route 40 Updated Map

Route 40 improvements include: 

  • 3 miles of Businesses Access and Transit only lanes or Freight and Bus only lanes
  • 47 upgraded curb ramps
  • 8 new bus bulbs
  • 6,000+ feet of upgraded sidewalks
  • 3 new or upgraded crosswalks 

Project Schedule

Schedule graphic at Pre-Construction

  1. Planning (2019-2021): We collected traffic data, reviewed plans, and gathered community experiences to define options.
  2. Design (2021-2023): We are collaborating with the community, working to secure regulatory approval (e.g., Environmental Assessment), and developing a more detailed final design.
  3. Construction (as soon as 2024): We will construct the project and keep the community informed on the latest construction updates, schedule, and expected impacts.
  4. Service launch (planned for 2025)

Anticipated Construction Timeline 

  • 2024: Holman Road, N 105th St/ N Northgate Way and Aurora
  • 2024-2025: Ballard, Leary Way NW, Westlake Ave N
  • 2025-2026: Fremont

This timeline may change depending on weather conditions, crew and materials availability, or other circumstances. We will communicate any schedule changes with the public.

See more on the RapidRide Program update.

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

Community Outreach

Tabling outreach event June 2023 in Fremont.

Tabling outreach event June 2023 in Fremont. (Picture credit SDOT)

Since 2020, we’ve been working with project partners, community members, and neighborhood organizations to gather feedback to help shape the design of the street improvements for the Route 40 project. At key design milestones, we’ve conducted surveys, hosted briefings, and been in the community to gather feedback. Feedback from the survey respondents can be found here: 

Outreach at a Glance 

To see the full list of outreach activities completed during the planning and design phases, please view the Route 40 Transit-Plus Multimodal Corridor Outreach Activities Report

Graphic showing icons of different outreach options.

Other Projects Along This Route

SDOT and Metro are focusing many investments along Route 40. Our project team is in close coordination with the following projects: 

Project Materials


This project is being funded by the 9-year Levy to Move Seattle, approved by voters in 2015 to improve safety for all travelers, maintain our streets and bridges, and invest in reliable, affordable travel options for a growing city. Additional sources include federal grants, state grants, King County Metro funds, and Vehicle Licensing Fees from the Seattle Transit Benefit District.

Environmental Updates

SDOT has determined that the Route 40 Transit-Plus Multimodal Corridor Project will not have a probable significant adverse impact on the environment. As a result, SDOT issued a Determination of Non-significance (DNS) on May 22, 2023. This decision was made after review of the adopted National Environmental Policy Act Documented Categorical Exclusion (DCE) Worksheet and technical reports.

Please see the DNS below for more information. 

SEPA Documents


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Greg Spotts, Director
Address: 700 5th Ave, Suite 3800, Seattle, WA, 98104
Mailing Address: PO Box 34996, Seattle, WA, 98124-4996
Phone: (206) 684-7623

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The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) is on a mission to deliver a transportation system that provides safe and affordable access to places and opportunities for everyone as we work to achieve our vision of Seattle as a thriving, equitable community powered by dependable transportation.