The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) is planning to restrict lane changes in the Howell Street corridor in order to clear up a significant choke point for afternoon traffic leaving downtown Seattle. The restriction is designed to improve the flow of traffic, and to improve the speed and reliability of transit buses in the corridor.
Currently, traffic on Howell that is waiting to turn right at Yale Avenue onto the southbound I-5 ramp can cause significant delays for buses and other traffic. By requiring all eastbound traffic on Howell that is turning right to southbound I-5 to be in the right-hand lane well in advance of the ramp, the second lane can be kept moving for transit and other traffic. Drivers will no longer be able to stop in the second lane in order to cut into the front of the line of right-turning traffic, backing up traffic behind them.
The two-block restriction on changing lanes on eastbound Howell Street, from Boren Avenue to Yale Avenue, will go into effect on July 1. SDOT will install two solid white parallel lane lines, which are illegal to cross, between the two lanes. To call attention to the new lines, a row of delineator posts will be temporarily placed between the lanes (with breaks to allow for driveway access).
Traffic turning left onto Howell Streets from intersecting streets (from southbound Minor or Boren avenues) will be allowed into the eastbound right lane on Howell. Once on Howell, eastbound traffic between Boren and Yale will not be allowed to change lanes between the two right-hand lanes, so drivers headed for the southbound I-5 ramp, or intending to turn right at Boren or Minor avenues, should plan to be in the right-hand lane before they reach Boren. Eastbound traffic on Howell will not be allowed to turn left onto Yale or Minor during the p.m. peak.
Uniformed Police Officers will be on site to assist drivers and to enforce the restriction on changing lanes.
For more information: (206) 684-ROAD (684-7623)
Media contact: Marybeth Turner, (206) 684-8548