Unneeded bus lane will cost taxpayers thousands

by: David Ham Updated:

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Drivers on the northbound side of Aurora Avenue from North 63rd Street to Winona Avenue may see a bus lane painted on the ground, but it's not part of a route used by any Metro Transit buses.

And correcting those lane markings will cost taxpayers thousands.

"We do recognize that we make mistakes, and we'll be out there right away to make sure we correct them," said Seattle Department of Transportation engineer Dongho Chang.

Crews painted the lettering, called "legends," on the three-quarter-mile stretch a few weeks ago.

Drivers and cyclists noticed.

"The bus comes around this way, and it doesn't even come up around Aurora on this end, so that's odd," said David Jensen, of Seattle.

It's true. The buses exit Aurora Avenue right after North 63rd Street and get back on Aurora at Winona Avenue.

SDOT said engineers came up with the plan that included the mistaken bus lane, and it was approved by Metro.

KIRO7 asked how this could happen.

"So Metro and SDOT reviewed the plans, and we were coordinated on the entire corridor. The short section on the northbound side just got missed," said Chang.

Rochelle Ogershok, from Metro, said in an email that there "appears to have been an oversight."

"I think it's mismanagement at its highest regard," said John Vitale, of.

"We will correct it. We own up to it; we did make a mistake. Fortunately, it was a very small error we will go ahead and correct," said Chang.

Crews will grind down 10 of the legends that say "Bus Only" by Sunday.

SDOT said fixing the mistake will cost only about $5,000.

But drivers like Vitale say the problem has created a bigger issue of not only confusion, but it adds to the traffic congestion.

"I think it impedes traffic coming down (state Route) 99 or Aurora Avenue after you leave the Aurora bridge," said Vitale.

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