Bus lane mistake to cost taxpayers thousands

SEATTLE - A mistake by the City of Seattle is costing taxpayers thousands of dollars.

It's a huge project changing the lanes on Aurora Avenue North, but along one stretch, Seattle crews made a pricy mistake - painting a bus lane where no buses run.

The Seattle Department of Transportation says plans mistakenly showed a bus lane. Now, erasing the blunder will cost about $5,000, and that's not the only part of the project that has people fuming.

The city is installing new bus lanes on other parts of Aurora to encourage more riders, but some business owners say car traffic will be so slow, customers will stay away.

"You know everybody's worried about it, sure, because it's going to eventually hit your bottom line," Slawek Pyelasinski says.

Some residents say punishing drivers could help the city reach its goal.

"It seems like maybe everyone will be so frustrated they'll ride the bus more," Susannah Anderson says.

And to give buses another advantage over cars, the Transportation Department is recommending re-timing the traffic signals to benefit approaching buses.

Eighteen thousand drivers use Aurora Avenue North every day. To escape the grip of traffic, some drivers use the bus only lanes, but starting Sunday, using a bus lane during the morning and evening commutes will be against the law.