[Correction: SDOT says in an email the updated concept will have no bus priority east of 18th Avenue, with buses running in mixed traffic from 18th-MLK. The original post has been updated below.]
It’s been roughly six months since we last heard from the (newly funded!) Madison BRT project. Back in May, public feedback generally preferred center-running bus lanes, an MLK terminus, 3 stops downtown (1st, 3rd, 6th), two stops in First Hill (Boren, Boylston/Broadway), as well as a Madison/Spring couplet downtown to connect to University Street Station and Link.
SDOT and the consultant team spent the summer and early fall integrating this feedback with further technical analysis, and they are hosting an Open House at Seattle Public Library on November 16 to unveil their “Complete Concept Design.”
In a phone call yesterday, SDOT staff said that the Complete Concept Design will propose curbside bus lanes for the majority of the alignment, from 1st to 9th Avenues and again from 13th to 18th Avenues
13th Avenue to MLK, with a center-running section in First Hill for the 10-block stretch between 9th-13th Avenues and mixed traffic from 18th-MLK. This mixed profile alignment will likely require coaches with doors on both sides, with right boarding at curbside stops, island boarding on Spring Street outbound (where buses would use the left lane to avoid the I-5 mess), and left boarding on the center-running section. On the short section of Madison shared by both center-running BRT and curb-running Route 60, the latter would have its own stops in the general purpose lane.
Figuring out layover options has been tricky for the project team, due to public feedback that both preferred MLK as a terminus and objected to the best layover candidates on Arthur Place. In October SDOT took feedback on two options for the BRT terminus:
- Options 1A and 1B: This concept would have created two layover spaces on Madison Street in downtown, with a third layover space just off Madison/MLK, either on MLK or on Harrison St. This would result in a split service pattern that would live loop two-thirds of buses in Madison Valley and live-loop every third bus downtown.
- Option 2: This concept would have extended the service deeper into Madison Valley, with a layover for all 3 coaches on the north side of Madison, just west of Lake Washington Boulevard above the Washington Park playfield.
SDOT staff now say that neither of these options will be carried forward, and that the open house will take feedback on a modified ‘Option 1C’. In Option 1, the split service pattern would have added operational complexity in direct contradiction to the project goal of providing seamless, intuitive, reliable service. For example, inbound riders wanting the closest connection to Link at University Street Station would have had a 1-block walk on every third bus, with a 2.5 block walk on other buses. Meanwhile, Option 2’s extension to Lake Washington Boulevard would have added $2m in project costs and likely faced significant neighborhood opposition.
So Option 1C will attempt to find the necessary 3 layover spaces in the vicinity of MLK/Madison, with an added layover on Madison just west of MLK, in addition to using both locations identified in Options 1A and 1B.
For more details, to see maps of the latest concepts, and to ask questions of SDOT staff, please attend the open house on the 16th and make your voice heard.
When: Monday, November 16, 5-7pm
Where: Seattle Public Library, 1000 4th Avenue, 4th Floor, Room 1