Last week SDOT released new designs and introduced legislation seeking funding for Roosevelt RapidRide. A culmination of two years of process, the Locally Preferred Alternative SDOT is taking to Seattle City Council, and soon thereafter the FTA, represents some wins and losses for transit riders compared to the design shown at last year’s open houses.

The most exciting news is that Roosevelt BRT, now officially called Roosevelt RapidRide, gets a lot closer to rapid, especially through SLU and the Denny Regrade. In addition to using the existing Stewart BAT Lanes southbound as previously proposed, SDOT intends to invest in new Transit Only Lanes on Virginia St northbound, creating a transit couplet between the 3rd Ave Transit Spine and SLU. Unfortunately, it appears that the transition in the Denny Triangle between the couplet and SLU, such as the short southbound segment on Boren Ave, will have the route go through mixed traffic.

In SLU, the plan is for BAT Lanes in both directions along Fairview Ave, from Valley St to Denny Way. This shared bus/bike lane is a huge improvement compared to last year’s concept that had the BRT route fight through mixed traffic by the Mercer Mess. Continuing the good news into Eastlake, the line is now slated to travel on Transit Only street/car lanes on Fairview Ave between Valley St and Yale Ave.

North of Yale Ave N, the line continues in mixed traffic as previously proposed through the rest of Eastlake and into North Seattle, splitting into a couplet, with queue jumps at unspecified intersections, though presumably similar to the ones explicitly mentioned last year. Importantly, the funding proposal sets the terminus by the future Roosevelt Light Rail station, with no extension from Roosevelt to Northgate in the near future, and SDOT still intends to electrify the route. For bicyclists, the project invests in protected bike lanes throughout Eastlake through Roosevelt, such as along 11th/12th Ave, Eastlake Ave, and parts of Fairview Ave.

The legislation will be heard by the Transportation Committee on July 18th at 2pm. Should the Full Council adopt the Locally Preferred Alternative and accompanying funding measure (this is separate from Move Seattle funds which is already secured), the City can go to the FTA this fall to seek additional grants, with an outcome next summer. If federal funding cannot be secured, the Roosevelt-Downtown HCT project will have to go back to the drawing board for revision. In the mean time, now is the chance to learn more about the project and engage elected officials as they formally consider Roosevelt BRT.

50 Replies to “Roosevelt RapidRide goes before Council”

    1. I don’t know the official timeline, but at best I’d assume a year or two to get funding, a year or two for the EIS (which is required before grants are released), a year or two for construction, two or three years to order the buses (because of manufacturers’ backlogs), and a year for testing and contingencies. The first two and the next two can proceed concurrently.(Ordering the buses before the EIS is finished could lead to ordering the wrong kind or number of buses, and run afoul of federal grant restrictions that require an unbiased EIS without a predetermined result.) So adding all those up is 4-6 years, so 2021-2023, around the time of North Link. If Congress abolishes small transit grants or we don’t make first place (or they award a grant for the CCC and say two grants are too many for one city), then it would be delayed indefinitely until alternative funding is found.

      1. Groan. Yet another really useful project bumped aside by that useful-for-a-few-people CCC.

      2. I disagree. I used to hate streetcars too, but I think the FHSH and SLUT have given them a bad rap. They last WAY longer than buses, have significantly lower operations costs, and if CCC gets its own ROW like it ought to, and if it can operate at high enough speeds/frequencies, I’ll be better than BRT for sure.

      3. Just about every modern streetcar in the U. S. has given them a bad name, because they rarely make sense. It is unusual in the U. S. to need that kind of density on the street, or have a railway you can leverage (the two primary advantages to streetcars —

        As far as longer lasting, I doubt it. Run a bus on level ground with an electric wire and it will last a long time, too. Same with lower operations cost — that only is the case if you run it less often, and that only makes sense if you have higher capacity and you’ve already maxed out the headways. That will never happen with our streetcars, because our streetcars are no bigger than our buses. It is remarkable how poorly suited the streetcars are, given our topography and history with the trolley buses.

  1. This is good news, but I can never understand why the 66 could not remain in service until this BRT/Rapid Ride replacement takes place.

    1. So, you look at why Metro deleted the 66. I’m guessing it’s because Metro considered it a paramount priority to get full-time frequent service to Roosevelt and connect it to UW Station. Previously Roosevelt had 15-minute daytime/Saturday service on the 66/67, and half-hourly evening/Sunday service on the 66. The Eastlake segment was half-hourly, which is a coverage level of service, not useful for many trips or spontaneous trips, and the service hours were detracting from more frequent service on the 70 and 71/72/73X which serve more people’s destinations. Plus Metro wanted to saturate the gap between U-District Station and UW Station to mitigate the lack of train service to the U-District, so it threw as many buses as possible at it. the 65/67 through-route which came late in the game also turned out to be convenient. And the 66 south of Campus Parkway had lackuster ridership. All of that conspired against keeping the 66. That does leave a transit gap on Eastlake between Denny Way and Galer Street, which the 66 and 25 used to provide, but Metro decided to let that go, and Roosevelt RapidRide won’t serve it either. (Although Metro’s 2040 plan restores if via two QA/Magnolia – Aloha Street routes.)

      Also, remember that Roosevelt RR is SDOT’s baby, not Metro’s. Metro merely incorporated it into its plan. SDOT and Metro planners don’t always agree on corridors; that’s why one giveth and the other taketh away at the same time.

  2. “…the City can go to the FTA this fall to seek additional grants, with an outcome next summer. If federal funding cannot be secured, the Roosevelt-Downtown HCT project will have to go back to the drawing board for revision.”

    Looks like it’s going to go back to the drawing board, because I find it hard to imagine the likes of Donald Trump giving us anything.

    I suppose we could just keep the existing plan, but put it on hold, however long it takes, until a Democrat occupies the White House. (But even then, the backlog of so many other cities doing the same thing is going to make things very tight).

    1. It’s not Trump; it’s Congress. The grants come as part of a larger federal budget, and the horse-trading isn’t done yet to say whether transit grants will survive or not. I don’t see Trump vetoing the budget over a tiny percent of transit grants. And he won’t be involved with specific grants, he’d just look askance a the whole program. More troubling would be whoever he appoints in the FTA that would be involved with specific grants, but I don’t remember who’s in the FTA now or what they’re like.

  3. This is good to hear, but with one caveat. I get why they’d want a terminus before Northgate, but it seems unfortunate to invest in Rapid Ride from 45th to 65th (which is well-served by buses and a short distance between future Link stations) but not add service between Northgate and 65th (a greater distance between stations and less bus service). I’d argue the need is greater between 65th and Northgate than 45th and 65th.

    Making the 70 a Rapid Ride will be great. Hopefully there will be a consolation for Maple Leaf at some point.

    1. I lived at 56th for eighteen years, and I can see how people make overlapping trips all along Roosevelt-Eastlake. Roosevelt is in the center of the U-District upzone, so more people are coming, and it will soon be closer to the middle of the dense area rather than west edge. No matter where you split the routes, it will harm some trips — whether at Campus Parkway, 45th, or 65th. But you can’t serve contradictory goals simultaneously; e.g., Roosevelt to Eastlake and Roosevelt to Pacific Street/UW Station. The largest number of riders are south of 65th, because that’s where the most density and destinations are. That may sound against your experience, but more than half the riders were never on the 66 or 67, they were on the 70. This line is probably going to replace the 70. It follows the 70’s corridor more than the 66’s. The extension to 65th just makes it serve even more trips, like me for instance when I was going from 56th to physical therapists (two at different places) and my dad’s on Eastlake.

      It’s unfortunate that it’s not going all the way to Northgate, but that’s just because of the limited budget. The Eastlake/Fairview bike situation turned out to be far worse than they anticipated, so they’re spending significant money to fix it, and that’s why it’s going to Northgate and there won’t be transit lanes on Eastlake. It’s better to build part of it than nothing, and to start with the highest-volume part.

      Also, in the U-District restructure, the 67 was intended to run every 10 minutes. It and the 45 were dropped to 15 to extract hours to boost the 71 and 73. I have never liked the 71’s tail but I’ve argued that 15-minute service on 15th to 65th is important, even if drops Roosevelt to 15. I still mostly think that but I’ve started to question it again, because it would be nice to have at least one 10-minute north-south corridor in northeast Seattle.

      1. I don’t mind splitting it like that. That all makes sense. I just think they should also improve the slow, circuitous 67, or (when Northgate opens) run the 63 all day between Northgate and Roosevelt, or find some way to better connect those stations.

      2. Surely the 70 won’t be eliminated. There is a strong Eastlake-UW Market. Making people walk from 15th to Roosevelt every trip will be a non-starter.

        I realize that having two trolleys, one RapidRide and one local with different stop spacing, sharing wire will be a problem. Perhaps the 70 can be demoted to a diesel run from Lower Queen Anne to the U?

        However, it is accomplished, the link between Eastlake and campus needs to continue.

      3. @Richard – I disagree, I thought the whole point of these projects what to replace the existing, non-RR routes? Would you expect 120 to continue after the Delridge RR starts, or the 12* to continue on after Madison BRT line?

        *19th Ave will obviously still get trolley service, but someone at Galer & 19th will no longer have a 1-seat ride downtown, IMO.

      4. I agree with Richard, dropping the 70 would be a major loss for UW. The solution might be some sort of 74/70 hybrid that moves the 74 back to the Ave in order to serve UW plus the U-District Station, then follows the 70 route through Eastlake.

      5. What AJ said.

        I doubt very seriously that the 70 will exist once this is built. This replaces it, as it is almost exactly like it, except extended from 50th to 65th. There is value in cutting through the U-District, but that takes time, and wasn’t considered worth it. Something like the 49, though, will still exist, and provide some of the same coverage as the 70, while providing a transfer for those unwilling to walk four or five blocks to this bus.

      6. Ross,

        The 70 doesn’t go through the U-District, it goes to the U-District (it loops at 50th/52nd). And a LOT of people from SLU and along Eastlake want to go to the U-District, in particular to the large educational institution along it’s eastern border.

        While walking from 41st or 42nd and 11th NE isn’t horrible, walking to 42nd and Roosevelt is, because 11th NE and Roosevelt both have to be crossed at beg-button lights. People here are constantly complaining — rightly I agree — about the terrible transfer experience around HSS. Any bus transfer rider has to cross-at least one arterial or climb up to the fifth floor of the station every round trip, and it can take six to ten minutes to negotiate.

        Well, how long does it take to walk from 15th NE to Roosevelt on 42nd, including two beg buttons? At least that long and there is no shelter anywhere along the route.

        I’m not saying that the 70 has to be a trolley running exactly the same route to and from the ID that it does today. But some service directly between NE SLU (Fred Hutch) and at 15th NE needs to be retained. It can start in Lower Queen Anne or out at Smith Cove; whatever. But it needs to run through the Eastlake corridor.

      7. Ross,

        I forgot about the 49. Yes, it’ll provide service to the little neighborhood around Eastlake and Boyer; that’s certainly not nothing. But it’s on the wrong side of the freeway to service the central part of Eastlake except right at Roanoke.

      8. AJ,

        There’s nothing wrong at all with having the RR do the downtown-Eastlake service with its stop diet; most people who live in that corridor are young or healthy houseboaters. But please do not break a transit link that has existed for eighty years and in dependence on which housing decisions have been made by thousands of people.

        The UW-bound line can start from the other end somewhere out west between Denny and Mercer or in Belltown; it can come from First hill via Boren. It can share the RR stops, if that’s allowed. Whatever pencils out best is just fine. But the service need to be preserved.

      9. The 70 is 15-minutes full time. If the route isn’t eliminated it would have to be reduced. How much reduction is acceptable?

        But let’s see, what does Metro have on Eastlake? Roosevelt RR only.

        The 49 is gone in Metro’s LRP. It’s being boosted now because U-District Station isn’t open yet, so it’s still the most direct way from the northern U-District to the northern Broadway commercial area, and it’s the primary Pine Street route. But Metro'[s 2025 plan replaces it with an Othello – Beacon -12th John – Broadway – UDist route.

      10. I understand what you are saying, Richard, but that is simply the trade-off. I argued the same thing when this started. On the one hand, it is crazy to skip the heart of the U-District with your premium service. It would make sense to divert from Roosevelt the same way that the 70 diverts from Roosevelt to serve 15th. It would be trivial to do so, and arguably a much better route. Simply extend the 70 so that it ends to 65th (not 50th) and give it RapidRide treatment.

        The counter argument — the one I eventually agreed made more sense — is that speed trumps convenience. The D does not serve the heart of Ballard. To get to Swedish Hosplital, or the clubs of old Ballard, you need to either take a different bus, or walk a few blocks. But I don’t think anyone would prefer that the bus suddenly curved to serve that neighborhood, even though doing so would better serve the cultural and employment center of the area. It is better to just keep the bus running (fast and frequently) and ask people to either take a different bus or walk.

        I realize that this isn’t exactly the same, since folks have an alternative to the D. But the main alternative — the 40 — does not share much of its route with the D. The 70, on the hand, overlaps with this RapidRide run 90% of the way. This essentially is just an update to the 70, avoiding some of the popular but traffic snarled areas. If the 70 were to continue, it would be very unusual. I don’t know of any line in our system that is like that. There are synchronized lines that split, routes that converge along a main corridor, but none that share the exact same path almost the whole way, then differ by all of five blocks at the very end.

        You also have the issue of mixing a BRT line with a regular line (unless you wanted to make the 70 off board payment as well). This isn’t the end of the world, but it isn’t ideal, either.

        In general, once this goes in, I just don’t see how you can justify running a second line along Eastlake, unless you made this a split (with half the buses headed up to 65th, and the other half to the U-District). That could happen, but it means extra work that is outside of this project. I would rather see us put money into increasing headways here and elsewhere. Run the 49 (and this) often enough that the transfer from the 49 to this line is trivial, or simply live with the fact that riders will have to walk farther to take the bus.

        Put it this way — imagine that Metro does run a second bus line along Eastlake directly to 15th, but runs it every 30 minutes (because the RapidRide carries the heavy load). Wouldn’t you just take the RapidRide and transfer to the 49?

      11. Ross,

        I said several times that I don’t expect the 70 to start and end in downtown Seattle. And I’m not advocating “turning the premium service through the U-District”. I’m saying that you need TWO routes, one for the canonical Downtown-SLU-Upper U-District market that the RR is for and another for the folks who live in the south part of the corridor (and to the southwest) who want to go to the U. Do you not think that there is just perhaps sufficient ridership from Lower Queen Anne, Seattle Center, and South Lake Union — in particular Fred Hutchinson — as well as the folks who live along Eastlake that would like to travel to the University to support 15 minute headways? I do.

        If it makes more sense to turn south at 15th NE and pass by the hospital complex in order to maximize the “health corridor” links instead of going north as the current 70 does, so be it. I don’t have a dog in that fight. The bottom line is that for a rider traveling from the middle of the Eastlake neighborhood to the U, forcing a transfer at Boyer in order to meet some algorithmically optimum model is punitive. It really is.

      12. “The bottom line is that for a rider traveling from the middle of the Eastlake neighborhood to the U, forcing a transfer at Boyer in order to meet some algorithmically optimum model is punitive. It really is.”

        The issue is that this theoretical route doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Every non-essential route takes hours away from service elsewhere. I have long asked for a limited-stop route on Aurora but the counterargument is to put all the resources into one route so it can run at maximum frequency, Metro’s LRP already assumes the cities or a countywide tax increase will fund the capital costs and help with service hours, and that there won’t be another recession, and that there won’t be a drastic cut in federal funds to state in cities that would force them to yank transit funds for more essential things. That’s a lot of if’s to get the network Metro proposes and the level of Eastlake service SDOT assumes, so adding a 70 on top of that… where would it come from, and is this service or that service more justified? Sure if there’s extra money we can throw in a 70 to save people walking five blocks, but if there isn’t, then what?

      13. There is no need to duplicate service with the 70, so it should be eliminated. Roosevelt to 15th is a nothing walk (short, and not a hill)…I lived at Lander Hall for my Husky years, and traversed those blocks many times a day for years. It only takes a few sweat-less minutes, or a transfer to the 49 if you’re desperate.

      14. To be fair, people are going further than 15th if they’re going to class. But that’s the kind of distance they walk between classes anyway.

      15. I also don’t think they will get rid of the 49. It will take a big hit when Northgate Link opens, but it will still be fairly popular. The reason is that Link doesn’t serve all of the UW. There are only two stops close to the UW, and only one stop on Capitol Hill. Let;s say you are trying to get from Campus Parkway to Broadway and Roy. You can definitely take the train, but you end up walking at least 15 minutes. Then there is the time spent going down to the tunnel and back up again. Unless traffic is terrible, it probably makes more sense to just take the bus, especially if it is frequent. Cutting the 49 seems like a much bigger hit than cutting the 70.

    2. There are plenty of people in Northgate and 65th, but not that many between there. Maple Leaf just doesn’t have much in the way of density or destinations. This is in contrast to everywhere south of 65th. For example, between 50th and 55th the density is over 25,000 people per square mile, yet you won’t find anywhere between 65th and Northgate over 10,000.

      The corridor is also narrow through most of the route. It is not much of a walk from University Way, Brooklyn or even 15th over to Roosevelt. That is the basic thinking behind this line. Rather than run through the heart of the U-District, it skirts it, but by doing so, makes for a faster run (as opposed to cutting over and back). But regardless of the particulars, it is a relatively narrow corridor much of the way.

      However, north of 65th, there are several corridors that all branch out: Lake City Way, 5th NE, even East Green Lake Drive. The more densely populated of these corridors don’t go to Northgate (they go to Lake City or around Green Lake). This makes continuing the BRT line a challenge. What would also cut into ridership is that for a lot of people, it would make more sense to take Link, even if you end up on this bus.

      What makes sense then, is to send a bunch of buses on the various corridors towards Roosevelt. The problem with that is that you may end up with watered down service (e. g. every half hour). One remedy would be to truncate the buses at 65th, which will become arguably the best transfer point in our system north of the U-District, with fast transfers to this bus, Link, and a host of other buses headed in various directions. However, while Roosevelt and 65th is a great transfer point, it is not much of a destination. The UW is a much bigger destination, and not that far away.

      These were some of my thoughts when I wrote this:

      1. I can understand the logic here, but for those of us who do live in Maple Leaf (along the Roosevelt corridor) who need a last mile from Roosevelt station, what is the option? Is the 67 going to continue?

      2. I wrote about that on the other post. I call it the 67, and it replaces the 67 and 73. I essentially straighten out the 67, and have it continue on the main corridor of the area: Roosevelt/Pinehurst/15th.

        That connects the Roosevelt, Maple Leaf and Pinehurst neighborhoods; makes for a much straighter, faster run (avoiding the current button hook); and provides fast service to Link for Maple Leaf and Pinehurst. For Pinehurst, this is much faster than the zig-zag to Northgate (probably saving five minutes overall). The drawback is that you lose service on 15th and getting from Maple Leaf to Northgate requires two buses. The first is a small price to pay, and while the second is bigger, I think the trade-off is worth it.

      3. The all-Roosevelt route you envision would be excellent if it weren’t for 80th and Roosevelt. That intersection backs up both ways between 75th and 90th every day morning, evening and sometimes mid-day. It can take ten minutes to get from 90th to 75th some days. And it really can’t be fixed except by a bus tunnel, which clearly isn’t going to happen.

      4. Sorry, Ross, I’m having trouble following your answer here. What’s the other post? Is this just your idea (keeping/straightening the 67), or is this an SDOT proposal? If SDOT is proposing to completely replace the 67 with a Rapid Ride route that terminates at 65th, that sucks for people in Maple Leaf like myself. If there’s some other official plan that keeps a 67ish route that stays on Roosevelt (how far north?), that could certainly work for me. How does it interplay with the new Rapid Ride route?

      5. @Steve — It is the Page 2 post I referenced in the previous comment ( There is a map, and a short blurb explaining a bus route that I call a new 67, which would serve Maple Leaf (and Pinehurst). I would expect such a bus to run fairly often.

        This is just my idea, not anything that SDOT or Metro is proposing. SDOT is simply ending the Roosevelt HCT at 65th. There will be nothing done by SDOT to improve the corridor north of there (unless they find more money somewhere, which would likely require passing another bond issue). Metro hasn’t said anything about a restructure that will follow Northgate Link, other than the long term plans, which they have said are pretty much a sketch of some ideas they are considering ( They have emphasized that there is no reason to assume that the system will look like that.

        I wouldn’t assume that this RapidRide run replaces the 67, as the current 67 covers a much broader area. You are likely going to have service on Roosevelt Way through Maple Leaf, what isn’t clear is where it will go. Will it continue to the U-District? (probably). Will it curl around to continue to serve Northgate or just go straight, to serve Pinehurst, thus replacing the 73? (hard to say). Will it be as frequent as the 67? (probably not, but 15 minute all day service seems reasonable). But those are just my guesses — no one knows what Metro will actually propose, as they haven’t proposed a restructure yet.

        Right now the 67 serves as a vital link between Northgate and the UW. Link will replace that. It also serves the area between 65th and Campus Parkway, which is very popular. This RapidRide bus will replace that. But that doesn’t mean the less popular section that includes Maple Leaf will suddenly go without service, it is quite likely it will have it, just not quite as frequently.

      6. >> The all-Roosevelt route you envision would be excellent if it weren’t for 80th and Roosevelt. …

        Yeah, traffic is bad through there, but that is where the 67 goes right now. Since Metro runs the 67 on Roosevelt now, then I don’t see them suddenly abandoning Roosevelt in the future. Right now the bus that connects Northgate, Roosevelt south of 65th and the UW has to suffer with that horrible stretch. In the future, the horrible stretch would actually be the heart of the route. In other words, right now Maple Leaf is served because it is on the way. But with my proposal, that would be the whole point of it — to serve both Maple Leaf and Pinehurst.

        One alternative is to serve both 5th and 15th. I would be OK with that, assuming you get enough frequency (I really hate buses that don’t run less than every 15 minutes). That is another classic trade-off — speed versus serving the heart of the community. Roosevelt is where the shops and apartments are. There just really isn’t anything (no shops, no apartments) on 15th between Northgate Way and 65th, except for a small cluster of places on Lake City Way. Plus 15th gets bogged down as well, especially heading southbound in the evening.

        From what I can tell, you could build some bus lanes on Roosevelt, for at least one side of the street, much of the way. Right now there is a bike lane as well as parking. I would move the bike lane to different street (a quieter street, like 8th) which would give you enough room to add a bus lane. Even if you kept the bike lane, I think you could have a bus lane — or a jump ahead lane — simply by taking the parking.

      7. @Rossb

        The city has taken several years and has spent thousands of dollars building a protected bike lane on Roosevelt and you propose to move it to another street. Not going to happen as doing that would pouring money down the drain for building it and then moving it. So it will the bike lane on Roosevelt.

  4. Another occasion to point out how goddamned ridiculous it is that we have to do a multi-year environmental process to improve bus service. This is why we can’t have nice things, or rather, why we (eventually) get (excessively expensive) nice (ish) things.

  5. Does anyone know why the route misses Green Lake? It could continue down 5th then cross I-5 on 70th or Weedin Place. There is a lot of density going in there, not to mention that Green Lake itself is a destination. That must surely have higher ridership than the Safeway on 75th

    1. That’s an excellent suggestion, though it would mean that the connection to link southbound would require crossing two arterials.

      SoundTransit’s station designs are to a significant degree extravagant palaces with five story deep concrete moats. There should absolutely, without doubt, be underground extensions of the Roosevelt mezzanine under 12th to the eastside of the street, under Roosevelt to the west side of the street and under 65th to the south side of the street.

      This is what subways do! They have entrances on the “far side” of the streets around them so that people don’t have to wait for traffic signals to access them.

    2. I believe that several people suggested that, when Roosevelt HCT was discussed earlier. I don’t think anything came of it, probably because it was a moot point when they decided to not extend it to Northgate.

  6. The project may be thought of SDOT’s baby, but all RR are the product of several governments: the FTA, Metro, and the local city. Seattle controls the right of way and its share of the funding. But the network design has be shared with Metro. RossB is correct again: the CCC streetcar should be zeroed out and its FTA funds and local capital used for better projects (e.g., sidewalks on frequent transit arterials and RR lines). Does improving the former Route 66 to RR really make good ridership sense in the context of a Link station under Brooklyn Avenue NE and the UW east of 15th Avenue NE. No! Each Link station is like a black hole; they pull in bus routes that are nearby so that riders may easily reach its powerful connections. Note many complain about walking transfers at UW or Mt Baker Link stations; why does SDOT set up more of them for Madison and Roosevelt? Service hours are also scarce and the Seattle TBD funds expire after six years (November 2014: 2015-2021).

    1. RapidRide A-F are Metro’s design, but the ones in Move Seattle are SDOT’s., adapted from Seattle’s long-range plan of 2012. Metro didn’t want the Madison RR corridor or an all-Madison route to Madison Park; it wanted something more like the 11 and a 49-Madison. But when SDOT said we’re building it anyway, Metro designed the network around it. I think Metro is negative on the Roosevelt RR corridor too , but my recollection is hazy on specifics or what an alternative would be. Maybe a RR 70 and more frequent 67? The more-frequent 67 is partly done now, and it probably will be complete (10-minute frequent) as soon as Link frees up some bus hours or the economy generates more hours. Along with the RapidRide lines comes operation costs. Seattle is only doing the capital costs; and the additional hours in Prop 1 are temporary, although they could be renewed or the city could offer other funding, but none of that is certain at this point.

      The same issue happened with the streetcars: SDOT wanted them and built them (and got ST to contribute to FHS’s capital costs), and the city basically strong-armed Metro into operating them and taking the costs out of its Seattle bus operations. That’s a problem because streetcars have higher operating costs than buses, so they displaced more than one bus each. RapidRide also has somewhat higher costs but I’m not sure how much: at least there’s the labor for the double-frequency and maintaining a special-fleet bus. In RapidRide’s case we can at least say it gives higher capacity and frequency in at least approximately the highest-volume corridors, so that’s value for the money.

      When Seattle does something like installing a streetcar or RapidRide line, or Metro does something like a network restructure, the other partner can either cooperate or refuse. Naturally they try not to refuse, so Metro designs its network around SDOT’s preferences, and SDOT allows buses on whichever streets Metro designates (this usually involves coverage routes and/or narrow streets). A true partnership where both make equal contributions and are equally satisfied with the plan, well, hopefully we’re moving toward that. Remember that neither side had any long-term plan at all until Seattle’s in 2012 and Metro’s in 2016, so they’re just starting to get used to planning strategically and getting major input from each other. Hopefully the plans will converge more and get better over time.

      In the case of the Ballard-Children’s line, the 23rd-Rainer line, and the Delridge-Burien line, I think both agencies preferred the same alternative. So there’s convergence there.

    2. As far as this not serving the Brooklyn Link station, I don’t think that is that big of a deal. This will serve the Roosevelt Station really well, so if you are coming from the north, it is fine (you just get off the train earlier). From Westlake or farther south, it is fine, too. The only connection problem involves Capitol Hill. If this served the Brooklyn station, then you could take the train north, then connect to this bus route. But the 49 makes that connection, so I really don’t see it as being that big of a problem. If you are headed to Eastlake, then you take the 49 north, then this bus south (which is probably better than if you went took the train to Brooklyn and headed south). If you are headed to somewhere on Roosevelt, you can backtrack from the Roosevelt station, or take something like the 45.

      The real question is whether it is OK to skip the heart of the U-District and the UW itself, and skirt it instead. That question has been debated up above, between Richard and me.

      1. Ross,

        Again, I don’t have a problem with the Roosevelt BRT/RR being the main carrier for the upper U-District. The Roosevelt/11th couple is clearly more central to the strip between 7th (the freeway) and 15th which is filling up Rapidly (pun). In fact, 11th is geographically and numerically exactly half way.

        I just think you can’t orphan the Eastlake corridor’s connection to campus. My original post used the term “the 70” but I am totally fine with a non-trolley coming from LQA/Smith Cove, Belltown/Amazon or First Hill/Boren being the lower end of the route. Just because we have a way cool, super-fast subway between campus and downtown doesn’t mean the the neighborhoods on the “near-side” periphery of downtown shouldn’t still have direct bus service to the second largest job cluster and by far the largest mid-day ridership generator in the city. If one can walk to a Link Station OF COURSE one would ride it to campus. But only a minority of people living in “greater Downtown Seattle” have that opportunity.

        There’s a subway under Market Street in San Francisco and there are still over ten bus lines that run down Market Street of their route. The folks who live in Western Addition aren’t forced to ride down to Civic Center and transfer to the Muni Metro for a two station ride. Some people do do that, but most just stay on the bus and get off at their destination.

        But I’m obviously in the minority on this, so there it is.

  7. In general this is much better, but I see a couple problems — one big and one small. I’ll go over the small one first:

    In Section C, from Yale to Fairview, the northbound transition from D to B (from Valley to north of Fairview) does not look good to me. For regular vehicles, you have one northbound lane, then two northbound lanes, then back to one. When there is one northbound lane, you also have a middle turn lane. There is no need for that middle turn lane between Yale and Fairview (I guess) so they decided to just make that a regular northbound lane. It seems to me that they should simply extend the northbound bus lane right to the point where it is back to one lane. Otherwise cars will simply cut in front of the bus before merging back into the one lane. It also isn’t good for drivers — you reward squirrel drivers, who switch lanes for a few blocks while forcing drivers to merge only a few blocks up. I’m not sure what they were thinking, other than maybe they need a holding area to relieve some of the pressure. Bad idea — just extend the bus lane, or put some planters in the median if you don’t want to add a turn lane.

  8. Now for the big issue:

    Southbound traffic north of the ship canal looks terrible based on this plan, and the bus will be stuck with everyone else. As it is, traffic crawls through here. But this proposal will make it worse. Right now there are two lanes heading south on Eastlake. Now there will be one. That means that the bulk of the drivers who cross the bridge heading south will merge into one lane. Ouch!

    There are ways to make it better for buses, but none of them are easy:

    1) Make the right lane a bus only lane (with general purpose right turns allowed). This essentially moves the merge point further up stream, which won’t really change things for those headed to Eastlake. It will actually make it better for those who are planning on taking a right turn before the bridge. But it makes it much worse for folks headed to Fuhrman. Making matters worse, it will be very difficult to enforce. On a typical afternoon, traffic backs up on NE 40th, as people try to get south over the bridge. They now would merge and suddenly have to get out of the right lane (which is bus only). Except with traffic backed up, they of course will block that right lane, while folks slowly let them in. A standard “take your turn” approach can’t happen without getting into that lane, and it will simply block things. One way to solve the problem, though, is to add a traffic light on 40th, which would operate the way that on ramp lights operate. When traffic is light, it is off, but when traffic is heavy, cars are only allowed at set intervals (e. g. every ten seconds). There would still be a delay, but not that big of one.

    2) Take the left lane (except for left turns). If you allow those headed to Fuhrman to use this lane, this makes like much better for them. The problem is that I think that would fill up pretty quickly with cheaters. If the right lane simply isn’t moving (with two lanes of traffic merging into one) there will be drivers that will move into the fast lane, take a left turn, then come back to Eastlake on Franklin. If you don’t allow folks headed to Fuhrman to use the left lane across the bridge, then they are stuck in traffic again. Then you have the issue of bus stops. You can add some left lane bus stops (these have dual doors) so that isn’t impossible to fix. You could have left side boarding north of the bridge, then right side boarding south of it. Unfortunately, that would be more expensive, as there already are a bunch of bus stops there (with bulbs).

    3) Take parking north of the bridge. As shown on the main page, there are two general purpose lanes and one parking lane. The biggest problem with taking a parking lane is that most of them are currently carved out via curb bulbs. You would have to essentially widen the street (from a pedestrian standpoint) which is not only expensive, but could be unpopular. Then you have the businesses, that depend on parking not only for customers, but for supplies. One compromise would be to turn the right lane into a bus only lane (100% of the time) but only allow parking outside of rush hour. This means that general purpose traffic is two lanes during rush hour, and one lane the rest of the day. This really does nothing about the traffic problems on the bridge itself, but it at least gets buses moving right to the edge of it.

    Personally, I think a combination of one and three makes makes the most sense. Make the right lane bus only across the bridge, as well as north of it. Farther north (where you have room) you take the parking. That way general purpose traffic has two lanes to get to 45th, but from there, they have to merge into one. Interestingly enough, as of the current Google Street View, there is just this sort of merge right now:

    But none of these solutions are cheap or easy. I have a feeling nothing will be done about this issue before this is officially launched. This will lead to a very good line for getting out of downtown, and a very frustrating one for getting to it. This project was more about the bikes, and less about transit. This is a major bike corridor, but with Link, a relatively minor transit corridor — especially north of the ship canal (where the big problems will occur). The lack of money and low priority means that this is really just a starter line. One of the nice things about surface bus projects is that they are relatively cheap to fix later. Eventually, if we are lucky, we will do the hard work of building a fast corridor for much of this route. But for now, we will live with half a loaf, which is much better than nothing.

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