After returning with additional modifications, Metro gained approval from the Burien City Council for RapidRide H improvements (previous coverage here). See Omaha Sternberg on Twitter for the play-by-play. You can read Metro’s full proposal (Alternative C) on the Burien website (PDF).
RapidRide H, the upgraded version of Metro Route 120, will use Business Access and Transit (BAT) lanes for much of its route through Burien, thanks to the rechannelization scheme that passed the council last night. Ambaum Way SW, which is five lanes wide in many areas, will get BAT lanes, two general purpose (GP) lanes, and a center turn lane. Previous alternatives proposed more aggressive rechannelization. The new Alternative C has no real road “diets,” since no lanes are being removed, they are simply being repurposed for BAT use. The main exception is a short, curved stretch of Ambaum Way, which will go from 4 lanes to 3. I’m not personally familiar with this stretch, but the fact that someone thought to put concrete barriers between the road and the sidewalk certainly suggests that it has serious safety issues.
To ameliorate motorists’ concerns about being stuck behind the bus, Metro will avoid placing bus stops in areas where the road narrows to “only” 3 or 4 lanes. That will mean stop spacing approaching half a mile in some spots, which is normal for rapid transit but has not been the norm for RapidRide.
The new alternative will only slow cars by 5-8%, while decreasing bus travel times by 13% in both directions. New pedestrian crossings and signals will further enhance safety. RapidRide H will launch in 2020; Metro projects 12,800 riders by 2023.
Photo by Zach Heistand, via STB Flickr Pool