RapidRide H, the new line that will replace Metro Route 120 in downtown, Delridge, White Center, and Burien, will feature 0.3 mile stop frequency and new bus lanes, according to the latest designs. SDOT and Metro plan to finish design in
spring summer 2019, and open bidding for the project by the end of the year, with the goal of opening in 2021.
Metro’s Jerry Roberson and SDOT’s CJ Holt presented the 10 percent plans for the H line to the City of Seattle’s Transit Advisory Board on Wednesday. They also commented on preliminary RapidRide plans for the Rainier Valley/Route 7 corridor.
The H line will serve a heavily transit-dependent, highly diverse area, and will make an essential connection to the Link system at the Delridge stop. Burien, White Center, and the south end of West Seattle won’t see Link service until a future Sound Transit package, if ever.
The presentation focused mainly on right of way improvements. The entire corridor in Seattle city limits would be rechanneled. Traffic calming and lower speeds are a priority throughout the corridor.
“I don’t like to use the term ‘road diet,’ but this is a safety enhancement road diet,” Roberson said about plans for a particularly dangerous stretch of the route, a winding road segment of Ambaum Boulevard SW in Burien.
Other improvements include signal changes, stop consolidation, and pedestrian mobility and safety improvements. According to Holt, SDOT would perform “full street reconstruction, including drainage,” on the more than two mile long stretch of Delridge between the West Seattle Bridge and Sylvan Way.
SDOT would construct the most substantial right of way changes between SW Andover Street and SW Alaska Street, on the part of Delridge Way that connects to the West Seattle Bridge. That segment of Delridge is often congested during peak hours, so SDOT would implement 24 hour BAT lanes. The segment would also feature a planted median with a turn lane.
Farther south, SDOT plans to convert existing parking lanes between SW Graham Street and SW Holden Street into peak hour BAT lanes. SDOT would install a northbound queue jump at Sylvan Way SW, and a southbound queue jump at SW Holden Street.
The City of Burien Metro would install BAT lines for its segment of the line, between 128th and 148th.
A significant portion of the route will not see dedicated right of way for buses.
“We are maintaining a lot of the parking between Alaska and Graham, which is a community concern,” Holt said.
The officials took care to lay out Metro and SDOT’s ongoing outreach to future lines’ neighborhoods. Stop consolidation has been controversial in some of the Move Seattle-driven RapidRide conversion projects, particularly in the Rainier Valley line that would replace Metro Route 7, as Advisory Board Co-chair Jennifer Malley pointed out: “I know in the Rainier Corridor, how far apart stops are has been an issue.”
There, neighborhood residents have raised objections to consolidating stops to a 0.5 mile density. Roberson and Holt said that the agencies are taking community concerns into account in planning. Rainier Valley residents have raised issues like the hilly geography of Rainier Avenue, the heavy use of the route for both local and downtown trips, and the danger of area street crossings as reasons to preserve existing stops.
Roberson said that stop consolidation tradeoffs weren’t a significant issue in the case of RapidRide H:
“On average, our stop spacing is between 0.3 and 0.33 miles, so three stations every mile. It wasn’t something we were aiming to do—it actually kind of came out in the wash, because we were looking at our higher-performing bus stops, and opportunities for consolidating. It ended up being about this third-of-a-mile spacing, which ended up being consistent with the Delridge spacing.”
Though Roberson didn’t have detailed, final figures available, he did estimate that the proposed improvements could yield 15 percent reduction in end-to-end travel times.
This post has been updated to correct the agency responsible for the construction of the Burien BAT line, and the correct timeline for final design.