SDOT and Metro are kicking off another feedback session for the newly-named RapidRide J, formerly known as Roosevelt-Eastlake BRT. The route combines pieces of Metro Routes 67 and 70 to provide service through South Lake Union, Eastlake, the University District, and Roosevelt, terminating at the Roosevelt Link station.
I first attended an open house for this project nearly four years ago, yet somehow we’re still five years from opening day. The scoping has been a bit of a roller coaster: what started in 2011 as a high-capacity rapid transit corridor had by 2016 morphed in to an “enhanced bus project” running in mixed traffic. Our 2016 analysis of Link vs. BRT travel times looked pretty bleak, and at its nadir we called it “an electrified and more frequent Route 70+67 and little more.”
In 2017, however, things got a bit better. SDOT added bus priority back in south of Eastlake, including BAT lanes on Fairview and a new inbound bus-only lane on Virginia. However the northern terminus, once set as Northgate, was scaled back to Roosevelt. Finally, last year the opening date slipped to 2024 as part of the Move Seattle reset.
To recap, the corridor will have transit and BAT lanes south of Eastlake, and protected bike lanes through Eastlake and the U-District. Full electrification is still planned, meaning that, unless I’ve forgotten something, the only two electric RapidRide lines, Rainier and Roosevelt, will both open in 2024.
You can provide feedback online or at one of the open houses this month. Agencies are looking for input on station locations, bike parking, and more. Construction begins in 2021.