SDOT published a long RapidRide J FAQ in March discussing the alignment details and responses to community concerns. Here’s the project page and a map. Construction will start in 2024 and it will open in 2027. The J will replace Route 70 between the U-District and downtown, running on Eastlake Avenue East and Fairview Avenue North. South of the Ship Canal the routing will be the same but with fewer stops. North of the Ship Canal it will move slightly. The 70 stops on Campus Parkway and 15th Ave NE next to the University of Washington Campus. Northbound the J will remain on 11th with a stop at 41st, then turn east on 43rd and make their last stop at 12th, one block west of the Link station and three blocks west of campus. It will make a non-revenue turn left and lay over on 12th. Southbound it will stop first at 45th & University Way eastbound, then make a U shape to the second stop at 43rd & Brooklyn westbound, at the Link station and two blocks west of campus. Then it will turn left at Roosevelt Way and stop at 41st.
Two activist groups are targeting the J. One is a RapidRide J survey by the Eastlake Community Council. This group has been described to me as “anti-transit and pro-street-parking”. Action: Fill out the survey and check “More rapid bus service” as the highest community priority.
The other thing is a misleading “Save Route 70” flyer on Campus Parkway at the westbound bus stop. I don’t know if it’s the same activist group or a different one. The flyer says “the 70” will move from 15th to Roosevelt. The flyer ominously warns there will no longer be any transit from UW to downtown except for Link, and no transit from UW to SLU. It implies students will have to walk 5 blocks from 15th to Roosevelt, and that that’s so far it’s like losing bus service. In reality, students will walk 2-3 blocks. Students walk more than 5 blocks between classes anyway. If you’re going downtown Link will be faster than the J, and it will run every 4-5 minutes when Line 2 starts in 2025.
Another twist is that some people travel north-south along the entire Roosevelt-Eastlake corridor. They will transfer between the J and 67. From the map in the FAQ and the close-up of 41st Street, it appears that riders both directions will have a one-block walk between the J stations at 41st and the 67 stops at 42nd. Ideally the stops would be consolidated for a same-stop transfer. That may be infeasible since the southbound 67 turrns left at Campus Parkway, the southbound J turns left at 43rd, and the complicated Eastlake-11th-41st triangle northbound.
I used to live on 56th and saw firsthand the many overlapping trips in the Roosevelt-Eastlake-Fairview corridor. 65th has the Roosevelt neighborhood. 55th was my stop and the Friendly Foam Shop (since moved to Pinehurst). 50th-52nd has a library, church, Scarecrow Video, and the Monkey Pub. 47th is Trader Joe’s. 45th has the transfer to the 44. 42nd has UW medical. Eastlake has two physical therapy clinics, retail, entertainment, and my dad’s former office and apartment. SLU has jobs and retail. The entire corridor has tons more retail and apartments beyond those. This is a successful urban corridor that must have good north-south transfers. There’s an unfortunate tradeoff between serving north-south trips on Roosevelt, students going to campus, shoppers going to the Ave, and people transferring to/from Link — because a bus would have to go different ways simultaneously. What we don’t want is the current 67/70 situation, where you have to detour east to Campus Parkway, cross the street, walk another block to the other bus stop, and then backtrack back to Roosevelt/11th. I’ve had to do that.
You might want to mention in the survey — and tell SDOT — to keep the J station at the Link station, and to ensure good north-south transfers between the J and 67.
On-topic comments for this article are about the J, 70, and 67 corridors and their neighborhoods.