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.

52 Replies to “RapidRide J Update”

  1. Am I correct that the original version of the J line went all the way north to Roosevelt? So SDOT/Metro truncated the rapid ride in the U District, but at the same time haven’t made plans for a seamless transfer to the (67) bus that would provide the local service to Roosevelt that’s been removed? I’d say I’m surprised, but honestly I’m not considering that something similar is happening in my neighborhood further north with the Lynnwood Link Connections restructure.

    I’d also point out that UW isn’t just students. Plenty of UW employees take transit (I’m 1 of them, albeit not to Eastlake). A 5 minute walk might not seem like a big deal, but going from a 7 minute walk to a 12 minute walk could be the straw that convinces some riders that they need to start driving. Everyone has their limits to how far they are willing to walk before they switch to another modality.

    1. Seattle’s 2014 transit master plan recommended extending the SLU streetcar to the U-District, and there was discussion of potentially extending it to Northgate. Mayor Murray changed the recommendation to RapidRide. The Move Seattle ballot measure had RapidRide to U-District Station as it’s doing now. After the vote during early Alternatives Analysis, the public requested to extend it to Northgate or 65th. SDOT said the Move Seattle budget couldn’t afford Northgate but it would do 65th. Later it was reduced to the U-District, its original extent. I don’t remember exactly when or why, but several Move Seattle projects were reduced due to the budget being overoptimistic, and the covid recession reduced resources further.

      The 65th extension created a dilemma that buses would have to either bypass U-District Station or detour it. Either way would help some riders and hurt others. It chose to stay on Roosevelt/11th, which would have required students to walk to there. When it was truncated to the U-District, that problem went away, but it created the other problem of less-good J+67 transfers.

      Where is a 5, 7, or 12-minute walk now? In the current Lynnwood Link bus restructure proposal (which has an article coming), students can take the 67 at the current stops, the J northbound at 12th, or the J southbound at University Way. There’s no right to have a bus right on 15th. The 45 and former 71/72/73 never stopped closer than the Ave. The J’s northbound stop is only 2 blocks beyond that. It would affect only people going to Eastlake or SLU, which is a small portion of U-District bus riders. And in compensation they’ll get more frequent service, faster service, and more pedestrian-friendly streets.

      1. I did a quick Google map check from my office, which is near Drumheller fountain. The closest current southbound 70 stop is 15th and Campus Parkway (7 minute walk). The closest southbound J stop appears to be 11th and 41st (12 minute walk). I’ll be turning 40 later this year and the frequency of medical issues I’ve had with my legs has been gradually increasing. If I lived along Eastlake, I honestly don’t know whether or not I’d put up with the extra walk time every day to keep taking the bus. But neither would I be thrilled about transferring to another bus on 11th that would take me through campus. So my personal perspective is that while this is an increase in frequency, it’s a decrease in overall utility.

      2. See the close-up map on page 9 of the FAQ. I spent time investigating the U-District routing because the maps aren’t fully clear and my first interpretation was wrong. The dark red line is southbound and has stations at 45th & University Way and 43rd at the Link station. The pink line is northbound; the last stop is at 43rd & 12th in the southwest corner. The red spots with a J are new RapidRide stations. The two bus icons are existing stops the J will stop at but the stops won’t be enhanced, for reasons in the FAQ. You can email Metro to confirm these stops if you wish.

      3. I mean, you can email SDOT. SDOT is leading the capital project and determining the stops and routing. Metro seems to be just the operator.

      4. To get a detailed view of the stops, check out the “Project Maps” under “Project Materials”. The first one is “NE 43rd St to NE Campus Parkway” at this URL: If you are approaching from the west, this adds about five minutes of walking ( If you are approaching from the west, this saves the same amount. If you are approaching from the east and feel like this additional walk is too much, you could hop on a bus and transfer, as both buses converge onto the station. Heading to the U-District, the last stop for the J will be at 43rd, between 12th and Brooklyn. Heading from the U-District to downtown, the first stop will be on 45th, between Brooklyn and The Ave. The bus then loops around and makes another stop at 43rd, also between Brooklyn and the Ave. This means that the transfer between buses that go to lower campus would be easy, and at worse you have some backtracking (if you don’t want to walk the extra five minutes).

        I can definitely understand how someone wouldn’t like the current routing. But I don’t see it as being fundamentally flawed, like some other routes. The transfer to Link should be pretty quick. The transfer to the 44 (for trips to and from Wallingford and Ballard) looks better. For trips to lower campus or Montlake, it looks worse. More than anything, the design seems be based on the long term plans, while simultaneously dealing with Link in the short term. Technically, the bus doesn’t have stops, but “stations”. This is more than terminology. They are fancy, with ORCA readers, and special shelters, etc. This adds considerably to the cost. The added stations along Roosevelt/11th make sense in the long run. Eventually the bus will stay on the Roosevelt couplet, and not veer off to the station (and back). It will keep going, right past the Roosevelt Station. But since it isn’t that far north, it makes sense for the bus to veer towards the U-District Station. There is a strong argument for keeping the current routing, but that would mean spending more money on “stations” that eventually are abandoned.

        To me, this once again points out how absurd the BRT and BRT-light world is. This project cost a lot of money, and some of it came from the federal government. It is taking well over a decade. The most important thing — the most value added by far — is just paint. The same thing they will add for the 40, without all of the hoopla. Much of the money is going to be spent on kiosks, and special stations, that while nice, are not essential. It is these stations, along with buses that are different colors (and admittedly off-board payment which is valuable) that lead to the unusual routing. It isn’t necessarily bad, it is just unnecessarily different. If they were doing nothing but adding extra right-of-way (which is sorely needed) they could keep the same routing until they could afford to run the buses up to 65th. But then the government wouldn’t chip in money, since that is just a “regular” bus route, not “BRT”.

      5. RR J is just a bike infrastructure project leeching onto transit funds, what does this project do for transit other than branding the existing articulated buses into red? Some floating bus stops that only benefit spandex warrior cyclists thinking they are Lance Armstrong as they race to UDistrict while endangering bus riders crossing the bike lanes to get to the bus stop?

      6. There are some significant bus improvements. The bus should avoid the worst of the congestion, and have much faster travel times. As for people biking, most are trying to get around without getting killed. The ones going really fast don’t care about bike lanes — they just ride in the street.

      7. @poncho

        It was originally meant to reach Roosevelt — actually most of the money was basically allocated to extend the electrical overhead wires there. But now without money they’ve basically only kept the bus stations and bike lanes

    2. It has gone through so many changes, it is hard to remember what it was originally. It was called Roosevelt BRT, then Roosevelt RapidRide and now RapidRide J. Officially the planning started in 2014. Now they plan on opening in 2027. It lasted pretty much the entire Murray and Durkan administration, as well as the two short term mayors in between (Harrell and Burgess). Officially this is the fifth administration to oversee the project (although Harrell was mayor before). It is a ridiculously time consuming project.

      To be fair, there are particulars that make it complicated. It is also a major bike path. I would say it is more important for bikes than buses, but it is still plenty important as a transit corridor. One of the early decisions was deciding on a mode. A streetcar would have been overkill, added to the cost, and likely not only delay the opening, but everyday travel as well. But at one point, early on, they planned on moving the existing streetcar, which would have cost quite a bit (it costs a bundle to move rail). Fortunately, they went with bus service.

      The earliest document I can find is this one: It had it going up to Northgate. That eventually got cut to 67th, with hope that it would eventually get to Northgate ( This has now been cut to 45th, with hopes that it will eventually go further north. At this point, I’ll be thrilled if they build anything. To be fair, the plans still look like a big improvement. But when you compare it to the 40 (which seems to be moving along just fine) the timeline is crazy. Even when you include the bike lanes, it shouldn’t take that long.

      Personally, I wouldn’t send the bus to Northgate. I would either go with the 67th loop, or send it to Lake City. Either way, I would get rid of the 67, and send the 348 on Roosevelt until it doglegged over to The Ave using Ravenna Boulevard (like the current 73). Same direction transfers along the corridor would be easy. There would be some overlap, but in areas with a lot of riders. Getting to the campus from Eastlake would require a little bit more walking, but the bus would be faster. People from the north headed to Eastlake would transfer at Roosevelt Station, instead of the U-District.

  2. The original idea was to reach Roosevelt station

    However from U district to Roosevelt doesn’t have the overhead wires. From what I remember that quite costly around 50/100? million dollars (I’ll try to find the pdf) for the installation of overhead wires. When they ran out of money they shortened the route back to u district. I guess if IMC busses become used this would help out this route reach Roosevelt

    The project is now mainly a brt bus station installation and dedicated bike lane. I guess to be fair there are some BAT lanes in slu being added.

    1. Something wrong with those figures for overhead wires. Even if you allow for inflated bids, trolleybus overhead wouldn’t cost more than $2million per mile, including additional electric substations.

    1. The survey was a ‘push poll’ promoted by anti-transit, anti-bike NIMBYs only on a local Eastlake facebook page subscribed by like-minded neighbors to demonstrate opposition to the RapidRide J project. As soon as it got more widely shared, they slammed the door.

  3. One comment typical of an Eastlake Community Council group on Facebook:

    “I am not opposed to safe cycling. It’s the removal of parking FOR bike lanes that rarely get used. Cyclists in Eastlake usually take the scenic route with less traffic stops.
    I have already seen a decline in business during the day with all street parking taken up by construction workers (thank goodness I know it will end in our area. . .for a while). In the evening one needs a zone permit to park so there is only street parking for businesses that aren’t lucky enough to have their own parking.“

    They are obsessed with parking – particularly for parking in front of a handful of businesses on Eastlake Ave.

    1. A more generous read might be that they are obsessed with business increasing, and bike lanes used for thru-riding may indeed reduce the number of patrons to some businesses, if those businesses depend primarily on driving customers. One could well suggest ways to mitigate this, but it is not unreasonable, for the business owners, to resist the change, even if it is good for the city overall. I just wouldn’t read malice in it, the attitude is well explained by self interest.

    2. Parking for retail is a very tricky and important thing in an urban environment, especially one as undense as Seattle that has almost no onsite parking requirements, so neighborhood residents and visitors have to park on the street. Car ownership in Seattle has grown faster than population growth over the last decade. To expect folks to give up cars and the safety cars provide because parking is eliminated generally does not work, and ends up killing retail.

      SDOT has often used street parking to help create retail parking by placing time limits on parking, and increasing or decreasing parking rates like in the CID and on Capitol Hill. One of the main demands by the CID in its opposition to a station for DSTT2 (and before then) was the lack of adequate public parking, and the cost of street parking which was reduced.

      The other solution is you have housing density without retail in the neighborhoods, when there is very little retail vibrancy in the CBD/downtown. If Seattle had a very vibrant and dense downtown retail scene that would be different, but it doesn’t, and Seattle has chosen to disperse most of its retail into the neighborhoods. If folks can’t park to shop near that retail they will go where they can park, like U Village or the eastside, and soon Northgate, and those neighborhood businesses then fail, and the neighborhood residents have to drive or take a bus to somewhere with retail.

      I worked in the Smith Tower for decades and could see up 2nd Ave. I very rarely saw any bicyclists using the dedicated bike lane along 2nd.

      1. Exactly, street parking is actually very important to good urbanism, vibrant cities and pedestrian orientation. I’d rather have thriving retail in Seattle than kill it off leaving us with suburban shopping on the outskirts accessible only or mainly by car. Instead of destroying close-in pedestrian-oriented retail districts by turning them into places to race through to quickly get to big box shopping on the outskirts, we should be prioritizing slowing thru traffic to stop off in these districts of small unique local businesses, reduce thru lanes in favor of on-street parking and making a several block stretch of slow speed mixing zone where traffic doesnt go more than 10 mph… look at Madrona, Upper Queen Anne, 15th Ave, etc. It’s about creating a slow speed stopping zone in a retail district where fast through traffic is deprioritized and the street is designed as a slow space to easily stop off.

      2. “street parking is actually very important to good urbanism,”

        “Walkable City” author Jeff Spec recommends a row of parked cars as a buffer between moving cars and pedestrians. That’s one of two things I disagree with him on, the other being his opposition to one-way streets. Parked cars can be useful for traffic calming and pedestrian safety. But too often in Seattle they’re preventing transit-priority lanes, because there’s no way to have both parking lanes and transit lanes without reducing the regular lanes to less than two.

      3. Poncho’s position is among the Mainstreet urban experts. At least those who do it for the money.

        Brooks and Speck note that cars create a barrier between street vibrancy and street traffic. Only retail fools think the terrible housing/retail density in Seattle can survive by bicyclists and/or transit. I know the manager of U Village and the leasing agent for Bell Square. Both will tell you bicyclists and transit riders spend no money. In fact men spend no money. Ever see an add on TV where dad is not the fool?

        We are dealing with this issue on MI. Past progressive councils bought the progressive kool aid that if you increase building heights and reduce onsite parking minimums everyone will take transit. Not.

        So overflow residential parking on town center streets consumed retail parking. The pandemic and WFH have freed up the park and ride for much of this, but still we are trying to sort this planning problem out. Sure we could say take transit, except transit sucks and anything west is too damn dangerous.

        If there are two things you should understand there are these:

        1. Women buy everything in the world. The 98% of males on this blog are what advertisers call the “senior golf” segment. Worth virtually zero, compared to even disposable diapers and tampons. If you ride transit advertisers hate you. (So do women).

        2. Women live in fear of men. I read an interesting article online the other day about how women hold their car keys in their fingers as a weapon when walking to their car at night.

        If you want urbanism without retail go ahead. Without women there is no retail, or straight guys. . Issaquah, Bell Sq, U Village, Amazon, are fueled by women, and those women don’t do transit, and they don’t go near anything that REMOTELY is not safe. Like Seattle.

        If you want urbanism without women and without retail vibrancy try Saudi Arabia

    3. Thanks for the reply, however, I don’t see that quote as being anti-transit, I see that as being anti-the loss of street parking. They aren’t one and the same. To label anyone who is against the loss of street parking as being anti-transit is inaccurate.

      I know the Seattle Bike Blog has been writing about the Eastlake Community Council, street parking, and bike lanes, as far back as 2015, but I have found nothing on the ECC’s website that would make they believe that they are an anti-transit organization.

    4. Eastlake Avenue is a narrow right of way constrained by the hillside, I-5, and Lake Union. Everyone has to travel on it or go far out of the way with steep hills. Fairview north of the Eastlake-Fairview Y can accommodate some more local traffic and bikes, but it’s not a complete solution. It’s even narrower, turns into a private alley for a few blocks, and then ends completely and you have to go up a steep hill to Eastlake to continue.

      This ultimately stymied transit lanes because there wasn’t enough room for two transit-priority lanes and two GP lanes. A bike track got to the head of the line both because the bike lobby is so strong, and because without it biking is so dangerous. There are hardly any possibilities for alternative roads there, so all modes have to compromise to get through Eastlake.

      Fortunately, Link offers an alternative to get out of the Eastlake bottleneck, so only bus riders who are specifically going to Eastlake/SLU need to use it. Before Link, the 71/72/73X used it reverse-peak and midday, and the 66 (67) had no alternative.

    5. “One of the main demands by the CID in its opposition to a station for DSTT2 (and before then) was the lack of adequate public parking, and the cost of street parking which was reduced.”

      It’s freaking next to downtown in a city of 770,000 people! If they want public parking, go to Bellevue or Southcenter or Bothell or Tacoma. The whole point of urban neighborhoods is for people who want an alternative to the ubiquidous suburban hell.

      1. Mike, so you want the CID to go to Bellevue? I take it you have never owned or run a small restaurant or retail shop. Ironically, with current and probable future zoning I think the CID will cease to exist in its current form, and with development and gentrification will be much more like Belltown. I hope many of those merchants and restaurants do relocate to the eastside.

        “The whole point of urban neighborhoods is for people who want an alternative to the ubiquidous suburban hell.”

        Not really. Suburbanites actually left Seattle, not the other way around.
        Seattleites own 460,000 cars. I don’t know if you remember the outcry when the W. Seattle Bridge was out of commission. And around 90% of Seattle is suburban.

        The other problem is such a tiny part of Seattle is truly urban, and even then it is such terrible urbanism with a street scene that most women find too unsafe to walk along the streets or use transit — day or night — and so do the elderly. Maybe if the urbanism and transit were safe, clean, and a lot more condensed and vibrant more Seattleites would go without a car.

      2. “so you want the CID to go to Bellevue?”

        You think 100% of the CID businesses care only about parking? Nonsense.

        “I take it you have never owned or run a small restaurant or retail shop.”

        I take it you didn’t pay attention when you were in New York or Europe. Have you been to Toronto?

      3. ” … who want an alternative to the ubiquidous suburban hell.”

        One of the bloggers here said that the defamation of a neighborhood or area won’t be tolerated, in response to someone calling a Seattle neighborhood a pit. That comment was deleted. Now, another blogger is calling the suburbs hell, and that’s allowed? Adhere to your own rules, STB.

      4. Hell as in unwalkable and too much asphalt. That’s a physical design that makes it unpleasant and inconvenient to live in. It’s what STB argues against, The city officials could fix it by simply changing their design policies. Pit implies the wrong sort of people and can overexaggerate crime levels. That’s an insult against the people, and that’s what’s objectionable. I don’t remember the exact pit comment or what it referred to, but that’s how it’s generally used.

      5. Another thing about CID parking. The businesses can’t have failed to notice that the CID has had limited parking for its entire history, yet they located there anyway.

      6. “Hell as in unwalkable and too much asphalt. That’s a physical design that makes it unpleasant and inconvenient to live in.”

        Mike, what are you talking about? I walk to work every day on MI, and to the town center or Roanoke if meeting folks for a drink, usually through the Lid Park. Plus on the eastside you can walk around without fear of getting killed, especially at night. Do you walk from Capitol Hill to Ballard? No, and we don’t drive from MI to other eastside cities. And when you do walk someplace I take it you walk on concrete sidewalks? Downtown Seattle is a sea of asphalt from end to end, whereas most of the tree canopy is in Seattle’s suburban neighborhoods.

        I don’t know if you have seen the rankings for cities on park acres per 1000 residents. Eastside cities are much greener than Seattle, with a much higher tree canopy ratio and park acres to 1000 resident ratio.

        Good urbanism has many positive traits, but green spaces and lack of concrete are not two of them.

      7. Ok Mike, but just to let you know, I will be denigrating your neighborhood in the future, and I’m not asking you, I’m telling you, that comment will not be deleted. I’m not going to allow you to have a double standard on this blog, no matter how you try to justify it.

      8. Describing the suburbs as a concept as ‘hell’ is not denigrating a neighborhood. Calling a specific neighborhood a ‘pit’ is clearly denigrating, and comparing the two is disingenuous.

        So yes, if you come back and try to stir the pot by intentionally denigrating a specific neighborhood, you will likely have your comment removed. That isn’t inconsistent.

      9. Sam, I don’t know what you think is equivalent to suburban hell until you say it. Then I can tell whether I think it’s comparable and whether it’s acceptable. Maybe we need to have a discussion about what’s acceptable and isn’t, what’s an unfair insult and isn’t, etc, and I’m sure there will be differing opinions. “Suburban hell” is a widely used expression that refers to the frustration with stroads, huge parking lots, single-use zoning, mega unwalability, being stuck in your house if you don’t have a car, etc., etc.

    6. The irony is that for any restaurant with outdoor seating, you get a better dining atmosphere when cars have to park a few feet away, rather than up against the business.

      The reason largely has to do with the fact that too many drivers are inconsiderate of others. They order food online with their phones, then idle their engines for however long it takes until the food is ready. If the vehicle is something with a loud engine, like a truck, this can drown out conversation and force people to shout to be heard over it while they breathe the exhaust. When we people do leave the car to walk inside, lots of them tell the car to honk when it’s being locked, and even if it’s just for a second, having a 100 dB car horn blasting in your ears when you’re trying to eat is no fun. If you’re not closely watching the car and the driver, the sound just comes in out of the blue, with no warning, which triggers a stress response. When the car exits and a new one arrives, the same thing repeats.

      All of these problems go away when people park on a side street a block away, keeping the area immediately adjacent to the restaurant free of parked cars, and it really doesn’t even matter what the space is used for – be it a bike lane, wider sidewalk, even just a planter strip – at long as it’s anything other than parking, you can eat in peace. Of the above uses, the bike lane clearly makes the most sense because Eastlake is the most direct bike route between the U district and downtown, and the side streets are too hilly to be a viable alternative.

      Note that electrification of cars may eventually solve the engine idling problem, but it won’t solve the honking problem. To solve that, people need to learn consideration of others, but in the absence of that, I’ll take moving the parking, so when people do decide to be obnoxious, there’s fewer people around to listen to it.

      1. If I were a cyclist who rode through Eastlake, I’d want a protected bike lane over street parking. If I were an Eastlake business person, I’d want street parking over a bike lane. If I were an extremely impatient bus user, I’d want the more frequent J Line. If I were disabled or elderly, I’d want to keep the route 70, which has more bus bus stops than the J Line. I were able bodied, and my commute was Eastlake to downtown, I’d want the J Line. If I were able bodied, and my commute was Eastlake to the main UW campus, I’d want the route 70. If I were able bodied, and my commute was Eastlake to the U District, I’d want the J Line.

        Btw, an idea was floated some time back about removing street parking on the western side of Lake Washington Blvd in Kirkland, and having it be sort of a wider boardwalk along the blvd. At first, I thought that sounded like a great idea, but after I thought about it some more, I like the idea that there are a line of cars serving as a protective barrier between the sidewalk and the street.

      2. When I lived on 56th I used to bike to the ferry terminal and other downtown and SODO and Eastlake destinations. It was the flattest and fastest way to get thee. I didn’t find it unsafe at the time but that was in the 90s when the population was lower. I rode down Eastlake, Fairview, Valley, Westlake, 8th, and Stewart. Sometimes I’d go to Capitol Hill by riding on Eastlake to Roanoke, and then walking the bike up a steep 4 blocks to Boyleston to Belmont/Lakeview Blvd or 10th to avoid a longer hill. I sometimes rode on Fairview in the quiet part, and it’s a nice bike ride, but I can see why the city didn’t want to put the cycletrack there; plus there’s no good cycletrack way to get from there to the north part of Eastlake.

  4. “I take it you didn’t pay attention when you were in New York or Europe. Have you been to Toronto?”

    I have never been to Toronto. But lived for several years in Europe and NY without a car, not by choice. I saw a lot of cars in London, Paris, Europe and NY. The big difference between those cities (although not so much NY today) and Seattle is the vibrancy and density of the retail, and the public safety. Of course, London and NY each have over 10 million residents compared to around 775,000 for Seattle in a city that is 142.5 sq miles, so if zoning does not condense retail and housing, you get little useable urbanism, which has been my complaint for some time. I worked in Seattle’s CBD for 32 years and over the last ten years saw a continuous decline in retail density and vibrancy. I think it is very ironic that the most vibrant and dense retail in Seattle is U Village.

    1. then the cranky eastlake business owners can happily move over to u-village :-)

    2. you seem to fail to realize that the kind of parking u-village relies on is off-street.

      that’s all that’s being rectified here. people can no longer put their homeless 4000 lbs. chunk of metal in a public ROW. instead, that ROW will be used for *gasp* moving people

      1. sammy, in many ways I agree, and for years have complained that Seattle requires too little off-street parking for housing, so of course those folks park on the street, which is why streets in this area are clogged with cars. But the belief that making parking difficult will force Seattleites to get rid of their cars just has not proven true.

        I don’t live in the neighborhood (I lived on a houseboat on Lynn while attending law school in the 1980’s) so whether there is any neighborhood retail or restaurants doesn’t affect me. But I did like getting a beer at Rory’s (one of the places I represented) and The Zoo, and the series of restaurants down the street. I also rode my bike to class when the weather allowed.

      2. I tend to think that streets are clogged with cars because they can be, not because we don’t use valuable lot space for required parking minimums.

        Getting rid of street parking doesn’t need to force people to get rid of their cars, it just needs to force them to not park on the street. I expect that people who value car ownership more highly than living in the city will make just that choice, leave the city center to a more car friendly area. That, or fork over the money to park their car in a garage.

        My two cents is that I think people haven’t totally ditched cars because there’s a bit of a chicken and egg situation where “no one will take transit until it is as convenient and functional as NYC (or some other ideal)” and “transit won’t improve because of lower ridership and the fact that buses are contending with cars in traffic”. Speaking personally, I still own a car, but I use it more and more sparingly. It’s a delight to not worry about traffic while on transit, or the freedom of movement my bicycle provides, and I think it’s just a long chipping-away for that mindset to shift more generally. Just as an example, I see so many people using the protected bike lanes on 2nd that there’s often kind of “bike traffic”. I love that level of adoption and I hope we can reach it as many places as possible.

      3. Would rather developable land be used for housing and commerce and have streets for slow traffic and short term retail parking patronizing pedestrian oriented businesses. Let’s stop turning our neighborhood commercial streets into highway-like design focused solely on fast throughput to get cars to chain retail in UVillage, Northgate, Lynnwood or Kemperville. On-street parking orients stores to the sidewalk and with street facing entries.

    3. Increasing walkability and transit is what generates that vibrancy. You have to start somewhere. The US has had anti-urban policies for eighty years, even in Seattle, so that destroyed much of the vibrancy and hinders it from coming back or being fully like Toronto. Pioneer Square’s decline over the past ten years has little to do with this; it’s larger societal issues.

      Seattle doesn’t need to condense its urban villages/commercial centers; it needs all of them and more.

      “I think it is very ironic that the most vibrant and dense retail in Seattle is U Village.”

      Only because you’re thinking of chain stores. You want Seattle shopping to be like Bellevue Square, when there’s already Bellevue Square. Many Seattlites live in Seattle and don’t shop at U Village or Bellevue Square because they don’t want that.

      1. I wonder how many people have lived in Toronto (I have). I feel like a lot of the eagerness is driven by visiting Toronto as a tourist for a week and wanting that tourist experience replicated (no offense if that’s not you, Mike).

        As I have described before, Toronto is the amalgamation of what used to be six distinct cities. They include: Toronto proper (probably similar to the downtown Seattle/Capitol Hill/Wallingford/Fremont/Ballard/etc.); North York (probably more similar to North Seattle/denser parts of Bellevue); Scarborough (more like Renton but with a bunch of social housing high rises); East York (more like Burien); Etobicoke (I’ve spent little time there, but I would call it more similar to Shoreline, I guess); and York (I’ve spent almost no time there, myself, so I don’t have as much of a sense).

        When you talk about “vibrancy” in Toronto, it helps to explain which of those you mean, because I can easily take it that you mean you enjoy the feel of Bellevue Square (which is kind of like the North York Town Center IMHO). But you probably mean more that you enjoy downtown Toronto area which… yes, it’s dense and full of condos (and expensive!) but not at all a good description of what Toronto means to a local.

        I know that I’m not going to ever win this argument, because I’ve said all of this about a year ago, too, and it fell on deaf ears then, just as it will now, but every so often the comparison to Toronto will trigger me into arguing about it again :)

      2. I went to events in Toronto put on my local hosts, and stayed with them in West Queen Street and North York (where the Bathurst bus goes). They took me to places they went to like Kensington Market and a goth-industrial club (Sanctuary?). Whenever I go to places I focus on what it would be like to live there, the places residents go, and how they feel about it. Toronto was where Jane Jacobs moved to, and both she and her son praised it. Others have written about how good it is to have a whole city that’s walkable for miles, with widespread 24 hour transit, and subway stations outside the core that are busy all day, and a city hardly marred by freeways. Jacobs said she liked Toronto because it didn’t make as many of the mistakes other North American cities made.

        Vibrancy is what Jacobs described. It’s the urban ballet and eyes on the street. It’s like living in the U-District and never having to leave the neighborhood more than once a month because everything you need is there, or maybe you leave it for work but can walk to everything else. Seeing lots of pedestrians around you so you don’t feel like the only one. Being able to take a frequent 44 trolleybus from the U-District to Ballard for the clubs and jobs and activities there, and being able to take the 44 back at 2am. The concentration of people generating creative business innovations. Toronto is like that only ten times larger.

        When I was in Toronto it was before the five cities were annexed. I only spent one afternoon in the east side (Danforth subway), and I never went to the northeast Sheppard and Scarborough areas, which I gather are more suburban. But even there I hear the subway stations are hopping and there are lots of walkable areas and clusters of highrises and people fill the buses all day.

        RMTransit lives there too part of the time. He says it’s well if not perfect, and I trust him.

        Kensington Market looks like the International District in terms of the size and shape of the buildings, but is larger and has a wider variety of uses. Near my friend’s place on West Queen Street was walk-up grocery store right at the sidewalk with produce bins in front — like in the International District but away from downtown.

        If you’d like to discuss in the open thread what you did and didn’t like about living in Toronto, I’d be quite interested. My impression is it’s five times better than Seattle, no?

      3. Sure, I’ll save it for the next open thread so more eyes get on it :) Glad to hear about your experience, too (and it tracks with what I expected – that you were in the old Toronto borough, not the outer ones).

    4. There are many types of retail, and many types of non-retail storefronts. Plus, every district has a mix of how much those businesses are serving the immediate neighborhood versus serving a niche need in a much larger marketplace like the entire region.

      It seems for this thread, we are talking about convenience commercial — like a pharmacy, a bank branch, a post office, an ice cream store, a pizza chain, a coffeehouse and so on. A supermarket may fit in and when it does it is a major anchor for that commercial district. It probably doesn’t include large stores selling fencing, cars, bulky furniture and drywall.

      Because it is convenience, I think it’s good to have on street parking available. The spaces should be set for very short durations and possibly metered. I like them on one way streets that move so slow that people can safely cross them. I even like one-way streets at low speeds as they seem safe to cross mid-block.

      A problem emerges when the commercial activity last for more than say 30 minutes or an hour. People often stay at an upscale restaurant about 90 minutes for example, while fast food places usually see a full turnover in well under 30 minutes.

      People get really worked up about parking. I’m reminded how in Boston some neighbors use trash cans to save spots in front of their house. So it’s a hotbed subject.

      What people call vibrancy appears to me to be about food more than goods. Din Tai Fung or Starbucks in U-Village are more “vibrant” while Restoration Hardware there feels pretty empty. I don’t think any commercial district can be called more or less vibrant as a whole because almost all have some less busy storefronts with things like insurance agents and real estate offices. It’s ultimately going to be the mix of tenants more than any deliberate street treatment that determines vibrancy.

      Finally, it has to have a minimum level of cleanliness and personal safety. When it falls too far from that standard, it fails. In U Village, they do have security (empowered to take action) as well as a robust maintenance effort to stay well above this conceptual minimum level.

  5. “then the cranky eastlake business owners can happily move over to u-village :-)”

    I am sure they would if they could afford the lease rates at U Village, or U Village wanted their businesses. These are mom and pop stores along Eastlake that barely survive. I actually represented a few many, many years ago. Of course they are all gone now.

    1. they’re all gone despite having access to this the handout of government sponsored parking?

      it’s the bus’s fault obviously

  6. The J Line saga is sad. McGinn had a streetcar fetish. Murray converted the dream to electric trolleybus. Both ignored the power of Link in the network. The Roosevelt couplet is a strategically poor pathway for an ETB; it requires more poles; transit riders are better off on two-way arterials; the couplet has long transfer walks. The couplet misses the heart of the U District, the campus, NE Campus Parkway, and lengthens transfers with bus routes. Under the SDOT pathway, northbound Eastlake riders will stop one block short of Link and have longer walks to bus routes on the Ave and 15th and longer walks to campus and the business district. Why? So SDOT can show the FTA it is still aimed at Roosevelt. But that was silly objective any way. The current Route 70 pathway would be much better for riders; it would provide shorter walks for all transfers; the longer walks will increase total trip times for most northbound riders. The Roosevelt couplet has more congestion and will be over crowded with the J Line atop routes 31-32. The SDOT alignment requires more capital and degrades the network. I am sympathetic to the posters of the signs on NE Campus Parkway.

  7. I see a topic of general questions that I think should be asked: Are there any anticipated places where buses will get stuck in excessive congestion? Which routes will be affected? Are there engineering strategies that should be anticipated to help buses be more reliable and faster when congestion occurs?

    I have no clue about where problems are I. This area. That’s why I ask it generically.

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