Last week SDOT released new designs and introduced legislation seeking funding for Roosevelt RapidRide. A culmination of two years of process, the Locally Preferred Alternative SDOT is taking to Seattle City Council, and soon thereafter the FTA, represents some wins and losses for transit riders compared to the design shown at last year’s open houses.
The most exciting news is that Roosevelt BRT, now officially called Roosevelt RapidRide, gets a lot closer to rapid, especially through SLU and the Denny Regrade. In addition to using the existing Stewart BAT Lanes southbound as previously proposed, SDOT intends to invest in new Transit Only Lanes on Virginia St northbound, creating a transit couplet between the 3rd Ave Transit Spine and SLU. Unfortunately, it appears that the transition in the Denny Triangle between the couplet and SLU, such as the short southbound segment on Boren Ave, will have the route go through mixed traffic.
In SLU, the plan is for BAT Lanes in both directions along Fairview Ave, from Valley St to Denny Way. This shared bus/bike lane is a huge improvement compared to last year’s concept that had the BRT route fight through mixed traffic by the Mercer Mess. Continuing the good news into Eastlake, the line is now slated to travel on Transit Only street/car lanes on Fairview Ave between Valley St and Yale Ave.
North of Yale Ave N, the line continues in mixed traffic as previously proposed through the rest of Eastlake and into North Seattle, splitting into a couplet, with queue jumps at unspecified intersections, though presumably similar to the ones explicitly mentioned last year. Importantly, the funding proposal sets the terminus by the future Roosevelt Light Rail station, with no extension from Roosevelt to Northgate in the near future, and SDOT still intends to electrify the route. For bicyclists, the project invests in protected bike lanes throughout Eastlake through Roosevelt, such as along 11th/12th Ave, Eastlake Ave, and parts of Fairview Ave.
The legislation will be heard by the Transportation Committee on July 18th at 2pm. Should the Full Council adopt the Locally Preferred Alternative and accompanying funding measure (this is separate from Move Seattle funds which is already secured), the City can go to the FTA this fall to seek additional grants, with an outcome next summer. If federal funding cannot be secured, the Roosevelt-Downtown HCT project will have to go back to the drawing board for revision. In the mean time, now is the chance to learn more about the project and engage elected officials as they formally consider Roosevelt BRT.