Seattle continues to grow, and with that growth comes a greater demand on our transportation system and a need for more options for everyone. To help meet that need, the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) is working with King County Metro to expand RapidRide throughout Seattle, providing faster, more reliable, and accessible transit options.
The RapidRide Expansion Program will add seven new bus lines by 2024—the RapidRide G Line in 2019. The completed RapidRide system will offer faster bus travel times, help ensure buses arrive on time, and help us meet the voter-approved Levy to Move Seattle promise of providing 72 percent of Seattle residents with transit service that runs every 10 minutes or better all day within a 10-minute walk from their home.
There are seven new lines planned for the RapidRide Expansion program:
- RapidRide G Line – Downtown Seattle to First Hill to Madison Valley
- RapidRide H Line – Downtown Seattle to Delridge to Burien
- Rainier RapidRide Line – Downtown Seattle to Mt Baker to Rainier Beach
- Roosevelt RapidRide Line – Downtown Seattle to Eastlake to Roosevelt
- Market RapidRide Line – Ballard to Wallingford to U-District
- Fremont RapidRide Line – Downtown Seattle to Fremont/Ballard to Northgate
- 23rd RapidRide Line – Mt Baker to Central Area to U-District
SDOT is in the planning and design phases for the Madison G Line and Delridge H Line now.
Madison: The RapidRide G Line will provide fast, frequent, reliable, and safe public transportation between 1st Ave in downtown Seattle and Martin Luther King Jr. Way. Madison St. is one of the densest and fastest-growing corridors in Seattle, and buses often exceed capacity during peak hours. The Seattle Transit Plan prioritized Madison St. for high-capacity bus rapid transit service in 2012. We began working with the community in 2014, and most recently held online and in-person open houses in March 2017 to share updated designs.
Key G Line improvements will include improved sidewalks, traffic signal priority for buses, shelters with seating, lighting and weather protection, off-board ORCA payment, and easy loading with platform levels that match the bus floor. Madison residents and riders can look forward to service starting in 2019.
Delridge: In 2020, Metro Route 120 becomes the RapidRide H Line, going from Downtown Seattle to Delridge to Burien. SDOT reached out to the community in March 2017 to hear their feedback on two design options; one focuses on improving bus speed and reliability in the corridor by adding bus-only lanes, and another adds about three miles of protected bike lanes along Delridge Way SW. Either option would keep buses frequent and on time, add more buses at night and on weekends, and would upgrade existing bus stops to RapidRide bus stops with lighting, real-time arrival info, and more.
We’re looking forward to working with the Rainier (Downtown Seattle to Mt. Baker to Rainier Beach) and Roosevelt (Downtown Seattle to Eastlake to Roosevelt) communities on those lines, both of which are planned to be operational in 2021. The Market (Ballard to Wallingford to U-District) line will follow with service starting 2022, then Fremont (Downtown Seattle to Fremont/Ballard to Northgate) in 2023 and, finally, 23rd (Mt. Baker to Central Area to U-District) starting in 2024.
The Seattle Department of Transportation contributed this article. You are encouraged to visit their project website for more information on the corridors, overall timeline, and library of materials for each new RapidRide line. You can e-mail questions or comments to the project at RapidRide@Seattle.gov.
Photo credit: RapidRide C Line photo by Irene Stewart, Aging and Disability Services.