Civic duty: Last chance to weigh in on Madison BRT — bikes, 12th/Union, enforcement

The Madison Bus Rapid Transit online open house closes Wednesday night and, because you’re human and may have put off getting to it and because we’re human and did a poor job of making it clear when the deadline for online comment was, here is your reminder/push to weigh in on what just might be the last big infrastructure investment around the Hill before you move to Tacoma.

You can see a presentation on the details of the planned changes to Madison and provide feedback at

Here are a few ideas for aspects of the $120 million project to weigh in on.

Our block by block look at the 2019-destined RapidRide G line and its construction schedule is here.

What the latest designs for RapidRide G look like, Madison Bus Rapid Transit block by block

Here are some of the things called out about the latest design by a few local experts:

  • The Seattle Transit Blog goes through the latest designs and schedules with a fine toothed comb and comes up with a few questions to ponder:
    how many cars will clog up Spring to turn onto 3rd? Will cars block the box between 6th and I-5, blocking the G-Line from proceeding on its own signal? Can’t Route 2 and the G-Line better connect? How will the double-x weave between 15th-16th be done safely (likely answer: buses will just have to wait until it’s clear to do so). Why can’t Rapid Ride G and Route 48 better connect? Why are there nearly no stops on the steepest part of the street between 24th-MLK?
  • The Seattle Bike Blog joins the STB in asking, hey, what happened to the bike infrastructure?
    The official excuse for not including bike lanes all the way across I-5 — this is one of the very few bike route opportunities for crossing the freeway between downtown and First Hill — is that “there is not enough right-of-way.” But, of course, it’s not a matter of right-of-way, it’s a matter of priorities. The street is the same width east of 4th as it is west of 4th, there are just other uses that planners care about more.
  • The Urbanist also has concerns for you to consider… like door zones: Particularly worrying is the inclusion of a door-zone unprotected bike lane and the lack of protection for people on bikes at intersections on Spring Street. The RapidRide G team needs to coordinate with the Vision Zero team in order to plan infrastructure that is safe for all users, and at all ages and abilities. We have been waiting for our Downtown bike network for a long time, but if it arrives in an unsafe form it will not be worth it. Our large investments in our transit network have the potential to make complete streets a reality, but these plans currently fall short of that vision. And 12th and Union: The intersection of 12th, Madison, and Union is a dangerous intersection for all users. The first phase of design for the RapidRide route showed the protected bike lane in the roadway on the east side of Madison but by the time the design had reached 30%, the portion of the lane between 12th Ave and Union Street was moved to the sidewalk due to the trouble that Metro’s Route 2 would have getting around the bike lane. It remains there.

We’ll toss in one more idea to perhaps include in your feedback on Madison BRT. What will it take to get better enforcement of transit lanes by SPD?

The 11-stop RapidRide G route is expected to begin serving riders in late 2019. $58 million of the projected $120 million budget is funded with the remaining $62 million “working through” the Federal Transportation Authority grant process, according to officials.

Seattle’s current set of three RapidRide routes serve 43,000 riders per weekday. There are three more routes outside the city but the seven new lines being planned are all in-city routes. Included in that is 23rd Ave RapidRide, scheduled to come online in 2024.

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2 thoughts on “Civic duty: Last chance to weigh in on Madison BRT — bikes, 12th/Union, enforcement

  1. I have read that this proposal will be axed if the Trump budget passes in its current form, because a lot of federal money was earmarked for it. But that is a big “if” because the budget will be significantly altered during the legislative process.