Weigh in now on Madison Bus Rapid Transit — 23rd Ave RapidRide coming next

You will have another opportunity Wednesday night to kick the tires in person on the plan to create Bus Rapid Transit on Madison. In the meantime, King County and the City of Seattle have released a RapidRide expansion plan that includes the 2019 startup of Madison’s RapidRide G as part of a growing, cross-city network of optimized bus corridors including a plan for what we presume would be RapidRide M or N or O or P on 23rd Ave by 2024. Continue reading

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

The RapidRide future of E Madison means a redo of one of the Hill's most chaotic intersections where Madison meets 12th and Union

The RapidRide future of E Madison means a redo of one of the Hill’s most chaotic intersections where Madison meets 12th and Union

The City of Seattle has released its latest designs and is collecting public feedback on what is being billed as a powerful overhaul of E Madison that will change east-west travel in Central Seattle from downtown, through First Hill, Capitol Hill, the Central District, and into Madison Valley. Judging by a few of the designs for blocks along the route, Seattle City Hall will need your help to get it right.

This month, public feedback will shape the final designs for the Seattle Department of Transportation’s updated Madison Street Bus Rapid Transit project — now known as RapidRide G. You can provide feedback in person beginning Thursday on First Hill or again next week on Capitol Hill. You can also weigh in online:

Thursday, March 9
11 AM – 1 PM
Town Hall, Downstairs
1119 8th Ave

Wednesday, March 15
5:30 – 7:30 PM
First African Methodist Episcopal Church
1522 14th Ave

ONLINE
MARCH 8-22
Give feedback online!
MadisonStreetBRT.participate.online

If you can, make time for an in-person visit and add your thoughts online. Last year, SDOT collected public comments on the proposed project that would create a BRT line from 1st Ave downtown to Martin Luther King Jr. Way. The project team has furthered the project’s design since then, reshaping the $120 million plan. Continue reading

Bus Rapid Transit: Weigh in on Madison’s new station and road designs

BRT-Update-12-18-15The framework may already be set for a new 11-stop “bus rapid transit” line along Madison, but you can still have a say on the interior design.

Stretching from 1st Ave downtown to MLK Way in Madison Valley, the future Madison BRT will travel in a dedicated center lane with island stops from 9th Ave to 14th Ave while the rest of the route will either run curbside with right-turning traffic or in mixed traffic. Within that outline there are still some decisions to be made.

City planners are holding three community meetings around Capitol Hill in August to show off the latest BRT designs and to take public feedback on the project. Seattle Department of Transportation officials are specifically looking for feedback on updated station and roadway designs, which will be unveiled at the first meeting:

  • Wednesday, August 3rd, 5 – 7 PM
    Seattle University, Campion Ballroom, 914 E Jefferson St
  • Thursday, August 4th, 11 AM – 1 PM
    Town Hall Seattle, Downstairs, 1119 8th Ave
  • Tuesday, August 9th, 5 – 7 PM
    Meredith Mathews East Madison YMCA, 1700 23rd Ave
  • You can also submit comments online by emailing MadisonBRT@seattle.gov.

“In 2015 we sought feedback on which blocks the stations should be at, and now we’re narrowing it down to exact location within the identified blocks and how riders will access the stations,” said SDOT spokesperson Emily Reardon. Continue reading

Bus Stop | What Capitol Hill bus service could look like in 2025 and beyond

The Madison bus rapid transit is slated to open by 2019.

The Madison bus rapid transit line is slated to open in 2019.

With its big U-Link bus restructure in place, King County Metro has quietly begun laying the ground work to adapt to the next phase of expansion of Sound Transit’s light rail system. Within days of Seattle getting its first look at how Seattle’s light rail network will look in 2040 — with service to Ballard and West Seattle, in addition to Everett and Tacoma on the extremities of the system — Metro released a map showing its first attempt to serve our region in conjunction with that system. CHS dug into the Long Range Plan map to find how those changes would affect Capitol Hill.

As we have seen in the past, these plans can change dramatically, even more so with the timelines in decades instead of years. But the map provides an insight into how transit planners at Metro are attempting to serve Capitol Hill riders. Metro is breaking these changes into two conceptual phases: 2025 service and 2040 service.

2025

The biggest change that will be in place by 2025 is Madison BRT. This project will consolidate service on Madison Street in dedicated lanes between downtown and Madison Valley, freeing up some service hours to be used elsewhere to complement.

As a result, Metro is eyeing moving route 2 off Seneca St. on First Hill and onto Pine Street in Capitol Hill.

This change, in turn, will pave the way for Metro to create a new crosstown workhorse between the Rainier Valley, Beacon Hill, and Capitol Hill from the current route 49. This route will serve 12th Ave, which perplexingly does not have any Metro service today despite being the eastern edge of one of Seattle’s largest private universities. This will also be the most frequent transfer between Madison BRT and light rail service at Capitol Hill Station. Continue reading

City Council ready to move Madison bus rapid transit plan forward

(Image: SDOT)

(Image: SDOT)

Just in time for everybody to be just a little irrationally excited about a fixed-rail transit option opening in the area, the City Council’s transportation committee Friday pushed forward the process to create a “bus rapid transit” corridor on Madison from downtown to the Central District.

Friday, the committee agreed to pass a resolution adopting the Seattle Department of Transportation’s “locally preferred alternative” design for the route and clearing the way for the project to seek the necessary exogenous funding. If all goes to plan, the BRT plan with a few segments of honest to goodness dedicated bus lanes will be open by 2019.

CHS wrote here about the final adjustments to the design proposal. Instead of a BRT route running in a dedicated lane through the extent of the route, the plan has buses running in mixed-traffic east of 18th Ave with “signal priority” helping speed the trip to the MLK terminus. A dedicated center lane with island stops will run from 9th Ave to 13th Ave under the proposal. The rest of the route will run curbside with right-turning traffic until 18th Ave.

In the time it took the First Hill Streetcar to open, bus rapid transit has emerged as a popular alternative for cities looking for a cheaper, more flexible form of public transit. The Madison project has an estimated price tag around $120 million — not far from the First Hill Streetcar’s $138 million cost. Whether the lighter investments can truly achieve the “rapid” part of the rapid transit equation will remain to be seen.

The full City Council is expected to vote on the proposal February 1st.

Bus Stop | Madison BRT details — Plus, the Metro restructure that wasn’t

Screen Shot 2015-11-30 at 1.37.32 PMPresentation (7)For those that couldn’t make it to the downtown library for November 16th’s SDOT open house on the latest Madison Bus Rapid Transit plan, we have the department’s briefing on the project from last week’s City Council meeting, below — plus some non-BRT news from the open house about a rollback on one of the most significant changes that had been planned for Metro routes to better align service around the opening of Capitol Hill Station and the U-Link light rail expansion in early 2016.

BRT presentation
SDOT officials presented details on the latest plans for Madison’s overhauled bus route in a session with the City Council’s transportation committee last week before the Thanksgiving holiday. The information presents an opportunity to see the plans shared at the public open house earlier in November.

Presenting the material, SDOT officials described the future Madison bus lane as part of a citywide “network of BRT” and said they were pleased to find “the biggest complaints” at the open house had been that planned “transit lanes don’t extend far enough.” “There’d be relatively limited benefits” but “significant capital costs” to extend the dedicated BRT lane all the way to MLK, one planner said. Continue reading

Planners: Prop 1-powered Madison ‘bus rapid transit’ plan no less ‘rapid’ with shortened dedicated lane

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Move Seattle’s election night victory assured a crucial chunk of funding for a new tram-like bus to run on E Madison, but the latest design proposal is not quite living up to what its name might suggest.

Instead of a “bus rapid transit” route running in a dedicated lane all the way up and down Madison, Seattle Department of Transportation’s latest proposal has the bus running in mixed-traffic east of 18th Ave.

“Travel time analysis doesn’t show that dedicated transit lanes are necessary east of 18th in order to (improve) transit time and reliability,” Madison BRT advisor Maria Koengeter told CHS, adding that signal priority would help speed up the trip to its MLK terminus.

A dedicated center lane with island stops would only run from 9th Ave to 13th Ave in the current proposal, which includes First Hill and part of Capitol Hill. The rest of the route would run curbside with right-turning traffic until 18th Ave. Continue reading

Proposed $87 million Madison Bus Rapid Transit is like light rail — without the rail

After retreating from the edge of catastrophe, Seattle’s public transit system may be en route to becoming a regional leader by combining the efficiency and prestige of light rail with the cost and flexibility of buses.

It’s called Bus Rapid Transit (BRT): essentially, a bus system that works like light rail. The City Council has coughed up $1 million to study a proposed $87 million BRT “corridor” along Madison, running from the waterfront up to 23rd Ave (by Madison Temple church and that psychic boutique shop).image02

To explain the project and get feedback from locals, the Seattle Department of Transportation will hold a community workshop about the Madison BRT corridor on Thursday from 5-7pm at the Silver Cloud Hotel on Broadway. Using “interactive design stations” inside the meeting room, SDOT will “present community-developed design ideas that focus on key intersections or a potential station location within each area. Each station will be staffed with engineers, planners, and urban designers to allow for an interactive conversation and sketching of design ideas to capture community ideas and feedback.”

Is this just a re-branded bus route?
Nope. Former mayor of Bogotá Enrique Peñalosa describes his city’s BRT, TransMilenio, like this: Continue reading