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

Project to electrify the 48 bus is underway on 23rd Ave

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Red sections indicate where overhead wires will go up. (Image: SDOT)

Red sections indicate where overhead wires will be installed. (Image: SDOT)

Amid the massive overhaul of the 23rd Ave corridor and the uproar it’s caused with local merchants, another project on the street has quietly got underway: building the infrastructure necessary to transition the route 48 diesel hybrid busses into a fleet of all-electric trolleys.

Connecting the U-District to Mt. Baker through the Central District and Capitol Hill, the 48 is the workhorse of 23rd Ave transit, shuttling riders the entire length of the corridor. Much of 23rd Ave has overhead wires to accommodate the 4 and 43, but the 48 has to run diesel hybrid busses due to gaps in the line.

There are currently 1.7 miles of missing overhead wires needed to run electric trolleys on the 48, with gaps from John to Cherry, and Dearborn to Plum.

The Seattle Department of Transportation, which is handling funding and construction for the King County Metro line, estimates the project will cost $14.6 – $17.5 million, with $9.4 million already secured through federal grants. Construction will include installing trolley poles, overhead wires, and traction power sub stations. The second phase of the project is expected to get underway next year, setting up the 48 to go electric in 2018.

“The Electric trolley bus is the really tried and true transit wet have here in Seattle,” said SDOT’s transit deputy director Bill Bryant at a recent city-county joint transportation meeting. “It is particularly well suited for our hilly environment and lots of starts and stops.”

There are clear environmental benefits, too. With its 4 miles per gallon busses, the 48 route uses roughy 185,000 gallons of diesel fuel a year. Electric trolley bus technology was found to be $3.7 million cheaper annually than diesel hybrids, according to an SDOT study. Electric trolleys will also significantly reduce noise along the busy corridor.

In 2023, the 48 will also be the only transit line to directly connect non-downtown stations on all three Link lines: Central Link (Mount Baker Station), East Link (Judkins Park Station), and North Link (Brooklyn and UW stations). Continue reading

UPDATE: Suspect shot by SPD dies after he shot Metro operator downtown on First Hill-Central District bus line

UPDATE: The man who allegedly shot a Metro bus driver Monday morning has died from  injuries he sustained when he was shot by Seattle police, according to SPD. The suspect shot the bus driver multiple times in the face and body this morning on 3rd Ave. near Benaroya Hall. After shooting the bus operator, the suspect reportedly boarded another bus at 2nd and Seneca, where Seattle police officers shot the man through the bus windshield. He died several hours later at Harborview Medical Center.

The bus driver is in stable condition at Harborview. After visiting the hospital, King County Executive Dow Constantine told the Seattle Times that the 64-year-old operator is “remarkably upbeat.” No passengers were seriously injured in either shooting.

UPDATE: Harborview confirmed that the injured driver is Deloy Dupuis, reported the Seattle Times. Dupuis has worked for Metro since 1999 and has a clean record, according to Constantine.

KIRO 7 reported witnesses saw three men board the No. 27 bus without paying the fare around 8:50 AM. When the driver asked them to pay, the suspect, who was not one of the three, yelled “war” and started firing. The No. 27 bus line connects First Hill and the Central District with downtown.

The suspect then rushed into a No. 120 bus. That’s when police opened fire, hitting the suspect and putting several bullet holes through the bus windshield. Police have not yet identified the suspect, but the Seattle Times reports the man is 31-year-old Martin Duckworth.

UPDATE: Constantine joined Mayor Mike McGinn and acting SPD Chief Jim Pugel at a 2 PM press conference today to discuss the incident. Pugel said SPD officers shot the suspect when he raised his gun while inside the No. 120 bus. Officers fired again when the suspect appeared to raise his gun a second time. According to Pugel, officers were on the scene within minutes, and the incident was over seven minutes after police were called. Pugel said SPD would review security camera footage from both buses, as well as cell phone videos taken by witnesses. Constantine said that during his hospital visit the driver immediately asked if any passengers were injured in the shooting. The King County executive said he would not release the name of the driver until the driver’s family members were notified first.

“There are a lot of people out there with guns who shouldn’t have them,” Constantine said. He later added “I hope the next time you board a bus you will thank a Metro driver.”

Continue reading