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.
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.
Instead of a BRT route running in a dedicated lane all the way up and down Madison, SDOT’s 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 would only run from 9th Ave to 13th Ave in the current proposal. The rest of the route would run curbside with right-turning traffic until 18th Ave.
The SDOT presentation is below.
Route 11 staying put
Meanwhile, according to an update at the BRT open house, King County Metro planners are backing off the only major change the agency is planning to implement in March to coincide with light rail service in Capitol Hill. Route 11 had been planned for a move from Pine to Olive Way to make up for the loss of the 43 during off-peak hours and to provide direct access to Madison Valley and Madison Park residents to Capitol Hill Station.
The reason for the reversal of a change that had already been voted on by the King County Council? The inability for Metro and SDOT to find a solution to a deviation via 19th Ave and E Madison Street that was seen as essential by some for making the restructure work by ensuring that Madison lost no service — no matter what the impact was on the network as a whole. Rather than route the 11 straight down Thomas to E Madison as the 8 does now, the 11 will stay as it is leaving the E Olive Way/E John Street corridor to be served by route 8 and the 43 during weekday peak hours.
The restoration of the 43 was a last-minute change when the restructure went to council, but the public comment that prompted its restoration was made with the assumption that the 11 would be providing service when the 43 is not. Now the number of Capitol Hill bus routes that do not directly serve Capitol Hill station has been increased to 4 (the 10, 11, 12, and 47) as many that do serve the station (9X, 43, 49, 60), further watering down the planned restructuring and optimization of area routes.