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23rd Ave work includes electrifying bus route but no timeline for RapidRide

(Image: SDOT)

The City of Seattle says the second phase of the $43 million 23rd/24th Ave corridor improvement project is going well with the biggest risk being sorting out how to reduce the number of utility pole required to electrify the route for Metro coaches.

The update in SDOT’s latest report on major capital projects keeps the timeline for the work on the stretch south of Jackson on pace for completion before next summer.

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The utility pole work is also part of planning for the eventual transition to a RapidRide route serving 23rd Ave. A demand to speed up implementation of the route — now without an official timeline from SDOT and Metro — is part of the plank championed by the new MASS: Move All Seattle Sustainably coalition that formed this fall to push for faster, smarter street investments. “RapidRide upgrades might be delayed, but we shouldn’t wait to paint bus lanes for Route 48, especially in the four lane sections of 23rd/24th Avenue where speeding is rampant and collisions far too commonplace,” the advocates write.

The 23rd Ave work underway south of Jackson includes sidewalk improvements including new paving, crosswalks, and upgraded pedestrian crossing signals, new landscaping and trees, and transit improvements including real-time arrival information and bus pullouts between Jackson and S Hill. There will also be more work to extend the adjacent Central Area Neighborhood Greenway for bikes and pedestrians. A major water main project will also be undertaken during the roadwork.

In April, CHS reported on the start of work on the intensive construction and overhaul of the street in the Central District.

A much-reduced plan has also reshaped small portions of the corridor through Montlake for pedestrian and transit improvements.

The first phase of the project around 23rd and Union was completed in March 2017.

You can learn more and get construction updates at

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5 thoughts on “23rd Ave work includes electrifying bus route but no timeline for RapidRide

  1. A route does not have to be branded Rapid Ride to have many of the same improvements. Real time bus signs were installed and stops were moved etc. I have wondered why the 48 was not been electrified since there is only a small portion (John to Jefferson) of the route without wire, and the poles are there. I guess it would not be able to use it now with south of Jackson closed southbound.

    • I believe it is also missing wiring from Rainier to Dearborn too, which is the part of add poles (and eventually wire) in the current 23rd Ave work from south of Jackson to Rainier.

      • Under ordinary circumstances, the 48 would continue on 23rd to Rainier (an area covered by the #4 wire (when #4 is on regular route) and then it would be on the same wire as the #7 where #48 passengers can transfer to the #7 at Walker or continue to the Mt. Baker station. Neither the #48 or the #4 travel along MLK unless rerouted for construction.

  2. actually Joanna: the #4 turns at dearborn st turning into a couplet on 24th and 26th to Judkins street and turn onto MLK way. Dearborn st has circles at 24th and 25th and the routing runs on narrow neighborhood streets that would both would be challenging for the #48’s bendy buses to follow. I have a distinct feeling the trolleywire is a legacy from the streetcar system that carried through till today.this routing also possibly exists due to topology from before I-90 was put in. I know there has been ongoing neighborhood boosting to maintain the #4’s routing. the #4’s terminal onto rainier I was told years ago currently precludes the #4 from joining up Mt Baker transfer station in it’s current configuration. You probably need to go south of Jackson north of rainier more often

    Link to from of Metro’s map from before construction on 23rd and Jackson for #4 (and #3)