The Seattle Department of Transportation and King County Metro are ready to roll out a near-final set of design updates for the planned Madison Bus Rapid Transit line that will reshape the street from downtown to the Madison Valley.
With a plan for a 2020 start of construction and service starting late in 2022, the latest Madison BRT design updates will be on display at a series of open houses and community tabling events in neighborhoods along the $120 million, 2.3 mile, 10-station route.
SDOT has also documented the project in an online open house where it is collecting feedback at RapidRideG.participate.online.
Changes in the latest round of updates follow an earlier series of community meetings on the project. The latest updates focused on improving conditions at key intersections including at 12th Ave and 24th Ave where the route will mix with busy traffic flows and bustling streets. SDOT says highlights include shorter crosswalks — and a major tweak that will prevent it from having to install trolley wires for blocks along the route:
- Shorter crosswalks at key intersections so people walking have time to get to the other side of the street
- New diesel-hybrid bus fleet which eliminates the need to extend the overhead trolley wire from 19th Ave to Martin Luther King (MLK) Jr Way. This also removes the small power supply converter (TPSS) from the design at Madison St and E John St.
- New curbside bus stop on 1st Ave between Madison St and Spring St
- Updated bus layover station at E Arthur Pl and MLK Jr Way with fewer poles and overhead wires
- New pedestrian signal at 10th Ave to help people cross Madison St to get to Seattle University and other destinations
- New underground stormwater detention tank on 10th Ave between Madison St and E Union St
SDOT says the project design will require removal of approximately 160 parking spaces “to make room for new bus-only lanes and bike lanes.”
New bike infrastructure along the route includes protected bike lanes on Spring St between 1st Ave and 3rd Ave, PBL on Spring St between 6th Ave and 9th Ave, the PBL on E Union St between 11th Ave and 14th Ave, new sharrows on 14th Ave between E Union St and Madison St, and a crossbike marking and bike box at Madison and 24th Ave E.
CHS reported on the E Union protected bike lane project here.
SDOT says it is also working with the Office of Arts and Culture “to enhance the urban design and streetscape along the corridor” as part of the One Percent for Art ordinance. Seattle artist Ben Zamora was chosen to create public works of art for the project.
SDOT’s open house doesn’t mention cost but half of the project’s budget is expected to come from the Federal Transit Authority. In its latest update to its nationwide Current Capital Investment Grant Projects, the FTA still lists the Madison BRT project in the first phase of the Small Starts Project Development grant process. In November, the FTA gave the project a “high” value rating.
With a push to build the project starting in 2015, the future RapidRide G line continues to take shape. The city says the line will provide “fast, frequent, reliable, and safe public transportation between 1st Ave in downtown Seattle and Martin Luther King Jr Way.”
60-foot articulated buses will run every six minutes during peak times. Card readers at the station allowing riders to enter any of the five doors, 13-inch platforms making it easier for those with strollers or wheelchairs to get on the bus, and designated areas of the stations for cyclists and those in wheelchairs aim to make the loading and unloading process more efficient for riders. Cyclists can also anticipate loading their bikes inside the bus.
As part of the project, SDOT will be transforming the Madison/12th Ave/Union tangle. The new bus line will reconfigure lanes and other elements like widened sidewalks and new bike lanes on E Union are also in the mix.
A few properties along the route will need to give an inch — or two. CHS reported last summer on negotiations with Capitol Hill gay bar Pony over an easement on a portion of the bar’s property so SDOT can widen the street as part of the major overhaul of the three-way Madison/12th/Union intersection.
After this round of community feedback, SDOT says the plan is to begin the process to select a contractor by January 2020 with a selection set by April. Construction would then begin in phases starting in June 2020 with a planned June 2022 start of service.
Estimates forecast the line could serve more than 17,000 trips a day by 2035.
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