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With E Madison construction still set to begin later this year, RapidRide G planned start pushed back to 2023

Seattle transportation officials told CHS last week a federal inquiry won’t delay Bus Rapid Transit on E Madison. But a federal consultant’s recommendations will.

Friday, it was announced that the RapidRide G’s planned start is now being pushed back to 2023:

We made significant advances in 2019 in the process to secure a Federal Transit Administration (FTA) Small Starts grant. As a regular part of the Small Starts grant process, FTA hired an independent consultant to review project scope, schedule, and risk. The consultant recommended an additional $6.2 million in funds to cover unexpected events or circumstances that could arise during construction. They also recommended including additional time in the construction schedule as a buffer for unexpected events.

With city and county officials now planning for the extra cash and added year for the project, the $120 million, 2.3 mile, 10-station route is now a $127.5 million, 2.3 mile, 10-station route.

The planned start of construction is only being moved back a bit — officials are now saying to be ready for the changes on E Madison to begin this fall:

Construction will be disruptive. You can expect to see and hear construction activities throughout the corridor during the duration of work. Construction impacts will include:

  • Noise, dust, and vibration
  • Nighttime and weekend work, as needed
  • Pedestrian detours
  • Temporary utility shut-offs
  • Disruptions to daily commute, including traffic detours and temporary driveway, road, and lane closures


  • Repaving the street and building new bus platforms in the roadway
  • Placing new bus shelters and other station amenities
  • See our website for more information about additional improvements

CHS reported on the project as it moved into the “90%” design phase and decisions were being finalized on features and changes along the route from the Waterfront to Madison Valley including what planners hope are improved crossings for pedestrians and the decision to focus on a new diesel-hybrid bus fleet for the line.

Half of the project’s budget is expected to come from the Federal Transit Authority. In an update to its nationwide Current Capital Investment Grant Projects, the FTA listed the Madison BRT project in the first phase of the Small Starts Project Development grant process. In November 2018, the FTA gave the project a “high” value rating.

King County Metro will operate service on the line.

The large project has seen a series of adjusted schedules over the years. In 2018, the planned start of service was 2021.


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2 years ago

Construction of new parking should be not allowed until this G line starts operating in a brand new bus lane.

2 years ago

Over a hundred million dollars for a project that could be 80% achieved with some red paint.

2 years ago
Reply to  Adam

I invite you to hang out on Battery Street between 3rd and Denny to see how well red paint works, or Seneca Street downtown. I think you’ll see that absent any law enforcement, our wonderful, entitled, drive-alone-to-work car drivers block those lanes with nary a care in the world.

2 years ago
Reply to  Whichever

I’ll bet you that we could have bus lane enforcement for a lot less than $127 million dollars.

You actually cite a great example of many things in Seattle. We have something inexpensive that *could* work if we built the right policy around it, but nah, let’s just go spend millions and millions of dollars for pretty much the same thing at dubious marginal benefit.

2 years ago

In 2015 they said they’d open service in 2019.
In 2017 they said they’d open service in 2021.
Now they say they’ll open in 2023.
Any bets on when they’ll push the opening of service to 2024 or later?