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Thanks, Mayor Pete: E Madison bus rapid transit project gets $60M in federal funding — Here’s a block by block look at the planned changes to the street

Mayor Pete has come through. Monday, U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg announced $187 million in federal funding for four bus rapid transit projects — San Bernardino, California, Ogden, Utah, Everett, Washington, and right here on E Madison in Seattle:

The City of Seattle Department of Transportation will receive a $59.9 million allocation for the Madison Street BRT project, a 2.3-mile east-west BRT line operating diesel-electric buses along Madison Street spanning from downtown Seattle in the west to the Madison Valley neighborhood in the east, with connections in First Hill, Capitol Hill, and the Central Area. It will connect people to hospitals, schools, businesses, and other destinations as well as to dozens of bus routes, the First Hill Streetcar, and ferry service at the Colman Dock Ferry Terminal.

The federal money helps put the $134 million Madison bus rapid transit project on path for its planned 2024 start of service of the Metro RapidRide G line, a 2.3-mile, 10-station route connecting the waterfront through First Hill and Capitol Hill to Madison Valley.

The final designs for the BRT route’s major overhaul to the Madison corridor’s streetscape were finalized last year. You can check out a block by block look at the changes below.

Construction is now hoped to begin by later summer.

“Millions of Americans rely on public transit to get to work, services, and family – and communities need support to create more public transit options,” Buttigieg said in the announcement. “The Biden-Harris Administration is committed to modernizing and expanding our public transit systems, and that includes support for these great projects.”

WHAT TO EXPECT DURING CONSTRUCTION?
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

ANTICIPATED CONSTRUCTION ACTIVITIES 

  • Repaving the street and building new bus platforms in the roadway
  • Placing new bus shelters and other station amenities

Buttigieg, the first openly gay major presidential candidate, will be happy to know that Capitol Hill’s iconic queer bar Pony struck a $250,000 deal with the city including the estimated cost of remodeling its popular patio in exchange for shaving off a bit of its property to make room for the new Seattle Department of Transportation project.

While it is much delayed, the check from Washington D.C. is a happy outcome for the project that faced significant questions over federal funding only three years ago.

King County Metro will operate service on the line with 60-foot articulated buses running every six minutes during peak times. A diesel-hybrid bus fleet is being assembled to run the route so there won’t be a major installation of new electric trolley cables along the route.

Card readers at stations 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.

SDOT has said the project design will require removal of approximately 160 parking spaces “to make room for new bus-only lanes and bike lanes.”

Planners are also hoping to address 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.

  • 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

1ST AVE TO 5th AVE

6TH AVE TO TERRY AVE

BOREN TO BROADWAY

BROADWAY TO 13TH AVE

13TH AVE TO 17TH AVE

17TH AVE TO E DENNY WAY

E DENNY WAY TO 24TH AVE

25TH AVE TO MLK WAY

Get updates and learn more about the project at seattle.gov.


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dave
dave
13 days ago

awesome!

Eli
Eli
13 days ago

It’s great to have a federal government spending our tax dollars to help solve urban needs rather than “owning the libs”.

Jacob
Jacob
13 days ago

looks cool, but is this adding transportation we didn’t have before?

on a side note, I’d love for busses to actually have maps and show are on the line, and take credit cards and give change. 2050 wishlist.

dave
dave
12 days ago
Reply to  Jacob

Yes, it will greatly improve the speed and reliability (and capacity) of bus transit along the Madison corridor.

Mel
Mel
12 days ago

I live at 18th & Madison – just the light alone at that intersection is worth the investment – what a great neighborhood upgrade all around!

J Stewart
J Stewart
12 days ago

So now we sell new diesel buses as a feature not a bug? “it’s cheaper” is not a reason to not go electric, especially in a neighborhood (and route) with plenty of existing wire already.

John Whittier Treat
John Whittier Treat
11 days ago

How much time will this actually save anyone?

Fairly Obvious
Fairly Obvious
10 days ago

Compared to what, instant teleportation?