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Madison Street Corridor Bus Rapid Transit

Updated July 20, 2015

Project Update:

In May, SDOT conducted a significant round of public outreach on design alternatives for the Madison BRT corridor and expected to release a proposed preferred alternative in July.  Given the level of additional analysis and close consideration of community input, we have extended that timeline until September.  Thank you for patience and continued interest in the Madison Corridor BRT project. 

In the meantime, an outreach summary report is available here, or continue reading for a high-level review of what we’re up to.

Outreach recap

SDOT staff hosted four events and attended a number of community meetings to provide presentations on the project and discuss the project opportunities and concerns with stakeholders.  We hosted an open house, attended by over 80 people, that included a series of boards providing technical information about the project and a live polling exercise to seek initial feedback about design alternatives and community priorities. 

We asked the same questions in an online survey (over 414 responses); the results are summarized here.  Key results from the survey included:

  • Support for a Spring Street eastbound routing downtown, rather than Marion
  • Preference for a station in the vicinity of 6th Avenue over one near 8th Avenue
  • Preference for Martin Luther King Jr Way as the eastern terminus, rather than 23rd Avenue
  • Preference for center-running transit lanes in the First Hill and Capitol Hill neighborhoods
  • Support for improved transit speed and reliability with slight increases in general purpose travel time
  • Preference for a two-way protected bike lane on Union

Overall, we heard these key themes: 

  • Support for transit lanes Downtown, First Hill, and Capitol Hill
  • Support for project features that make transit fast, reliable, and easy to use
  • Support for pedestrian and intersection improvements
  • Strong support for service to Madison Valley, but opposition to the layover proposed on Arthur Place
  • Interest in service to Madison Park
  • Concern about total project cost

Next steps

We’re now in the process of considering this community input and the technical analysis to develop a proposed preferred design concept for the Madison Corridor BRT project.  Specifically, we are taking another close look at a number of key project elements, including:

  • Refining the transportation analysis to increase transit reliability while minimizing general purpose travel impacts
  • Reviewing the cost estimate and specific project scope elements
  • Considering station spacing and locations
  • Preparing additional technical analysis to evaluate the potential extension of the BRT service to Madison Park and alternative layover locations

If you have any questions and comments, please contact Maria Koengeter, Transit Strategic Advisor, at or (206) 733-9865.

Project Overview

Click on the map above to see the Madison Corridor section of the Transit Master Plan.

The Seattle Transit Master Plan (2012) identifies Madison Street between Colman Dock Ferry Terminal in downtown Seattle and 23rd Avenue E as a future high-capacity transit bus rapid transit (BRT) corridor. The proposed transit investment is based on an evaluation of the Madison Street Corridor’s potential to generate ridership, supported by its land use and demographic characteristics, and a screening of potential transit modes, considering factors, such as passenger carrying capacity and constructability. SDOT and King County Metro are working closely to coordinate planning for the project.

Madison Street BRT service will be fast, reliable and frequent. It will serve densely developed neighborhoods in First Hill, the Central Area, and downtown Seattle, connecting dozens of bus routes, the First Hill Streetcar, and ferry service at the Colman Dock Ferry Terminal.

Madison Street BRT will use new state-of-the-art electric trolley buses (ETBs) that produce zero emissions and are extremely quiet. Surface rail transit is not an option for this corridor due to the steep east-west street grades.

Project Definition Study

The Madison Street corridor is an opportunity for Seattle to design and implement, in phases, state-of-the-art bus rapid transit (BRT) improvements. The 2.1-mile corridor runs from Colman Dock to 23rd Avenue and will improve access to ferries, Third Avenue transit, First Hill medical institutions and housing, Seattle University, the Central district, Link light rail, and the First Hill Streetcar.

In June 2014, the City will begin studying this BRT corridor. The study will evaluate roadway channelization options, station locations and features, bicycle and pedestrian facilities, and streetscape improvements for the Madison corridor. The study will engage transit agencies, stakeholder, and the broader community to discuss options and tradeoffs. It will also evaluate implementation options, such as phased speed and reliability improvements and funding opportunities.

The Seattle Transit Master Plan identifies a planning-level total capital cost estimate of $87 million. The Seattle City Council identified $1 million in the City’s 2013/2014 budget for a project definition study of the Madison Street corridor. This effort will result in a refined project cost estimate.

Milestones and Schedule

The table below outlines the study’s key milestones and basic schedule.



Jan 2013 - May 2014

Project Scope Refinement

June 2014 – April 2015

Concept Design Alternatives Development, Analysis, and Community Engagement

May 2015 – June 2015

BRT Concept Design Alternative Refinement and Community Engagement

September 2015

Complete Concept Design

Madison Corridor BRT Library

July 2015

May Online Survey Results

In May, the Madison Corridor BRT project  hosted an online survey to seek input on:

  • BRT design options, routing, terminals, and station locations
  • Priorities for transit service and capital investments
  • Design concepts for a Central Area protected bike lane

The results of the survey can be found here.

May 6 Open House


January 2015 Online Survey

November 20, 2014 Open House

September 30, 2014 Open House

September 2014 - Stakeholder Outreach

How can I get involved?

More details and opportunities for public involvement will be announced as they are scheduled. Information will be added soon on future open houses and meetings.

Questions and comments can be directed to Maria Koengeter, Transit Strategic Advisor, at or (206) 733-9865.

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