Madison BRT - RapidRide G Line: Downtown Seattle to First Hill to Madison Valley

Updated: October 1, 2021

What’s happening now?

We're starting construction in mid-October 2021. We expect work to begin in these segments:  

Downtown:

  • 1st Ave between Madison and Spring 
  • Madison St between 1st and 6th avenues (progressing west to east) 
  • Spring St between 1st and 3rd avenues  

Capitol Hill: 

  •  Madison St between 15th and 18th avenues (progressing west to east)   

Help us understand your needs during construction! Please take our survey so we can keep you in the loop and work to coordinate construction needs with neighbors as much as possible.

To stay up to date during construction, sign up for our email updates and see the latest in our construction email archive

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Project Overview

The Seattle Department of Transportation and King County Metro are partnering together to bring RapidRide to Madison St.

The Madison St project area is busy, dense, and still growing. Bus rapid transit (BRT) will provide frequent and reliable bus service. The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) will make street improvements to Madison and Spring streets that will allow King County Metro to operate the service as RapidRide G Line from Downtown to Madison Valley.

Madison BRT - RapidRide G Line planning started in 2012 as part of the Seattle Transit Master Plan. The project went through a rigorous process to develop the design with community input and secure federal funding to cover almost half of the project cost. The project is designed to meet the following goals:

Reliability

  • Buses will come every 6 minutes during peak times
  • Bus only lanes and bus priority at traffic signals reduce travel time (by 5 minutes from Colman Dock to Madison Valley) and improve reliability
  • All-door boarding and doors on both sides, so people can board efficiently from new center-running stations (between 9th Ave and 13th Ave)
  • ORCA readers at the stations to pay before boarding
  • Real-time bus arrival information at stations

Accesibility

  • Station platforms level with bus so no stairs to climb
  • New curb bulbs, crosswalks, sidewalks, curb ramps, and bike lanes in sections

Equity

  • Serves historically underserved neighborhoods with an affordable and reliable transportation option

Upgrades and vibrancy

  • Updated utilities and street paving
  • New art and landscaping

Please visit the King County Metro website for more information about RapidRide.

Check out this video for an overview of the project:

RapidRide G Line will serve some of Seattle's densest neighborhoods, and it connects to transit across the region.

2024 Seattle transit-plus multimodal network map

2024 Seattle transit-plus multimodal network map

Click here to view a PDF version.

Key project features

Project features map

The map above shows key features of the project (see our design sheets for zoomed-in details).

Features include:

Street and lane layout

  • Repaving the street and changing the lane layout, including widening Madison by 1 to 2 feet in a few locations and adding bus lanes 
  • Installing five traffic signals (8th Ave and Spring St, 10th Ave and Madison St, 18th Ave and Madison St, 19th Ave and Union St, Harrison St and MLK) and upgrading existing signals

Bus infrastructure 

  • Building new bus platforms along the project area, including 4 center-running stations between 9th and 12th avenues
  • Placing new bus shelters and other station amenities
  • Installing new poles and relocating some overhead trolley wires to match the new street layout

Utilities

  • Upgrading the streetlight network in the First Hill neighborhood
  • Installing detention tanks to manage stormwater runoff (Madison St between 12th and 13th avenues, 10th between Madison and Seneca streets, and E Pine St between 15th and 16th avenues)
  • Water and sewer main replacement east of Broadway

Walking, biking, and community infrastructure 

  • Building curb bulbs to shorten pedestrian crossings along side streets (Madison St at the intersections of Minor Ave, 10th Ave, 12th Ave, Union St, Pike St, 15th Ave, 18th Ave, 19th Ave, Denny St, John St, and 27th Ave; Spring St at the intersections of 7th, 8th, and 9th avenues)
  • Building new and upgrading many existing curb ramps
  • Completing landscaping and tree removal/ replacements throughout; with significant landscaping enhancements on Madison St over I-5
  • Creating public art (where Madison St, 14th Ave, and Pike St converge)
  • Adding bike connections

Final Design

Click the design sheets below to see what the project will look like on your block!

What will it look like?

Madison BRT design renderings at the Central Library; Madison and Terry; Madison and 12th; and Madison and John

  1. Rendering above at Central Library shows a station shelter, real time arrival info, station platform at the same level as the bus, and bus lane. 
  2. Rendering at Madison and Terry shows a center running station, pedestrian refuge (protected space in the middle of the street), center running bus lanes, new curb ramps, landscaping, station shelters, and real time arrival info. 
  3. Rendering at Madison and 12th Ave shows a center running station, new curb ramps, pedestrian refuge (protected space to wait in the middle of the street), bus lanes, landscaping, and new curb ramps. 
  4. Rendering at Madison and E John St shows a station platform level with the bus, bus only lane, new curb ramp, yellow tactile strip for people with vision impairments, station shelter, and real time arrival info.

Please note that the cross-sections are typical for each section and are not representative of the entire corridor length.


Future lane layout on Madison St between 6th and 7th avenues (facing east)

Existing Madison St between 6th and 7th image

Existing

Future

  • Lane layout will include 2 westbound right turn lanes, a westbound general-purpose lane, a westbound bus lane, 1 eastbound general-purpose lane

Future lane layout on Madison St between 7th and 8th avenues (facing east)

Existing

Future

  • Lane layout will include 3 westbound general-purpose lanes, a center-running bus lane (westbound and eastbound) and station platform, and 1 eastbound general-purpose lane

Future lane layout on Madison St between Summit and Boylston avenues (facing east)

Existing

Future

  • Lane layout will include 1 westbound general-purpose lane, 1 center-running bus lane and station platform, and 1 eastbound general-purpose lane

Future lane layout on Madison St between 16th and 17th avenues (facing east)

Existing

Future

  • Lane layout will include a westbound bus/right turn only lane, a westbound general-purpose lane, an eastbound general-purpose lane, and an eastbound bus/right turn only lane

Preparing for Construction

What to expect during construction

We will work with the construction contractor to build the project as efficiently as possible while maintaining access and mobility, but you can expect to experience construction activities throughout the corridor during the duration of work. 

Generally, we anticipate construction work to be on weekdays between 7 AM and 5 PM, but there will be times crews have to work on weekends and at night. 

Work zones

To limit the amount of time that a particular location is distrupted by construction, the construction contractor's major construction activities will be contained within work zones of up to 1,500 feet (about 4-5 blocks) - with at least 1,500 feet between each major work zone. The contractor is permitted to work in up to 4 work zones at a time. We'll monitor that the contractor completes work in one zone and opens it up to traffic before moving on to the next. Minor construction activities that temporarily close a lane for short periods of time will be allowed outside the major work zones and water main work may occur outside the work zones.We will know more about construction hours and timing once the construction contractor develops their schedule. 

Construction will generally include:

    • Demolition and removals
    • Utility work (including planned water outages)
    • Rebuilding and restriping

Dates when work is restricted

  • Thanksgiving Day to New Years Day (winter holiday moratorium) - no construction on 1st Ave
  • Pride Fest - no construction between Broadway and 15th Ave
  • Capitol Hill Block Party - no construction between Broadway and 15th Ave
  • Hospital zone - no closures during the first month after construction starts between I-5 and Broadway

Demolition and Removals

We will be demolishing and removing parts of the existing roadway and sidewalks on Madison and Spring streets to replace with new asphalt or concrete. See design sheets for more locations.

What to expect:

  • Vibrations nearby as the construction team breaks up the concrete or asphalt
  • Loud noises
  • Truck traffic to help carry out road debris
  • Typical work hours from 7 AM to 5 PM
  • Weekend work as needed
  • Temporary parking restrictions for months at a time (and permanent parking removal)
  • Traffic shifts and detours for people walking, biking, and driving
  • Temporary driveway, street, and lane closures
  • Intersection closures, typically on weekends
  • Flaggers to help direct traffic
  • Temporary bus detours and bus stop relocations

Utility work

Utility work map for Madison BRT Project

Click here to view a pdf version.

These include:

  • Water main pipe replacements on Madison between Broadway and Martin Luther King Jr Way
  • Deep sewer main pipe replacement on Madison between 18th and 22nd
  • Storm water detention pipes on 10th between Madison and Pike, on Madison between 12th and 13th, and on Pike between 13th and 14th 

What to expect:

  • Excavation to remove existing utilities and install new utilities underneath the street
  • Temporary water mains placed along the sidewalk and/or in the street
  • About 4 planned water outages at and near Madison St; neighbors will be notified in advance of planned outages (see our planned water outage FAQ for more info)
  • Loud noise, dust, and vibrations
  • Truck traffic
  • Some nighttime and weekend work to minimize impacts of planned water outages on neighbors.

Rebuilding and restriping

We will be demolishing and rebuilding much of the roadway and some sidewalks along the project area. At this time, we will rebuild the road base and then pave over top with asphalt or concrete. In some locations, only the top layer of asphalt will be removed and repaved. A similar type of work is done for rebuilding sidewalks and driveways. After installing the new road, we will return to paint new striping on the road and install protected bike lanes in sections as designed.

This includes:

  • Street surface, base repair, and subbase as needed
  • Sidewalks, curbs, and curb ramps
  • Painting new markings on the street

What to expect:

  • Multiple temporary closures of lanes and driveways to demolish, excavate, rebuild, and pave the road
  • Traffic shifts and turn restrictions 
  • Loud noise, dust, and vibrations
  • Truck traffic
  • Steel plates to access driveways where it is safe and feasible
  • Typical work hours from 7 AM to 5 PM
  • Temporary parking restrictions for weeks at a time
  • Some nighttime and weekend work to minimize traffic impacts

How long will construction last?

Construction is anticipated to start in fall 2021. We expect construction to take about 2.5 years to complete and the RapidRide G Line to open in 2024. The construction team will complete the work in up to 4 segments at a time.

Will construction block driveways?

Yes. Driveway restrictions needed for paving activities are typically short-term. In spring 2021, we met with many property owners and building managers to discuss specifics for each driveway. Feel free to contact us to request a meeting.

Will there be sidewalk closures?

Yes. In most cases, a walkway will be maintained on at least one side of the street. We'll work with the contractor to maintain access to businesses and residences.

How will parking be impacted?

When the team is working in a particular work zone, parking will be restricted 24/7 for the duration of the work. People will need to park on side streets or off-street parking lots. Parking on much of the corridor will be removed permanently (see this map for parking specifics). Load zones will also be affected, and new load zones will be added on side streets before construction starts. 

What happens to my bus stop during construction?

Many bus stops will be temporarily relocated or closed during construction. To stay up to date about current bus stop closures and relocations, please sign up for Metro's Rider Alerts. If a stop is relocated or a bus is detoured, signs will also be posted along the corridor.

In preparation for construction, the team has identified 6 potential locations for the construction contractor to store equipment and materials near the project area called staging areas. These sites were selected to reduce the construction footprint on Madison St and to enable the contractor to build the project more efficiently. All locations are in the City's right-of-way. Changes to local traffic and access will be required with some of the staging areas, and we're workingwith neighbors to make modifications as needed.

Staging details:

  • Staging sites will be surrounded by a temporary chain-link fence
  • Contractors will not be allowed to park personal vehicles within staging areas
  • Timing will depend on the location but staging could begin as soon as construction starts and may remain for the duration of construction
  • Business and resident access will be maintained
  • The construction contractor may propose different locations that SDOT would need to approve

Potential locations:

1. Corner of east side of 10th Ave and south side of E Seneca St

Map of Corner of east side of 10th Ave and south side of E Seneca St

2. West side of 7th Ave between Spring and Madison streets

Map of West side of 7th Ave between Spring and Madison streets

3. North side of E Union St and 13th Ave

Map of North side of E Union St and 13th Ave

4. South side of E Pike St between 13th and 14th avenues

Map of South side of E Pike St between 13th and 14th avenues

5. North side of E Pine St and West side of 18th Ave

Map of North side of E Pine St and West side of 18th Ave

6. South side of E Arthur PL and north side of E Harrison St

Map South side of E Arthur PL and north side of E Harrison St

Support neighbors during construction

We know construction is difficult on neighbors. Our team is working to coordinate with neighbors, the construction team, and across City departments to lessen the burden of construction as much as possible including: 

  • Relocating load zones before construction starts 
  • Working closely with SDOT's Hub team to coordinate with other public and private construction in the area 
  • Creating signage tailored for the area with wayfinding and construction information 
  • Outreach team: 
    • Serves as liaison between construction team and neighbors 
    • Conducts construction surveys with neighbors to have direct points of contact and learn about needs 
    • Attends construction meetings and coordinates with construction team to accommodate neighbors as much as possible 
    • Communicates with neighbors through mailings, social media, weekly email updates, flyers, door-to-door, virtual meetings, phone calls, and web

Supporting local businesses

Businesses will remain open and accessible during our scheduled construction work. Please continue to support local businesses in person or virtually via Central Area Collaborative and Intentionalist. The Central Area Collaborative is partnering with Intentionalist to support Black-owned and small businesses in the Central District neighborhood.

The First Hill Improvement Association has a list of businesses open during COVID-19. This list is updated weekly.

COVID-19 business resources

We're formally partnering with the Office of Economic Development to help neighbors get connected to the right resources depending on your situation. Contact OED to determine the right resource to meet your needs: OED@seattle.gov I (206) 684-8090 I www.seattle.gov/office-ofeconomic-development

Funding

The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) has allocated $59.9 million in funding from the Small Starts Program to the Madison Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) - RapidRide G Line project for construction. This $59.9 million will cover about 45% of the total Madison BRT - RapidRide G Line project cost. The funding allocation builds on years of work with the Federal Transit Administration to meet the rigorous readiness requirements for the Small Starts Grant. The federal funding for this project is leveraged through Move Seattle, Sound Transit ST3, King County, and Washington State funds.

TimelineActivities/Milestones
Jan 2013 - May 2014 Project scope defined
Jun 2014 - Apr 2015 Developed and analyzed concept design alternatives, began community engagement
May 2015 - Oct 2015 Refined concept design with community engagement
Nov 2015 Finalized and shared draft concept design
Feb 2016 City Council approved concept design to move forward (also called Locally Preferred Alternative)
Feb - May 2016 Validated cost assumptions from concept design before beginning early design
Spr/Sum 2016 Community engagement on early design, including individual meetings, community briefings, and a series of open houses in August
Jan - Feb 2017 Met with property and business owners to discuss construction options and parking and loading needs
March 2017 2 public meetings (March 9 and 15) and an online open house to share latest project design and get public feedback
Spr/Sum/Fall 2017 Continue design process; continue working with property owners, businesses, and residents to complete construction phasing plan; environmental review
Feb - Mar 2018 SEPA Determination of Non-Significance comment period (February 25 through March 1); SEPA Appeal Period (March 1 through March 8)
Summer 2020 Received the final Readiness and Risk Report from the Federal Transit Administration 
Fall 2020 Final design
Late 2020 Secure Federal Small Starts Grant and finalize funding agreements with Sound Transit and Seattle City Council
Fall 2021 Construction anticipated to start and take about 30-36 months to complete
2024 Madison St BRT service begins (as RapidRide G Line) 

September 2021

December 2020

November 2020

October 2020

August 2020

June 2020

February 2020

January 2020

November 2019

September 2019

July 2019

March 2019

October 2018

July 2018

February 2018

NEPA Documented Categorical Exclusion Appendices:

January 2018 

Fall 2017

Summer 2017 

Spring 2017

March 2017

February 2017

January 2017

November 2016

August 2016

July 2016

January 22, 2016 City Council Meeting 

November 16, 2015 Open House

October 2015

July 2015

May 2015 Online Survey Results In May, the Madison Street BRT project hosted an online survey to seek input on: BRT design options, routing, terminals, and station location priorities for transit service and capital investment design concepts for a Central Area protected bike laneThe results of the survey can be found here.May 2015 Open House

Design Sheets (*Draft concepts for analysis purposes - NOT final designs*) 

Reports

January 2015 Online Survey

November 20, 2014 Open House

September 30, 2014 Open House

September 2014 - Stakeholder Outreach 

Materials