RapidRide J Line - Formerly RapidRide Roosevelt

Connecting Downtown Seattle with the neighborhoods of Belltown, South Lake Union, Eastlake, University District, and Roosevelt. Upgrading Route 70 to RapidRide with enhanced bus speed, reliability and stations, paving, installing protected bike lanes, and improving accessibility.

Updated: June 26, 2020

What’s happening now?

In January, the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) and Federal Transit Administration released the Environmental Assessment and Section 4(f) Analysis for the RapidRide Roosevelt (J Line) project. The document provides a comprehensive analysis of the project, including proposed improvements, technical details, potential impacts, and mitigation strategies. While the comment period ended on February 14, 2020, you can still read the RapidRide Roosevelt Environmental Assessment (EA) 

The project team is reviewing the more than 400 Environmental Assessment comments and, following Federal Transit Administration review, will publish a written response to each comment later this year in the federal environmental determination document. The state environmental determination will be issued at the same time and will be followed by a two-week comment period.

We will also continue refining the design of the project, reviewing key community considerations like bus stop locations, and implementing parking mitigation strategies including supporting shared parking, relocating load zones, and updating RPZ 8. We plan to share an updated project design for review and comment after publication of the project's environmental determination.

It often takes several months to evaluate, select, and finalize a contract with a design consultant. So, to minimize potential delays, SDOT released a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) to select a consultant to refine the final design. The final design will incorporate community feedback from the Environmental Assessment and refine technical aspects of the design. Releasing the RFQ now gives the project time to select the most qualified consultant and the flexibility to act quickly depending on the environmental determination. Consultants who are interested in responding to the RFQ can learn more on ProcureWare. 

Overview

The RapidRide Roosevelt Project will upgrade Route 70 to provide high-quality service connecting Downtown Seattle with the neighborhoods of Belltown, South Lake Union, Eastlake, University District, and Roosevelt. We're partnering with King County Metro (KCM) to enhance transit connections and upgrade existing bus routes to Metro RapidRide service. Upgrading service will keep people moving by:

  • Improving transit travel times and reliability with buses every 7.5 minutes during morning and afternoon peak periods and afternoon peak transit travel time reduced by 17 minutes in 2024
  • Reducing overcrowding by adding about 60 additional bus trips each day 
  • Providing frequent and on-time transit service with more buses at night and on weekends combined with smarter traffic signals that give the bus additional green lights  
  • Upgrading bus stations with lighting, real-time arrival info, and all-door boarding
  • Improving connections to regional transit service like new Link light rail stations, additional RapidRide lines, and the Seattle Streetcar
  • Enhanced safety and predictability for everyone with about 5 miles of new protected bicycles lanes on Fairview Ave E, Eastlake Ave E, and 11th/12th Ave NE
  • Improving roadway conditions by repaving Eastlake Ave E and adding a new top layer of pavement (i.e. pavement overlay) on 11th/12th Ave NE
  • Improving sidewalks and upgrading approximately 200 curb ramps to meet ADA requirements
  • Lowering carbon emissions by adding new electric trolley wire and providing attractive alternatives to driving alone

As a result, daily ridership is expected to more than double by 2024 with 21,600 riders per day. 

  

Project Map

Project Map

Explore detailed Project Overview drawings.

We're working to balance the needs of everyone within the neighborhoods, whether they're in a bus, a car, walking or riding a bike. Project improvements including smarter traffic signals, transit lanes, and RapidRide upgrades like all-door boarding help keep everyone moving. Travel time between Roosevelt and Downtown by car is expected to change by less than 3 minutes (or about 5%) compared to if the project wasn't built.

Watch a simulation of the design in action when service starts in 2024. 

Simulation Route: Southbound 

Simulation Route: Northbound

Where can RapidRide J Line take you starting in 2024?

  • Mix and match transit options: Enjoying shopping in Northgate but need to meet someone for a meal in Eastlake? Take Link light rail from Northgate to the Roosevelt Station, transfer to RapidRide J Line, and you'll be in front of your favorite Eastlake brunch spot quickly and easily.
  • Cheer your local sports team, collegiate or pro: You can take J Line from Eastlake all the way downtown to S Main St for a quick walk to the downtown stadiums, or you can take J Line to connect at the Roosevelt or U District Link Stations, with quick connections to Husky Stadium, CenturyLink Field and T-Mobile Park.
  • Enjoy more of Seattle, getting there in a way that works for you: Seattle is home to world-class parks, and you don't need a car to get to them. Say you live in Belltown but want to get to Green Lake. RapidRide J line will take you from 3rd & Virginia to Roosevelt, just 6 blocks away. Or you can ride your bike in new, safer protected bike lanes most of the way there. 

Purpose and Need

The overall purpose of the RapidRide Roosevelt project is to improve transit travel times, reliability, and capacity to increase high-frequency, all-day transit service and enhance transit connections between Downtown Seattle and the Belltown, South Lake Union, Eastlake, University District, and Roosevelt neighborhoods, in order to:

  • Address current and future mobility needs for residents, workers, and students
  • Address capacity constraints in the transportation network along this north-south corridor
  • Provide equitable transportation access to major institutions, employers, and neighborhoods

An additional purpose of the project is to improve pedestrian and bicycle connections and access to RapidRide stations and improve safety along the corridor.

The Roosevelt corridor has been identified as a high-priority corridor for meeting the following transportation and community needs:

  • Provide Transit Service to Support Housing and Employment Growth. By 2035, the area within approximately 0.5 mile of the corridor is forecasted to grow by over 22,000 residents (29%) and 91,000 employees (50%), for a total of over 98,000 residents and 274,000 jobs (Puget Sound Regional Council [PSRC], 2017). There is inadequate capacity on existing bus service to support the planned development.
  • Provide Neighborhood Connections to Future Link Light Rail Stations. There is no direct rapid transit connection between the 5 neighborhoods and Downtown Seattle. King County Metro Routes 67 and 70 provide service to the Project neighborhoods, but traffic lanes can be congested, and passengers may need to transfer to another bus line to connect between the northern and southern neighborhoods. These limitations result in long transit times and unreliable schedules, reducing riders' ability to make connections and discouraging ridership. There is a need to provide better connections to existing and future Link light rail stations, existing and future RapidRide lines, and regional and local bus routes.
  • Improve Transit Travel Time and Reliability Throughout the Corridor. Congestion is causing delays in transit travel time and is negatively affecting transit reliability. The existing transit travel times in the corridor during peak periods may be up to 30% slower than off peak hours, with the increased congestion resulting in less reliable transit service. Currently, over thirty percent of transit trips in the corridor run late during morning and evening peak periods. There are two intersections that operate at level of service (LOS) F in the corridor. By 2024, without improvements in the corridor, the PM peak delay in transit travel time is expected to increase by over 5 minutes (10%) for trips along the entire corridor, and an additional four intersections would operate at LOS F. These limitations result in long transit times and unreliable schedules, reducing riders' ability to make connections and discouraging ridership.
  • Reduce Overcrowding of Existing Bus Capacity. More than 20% of the people living within approximately 0.5 mile of the corridor already use transit, with higher transit usage within Downtown Seattle and the University District neighborhoods. The number of riders on each bus along the corridor exceed the seated capacity on 15% of daily trips and 32% of the trips during the morning and afternoon peak periods. For the existing Route 70 that provides transit service in the corridor between Downtown Seattle and the University District, average weekday ridership is expected to increase in the future by approximately 30% (i.e., from 5,600 riders per day in 2024 to 7,300 in 2040).
  • Improve Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety and Connections to Transit. Extensive transit service and dense, walkable neighborhoods contribute to a high level of pedestrian and bicycle activity along the corridor; the University Bridge, for example, has the second highest bicycle count in Seattle. There are also intersections with above-average rates of bicycle and pedestrian collisions with vehicles. From 2012 to 2016, eight intersections along the corridor were reported to have three or more pedestrian injury collisions and six intersections had four or more bicyclist injury collisions. There is a need to provide safe bicycle facilities and better connections to transit for bicyclists. In addition, numerous sidewalks and intersections do not meet current City standards and do not comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Protected bike lanes enhance safety and traffic flow

The protected bicycle lane on Eastlake Ave E will reduce interactions between bicycles, cars, and buses on the corridor, providing improved safety and predictability for all users, and will help keep transit moving to improve travel time for people riding buses.

Why protected bike lanes are planned for the project

Along with improving transit service, the RapidRide Roosevelt project is designed to improve safety conditions and access to transit for people biking and walking along the corridor. 

  • While people walking and biking make up only 6.3% of all crashes in Seattle, they represent a much larger percentage of serious (47.4%) and fatal (39.7%) crashes.
  • Between 2012 and 2017, there were 39 reported collisions involving bicyclists in Eastlake along Eastlake Ave E, with most of them resulting in injury.
  • Currently, about 1,700 people bike per day cross the University Bridge, which is the second highest in the city in terms of bicycle volume.

SDOT Evaluated 9 Routes in the Eastlake Bicycle Facility Evaluation

In response to community concerns from the impacts of the protected bicycle lane along Eastlake Ave E we reviewed other bicycle facility and route options for the project. Of the multiple options reviewed for the Eastlake community, the one-way protected bicycle lanes on Eastlake Ave E best meets the evaluation criteria and provide the highest-quality bicycle facility in Eastlake because:

  • Fewest potential conflicts at intersections and driveways
  • Most straightforward and intuitive route - Other routes require several turns off Eastlake Ave E so people riding bikes may be confused or choose to continue on Eastlake, slowing transit speeds
  • Access to all 8 RapidRide stops and TOPS K-8 school
  • Maintains the turn lane and planted median on Eastlake Ave E

Note: both a one-way and two-way protected bike lane on Eastlake Ave E require removing all the parking on Eastlake Ave E. 

Review the full bicycle facility evaluation.

Why does the protected bike lane on 11th/12th Ave NE crossover at NE 43rd St?

The protected bike lanes are designed to easily connect and transition between the existing one-way protected bike lanes on the University Bridge and planned two-way bike lanes on Fairview Bridge.

The protected bike lane would be located on the east curbside between NE Campus Parkway and NE 43rd St to connect more safely with the University District Link station near NE 43rd St, then shift to the west curbside between NE 43rd St and NE 67th St to connect with the Roosevelt Link station near NE 67th St. Having the protected bike lane on the west curbside locates the protected bike lane on the left side of a one-way street consistent with City guidance for one-way streets with transit service and bicycle lanes to reduce conflicts and improve safety.

Curbspace and access strategies

Because the RapidRide Roosevelt project requires the removal of parking to ensure transit travel time speeds and improve safety for all users, SDOT has worked with the community to understand access needs to neighborhoods in the project area.

These include:

Loading zone relocation and curbspace updates
SDOT is continuing to work with community members to understand their loading needs and determine where current loading zones may best be relocated. 

Shared parking facilities
As a business is your parking garage gathering dust at night? As a resident is your parking spot sitting empty while you're at work? Does your neighbor have an empty space? 


Apps like Spot Hero, Curb Flip, BestParking, and ParkMe make it easy to make money without sacrificing the convenience of your parking spot. If you're interested in learning more, email RapidRide@seattle.gov

Restricted Parking Zone (RPZ) 8 updates
SDOT is beginning to review RPZ 8 in Eastlake to determine if it may be updated to better reflect current community needs. 
If you're interested in learning more and/or helping define the potential updates to Restricted Parking Zone (RPZ) 8, email RapidRide@seattle.gov

Schedule

Project timeline

  1. Planning (2014-2017): We collect traffic data, reviews plans, and gathers community experiences to define options.
  2. Design (2017-2021): We work with the community and produce a more detailed project design, and secure regulatory approval (e.g., Environmental Assessment).
  3. Construction (2021-2024): We construct the project and keep the community informed on the latest construction updates, schedule, and expected impacts. 

Upcoming RapidRide Roosevelt activities and milestones

  • Early 2020: Publish Environmental Assessment for community review
  • 2020: Anticipated date to finalize environmental document
  • 2021: Anticipated construction start date
  • As soon as 2024: RapidRide J Line service begins

RapidRide Roosevelt outreach conducted to date

 From 2015-2019 the project has engaged the public with: 

  • 32 community meetings and briefings
  • More than 850 community members engaged
  • Notifications to more than 40,000 neighborhood residents and businesses 

DateEvent
Phase 1 - Mode Analysis and Existing Conditions
February 2015                              Presented to Eastlake District Council meeting
Phase 2 - Characteristics of BRT and Multimodal Components
March-April 2015 Key stakeholder group outreach, including phone calls to develop an outreach list
May 2015 Open houses (2) to discuss mode analysis and existing conditions
July 2015 Joined Cascade Bicycle Club for walking audit of Eastlake Ave E
August 2015 Presentation to South Lake Union Chamber of Commerce
September 2015 Forum meeting in South Lake Union to discuss mode options
September 2015 Forum meeting in South Lake Union to discuss mode options
October 2015 Presented to Eastlake District Council meeting
November 2015 Forum meeting in South Lake Union to discuss BRT in-depth
November 2015 Presented to Roosevelt Neighborhood Association
December 2015 Open houses (2) to discuss BRT and multi-modal options
January 2016 Presented to Maple Leaf Community Council
January 2016 Presented to University Transportation Committee
January 2016 Presented to Eastlake Community Council
March 2016 Presented to U-District Partnership
March 2016 Project staff conducted business access survey
Phase 3 - Recommended Corridor Concept
May 2016 Forum meeting to review recommended corridor concept
June 2016 Presentation to Seattle Transit Advisory Board
June 2016 Presented to Fred Hutchinson staff
June 2016 Open houses (2) to review recommended corridor concept
July 2016 Reviewed recommended corridor concept with Vulcan staff
September 2016 Presentation to Seattle Bicycle Advisory Board
July 2017 Submitted Locally Preferred Alternative to Seattle City Council (approved July 2017)
November 2017 Notifications for public scoping meeting: • Email update • Mailed notice
December 2017 Public scoping open house to inform project Environmental Assessment
March 2018 Attended Eastlake Community Council meeting
April 2018 Attended Eastlake Community Council meeting
August 2018 Project email update
September 2018 Presentation to Seattle Bicycle Advisory Board
October 2018 Notifications for Eastlake neighborhood question and answer meeting: • Email update • Mailed notice
October 2018 Hosted Eastlake neighborhood question and answer session to review bicycle alternatives analysis and parking analysis
December 2018 Email invitations sent for Eastlake community parking workshop
January 2019 Hosted Eastlake community parking workshop to discuss opportunities for RPZ updates, transportation options, shared parking, and load zone relocations
April 2019 Attended Eastlake Community Council meeting
April to June 2019 Project outreach staff conducted door-to-door access surveys for Eastlake businesses
May 2019 Attended WSDOT/SDOT community parking briefing to review parking effects from the SR 520 project
July 2019 Briefing with Friends of Seattle's Olmsted Parks to review the Ravenna Boulevard park
July 2019 Briefing with members of Eastlake Community Council and SAFE Eastlake
July 2019 Notifications for Eastlake business parking workshops: • Mailed notice • Emailed notice • Door-to-door flyers
July 2019 Hosted Eastlake business parking workshops to discuss opportunities for load zone relocations, transportation options, shared parking, and RPZ updates
October 2019 Hosted U-District and Roosevelt Open House and Question & Answer Session
October 2019 Hosted Eastlake, South Lake Union and Downtown Open House and Question & Answer Session
October 2019 Captured community feedback through online open house

Funding

RapidRide Roosevelt is partially funded by the 9-year Levy to Move Seattle, approved by voters in 2015. Additional funding is being sought through a partnership with King County Metro and a Federal Transit Administration Small Starts Grant.

Project Materials

January 2020
 Environmental Assessment Appendices

October 2019

July 2019

April 2019

January 2019

October 2018

September 2018

December 2017 - Environmental Scoping

July 2017

June 2017

June 2016 Open Houses

December 2015 Open Houses

May 2015 Open Houses

Reference Documents

How can I get involved?

We're always interested in meeting with community and neighborhood groups that want to learn more about the project and make their voices heard. You can request a briefing by emailing RapidRide@seattle.gov or calling 206-684-5189.

Updated: 12/12/2017