Route 7 - Transit-Plus Multimodal Corridor

Updated: July 2, 2019

What’s happening now?

During early program planning, SDOT and King County Metro anticipated upgrading the Route 7 to RapidRide as soon as 2021. Based on an assessment of the Levy to Move Seattle and King County Metro’s proposed Capital Improvement Program (CIP), we now expect the RapidRide Rainier Line to open in 2024. SDOT is making improvements to the street and signals to improve bus reliability and access by 2022.

We're in the early design phase to determine what improvements are most beneficial and feasible to take to final design and construction. 

Project Overview

We are partnering with King County Metro to improve transit speed and reliability on Rainier Ave S. King County Metro is planning to upgrade Metro Route 7 to RapidRide in 2024. SDOT is making street improvements on Rainier by 2022 which could include the key features below.

SDOT Transit-Plus Multimodal Corridor key features

Based on a review of individual corridor needs and after identifying community priorities, each Transit-Plus Multimodal Corridor may include these key features:

  • Dedicated bus lanes and queue jumps: Bus-only lanes and signals that give buses a head start to separate buses from traffic and increase speed and reliability.
  • Smart signals: Transit signal priority extends or activates green lights to reduce waiting times for buses at signals.
  • Safety improvements: Improvements to crossings and transit connections to help people get to bus stops more easily. 

Metro RapidRide key features

When King County Metro upgrades the Route 7 to RapidRide, the corridor may include the key features below:

  • Enhanced bus stops: RapidRide stations include real-time arrival information, larger shelters, lighting, and other amenities.
  • Changing some bus stop locations: RapidRide includes a thorough review of bus stop usage, key destinations, and community input to determine potential station locations that improve transit speed and reliability.
  • Potential route changes: Some RapidRide lines include changes to the bus route to better connect to other transit or key destinations.
  • Off-board fare collection: Off-board fare collection helps buses move faster as riders can pay fares without waiting in line.
  • Specialized trolley buses: RapidRide buses offer more capacity and lower floors for easier loading and unloading.
  • More extensive bus lanes and transit signal priority: Additional investments in bus-only lanes, bus queue jumps, and transit signal priority to improve transit operations along RapidRide lines.
  • Trolley wire upgrades and extensions: Modifications to trolley wires to allow RapidRide trolley buses to pass other trolley buses and potentially extend trolley wires to the Rainier Beach Station.

Project Background

The Route 7 is one of the highest-ridership routes in Seattle, serving over 11,000 daily riders to a wide variety of destinations including schools, community centers, grocery stores, homes, and parks. And while Route 7 buses are scheduled to come every 10 minutes or better throughout most of the day, street conditions can cause delay.

The community around Route 7 and Rainier Ave S is growing, and many of the people who live along the corridor depend on the 7 to get to where they're going. A key goal is to keep what people already love about the 7, while also providing new and better connections to Link light rail and improved connections for people walking and biking.

Timeline changes

RapidRide Rainier was included in the 2015 Levy to Move Seattle and evaluated in the 2016 Transit Master Plan Update and the 2017 Metro Connects Long-Range Plan.

During early program planning, SDOT and King County Metro anticipated upgrading the Route 7 to RapidRide as soon as 2021. Based on an assessment of the Levy to Move Seattle and King County Metro’s proposed Capital Improvement Program (CIP), we now expect the RapidRide Rainier Line to open in 2024. SDOT is making improvements to the street and signals to improve bus reliability and access by 2022. We're in the early design phase to determine what  improvements are most beneficial and feasible to take to final design and construction. 

See more on the RapidRide program update.

See more on the comprehensive assessment of the Levy to Move Seattle.

Other Projects along Rainier

SDOT is focusing many investments along Rainier Ave S! Our project team is in close coordination with following projects:

Rainier Project Timeline

2019 2020 2021 2022 2023 2024

Vision Zero safety and bus improvements between Kenny/ Henderson 

Transit-Plus develops early design concepts

Vision Zero bus lanes between Kenny/Henderson

STBD (Seattle Transportation Benefit District) transit spot improvements

Transit-Plus finalizes design concepts

Transit-Plus builds bus and safety improvements throughout Rainier Ave S Sound Transit opens Judkins Park Light Rail station (planned)

King County Metro begins RapidRide Rainier service (planned)

Accessible Mt. Baker builds near term access improvements

Community Outreach

WhenWhatDetails
2017 Early planning outreach Shared the initial RapidRide plans and timeline in partnership with other SE Seattle projects (included a mailer, open house, community conversations, and social media) 
March 19-April 14, 2018 Online open house  Online open house and survey to collect input on detailed concept options; Notifications included a mailer to 40,000 addresses, listserv emails, media, and emails and phone calls to community groups; Online and paper surveys translated into Spanish, Chinese, Vietnamese, Tagalog, Somali, Amharic, Khmer, Omoro, and Tigrinya. 
March-April 2018 In-person surveys
  • Chinatown-International District Community Center
  • King Donuts
  • Rainier Community Center
  • Viet Wah Asian Supermarket
  • Asian Counseling and Referral Service
  • Rainier Farmers Market
  • Asian Counseling and Referral Service
  • Bush Apartments
  • Easter Hotel
  • Nihon Terrace
  • Ling King Tin Ye Association
  • All Family Association
  • Pop-ups at various locations including libraries, mini-marts, and apartment complexes
March-April 2018 Stakeholder briefings
  • Seattle Bicycle Advisory Board
  • Seattle Pedestrian Advisory Board
  • Seattle Freight Advisory Board
  • King County Transit Advisory Committee
  • Transportation Choices Coalition and Puget Sound Sage
May 2019 Stakeholder briefing Seattle Transit Advisory Board 
June 2019 Stakeholder briefing Move Seattle Levy Oversight Committee
July 2019 In-person surveys Conducting surveys with the businesses on and near Rainier Ave S between S Massachusets St and S Bayview St to learn more about delivery and customer access

We're always interested in meeting with community and neighborhood groups that want to learn more about the project and provide input. You can request a briefing by emailing RainierAveS@Seattle.gov or calling 206-727-8697. We will also announce opportunities to get involved as they are scheduled.

SE Seattle Open House

Materials

*Materials shared before summer 2018 reflect previous RapidRide Rainier Line timeline.

Funding

This project is funded by the 9-year Levy to Move Seattle, approved by voters in 2015. 

Translation

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