RapidRide J Line - Formerly RapidRide Roosevelt

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

Updated: February 12, 2021

What's happening now

Seattle Department of Transportation and King County Metro will continue our partnership to deliver RapidRide J Line.

However, we plan to shorten the RapidRide J Line route to end near the future U District Link light rail station, instead of as previously planned near the Roosevelt Link light rail station. Shortening the route helps King County Metro address budget shortfalls brought on by economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic while leveraging transit alternatives in the North Link restructure. This shorter route will continue to improve transit speed, reliability, safety, and connections between the Belltown, South Lake Union, Eastlake, and University District neighborhoods, as well as improve multimodal connections.

There will still be multiple transit options for riders traveling north from the U District Link light rail station. Riders can continue by bus on Routes 45, 67, 73, or by Route 361 from downtown. Riders can also take light rail to Roosevelt station or Northgate station


Overview of Shortened RapidRide J Line Route

We hosted an online community meeting on Wednesday, December 9. In case you missed it, you can watch the full recording below, to learn more about the shortened alignment. You can also:


Submitting a Supplemental Environmental Assessment 

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. 


Before we advance into final design, the project is required to submit a Supplemental Environmental Assessment to the Federal Transit Administration to analyze any new impacts from the shortened route, north of the University Bridge. The Supplemental Environmental Assessment will include a formal public comment period in 2021. The Federal Transit Administration will then make an environmental determination based on both the original and Supplemental Environmental Assessment. Responses to the 400 comments we received on the original Environmental Assessment and any new comments received on the Supplemental Environmental Assessment will be responded to in the environmental determination. 

Purpose and Need

The overall purpose of the RapidRide J Line 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 and University District, 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 J Line route 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.
  • Provide neighborhood connections to future Link light rail stations. 
  • Improve transit travel time and reliability throughout the corridor. 
  • Reduce overcrowding of existing bus capacity. 
  • Improve pedestrian and bicycle safety and connections to transit.

We're partnering with King County Metro (KCM) to enhance transit connections and upgrade existing bus routes to Metro RapidRide service. 

 

Project Map

Full corridor map

Explore the shortened alignment

Shortened alignment map

Review the detailed Project Overview drawingsUpdated drawings will  be prepared with the Supplemental Environmental Assessment for the new shortened route to the U District Link light rail station.

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. The time it takes to drive between the University District and Downtown is expected to only change by a few minutes compared to if the project wasn't built.

Watch a simulation of the design in action with project enhancements in the South Lake Union area. 

Simulation Route: Southbound 

Simulation Route: Northbound

Where can RapidRide J Line take you?

  • 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 U District 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 U District Link station, with quick connections to Husky Stadium, CenturyLink Field and T-Mobile Park.

Protected bike lanes enhance safety and traffic flow

The protected bike lane on Eastlake Ave E will reduce interactions between bikes, 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 J Line 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 Bike Facility Evaluation

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

As part of the RapidRide J Line project, SDOT still plans to install protected bike lanes on Eastlake Ave E, north of Fairview Ave N. 


Separately, the Eastlake Avenue Protected Bike Lanes Project plans to install protected bike lanes farther south on Eastlake Ave E between Fairview Ave N and Stewart St. You can find the latest updates on the two phases of this project on the project page. Construction for Phase 1 of this project will begin as soon as spring 2021, in alignment with King County Metro's Eastlake Layover Facility. Phase 2 of the project, between Roy St and Fairview Ave N, is still in the early stages of design. 

Curbspace and access strategies

Because the RapidRide J Line 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 collected traffic data, reviewed plans, and gathered community experiences to define options.
  2. Design (2017-2023): We are collaborating with the community, working to secure regulatory approval (e.g., Environmental Assessment), and developing a more detailed final design. 
  3. Construction (as soon as 2023): We will construct the project and keep the community informed on the latest construction updates, schedule, and expected impacts. 

Upcoming RapidRide J Line activities and milestones

    • Collaborate with community members and businesses to analyze any new impacts from the shortened route, north of the University Bridge.
    • Submit the Supplemental Environmental Assessment to the Federal Transit Administration for review and 30-day public comment period in 2021. 
    • Receive an environmental determination from the Federal Transit Administration based on the project's original and Supplemental Environmental Assessment
    • Respond to public comments from the original and the Supplemental Environmental Assessment. 
    • Secure grant funding for the project in collaboration with the Federal Transit Administration.

RapidRide J Line outreach conducted to date

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

  • 53 community meetings and briefings
  • More than 1,000 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
October 2019 Presentation to Seattle Transit Advisory Board
October 2019 Briefings with:
  • Eastlake Coffee
  • Patrick's Fly Shop
November 2019 Briefings with:
  • Seattle Public Library
  • Eastlake Fitness and DJ's Apartments
  • Seattle Children's Hospital
January 2020

Notifications for Environmental Assessment and Section 4(f) comment period:

  • Mailed notice
  • Emailed notice
  • Notice at Seattle public libraries
  • Notice of availability
January 2020 Hosted U District, Roosevelt, Eastlake, and Downtown Drop-in Sessions for Environmental Assessment and Section 4(f) comment period.
January 2020 Briefing with the Eastlake Community Council Board.
February 2020 Briefing with the University of Washington.
December 2020 Route Update Public Meeting(virtual).

Funding

RapidRide J Line is partially funded by the 9-year Levy to Move Seattle, approved by voters in 2015. Additional funding is being sought through a Federal Transit Administration Small Starts Grant.

Project Materials'

April 2021

February 2021

January 2021

December 2020

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