RapidRide J Line - Formerly RapidRide Roosevelt

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

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Updated: October 19, 2021

What's happening now

RapidRide J Line shortened to U District Station
Due to budget shortfalls brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, SDOT and King County Metro decided to shorten the RapidRide J Line route to end at the U District Link light rail station instead of at the Roosevelt Link light rail station. This planned shortening will only affect the route north of University Bridge and the rest of the planned route will remain unchanged. Riders traveling between the Roosevelt and University District neighborhoods will be able to take transit alternatives offered through the North Link Connections Mobility Project improvements planned for fall 2021.

Supplemental Environmental Assessment - Notice of Availability and Comment Opportunity

RapidRide J Line (also known as RapidRide Roosevelt) was shortened from the Roosevelt Link light rail station to the U District Link light rail station (this shortening is known as the "U District Option") to accommodate the loss of anticipated capital and operating funds due to the economic impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic. The Supplemental Environmental Assessment is necessary to identify any potential new environmental impacts associated with the U District Option north of the University Bridge. The remainder of the project between Downtown Seattle and the University Bridge remains unchanged and was analyzed in the January 2020 Environmental Assessment.

The RapidRide Roosevelt Supplemental Environmental Assessment is now available for review and comment. Appendices to the Supplemental EA are also available for review and comment below. If no significant issues are identified during the comment period, the Federal Transit Administration would make the determination to issue a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI). A FONSI allows the project to move forward with final design. During final design, the project will advance the engineering and continue to work with community members on access strategies, construction phasing, and other opportunities for input.

Click here to view a narrated presentation about the Supplemental Environmental Assessment. You can also view it in Spanish, Chinese (simplified), Chinese (traditional), and Korean

How to comment:  

Online:
Leave a comment  

By mail: 
Darrell Bulmer, Seattle Department of Transportation
700 Fifth Ave, Suite 3800 (SMT-38-00)
PO Box 34996, Seattle, WA 98124 

You can also review the Supplemental Environmental Assessment at the following Seattle public libraries:

  • Central Library 1000 Fourth Ave, Seattle, WA 98104 
  • University Branch 5009 Roosevelt Way NE, Seattle, WA 98105 

Materials can be provided in alternative formats for persons with disabilities by calling SDOT at (206) 684-5000 or via teletype (TTY) and relay service at 711 or (800) 833-6384

Comments on the Supplemental Environmental Assessment must be postmarked or submitted online by 5 PM on Monday, November 22, 2021. 

The 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

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 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 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. 

Why RapidRide J Line? 

The existing bus service cannot support current population and ridership demand growth. During peak hours before the COVID-19 pandemic, 30% of trips were late and 63% were overcrowded.

RapidRide J Line addresses these issues with: 

  • Frequent and reliable service, all day, every day 
  • Buses every 7.5 minutes or sooner during peak periods 
  • 24-hour service, 7 days a week 
  • Bus-only lanes and traffic priority signals help keep buses moving 
  • All-door boarding lets riders get on the bus faster

Safer and more comfortable 

  • Improved pedestrian and bicycle safety and connections to transit with protected bike lanes on Fairview Ave E, Eastlake Ave E, and 11th Ave NE 
  • Easy access for riders with mobility aids 
  • New well-lit bus stations with real-time arrival information 

More connections 

  • Better connections to Link light rail, other RapidRide lines, and Seattle Streetcar simplifies transfers and makes it easier to reach more places. 

Frequent and more reliable transit 

Have you ever waited for a bus only to have 2 show up back-to-back 20 minutes late? This is called bus bunching, and in addition to making you late, it often discourages people from riding transit. RapidRide J Line's planned transit improvements, including stop optimization, will help reduce occurrences of bus bunching and make transit a more attractive option. 

These improvements include 5 queue jumps: bus-only lanes at intersections that allow buses to bypass traffic at stoplights. This helps your bus run smoothly, reliably, and on time. 

What is a queue jump? 

Queue Jump
Bridge segment being offloaded

 

Project Map

Corridor Map
Corridor Map

 

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

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 where feasible. 

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 parking space?   

Apps like Spot HeroCurb FlipBestParking, 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. 

RapidRide J Line outreach conducted to date

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

  • 73 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).
December 2020 (Add new line) Attended North Link Connections Mobility Board meeting
January 2021 Briefing with Councilmember Alex Pedersen
March 2021 Briefings with:
  • U District Partnership
  • Belltown United
March 2021 Attended Roosevelt Neighborhood Association meeting
March 2021 Attended North Link Connections Mobility Board meeting
May 2021 Attended Northeast District Council meeting
June 2021 Briefings with: 
  • Councilmember Girmay Zahilay
  • Council staff
  • SpotHero
  • Interbranch Transit
June 2021 Attended Mercer Corridor Stakeholder Committee meeting
July 2021 SpotHero demo at Eastlake Community Council Board meeting
August 2021 Briefings with:
  • Prime Parking
  • UW Student Life
October 2021 U District Link light rail station grand opening tabling

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'

October 2021

Supplemental Environmental Assessment Appendices

Scroll down to view the January 2020 Environmental Assessment

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) 256-5563.

Updated: 12/12/2017