$37.5 million in Federal money for future Metro RapidRide

Friday, November 18, 2011

Rapid Ride bus photo courtesy Metro Transit
New E Line will link Shoreline and Seattle

King County Executive Dow Constantine and members of the Metropolitan King County Council today expressed their appreciation to Congress for appropriating $37.5 million for two more Metro Transit RapidRide lines. The measure passed in both the House and Senate today and now goes to President Obama for his signature.

“Federal funding for these RapidRide lines will provide jobs during construction, improve access to employment and commercial centers in North and South King County, and stimulate development in the future,” said Executive Constantine, who thanked the state’s Congressional delegation for its support.

RapidRide is a different type of Metro service that includes newly designed buses, shelters and signs. The distinctive red-and-yellow buses are energy efficient, low-emission hybrid vehicles with low floors and three doors for easier, faster boarding.

Line E will travel along Aurora Avenue between Shoreline and downtown Seattle. Line F is planned to connect Burien, Tukwila, and Renton. Both are scheduled to start two years from now.

“This federal investment is great news and will help us continue improving our transit system, giving bus riders streamlined and more convenient service,” said Councilmember Bob Ferguson, whose district includes Shoreline. “As a regular bus commuter, I understand the importance of transit service and I look forward to the improvements RapidRide will bring to the entire Aurora corridor from Shoreline to Seattle.”

Metro debuted the first of six RapidRide routes in 2010, when Line A began serving a key corridor linking Federal Way with Tukwila. This fall, Line B started between Bellevue and Redmond. Next year, the C and D lines will link West Seattle and Ballard to downtown Seattle.

Shoreline built RapidRide bus stops along the second mile of Aurora.  Low rises in the street bring the bus entry and pedestrian footing to the same level for rapid entry and exit to and from the new busses.

Studies show the A Line has increased bus ridership by 30-40 percent in that corridor. On the Eastside, B Line ridership is projected to increase to nearly 2.2 million passenger trips a year by 2016 when compared with the regular bus service it replaced.

The $37.5 million will be awarded as part of a federal Bus and Bus Facilities grant program, and represents full funding of Metro’s request. The county will share some of the funding with partner cities to help construct the street improvements and transit elements inside their jurisdictions that make RapidRide successful. Funding partners for the E and F lines include Shoreline, Seattle, and Tukwila.

A national study released earlier this year by the Urban Land Institute indicated the E Line has strong potential to spur both redevelopment and development along the corridor it will serve in North King County.


Anonymous,  November 18, 2011 at 10:12 AM  

What will this new line do that the current 358 route doesn't. Will the 358 route still run when this new route begins.

Anonymous,  November 18, 2011 at 10:37 AM  

Sure, it's only $37 million if you don't include the dedicated lanes they will take. If you do include them it's a billion for pretty much nothing.

Anonymous,  November 18, 2011 at 2:58 PM  

Yeah,a tick up in our national debt to fund a glorified rte 358. It doesn't get more brilliant than that!

Anonymous,  November 18, 2011 at 3:27 PM  

the bus/transit lanes have been already factored into the Aurora project, so there is no real cost increase there. that being said, "Rapid Ride" is kind of a joke. It still takes 40 minutes or more to get from Federal Way to Tukwila because they didn't eliminate any of the stops from the previous route. This will be nothing more than a glorified 358. Think I'm kidding? Take a look at the "A Line" that runs down Pac Highway.

C in Ballard,  November 20, 2011 at 2:39 AM  

Rapid... in the case of the Ballard D line, 5-7 minutes slower than existing service, and less frequent too. That's progress? and Rapid?

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