Rapid Ride E: will it get done on time?

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Metro Transit Rapid Ride E: 
Will it get done on time?
By Brian Doennebrink

“We are confident we’ll be able to make that…we have a high-level committee with the City of Seattle, city staff in particular, SDOT (Seattle Department of Transportation) management, including the (Seattle) mayor’s office, with a commitment to work with us to ensure permitting processes go smoothly, that City Light (electrical) connections go smoothly, that our construction process goes smoothly to bring that implementation together, so we’ve felt that we’ve given ourselves sufficient time to ensure a successful implementation in February.”

So said Service Development Manager Victor Obeso at the King County Council’s Transportation, Economy and Environment Committee last week. Transit news watchers may recall that, less than two months ago, the implementation of Rapid Ride E between Shoreline and downtown Seattle was delayed from initially beginning this September. That was due to not being able to have all of the bus-activated traffic signals, ORCA fare card readers, bus arrival information displays, and 100 stops completed by then.

But, said Obeso, “Changes will (still) occur beyond the implementation date.” He said that transit signal priority, TSP for short, will (only) be “to the Denny Way exit.” There will be adjustments as the bored tunnel (Alaskan Way Viaduct) and Mercer Street projects move to their conclusions, scheduled in 2015 and 2016, respectively. As it is, a lane in each direction will be taken away until 2015.

Regarding modifications planned for N 192nd to N 205th in Shoreline, presently slated to begin early 2014, Mr. Obeso said that he did not see the construction as a “major impediment to operating.” He added that Rapid Ride E will increase frequency levels vs. the route #358 that it is to replace, specifically in the “reverse peak” direction,” i.e. north in the morning and south in the evening, as well as for some off-peak times, i.e. nights and weekends.

The northern terminus for Rapid Ride E will initially be located adjacent to Community Transit’s Swift bus rapid transit terminus at the Aurora Village Transit Center, “allowing for cross-bay transfers,” said Obeso. He added that there have been discussions about moving the terminals to the Shoreline Park and Ride at 192nd and Aurora.

In other news, in September Metro plans for the route 330 (Lake City/Lake Forest Park-Shoreline Community College) to shift its schedule to match rider demand at the college. Meanwhile, route #358 (Aurora Village-downtown Seattle) was identified as having four trips on Saturdays with standing loads for longer than 20 minutes, resulting in relief measures then.


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