Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan and King County Executive Dow Constantine recently welcomed Federal Transit Administration Administrator Nuria Fernandez to Seattle, as they joined other local leaders and congressional delegates at a groundbreaking event to celebrate the start of construction on the Madison - RapidRide G Line. This bus rapid transit (BRT) project is one of Seattle’s biggest projects within the Levy to Move Seattle. When the RapidRide G Line opens in 2024, it will connect some of Seattle’s densest neighborhoods with frequent, reliable transit.
The Madison – RapidRide G Line is a partnership between Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT), King County Metro and Sound Transit. According to officials, it will create a frequent and reliable public transportation line between 1st Ave. and Martin Luther King Jr. Way. The route will serve dense neighborhoods in downtown Seattle, First Hill, Capitol Hill, the Central District, and Madison Valley. It will connect people to hospitals, schools and universities, and businesses as well as to dozens of bus routes, the First Hill Streetcar, the West Seattle and Vashon Water Taxi at Pier 50, and ferry service at the Colman Dock Ferry Terminal.
“Breaking ground on the RapidRide G Line marks another expansion of King County’s high capacity transit network. We connect growing communities with the fast, frequent service to get people where they want to be, when they want to be there,” said Constantine. “From light rail to the Streetcar, to the Water Taxi and ferries – and now RapidRide G – we are building a truly integrated mobility system.”
The improved bus route will connect to transit across the region including light rail, ferries, and regional bus lines.
The project will build new sidewalks, repave the street, and change the lane layout to make the bus more reliable, accessible, and easier to get to. The City will build curb ramps, add streetlights, and build five new traffic signals with crosswalks to make it safer and more comfortable for people to get to and from bus stops.
“By making it easier to board, easier to pay and ensuring more buses per hour, the RapidRide G Line will better connect the people of Seattle, encouraging more people to get on board,” said FTA Administrator Nuria Fernandez. “FTA is proud to join our partners in the Seattle area to expand the bus rapid transit network in western Puget Sound.”
According to officials, the project would not be possible without the support of Seattle voters who passed the Levy to Move Seattle in 2016. One of the ways which the Levy to Move Seattle amplifies the value of tax dollars is by helping to leverage funding from other regional, state, and federal transit agencies, making it possible for SDOT to accomplish more than would have been possible with local funding alone. Sound Transit is also contributing up to $35.8 million to the project, as part of a Capitol Improvement Program agreement with SDOT. This project will be one of the first of many Sound Transit 3 commitments which will be completed in the coming years.
“The up to $35.8 million dollars that Sound Transit invested in this project will improve the lives of thousands of riders travelling to and from one of Seattle’s dense and vibrant neighborhoods, giving them outstanding connections to our fast-expanding regional transit system,” said Sound Transit CEO Peter Rogoff. “We thank the City of Seattle and King County Metro Transit for leading the partnership to make this project happen, and the Federal Transit Administration for their funding to enable it.”
The Federal Transit Administration is contributing $80.5 million to the $133.4 million project. This includes $10.9 million from President Biden’s American Rescue Plan, $59.9 million from the Small Starts Grant program, and another $9.7 million from the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program. This is the result of years of close collaboration between SDOT and the Federal Transit Administration to meet the rigorous readiness requirements of their grant program.
The RapidRide G Line is one of many major transit investments the Levy is delivering to create a more connected city, along with other major transit investments like the RapidRide H Line on Delridge Way SW, RapidRide J Line along Roosevelt and Eastlake avenues, and other Transit-Plus Multimodal Corridors throughout Seattle.
“While Seattle builds the best transit and transportation infrastructure in the country, support from our federal partners has become even more critical,” said Durkan. “Senator Murray, Secretary Buttigieg, and the federal delegation have prioritized projects that are good for Seattle, good for jobs, and good for transit. Senator Murray has been relentless in her support of this critical project and other City and regional priorities. As we deal with the effects of COVID-19, it is more important than ever to invest in a transportation system that gets our frontline workers, historically underserved communities and communities of color where they need to go quickly and reliably.”
SDOT will work to build the project as efficiently as possible while maintaining access and mobility. The team will work in sections along the project area and work will generally occur on weekdays between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. At least one lane of traffic will be kept open in each direction most of the time but there will be some times crews have to close intersections, typically on weekends or overnight.