In response to the budget shortfall caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, King County and the County Council have reassessed the RapidRide lines that will launch in the coming years. Some projects within the RapidRide program will pause design or adjust investments and will no longer launch as previously planned.
When making these difficult decisions, King County Metro considered how close the projects are to completion, equity impacts, funding sources, how projects aligned with Metro’s Mobility Framework and RapidRide policy goals, and previous community feedback received on the projects.
The RapidRide G, H, I, J, K, and R Lines were all originally slated to launch by 2027. The RapidRide G, H, I, and J lines will continue to be built with slight changes to schedule and investments. The RapidRide K and R lines will be paused until additional funding is available.
More information on the status of each RapidRide line is below.
RapidRide G Line (Project continues)
The RapidRide G Line will provide fast, frequent, reliable, and safe public transportation on Madison Street between First Avenue and Martin Luther King Jr Way. The route will serve high-density neighborhoods in downtown Seattle, First Hill, Capitol Hill, the Central Area, and Madison Valley. The RapidRide G Line will connect people to hospitals, schools, businesses, and other destination as well as to dozens of bus routes, the First Hill Streetcar, and ferry service at the Colman Dock Ferry Terminal.
A partnership between the Seattle Department of Transportation and Metro, construction is expected to start on the RapidRide G Line in late spring 2021 and last about 30-36 months. The RapidRide G Line will begin service in 2024.
The RapidRide G Line was retained in the budget because the project has completed final design and is ready for construction. The project has secured funding from the Seattle Department of Transportation (the lead agency on the project), numerous grants, and Sound Transit. Additionally, the project is expected to receive its remaining required funding from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) in late 2020.
More information can be found on SDOT’s Madison BRT-RapidRide G Line project webpage.
RapidRide H Line (Project continues, with adjusted timeline)
The RapidRide H Line will provide connections from neighborhoods in Burien, White Center, and West Seattle to downtown Seattle and South Lake Union.
A partnership between the Seattle Department of Transportation and Metro, construction started along Delridge Way Southwest in June 2020. The launch of service is now scheduled for 2022 (previously September 2021).
Delridge Way Southwest upgrades will be built under the leadership of Seattle Department of Transportation. Information on construction can be found on SDOT’s Delridge Way SW – RapidRide H Line project webpage. The remainder of the line from Westwood Village to Burien Transit Center will be constructed under the leadership of King County Metro starting spring of 2021.
More information can be found on the RapidRide H Line project webpage.
RapidRide I Line (Project continues)
The RapidRide I Line will upgrade Route 160, connecting the cities of Auburn, Kent, and Renton. Route 160 was a part of the Renton-Kent-Auburn Area Mobility Project (RKAAMP) that went into effect in September 2020, and replaced portions of the former Route 169 and Route 180.
The RapidRide I Line remains fully funded and on schedule to launch in 2023. Metro is committed to working closely with community members throughout the RapidRide I Line design and construction process.
More information can be found on the RapidRide I Line project webpage.
RapidRide J Line (Project continues, with adjusted scope)
The Seattle Department of Transportation and Metro will continue our partnership to deliver the RapidRide J Line. The RapidRide J Line is an upgrade of Route 70, which connects downtown Seattle with the neighborhoods of Belltown, South Lake Union, Eastlake, and University District. The upgrade to RapidRide will enhance bus speed, reliability, safety and bus station amenities. The project will also include paving, installation of protected bike lanes, and improved accessibility throughout the corridor.
Metro has shortened the previously planned northern end of the RapidRide J Line from Roosevelt Link light rail station to the University District Link light rail station. This change helps address budget shortfalls brought on by economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic while utilizing transit alternatives provided by the planned North Link Connections restructure.
More information can be found on the RapidRide J Line project webpage.
RapidRide K Line (Project paused)
The RapidRide K Line was proposed to expand RapidRide service in Kirkland and Bellevue. Originally slated to begin service in 2025, RapidRide K Line will serve the fast-growing communities between Totem Lake Transit Center in Kirkland, downtown Bellevue, and Eastgate Park & Ride in Bellevue.
The RapidRide K Line will be paused once it completes its remaining conceptual design work. When additional funding is secured, and the project is able to resume, Metro will notify all project stakeholders and continue the engagement process around design for the route alignment, station locations, and access and safety improvements.
More information can be found on the RapidRide K Line project webpage.
RapidRide R Line (Project paused)
The RapidRide R Line, which is scheduled to replace the Route 7 through the Rainier Valley, will be paused until additional funding is available. Metro is committed to continuing frequent service on Route 7, which serves 11,200 riders per day (pre-COVID).
Metro chose to wait for all necessary funding to become available before continuing this project in order to provide the best possible service and capital improvements. In the meantime, maintaining the current Route 7 service is the best option.
Although this project is being paused, community feedback influenced Metro’s preferred concept and informed the service quality improvements to be made when the project resumes.
More information can be found on the RapidRide R Line project webpage.
The Seattle Department of Transportation is continuing their work on the Route 7 – Transit-Plus Multimodal Corridor project to improve the reliability of the Route 7 and walking connections to bus stops by 2022. More information can be found on SDOT’s Route 7 – Transit-Plus Multimodal Corridor project webpage.