The planning for bringing frequent and reliable bus service to one of Seattle’s busiest traffic corridors advanced today with approval of the alignment and future station locations for King County Metro’s RapidRide J Line.
The Metropolitan King County Council today unanimously adopted the legislation accepting the alignment and stations.
“Connecting the U-District to South Lake Union and Belltown with RapidRide means more riders will have more options for faster travel,” said King County Executive Dow Constantine. “The collaboration between King County and the City of Seattle in developing the RapidRide J line is a reminder that we need to work at a regional level to help people get where they need to go without getting behind the wheel.”
The RapidRide J Line route will go through several of Seattle’s fastest growing neighborhoods including South Lake Union, Eastlake, and the University District. It will replace the current Metro route 70, which connects the University District to Downtown Seattle via Eastlake and South Lake Union.
“We are excited to see the RapidRide J Line project continue to move forward with the support of King County” said Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan. “As with our many partnerships with King County Metro, the RapidRide J line project moves us towards a citywide transit network that is more equitable, reliable, and responsive to our climate change goals. This project will 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. The project will also improve safety, pedestrian and bicycle connections and access to RapidRide stations as we address equitable mobility needs for residents, workers, and students.”
The approved alignment will also provide connections to Link light rail, Sounder commuter rail, the South Lake Union and First Hill Streetcars, the Monorail, Amtrak service, and other RapidRide lines, as well as regional and local bus service.
RapidRide J Line is a collaboration between Metro and the City of Seattle. The J Line is part of the City’s Transportation Master Plan, with funding provided by the voter-approved Move Seattle Levy as well as funds from the Federal Transit Administration. Seattle will lead construction of the capital improvements for the J Line, while King County will own, operate, and maintain the J Line vehicles and service.
RapidRide lines include increased frequency and reliability, on-board WIFI, larger and well-lit branded shelters, and real time bus arrival information. The coaches also include One Regional Card for All (ORCA) readers that let card holders pay at some bus stations and board through any of the distinctive red buses’ three doors.
The approved route is the culmination of community outreach that included neighborhood meetings, open houses, community forums, design workshops, and door-to-door outreach to businesses in or near the Eastlake and University District communities.
There are six RapidRide routes currently in service. When the J Line starts in 2026, it will join nine other routes that provide service throughout King County, including Federal Way, Kent, Renton, Burien, West Seattle, Seattle’s Madison Valley, and Bellevue/Totem Lake.