Cross posted from SDOT Blog

Metro’s partnership with the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) on the transformation of a vital travel corridor has reached a milestone.  SDOT has announced the RapidRide J Line has reached final design and is preparing for the project’s construction stage. The City will open bidding for contractor selection in the coming months and anticipates breaking ground in the summer of 2024.

The RapidRide J Line project represents a significant leap forward in Seattle’s public transportation system. The project upgrades King County Metro’s Route 70 with an improved RapidRide level of service that will enhance connections to Downtown, Belltown, South Lake Union, Eastlake, and the University District neighborhoods. 

Project Overview   

Map of the RapidRide J line, which goes from downtown Seattle through south Lake union, Eastlake, Belltown and into the University District

Metro and SDOT are collaborating to bolster transit connections and enhance existing bus routes. This project goes beyond just making buses more reliable all day. It also includes adding new bus stations, repaving streets, creating safe bike lanes, and making it easier for people to walk. In short, it will bring some impressive changes.  

In a nutshell, here’s a glimpse of the improvements this project will bring:  

  • Sidewalk Repairs: A whopping 15,130 feet of sidewalks will be refurbished – that’s like walking the length of about 42 football fields. 
  • Street Repaving: Two miles of streets are set to be repaved, equivalent to the length of 248 school buses lined up. 
  • Protected Bike Lanes: A total of 3.7 miles of protected bike lanes will be added to Seattle’s bike network for safer biking. 
  • Bus Priority Lanes: Buses will benefit from 2 miles of dedicated lanes to ensure more reliable transit. 
  • Improved Crosswalks: An impressive 177 crosswalks will be upgraded to enhance pedestrian safety. 
  • Traffic Signal Enhancements: 33 intersections will receive traffic signal improvements, including installing 253 new traffic signal devices. 
  • Greenery Enhancement: As part of our commitment to a greener city, 190 newly planted trees are included in the plan resulting in a net gain of 98 trees upon project completion. 
  • Watermain Replacement: A substantial 8,900 feet of watermain infrastructure will be replaced in partnership with Seattle Public Utilities. 

Addressing Mobility Needs and Ensuring Equitable Transportation 

The RapidRide J Line project goes beyond infrastructure upgrades. The project aligns with the values identified by collaborating with Seattleites during the development of the draft Seattle Transportation Plan. It addresses the Seattle community’s immediate and future travel needs, resolves capacity constraints along this key transit corridor, and ensures equitable transportation access to major institutions, low-income housing, medical facilities, employers, and neighborhoods. 

Here’s what the RapidRide J Line project will accomplish:  

  • Enhanced Access: Upgraded curb ramps, sidewalks, and signals will provide improved access to transit. 
  • Reliable Transit: Travel time and reliability throughout the route will be significantly improved with the addition of transit lanes and transit signal priority. 
  • Rider Experience: High-quality rider experience is a priority, with stations featuring shelters, lighting, real-time arrival information, and all-door boarding. 
  • Better Connections: The project bolsters connections to Link light rail, other bus lines, and the Seattle Streetcar. 
  • Environmental Responsibility: The project will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by offering more transit options and fewer cars on the road. 
  • Safety Measures: The installation of protected bike lanes will enhance the safety of all travelers. 
  • Durable Infrastructure: Eastlake Ave E will be paved with at least 12 inches of concrete, ensuring a street built to last more than 50 years. 
  • Infrastructure Partnership: A collaboration with Seattle Public Utilities will replace the existing watermain on Eastlake Ave E. 

We extend our gratitude to the community for its vital input throughout the planning and design process. The department with your help is creating a brighter, more connected, and sustainable future for Seattle’s transportation network. 

For additional information and updates about the RapidRide J Line project, please visit RapidRide J Line – Formerly RapidRide Roosevelt – Transportation | 

“Our administration is committed to enhancing access to fast and dependable transportation so people can easily reach their destinations. The RapidRide J Line project will connect communities from Pioneer Square to the University District, creating a swift, dependable route Downtown. These needed improvements are thanks to support from the Levy to Move Seattle and strong partnerships between King County Metro, Seattle Public Utilities, local businesses, and community-based organizations.”
Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell

 “The RapidRide J Line project will dramatically improve bus and bike connections between the University District and Greater Downtown. We’re thrilled to finalize a design that creates a more walkable, people-oriented street, and we look forward to starting construction next year!”
Seattle Department of Transportation Director Greg Spotts

 “Finalizing design for the future RapidRide J Line marks a major milestone in the critical partnership between Seattle and Metro to upgrade the rider experience and improve transit reliability for the communities we serve. More red bus-priority lanes, and safer pathways for riders to access new bus stations will draw more people to choose RapidRide between the U-District, Eastlake, South Lake Union and Belltown. This is just the latest in a series of transformative projects we’re delivering together to improve mobility in our growing communities.”
King County Metro General Manager Michelle Allison

“Seattle Neighborhood Greenways is thrilled to see construction scheduled for the Rapid Ride J project. This critical project will connect Seattle’s fastest growing neighborhoods with better walking, biking, rolling, and transit mobility and accessibility infrastructure. Additionally the design will improve safety on an identified “high crash corridor” — helping make progress towards Seattle’s Vision Zero goal.”
Gordon Padelford, Executive Director, Seattle Neighborhood Greenways

 “Efficient, reliable public transportation corridors, like RapidRide J Line, that are well connected to a broader, functionally integrated public transportation system, are essential to maintaining, enhancing, and prolonging the livability, workability and vitality of the UW-Eastlake-Southlake Community and metropolitan Seattle. Our 4th generation company, Lake Union Drydock Company, has been part of the dynamic live-work Eastlake community for 104 years. We appreciate the dedication and community involvement processes SDOT and King County Metro bring to shaping our connected transportation systems to respond to changing, sometimes competing, community needs, helping us all make Seattle the place where we want to live and work.”
Hobie Stebbins, President, Lake Union Drydock Company

 “As the effects of climate change bear down all around us, and population increases, great cities around the world (see Paris, France) are trading in their on-street parking for bicycle lanes and improved public transit. Eastlake will be a leader for Seattle in being one of the city’s first neighborhoods to make such a major and necessary transition that will benefit all.” Eastlake Community Member