That chart is courtesy of Metro reps we talked with at today’s meeting of the South Portal Working Group that’s helping the state, city, county and port work through the process of planning how all the major transportation projects between here and downtown are going to fit together. The chart gives a simplified version of the newest projected construction timelines laid out at the meeting, and it’s what Metro is using to explain why it wants to delay the launch of the West Seattle RapidRide bus line that was originally planned for 2011. We first reported the delay proposal last week, after it was announced to the King County Regional Traffic Committee; Metro’s Victor Obeso confirmed to us in a followup conversation that the construction timetable is the reason they want to hold off on using the term RapidRide (and its signature elements). As the chart shows, late 2011 through early 2012 is the period with the most overlapping construction impacts, so Metro wants to hold off on RR branding till late 2012. Today, King County’s Ron Posthuma reiterated that increased bus service will be available starting in early 2010 (that includes the 54 and 55 routes, Obeso told us last week), as announced last September, funded from $30 million mitigation money from the state to make up for the impacts of the Viaduct-replacement project. And according to a one-sheet he provided at today’s meeting (containing the chart you see above), other elements of RapidRide will kick in sooner as well:
Metro is committed to working with the City of Seattle and the State to improve the transit priority pathways between West Seattle and downtown Seattle. Capital facility improvements, including signal priority, bus bulbs and transit lanes, to improve the speed and reliability of service in West Seattle currently being planned and designed in the RapidRide corridor would be constructed during 2010 and 2011. Existing routes and riders will benefit from these improvements as they come on line. Metro is proposing the delay in the RapidRide branded passenger facility including shelters and other amenities.
The same one-sheet details the increased West Seattle service as follows:
Starting in February 2010, Metro is proposing adding additional trips during weekday peak hours to and from West Seattle … During the remainder of 2010, mitigation funding will support the following:
-Additional peak trips on routes serving heavy ridership corridors impacted by (viaduct) construction.
-Additional trips in the West Seattle RapidRide corridor between Fauntleroy Ferry, Alaska Junction, and downtown Seattle.
-Maintenance of existing route schedules
One more RapidRide note: The notion of a Delridge RapidRide line seems to have slid further into a dateless future — according to the response received when Pigeon Point resident Pete Spalding (one of West Seattle’s three South Portal group reps) asked why it wasn’t mentioned on the current documents, though it had appeared on “hybrid scenario” renderings earlier in the Viaduct-replacement-discussion process. Posthuma said the county is still “looking at it” but wouldn’t get more specific. Meantime, we’re writing separately about the other information revealed at today’s South Portal Working Group meeting (for a sneak preview, look at the WSB Twitter feed and scroll down a bit; one commenter there said it sounds like a scenario that will make her want to telecommute for about six years).