Extending RapidRide C Line to South Lake Union, with separation from D Line: Update from SDOT

If you’ve been waiting for the promised extension of Metro’s RapidRide C Line to South Lake Union – as the C and D lines are separated – it’s getting closer. SDOT just sent an announcement of work starting in SLU this weekend to get ready for the extension/separation in March. Read on:

Starting in March 2016, the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) along with our partners at King County Metro will make significant improvements to transit service in South Lake Union. These improvements will make getting to, around and from the neighborhood much easier:

• New RapidRide C Line service operating every 7 to 12 minutes from W Seattle via Downtown
• More service on Route 40 operating every 9 to 15 minutes from Ballard/Fremont to Downtown
• More peak time service for Route 70 from the U District to Downtown
• More service and a shorter route for Route 8 from the Seattle Center to Capitol Hill, Rainier Valley
• Dedicated transit lanes on Westlake Ave N
• Transit stop upgrades including real-time transit arrival information signs, shelters and wider sidewalks

“Thanks to Seattle-voter-approved measures, we continue to expand and integrate bus service to better connect our neighborhoods,” said Scott Kubly, director of SDOT. “Whether you are coming from Fremont or West Seattle, taking the bus to South Lake Union all day long will be a great option.”

To ensure the reliability of the new service, SDOT is changing the way Westlake Ave N operates so buses can get through heavy traffic more efficiently. Changes include:
• North end – A southbound transit only lane on Westlake Ave N between Ninth Ave N and Valley St by restricting southbound on-street parking between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.
• Mid-section – Transit only lanes on both sides of Westlake Ave N between Valley and Lenora streets
• South end – A northbound transit only lane between Lenora and Stewart streets

“The neighborhood has been calling for more travel options and we welcome this change,” said Mike McQuaid, president of the SLU Community Council. “Adding bus service and fixing our streets to keep it moving means hundreds of people can easily work shop and play in South Lake Union.”

Construction starts with sidewalk improvements this weekend at Fairview near Valley and continues through March 2016, mostly concentrated at bus stop locations. Impacts may include short-term sidewalk and lane closures; temporary relocation of transit stops; temporary impacts to streetcar operations; and tree trimming and landscaping relocation. For more information on the project and a map, please visit: www.seattle.gov/transportation/transitSLU.htm.

47 Replies to "Extending RapidRide C Line to South Lake Union, with separation from D Line: Update from SDOT "

  • Denn G. December 11, 2015 (1:08 pm)

    Well… there goes my easy route to LQA/Ballard.

    I’m probably the minority, though. It’s nice for the people who need this to get it.

  • newnative December 11, 2015 (1:14 pm)

    If I read this correctly, one would not be able to go from Alaska Junction direct to Downtown/Queen Anne?

    • WSB December 11, 2015 (1:19 pm)

      NN – while this news release came from SDOT, because it’s related to the new city tax adding transit, the Metro page to which I linked in our lead line goes to the page with more info, including this: “For some riders, the separation of these lines will turn what was has been a one-seat ride into a trip requiring a downtown transfer. Transfers between the two lines will be possible at common stops on Third Avenue at both Virginia Street and Pike Street.”

  • Kathy December 11, 2015 (1:20 pm)

    I’ve been dreading this change. A lot of evening trip destinations that could be reached in one ride from West Seattle will now require late night transfers at who knows what location. I’m talking about Seattle Center, Queen Anne, Cornish and Bagley Wright theaters, McCaw Hall (ballet, opera), Key Arena. This SLU re-route may make sense during daytime commute hours, but who needs to go to SLU at night?

  • Paul December 11, 2015 (1:22 pm)

    Denn, I’m in the same boat. Between the D and all the other buses that continue up 3rd, transferring should not be a problem to LQA. The D will still be very frequent up to Ballard.

  • LAintheJunction December 11, 2015 (1:22 pm)

    It’s almost like Metro is making it as hard as possible for people to get around. Having the C and D connected was the only good thing about the Rapid Ride bus, it meant that I didn’t have to transfer downtown. It currently takes 1 hour 20 minutes to get from WS to north Ballard on the C/D; how much more time will a transfer add? 10 minutes? 20? more? It’s no wonder why most people drive. Glad to know that young rich tech workers in SLU are being prioritized over middle class West Seattleites.

  • Admiral935 December 11, 2015 (1:33 pm)

    So much for an easy busride to The Uptown for SIFF. Another straw in the back – golly they are good at forcing me back to a car – this final one should do it. I’ll chalk it up to a blessing in disguise.

    On an upnote – I found that walking to the Junction(s) – both Alaska and Morgan from Admiral is a nice refreshing walk!

    ps. I like the 50, the drivers are great, and the buses are short. Metro should add more short buses on more routes.

  • Chris w December 11, 2015 (1:43 pm)

    Metro has been promising this forever. I swear I saw this map 2 years ago. As a SLU worker, it’ll replace the old one trip 54 ride I used to ride from California. Rapid Ride added close to 30 minutes to my commute thanks to the need to transfer.

  • Admiral935 December 11, 2015 (1:48 pm)

    It will be nice for the SLU folks and I’ll even make a trip or two to try new food.

  • Kathy December 11, 2015 (1:48 pm)

    LAintheJunction, after the change, you might consider taking the route 50 to the SODO Link Station and take the Link to UW Station (opening in March) where they promise there will be frequent bus service to Ballard. It might save some time and have less traffic delays, even with 2 transfers. I know the 50 bus often passes the Rapid Ride when it is stuck in traffic on the Viaduct ramp.

  • Sue December 11, 2015 (2:14 pm)

    I’ve been very excited for this to happen, as one of my practitioners (who I see every 2 weeks) moved to South Lake Union from downtown. right now it’s a 2 bus trip home at night, but this new rerouting will be a 1 bus ride.
    Yes, we won’t have a 1 bus ride to Seattle Center anymore from WS – which I will miss – but before Rapid Ride, we didn’t have one and had to transfer.
    I’m hoping that breaking the 2 lines up will help with the on-time performance. It still won’t help with the overcrowding unless they start running buses more frequently at some point, but hopefully if they’re not always late it may help. We’ll see.

  • Kathy December 11, 2015 (2:15 pm)

    Chris W, in the daytime you could easily switch from Rapid Ride to bike share downtown and be in SLU 15 minutes after getting off the C line. SLU isn’t that far from downtown as long as you don’t wait around for another bus to take you there. But coming back to West Seattle from an evening event in Lower Queen Anne will require a 3 seat ride for most of us, waiting around at bus stops late at night with infrequent local service and the probability of missing the last local service (hourly after 9PM and non existant after 11:45PM to my neighborhood). Simply routing the C around Seattle Center and down Mercer on a dedicated priority signal bus lane would have served both needs.

  • BC December 11, 2015 (2:20 pm)

    Thought I was going to be the only one complaining about my one-seat ride from the junction to LQA now requiring a transfer. Sorry to hear that so many are in the same boat but at the same time nice to know it’s not just me.

  • Dan December 11, 2015 (2:45 pm)

    I’ll agree with some of the comments. Having them combined was a good thing. Splitting them up is not good.

  • Chris W December 11, 2015 (2:46 pm)

    @kathy Thanks. Though I’m not always very mobile these days. I refuse to cycle downtown or in SLU for safety reasons, though I applaud those who do it. I think the transfer from C to D will be less onerous than the transfers involving the 40 (or waiting for it to get through the Mercer chaos southbound at night). The 70 is a helpful route, though, and runs often barring delays from UW southbound during the evening commute.

  • WSEA December 11, 2015 (3:04 pm)

    I dont ride the C line but I find it strange that it would overlap with the trolly line. If I worked at Amazon, which i assume is the reason for the shift, I could easily get off at 3rd and stewart and walk 2 blocks to the streetcar.

    As for me, I’m mad that I can’t get home via bus except for commute time only. I would like just 1 or 2 56/57 bus runs during the day to get home for school activities or appointments.

  • AL December 11, 2015 (3:08 pm)

    This is so distressing and even more evidence that West Seattle is not only, not understood, but not a high priority. As one who lives on Alki, we are already underserved. I prefer using public transport, but rarely can because there is only the 37 for us and that only runs 4 times in the morning and 4 times at evening rush. Standing around downtown waiting for transfers, as many have pointed out, is a safety risk I am not willing to take. So, like others, it’s back to driving my car. Geesh Seattle – get real. We WANT to stay out of our cars, but you are forcing us back into them.

  • dawsonct December 11, 2015 (3:28 pm)

    This will be fine IF they fix that massive clusterf#%@ on Fairview between Aloha and Mercer. There are at least two lights on Valley for every one on Mercer. After 3:30 PM it gets so gridlocked that it usually takes the trolley a good 15 minutes to get from the Hutch stop to it’s right turn on to Valley.
    The car traffic in the right lane doesn’t move a whole lot faster.

    I’m sure they are running it to the Hutch, because it seems like a logical final destination. And Valley and Minor, East of Fairview, will make for convenient out-of-the-way break stops, but for about two hours every afternoon, at the time when they need to be moving most frequently and with a certain amount of predictable regularity, they are going to stack up and sit at the very beginning of the route.

    Almost as if those doing the planning look only at maps, and have no concept of traffic patterns.

  • Peter December 11, 2015 (3:38 pm)

    This is very good news and long overdue. C and D should never have been through routed in the first place. That’s the reason for the extreme unreliability of the C heading to West Seattle from downtown. Thank you Metro for fixing this!

  • dawsonct December 11, 2015 (3:43 pm)

    I do like the suggestion of running it further toward the Center and then down Mercer.
    It should have a turn-around on Fairview/Valley in front of or near MOHAI and then back out the same route.
    A point that needs to be made, is that the major reason for this change is to actually improve service times and dependability on both the C and D lines, which makes sense.
    It’s a shame if that inconveniences you, but sometimes what is good for the community, in this case service time improvement, does not always serve us as perfectly as we wish.

  • Rick Sanchez December 11, 2015 (3:46 pm)

    I understand this will be less convenient for some, but this is a big reliability improvement for everyone. The longer a bus line gets the more prone it is to delays and bus bunching. Transferring for Ballard or Queen Anne is a pain, but not being coupled to the D Line and all its bridge and other delays will mean our end of it moves more smoothly.

  • Ricky December 11, 2015 (4:01 pm)

    For some much needed perspective here… while it might not seem like it while you’re riding it every day… the C Line is without a doubt one of Metro’s most frequent and best funded lines. There is a bus every 7 minutes during peak periods, every 12 minutes mid-day/Saturday and every 15 minutes night/Sunday. There’s really only a handful of Metro routes that have better service… and they each have THOUSANDS more daily riders than the C Line. In fact there are many lines with *more* ridership than the C Line… that come *less* frequently. We’re lucky. Unmentioned here is the fact that this change should help greatly improve reliability. No longer will a Ballard Bridge opening or a Key Arena event cause delays on the C Line. Also the problem of transferring is overblown. If you’re going to Seattle Center or Uptown/LQA you can take the D Line, 1, 2, 3, 4, 13, 24, 33 or the Monorail. I’d be shocked if you had to wait more than 5 minutes.

  • Jon Wright December 11, 2015 (4:08 pm)

    It is unfortunate this means losing a one-seat ride to some places, however the huge majority of folks who just take the C to/from downtown ought to get much more reliable service to West Seattle.

  • newnative December 11, 2015 (4:12 pm)

    There are many times those “every 7 minutes..every 12…every 15 minutes” is just plain wrong. I have had to wait anywhere from 2-25 minutes to transfer downtown and Belltown or LQA during peak commuter times. Roundtrip bus rides easily make my 8 hour work day into a 10 hour day.

  • Neoyogi December 11, 2015 (4:29 pm)

    This is cool! For those who think SLU at night is silly…have you been there lately? Lots of great restaurants!! Nightlife is pretty cool. There are so many other routes that go through lower QA, it makes sense. Go with the flow…it might surprise you :)

  • Jon Wright December 11, 2015 (4:42 pm)

    newnative, one of the purposes of this route reconfiguration is so that the C actually does operate every n number of minutes. As Ricky said, the C’s reliability out of downtown was affected by all kinds of stuff upstream.

  • Tamera December 11, 2015 (4:51 pm)

    It’s great to see all the places I won’t dare go to in the evenings because of a downtown transfer. No wonder people don’t get out of their cars.

  • Kadoo December 11, 2015 (5:37 pm)

    I’ve been dreading this change. My easy ride to Uptown will be over. I don’t relish transferring on 3rd and Pike/Pine where there is still riff raff.

  • jetcitydude December 11, 2015 (6:13 pm)

    I love it the fact that Rapid Ride only makes TWO stops on California between the Junction and Morgan Junction. That’s what you call improving rider efficiency. Not(sarcasm)

  • Gil Anselmo December 11, 2015 (7:06 pm)

    For the schedule to be predictable and reliable, this has to be done. The c and d loop just make it hard to stay on schedule. Imagine, the Ballard bridge getting stuck, all those buses will not go anywhere and so the c line will also be greatly affected. Transfer to the d line will not take much time as it is also can now run a predictable schedule.

  • thee December 11, 2015 (8:18 pm)

    You can’t really get there from here (on a bus)
    Beacon Hill
    Capitol Hill
    SEATAC (for cripes sake)

    But let’s pretend that those micro unit residents won’t have cars.

  • Amy December 11, 2015 (9:07 pm)

    @thee, I take the bus 5 days a week from WS to Fremont on one bus, 21/5.

  • themightyrabbit December 12, 2015 (12:00 am)

    I’m going to take a wait and see attitude on this. Since the 54 became the C rapidride, I’ve spent considerably more time standing than sitting and it’s all marketing until there’s enough seats for the people needing the ride during the commute. It’s so rare that there’s not a sardine can jammed bus every day that fundamentally we’re all being screwed. If this change fixes the fundamental problem of overcrowded buses causing me to take other routes like the 50 or non express 21, or bicycle, then great. But in the meantime this is all marketing and I expect to see no change. I’ve been a regular bus rider in Seattle since, only 94, and the RapidRide is Rapid, but distinctly uncomfortable during commute time. I’m not alone.

  • DH December 12, 2015 (5:56 am)

    @themightyrabbit. You are assuming they want you to be able to sit down on RapidRide. It’s design is for more standing people. I’m with the crowd that will miss the no transfer bus ride to LQA. Yes, it will have me driving to events I use to bus to.

  • justme December 12, 2015 (8:39 am)

    I have recently refused to ride the C due to the fact that most of the time I need it it’s standing room only. That’s too much risk of injury for me not to mention being extremely uncomfortable. I’m hoping this will improve the over-crowded factor somehow.

  • flynlo December 12, 2015 (9:14 am)

    Man, that SLUT must be tremendously overused since they have to supplement 3/4’s of it’s route with
    a rapid ride bus!!!!!

  • sven December 12, 2015 (9:48 am)

    Great to see so many people unwilling to utilize transit because they may have to stand for 15-20 minutes, or see poor people, or god forbid they have to get off the bus and wait for a couple minutes.

    I ride the RR daily. I end up standing about half the time. 3rd and Pike sucks, but it could be a lot worse. This makes SLU (a major employment center) a one-seat ride, and will hopefully get more WS Amazonians out of their cars.

    RR is a super convenient method of transit for people going downtown, and with dedicated bus lanes between WS and downtown it saves a huge amount of time over driving during peak commute hours. I’d rather get to where I’m going quickly on a crowded bus than spend twice as long sitting in traffic.

  • AMD December 12, 2015 (10:21 am)

    Standing on a moving bus for 15-20 minutes is a huge problem if you have back or other issues (try holding on with bad shoulders when the bus stops suddenly. It sucks).
    I understand Metro designed the buses to have a lot more passengers standing, but standing up is a legitimate issue for many people and shouldn’t be dismissed so quickly as snobbery.

  • LAintheJunction December 12, 2015 (3:14 pm)

    @sven, your willingness to stand for 20 minutes and transfer downtown at night may be due to the fact that you might be young, able-bodied, and male. If you’re middle aged or older, have any kind of mobility issues, or are a woman, you may not be willing or able to do either of those things.

  • Rick December 12, 2015 (3:20 pm)

    Reminds me of the many years I spent dealing with WSF where they’ll do what’s best for them and passengers are considered inconveniences.

  • K'lo December 14, 2015 (8:28 am)

    Well, phooey! As a new Storm basketball season ticket holder, I was looking forward to taking RR to and from the games. Now I get to get out there with the masses as a single occupant vehicle . . . Downtown is a scary place for a single female at night-especially 3rd Ave!

  • Brian G. Allen December 14, 2015 (11:25 am)

    This is stupid, the people who it will benefit already have the streetcar at their disposal. Metro once again shows their inability to plan routes according to the needs of their customers.

  • andy December 14, 2015 (11:52 am)

    idiotic bullsh*t. what about going to Ballard? so dumb they should have a mercer st trolly.

  • fedup December 14, 2015 (5:36 pm)

    The #1 FACT that KC Metro will not tell their customers/riders is that they are losing bus drivers on a daily basis. KC Metro advertises that they are “adding” hours even though they know (and have known for YEARS) that there will not be enough drivers to fulfill those extra hours that they want you to think are coming. They were able to pass their last levy by lying to voters/taxpayers regarding more hours that will never be implemented.

    KC Metro has forced many veteran drivers (20+ years on the job) to retire or quit due to unacceptable and inhumane working conditions.

    The powers that be at the top of KC Metro need to be audited for many issues, not just this one.

  • Kathy December 14, 2015 (6:32 pm)

    Fedup – angry taxpayers demanded an audit of Metro to determine where money was being “wasted”, I think the audit cost around $2 million. One of this audit’s recommendations was to reduce dead time in the schedules. So when they did that, with all the worsening traffic, it became more difficult to squeeze in breaks. To do so many drivers drive like maniacs to try to maintain their schedule, bumping little old ladies like me off their seats. Small wonder they are having a hard time finding/keeping drivers. The audit also forced Metro to reduce or eliminate low ridership routes. The result is that outlying neighborhoods have very limited and infrequent bus service connecting to downtown or the Rapid Ride, with poor/non-existant night and Sunday service affecting those who don’t work standard weekday shifts and increasing car dependence. Thank the angry taxpayers. More audits like that we don’t need. We should also thank Tim Eyman’s Initiative 695, the voters who supported it, and our state legislators for practically eliminating a major source of relatively stable funding for Metro, the motor vehicle excise tax. The result was chaos during the recession as Metro had to depend on declining sales tax and beg for car tabs (county failed, city passed) for their funding. This is just some of the background that might explain why Metro is having difficulty recovering from all this instability.

  • Rene Michelle December 15, 2015 (5:02 pm)

    This is crap! Now it’s going to take 3 buses to get to my doctor every month! It’s bad enough to transfer once, but twice now! I cannot tell you how much I HATE King County Metro! Way to screw the Admiral District once again! Screw You Metro!

  • wetone December 16, 2015 (9:49 am)

    Kathy, you say audits forced metros issues ? audits don’t force anything they point out areas they see problems. Metro management then makes changes they feel needed. If Metro is having funding problems raise fares and don’t spend money on inferior products. People don’t mind spending money if it’s a smart common sense plan and investment. What Metro, SDOT and city have done and continue to do seems quite the opposite. That’s a Management issue. Good example Streetcar project, huge cost overruns, serves few, makes area traffic nightmare, but city can brag about it’s “Streetcars”. City could of used money to help Metro and a plan that helped move people with not having the impacts of the Streetcar project. For some reason SDOT and Metro seem to think everyone living in WS works downtown ? maybe they need to send out a questionnaire to see percentage of people that work elsewhere so they make life easier for all instead of a small percentage.

Sorry, comment time is over.