By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
Though we’re almost three years from the expected launch of the RapidRide H Line – which will be a conversion of what’s now Route 120 – the process requires that some key decisions be made soon, Metro says, so the next round of feedback is launching now.
First: A brand-new online survey for you.
Next: Community meetings are planned in White Center and Burien during the second week of December (exact dates, times, locations to come).
Just before the survey was announced today, we talked with the project manager for the H Line development, Jerry Roberson, and Metro spokesperson Jeff Switzer. Roberson, a West Seattle resident, says the new round of feedback is to “find out what issues we should be addressing” before they wrap up the “planning phase” next spring, getting ready for construction in 2019 and launch in 2020 (likely with the September service change).
We asked about a key issue that’s resurfaced repeatedly in community-group discussions about the impending conversion: Concerns that RapidRide is geared toward getting people downtown quickly, but Route 120 is used much more for point-to-point transportation on Delridge.
That’s what they hope to learn more about during this feedback process, said Roberson. And because there will be no “underlying local service,” he acknowledged, “we’re going to have to be flexible.” That means instead of the standard RapidRide half-mile spacing, stops will likely be closer together, “especially in the more urban areas of the corridor – which is much of the corridor. … There are areas where we may have as close as quarter-mile (spacing),” though he expects the average will be more like a third of a mile. “That’s one of the things we’re going to take to the public.” Your feedback, Metro insists, will be vital. “Maybe the public will point out, here’s a critical stop, and here’s the reason why.”
They also want to hear exactly how you use transit and where it falls in your transportation usage – and find out where they might need to upgrade pedestrian connections to get people to RapidRide stops from home, school, business, etc. Where you start your trip and how you connect with transit are big questions they want you to answer, “so we can understand the needs,” Switzer explains.
Speaking of “where,” the final alignment of the H Line has not yet been settled, and they are looking at some alternatives in White Center – between 17th and Roxbury and 16th/107th – and in Burien, as circled on the map above. (That’s why Metro was collecting traffic data in WC recently, as we reported two weeks ago on partner site White Center Now.)
The feedback obtained from the new survey and at December open houses will be incorporated in time for follow-up meetings early next year, and then, Roberson says, their “target date to start design” is April 30th.
P.S. The project is a partnership with SDOT in part of because of the funding the city contributes to service; here’s our report from last spring on feedback that the city collected for H Line planning. That followed this Delridge Neighborhoods District Council discussion.
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