FOLLOWUP: See how Delridge Way SW would be changed by new RapidRide H Line ‘Option 3’

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

After the first two RapidRide H Line options for Delridge Way SW failed to generate “a lot of enthusiasm,” as SDOT spokesperson Dawn Schellenberg puts it, there’s now a third one on the table. And even if you don’t ride the bus, it will change the road – so you’ll want to take a close look.

“Option 3” (embedded above, and in PDF here) will be in the spotlight at the next RapidRide H Line drop-in info/input event – 5-6:30 pm this Wednesday at Youngstown Cultural Arts Center, to be followed by a 7 pm Delridge Neighborhoods District Council discussion of the H Line. You might even have previewed it at one of the H Line open houses in Burien and White Center last week.

We obtained more information via a briefing with SDOT and Metro reps downtown. SDOT is much more closely involved in planning the RapidRide conversion of Route 120 than it was in planning the 2012 conversion of Routes 54/55 into the C Line, for reasons including the money that city taxpayers now pay for more bus service.

Along with Schellenberg, the meeting included SDOT project manager Thérèse Casper, Metro outreach specialist Jenna Franklin, and SDOT communicator Karen Westing.

Before we go through the details, note that this is not necessarily anything resembling a final design. So they want to know what you think. But it is about more than where the bus will stop – it’s about “redesigning” much of Delridge, and it incorporates some other projects that have been discussed in past years. Even before the H Line was announced and named, in fact, some changes were discussed a few years ago under the Delridge Multi-Modal Corridor project umbrella.

“It’s an opportunity to put those pieces together,” Schellenberg said.

The “pieces” potentially include:

-Paving north Delridge Way (the south section was repaved in 2013)

-“Boulevard-like” sections of Delridge, with landscaped medians, as community advocates have long proposed

-Crossing improvements at some stops (such as SW Findlay, where a crosswalk with flashing beacons is under consideration) and other safety work that came through the Your Voice/Your Choice (formerly Neighborhood Park and Street Fund) process

-The streetlight project that was supposed to have happened by now will be “folded into this”

-The city Office of Economic Development’s work with Delridge businesses

Looking at the map above (best viewed full-size on the city website), Sections A and B are where the potential “landscaped median” could go. One big point for this section, the SDOT team told us, is “where we’re putting in the bike (lane)” and where they’re not. They say that local advocates including West Seattle Bike Connections “felt that for the northern section of Delridge, it’s served well by the 26th SW Greenway” – so the bicycle lane(s) wouldn’t start until SW Graham, headed southbound. They’re still considering starting the lane a bit further north, at SW Juneau – where the access to Delridge isn’t as steep – but for now it’s penciled in at Graham while they continue collecting data about parking on the southbound side related to Louisa Boren STEM K-8 School.

Wherever it starts, the southbound protected bicycle lane would run “the whole length all the way to Cambridge – then we would look at wayfinding, and how to (get riders to) the 17th SW Greenway.”

Including the southbound lane will remove parking from one side of the street, and, the SDOT team says, they didn’t feel they could remove parking on both sides because of the “multi-family housing” in the area, plus the narrower width of Delridge in Section E. As it is, they still describe co-existence of the protected bike lane and RapidRide stations as “a design challenge.”

We asked how many parking spaces are proposed for removal under this concept; they promised to get us that number (but have yet to, as we get ready to publish this on the MLK Day holiday, so we’ll ask again on Tuesday and add it when available). UPDATE: From SDOT on Wednesday, how the proposal would affect on-street parking:

Parking spaces on the west side of Delridge Ave SW:

Segment C: Approximately 100 on-street parking spaces removed
Segment D: On-street parking is restricted
Segment E: Approximately 170 on-street parking spaces removed

(back to original report) “Everyone has some skin in this game,” Schellenberg said – part of the road will be used for a transit lane, part will be used for parking, “we’re trying to find reasonable, intuitive ways to meet our goals.”

Casper pointed out that they’re also continuing to work on closer stop spacing than RapidRide routes usually have – more like a third of a mile than a half-mile. They’re also looking at “important pedestrian destinations” for station locations, not necessarily just repurposing existing bus stops – on the map, for example, you’ll notice SW Findlay, which is in the heart of the “Brandon node” business area.

The current draft envisions keeping some stops – like northbound at Oregon – that are used by other lines, but won’t be RapidRide stops. And some of the stops would consolidate existing stops for pairs that “reflect each other” – for example, consolidating the current Webster and Kenyon stops to Holden. While the increased stop spacing might mean more walk time to get to a stop, the faster travel time should make up for it, the SDOT team said.

This again is all in the planning/analysis period. Metro’s Franklin reiterated that they’ve been gathering a lot of community input already and will be comparing what they’ve heard online to what they’re finding out via in-person outreach: “We’re still listening.”

Casper added, that includes a lot of details such as – if there’s a landscaped median, where would left-turn breaks be needed? So as feedback time continues, be sure to bring up those types of details. Franklin said it again: “Refining the project is the next step, so it’s important to get involved now.”

For those familiar with project staging terminology, by the way, Schellenberg says the status of this one is close to “10 percent design.”

WHAT’S NEXT: First, the Delridge meetings at Youngstown Cultural Arts Center (4408 Delridge Way SW) this Wednesday (January 17th)
– SDOT/Metro drop-in meeting 5-6:30 pm, focused on the Delridge section of the route; Delridge Neighborhoods District Council discussion at 7 pm. On Thursday afternoon, there’s a walking tour involving plans for art on the corridor, with two times/places you can catch up with participants – details here.

Once they’re further along in design, they’ll get the word out to the public. They hope to have a “preferred alternative” within a few months.

Then, before the year’s out, Franklin said, the County Council would have a formal process for going on record with “this is the route and these are the stations.” Construction planning would start after that, with “another outreach process,” Schellenberg said.

P.S. The current online feedback session closes tomorrow – so if you haven’t participated yet, go here. (About 780 people had participated by the time we met with the project team – but there’s still room for many more opinions/comments.)

37 Replies to "FOLLOWUP: See how Delridge Way SW would be changed by new RapidRide H Line 'Option 3'"

  • January 15, 2018 (3:21 pm)

    They clearly don’t get it. The stops are WAY too far apart. This is not a bus line, it’s a commuter express. Not Good.

    • RF January 15, 2018 (4:36 pm)

      Isn’t that the whole point? As I understand it, at least, that’s what the RapidRide lines are for. They’re supposed to go fast and have fairly widely spaced stops, serving primarily as commuters up and down major arterials around the city. 

    • Highland Park Steve January 15, 2018 (10:26 pm)

      Yes,  it would be nice if the bus stopped about every 1/2 mile. The existing stops every block or two are left over from when not as many people took the bus. Speed up the bus!

      Also, get rid of the funky routing on 15th Ave SW with the 4-way stops ever block or two. Run the new route through White Center, from 17th &?Roxbury, and 16th & SW 107th St using 17th Ave SW, White Center Cut-off SW, and 16th Ave SW – same as route 560 does. 

      • West Seattle since 1979 January 16, 2018 (10:50 am)

        But a  local bus that makes more stops is still needed.  Not everyone can walk the distance between Rapid Ride stops.  Not everyone is riding downtown either.  

  • J January 15, 2018 (3:52 pm)

    With the removal of turn lanes and addition of bus bulbs, how will traffic (including buses) get around the garbage trucks when they go down delridge? I’ve been behind the garbage/recycling/compost trucks when they stop where a raised median is in the middle of the road. It backs up traffic because people can’t get around them. The only reason it’s not such a big deal now is that you only have to wait for the garbage truck to finish next to the small raised median and then you can use the turn lane to get around them once they move forward for the next pickup. If there are long stretches of raised medians, it will be impossible for buses and drivers to get around the collection trucks

    • Jon Wright January 15, 2018 (4:33 pm)

      How often is that an issue?

      • J January 15, 2018 (4:54 pm)

        At least 3 times a week. It would cause a major backup if people couldn’t get around the collection trucks during rush hour, and that is often the time when they come around here since the trucks start their routes on this side of town before 7am 

  • Paul Luczak January 15, 2018 (4:43 pm)

    We love it. It will give us a choice of taking either the C or H home from downtown 3rd Ave when it is rainy, cold and not too safe at night. We live by Nucor Steel and can take the first bus that shows up.

    • Mickymse January 16, 2018 (11:29 am)

      Don’t you do that currently with the 120, which runs at 15 minute frequency much of the day?

  • ken January 15, 2018 (6:37 pm)

    And yet… SDOT will continue to base the quality of the pavement on the tax base immediately adjacent to the roadside. Check out morgan/sylvan next to the graveyard  and Barton next to the golf course.

    • chemist January 15, 2018 (7:10 pm)

      Actually, it looks like SDOT is gearing up to make a protected bike lane there, so maybe they’ll repave as a part of that Bike Master Plan project.

      • Sylvan Way SW #823: Included, recognizing it will need to be a combination of protected bike
      lanes and other facilities types.  

    • Brian January 15, 2018 (8:51 pm)

      If this were the case. My neighborhood would have nicely paved streets. Unfortunately there are a lot of very nice neighborhoods with terrible streets.

  • old timer January 15, 2018 (6:50 pm)

    I have a hard time understanding:

    increased stop spacing might mean more walk time to get to a stop, the faster travel time should make up for it”

    They are talking to two people with two different perspectives at the same point in time.

    One listener  is schlepping along in the rain, while the other is sitting on his/her butt in a warm dry bus.

    Or am I completely missing something?

    • KM January 15, 2018 (8:18 pm)

      That is phrased odd, took me a second. 

      I think they mean because there are fewer stops, once you are on the bus, the trip is faster as a whole, since there aren’t as many stops. However, you might have to walk an extra few minutes to a stop before your ride starts.

      There’s probably a better way to say that, assuming that is what they mean.

  • TJ January 15, 2018 (7:04 pm)

    “Delridge Multi-Modal Corridor” hahaha. Catchy, progressive name, but it just means time to deemphasize cars. I don’t take Delridge so I have no skin it it, but you can bet this will add time and inconvience to what sounds like can already be a backup during the morning. The lack of common sense is really head scratching…trying to do so much on a busy street. I thought the verdict was out on bus bulbs being not practical and fitting like a square peg in a round hole when it comes to driving from point A to point B. The ones on Cali Ave and Faultenroy in Morgan Junction are a disaster. There are times NO cars get thru a green light northbound California when a bus sits inexplicably long in front of that old round apartment building. I force my way around them but have to punch it to avoid oncoming cars

    • WSB January 15, 2018 (7:15 pm)

      The term “multimodal corridor” isn’t something made up in Seattle. Quick Google will tell you that. And if you really are the guy (?) who “force(s)” your way around something that’s holding you up for a minute or two or three and then “punch(es) it,” PLEASE rethink your aggressive driving before you kill someone. Yeah, that particular intersection has a problem, as has been discussed/reported here before. It’s apparently not going to get fixed. So let’s all be patient instead. (“Inexplicably long” is often because someone disabled is getting on the bus.)

      • Alex January 16, 2018 (8:56 am)

        Saying please? Really? Good design encourages drivers to naturally drive more safely. Find yourself having to ask people one-at-a-time to ignore their natural inclinations while driving, that means you’ve done a bad job designing a street.

        I agree with TJ, bus bulbs were a bad idea.

        • WSB January 16, 2018 (9:05 am)

          There is nothing “natural” about being in a multi-thousand-pound vehicle, to start with. (Yes, I drive one too.) I would hope people’s “natural” inclinations, whatever they are doing, is to proceed safely through the world – and default to the safest option in all circumstances, even if it puts you a few minutes behind.

    • A safer, more patient driver January 16, 2018 (8:58 am)

      “I force my way around them but have to punch it to avoid oncoming cars“

      Please don’t drive like that. Rude, aggressive (and childish) behavior like you described endangers others. You really shouldn’t be so self-entitled. You will hurt someone acting that way. 

      • nonni January 16, 2018 (12:24 pm)

        Additionally, those center lanes were designed for turning cars, not for passing ( especially because you can’t see what’s ahead of that bus!) and you can be ticketed if you misuse them and get caught. 

    • DK January 16, 2018 (3:04 pm)

      So you’re admitting crossing a double yellow and doing something extremely dangerous? Next time I hope the bus angles in so you can’t get around at all.

    • neighbor January 16, 2018 (4:07 pm)

      @TJ: Oh my God, are you the person who had the gall to honk your horn at me on Avalon recently while driving the wrong way in my lane??? There wasn’t even a turn lane, you were just driving straight into oncoming traffic and angry that we were there.

      People like you who choose to cross a double yellow line to “force (your) way around” a paused bus are going to kill someone. Do you honestly think that a minute of your time is more valuable than human lives?

      • Tsurly January 17, 2018 (1:34 pm)

        Perhaps Seattle Scofflaws can emerge from his hole to surveil this intersection and catch TJ in the act. 

  • West Seattle Hipster January 15, 2018 (7:58 pm)

    So happy I don’t have to rely on Metro to get me to work and back.  Looks like I will be commuting by car until I retire.

    • DK January 16, 2018 (3:05 pm)

      And thus you are part of the problem.

  • JRR January 15, 2018 (8:48 pm)

    I think the connections to neighborhood hubs for stops was a really important improvement. The orientation through dt white center can help connect small business owners to customers who were otherwise on pedestrian unfriendly 15th. Related: On Thursday, you can join a community art discovery walk with the artists (Wowhaus) that will leave from Delridge and Henderson at about 3:30 or so. We can improve the pedestrian experience and invite people to walk the rest of South Delridge and visit all our great small businesses on the Seattle side, with art features along the way. 

  • Shane January 16, 2018 (12:43 am)

    Once again proof positive in my dedication to move to Bellevue. Smooth streets and the buses aren’t an issue.

    • KM January 16, 2018 (11:41 am)

      I heard traffic on 405 and 148th Ave is a breeze too! Enjoy the quiet life!

  • Rick January 16, 2018 (9:05 am)

    Hey,as long as it works for me, that’s all that really matters. Right?  (I’ve walked to work for 15 years)

  • Aaron January 16, 2018 (10:07 am)

    It seems crazy to me for them to delete the stop at Brandon and replace it with a stop at Findlay. There is barely a (mostly ignored) crosswalk at Findlay, but there is a full signal pedestrian controlled at Brandon.  The existing stop at Brandon is extremely busy most times, and the signal gives the bus a chance to get ahead of traffic at the light.  Biggest issue I have with the bus on Delridge is that it is pretty much never on time, overcrowded to standing only during commute times, and due to those problems it is completely unreliable for on-time commuting. Last time I tried to take it home from downtown I waited 50 minutes for a bus that is supposed to arrive every 15 min…

    • DK January 16, 2018 (3:06 pm)

      You don’t understand. They would completely rebuild the area, not just delete the stops and put up a new shelter. And I don’t believe for a second it was 50 minutes.

      • photon January 17, 2018 (5:40 pm)

        You can not believe it if you want, but I take the bus from downtown in the afternoon on a regular basis, and it’s not rare that a 120 just never shows up. Sometimes it has, in fact, skipped two. Last time, it was just shy of an hour for me, too.

        I don’t think they’d move the light from Brandon to Findlay; it’s actually a through-street to High Point and 35th. At least, I hope they wouldn’t – that would be a mess.

  • dcn January 16, 2018 (4:30 pm)

    I’m concerned with section A on the proposal. This section has been so congested during rush hour ever since they reduced car lanes and put in the bus only lanes several  years ago. I stopped commuting on Delridge in the mornings due to this congestion. I still commute home this way, and the section from the bridge to Oregon is always very slow, and often backs up all the way to the bridge off-ramp.  This can impact buses too, since there is no bus only lane on the off-ramp.

    I’m worried that putting in a median with trees will make it even harder for this area to flow. For example, will there be a left-turn lane northbound into the Delridge Community Center? Will there be enough space for left-turners (both directions), onto Andover? If the left turn lane isn’t made long enough here, it could really back up non-turning traffic, especially since there is no left turn only light. 

    Currently, the bus-only lane northbound ends just after Andover. The proposed map makes it look like it is bus-only right up to the ramp. This would make it hard for cars to merge right into that lane to take the upper bridge, especially if the left lane is backed up due to the lower bridge being closed. Southbound,  the right lane is for people turning right (west)and buses going straight. Will that be preserved, or will people turning right have to get in the long line of cars going south? 

    I can see the “boulevard” concept working in the less congested B area, but not in area A. It would be like reducing 35th to one lane each way north of Alaska, which has not been proposed due to the high traffic volume in this stretch. Delridge in area A carries very high volumes too. No amount of Multi-modal-ing is going to change that. 

    • Canton January 16, 2018 (9:23 pm)

      Agree about street trees in median. Most city approved trees mature to 15 -20 ft with a 10-15 ft expanse. The rooting of these trees will eventually, (2-5 years), pull up the current concrete, and require additional work.

  • M January 17, 2018 (9:14 am)

    Please educate me as to why, in a city that seems to be run by slum lords who neglect to use tax revenues for the most basic common area maintenance such as trash removal, street sweeping, pavement seal coats, striping, repairs,  and repaving… we would propose spending considerable sums of money on a glorified version of a bus line that already exists?

  • Rod Clark January 17, 2018 (12:46 pm)

    As one of the 10 busiest bus corridors in the city, there is plenty of room on Delridge for another second line besides the RapidRide, one that unlike RapidRide H would serve all the local stops. Just as on 35th with the Rapid Ride C, the 21 Express and 21 local, Delridge has enough different kinds of transportation demand to support more than one bus route.

    The elderly, the lame and halt, the moms with baby carriages and grocery bags and little kids in tow, the people without cars who have to schlep stuff home – they and a lot of other people are going to be worse off because of Metro’s ill-conceived plan to force everybody onto RapidRide.

    Trying to accomodate everything under the sun among the fast-commute standees will complicate and slow down service on RapidRide. Instead, the milk run can poke along and stop at all the local places that the Rapid Ride misses in the name of speed. Call it the Route 20, let’s say. But make sure it is there for people.

    It can be a 40 foot bus, if there isn’t enough demand to fill a big bendy bus. It can run every half hour instead of every seven minutes, if most people want to take the Rapid Ride. But there has to be something left for all the people whom Rapid Ride is deliberately designed not to serve well. Metro has to have at least one sensible planner somewhere who understands this.

  • John D. January 17, 2018 (1:06 pm)

    Conspiracy? Are they “trying” to make public transportation the only option? As though everyone has a fixed location to work and can afford two to four more hours out of their life? I know many that can’t afford that option and need to be mobile – service techs, contractors, entrepreneurs, etc. 

Sorry, comment time is over.