Ceremonial groundbreaking kicks off next phase of RapidRide H Line work

(WSB photos by Patrick Sand)

After a pandemic year-plus largely devoid of ceremonial events, they’re starting to rev up again. Today at Steve Cox Memorial Park in White Center, elected officials and transportation directors gathered for a “groundbreaking” photo op as preparation work for the RapidRide H Line expands to construction of its 51 stations. The actual bus-line launch is currently set for fall 2022, reaffirmed Metro general manager Terry White:

Once Route 120 is converted into the H Line, White noted, it’ll mean every-7-minute service during peak hours, both ways between South Lake Union and Burien. The mayor of the latter city was among those participating today:

That’s Burien Mayor Jimmy Matta elbow-bumping King County Councilmember Joe McDermott. Matta said improvements (and Transit Oriented Development planning) are getting under way for Ambaum Boulevard as part of the preparations. Here in West Seattle, the Delridge Way road work that started almost a year ago is on schedule to wrap up this fall, said SDOT director Sam Zimbabwe. The most enthusiastic participant was Aaron Garcia, who’s with the White Center Community Development Association (and is also a Highline Public Schools board member):

King County Executive Dow Constantine said the 120 is the sixth-busiest in the entire Metro system (which is now making 85 percent of the daily bus trips made pre-pandemic, he added). The RapidRide concept goes back to his predecessor, Ron Sims, he recalled, and while the system is planned through “the first third of the alphabet … there are plenty of letters to go.” If the H Line indeed launches in September 2022, that’ll be exactly a decade after the launch of West Seattle’s first RapidRide route, the C Line.

17 Replies to "Ceremonial groundbreaking kicks off next phase of RapidRide H Line work"

  • Jort May 18, 2021 (12:56 pm)

    For those who are counting, the RapidRide H actually removes more bike lanes than it adds, returning more of the road space to cars and making cycling less safe. The city thinks cyclists should shunt over to the less direct and more difficult Neighborhood Greenways. Once again, cyclists are asked to sacrifice their safety and convenience on behalf of private vehicles, but even then, the city is delaying critical safety projects like traffic diverters because drivers’ feelings are hurt about them and they don’t like the idea of losing their favorite shortcuts. It is time to make the Neighborhood Greenways live up to their purpose and make them a cars-last, pedestrian/cyclist-first priority, using easy, cheap tools like diverters.

    • A Fan May 18, 2021 (6:26 pm)

      Jort, will you be at the WS Bike Everywhere Station this Friday?  I’m starting a new job that I’ll need to bike to.  At the moment, I take the bus and light rail.  I would love to meet you. 

      • Jort May 18, 2021 (9:43 pm)

        Hello,  A Fan. It’s great to hear you’ll be biking to work and joining others who are making healthy, sustainable, affordable and morally superior choices to make our community and planet a better place to live. The wonderful folks at the West Seattle Bike Connections group, who will be at the underbridge station, will gladly help with route planning. And if the route isn’t great, perhaps you’ll join them in advocating for safer biking infrastructure so that it’s easier for people of all ages to safely bike around Seattle. 

    • bolo May 18, 2021 (10:25 pm)

      About the deleted cycle lanes/sharrows on Delridge between Genesee and Andover– are there greenways somewhere there in compensation?

      • Jort May 19, 2021 (11:33 am)

        There are greenways on 21st (you will need to carry your bike up several flights of stairs) and on 26th (you will need to join the regular lanes of high-speed, cut-through traffic on Genesee to reach it and then cycle with additional increased cut-through traffic on 26th). Improvements were proposed to those greenways, like traffic diverters, but SDOT deferred them indefinitely due to concerns from car drivers that cyclists would receive unfair prioritziation beyond the pittance of infrastrucutre they actually receive and that drivers would no longer be able to easily drive directly through the streets at high rates of speed in order to avoid one or two block detours.

        • bolo May 21, 2021 (5:47 pm)

          No thanks, I’d rather take my chances riding in the Delridge general traffic lanes for a few blocks.

  • DH May 18, 2021 (3:20 pm)

    Ah my beloved 54 aka the C line. We will soon bid goodbye to you as well 120. I do look forward to the H line going all the way to South Lake Union (making Seattle Center more accessible). It’s been a year but if I’m not mistaken the 120 ends downtown. 

    • Question Mark May 18, 2021 (3:48 pm)

      From what I understand the H Line will terminate 2 stops farther (3 stops southbound) at Westlake and Harrison

  • Meeeee May 18, 2021 (4:43 pm)

    I’m old enough to remember when Rapid Ride was sold to us as being built with their own traffic lights, their dedicated bus lanes, etc.  Instead we get this piecemeal stuck with traffic flow the majority of the time bus that’s painted a different color.                                                                                                                                                                      In our house we refer to it as the “Not-So-Rapid-Ride”.

    • WSB May 18, 2021 (5:24 pm)

      Constantine mentioned today that this route includes 5 new miles of red bus lane and 19 intersections with transit signal prioritization.

    • Jort May 18, 2021 (6:04 pm)

      That’s because the city is rebranding regular street paving projects as “multi-modal” projects. The city can take a regular street repaving project, add a few token bus improvements (like new “RapidRide” branding), and then label it a “multi-modal” project that can pull from funding dedicated for transit and cycling. The overwhelming majority costs of the project are in the repaving, not in the signal timing and red paint. It’s deceitful and dishonest, but it’s pretty much what you can expect from city and county leaders who don’t have the courage to directly confront our death spiral addiction to automobile supremacy in transportation planning. It’s plain old robbery from transit and cycling funds to ensure 90% of the “multi-modal” benefit goes to car drivers. I think that we can, of course, attribute this to the great and all-powerful Cyclist Lobby which fully controls all the levers of city, state and national government.    

      • Foop May 19, 2021 (10:48 am)

        Although FWIW delridge (where repaved) is much more pleasant to cycle down right now. I just wish cars didn’t feel the need to pass me when I am complying with the speed limit, just to meet me at the next stop light. Also, the 21st ‘greenway’ is a complete joke and I will not regularly take it, especially southbound without significant bike improvements.

  • anonyme May 18, 2021 (8:15 pm)

    It is completely indefensible that some areas get service every 7 freaking minutes while other West Seattle neighborhoods, like Arbor Heights, get absolutely NOTHING.  Weekday express service only, leaving many citizens completely trapped without the public transportation that their tax dollars pay for.

    • My two cents … May 19, 2021 (9:34 am)

      @anonyme The premise of Rapid Ride was for the route configuration to provide for quick access along more densely populated areas among other things.

      • anonyme May 20, 2021 (8:06 am)

        Surely you’re not suggesting that 35th Ave is not densely populated enough to warrant bus service?  Or that Arbor Heights is some rural outpost – even though the city persists in treating us that way?  It is far from unreasonable to expect that the Delridge corridor could have service oh, let’s say, every 9 minutes so that citizens in another neighborhood, comparably populated, could have a mere hourly shuttle.  PUBLIC transit should be available in an equitable way.

  • Mickymse May 19, 2021 (12:38 pm)

    It must be amazing to live in Jort’s world… where he simply states things authoritatively that have no bearing in reality whatsoever. Generally speaking, I actually agree with him on lessening our use of and dependence on cars, but the way he talks about things often sounds like someone who’s been down a YouTube burrow or wrapped in crazy conspiracy theories. To cite just one example, requests for improvements to Delridge have long come from residents — not the SDOT or Metro — and planning for all of the roadway work was underway long before RR H got mixed in. So, why not combine multiple projects and share taxpayer costs and impact to the neighborhood? Or does he believe the sewer work was also a secret plot to support cars?

    • Jort May 20, 2021 (9:42 am)

      Thanks for making my point for me.  I am frustrated that the leaders and departments of this city (and state) make lots of claims about how important climate change is to them, and how important it is to invest in cycling and public transportation improvements, but when push comes to shove, they still put almost all their money into projects that primarily benefit cars. But what really stinks, and what you’re also saying in your comment, is that the city turns around and claim that all the money spent improving the road for drivers was actually for a bus project! It is transportation planning virtue signaling. The cost of implementing a true BRT solution would be significantly lower if we simply removed the need to continue to allow cars to have smooth, easy drives on Delridge. The cost of the sewer repair would be quite a bit less if we didn’t need to ensure that, following the repair, we paved everything with concrete so that cars could have a nice, easy drive. The cost of bike improvements would be trivial if there were no cars from which the cyclists needed to be protected. The overriding concern in each of these projects is the continued free, easy movement of vehicles. All other transportation “improvements” are secondary to that primary purpose, and when the project is done and paid for with whatever levy funds we’ve approved, they’ll claim that it was a “transit” project, even though, again, the overwhelming primary beneficiary of the changes is private automobiles. This is the dishonesty in action. Thank you for agreeing with me.

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