"Option 3" presented to public, as SDOT, Metro plan to turn Route 120 into RapidRide H Line
By Gwen Davis
The quest to get people moving around West Seattle quickly and efficiently is making more headway.
SDOT and King County Metro recently teamed together to upgrade Delridge Way SW, turning Metro Route 120 into the new RapidRide H Line, serving West Seattle and Burien. Last week, SDOT hosted a drop-in event and public discussion of the project at the Youngstown Cultural Arts Center. An “Option 3” was presented, the latest version of the plans.
Much of Delridge will be redesigned in the change, so public input has been crucial to SDOT and Metro. In addition to Delridge Way SW, SDOT is in the process of upgrading six other corridors, providing more access to RapidRide service.
The H Line is scheduled to be completed by 2020.
"In general, RapidRide delivers improvement in speed and reliability," said Chris Arkills, transportation policy advisor to the King County Executive.
According to SDOT, the changes will enhance riders’ experience by adding more buses at night and on weekends, creating better lighting at bus stops, providing real-time arrival info at stops, and improving sidewalks. At Delridge Way SW, SDOT will also be putting in a bike lane and landscaping.
SDOT has a number of ways to increase bus speed and efficiency, which will all be considered with the H Line.
"We always try to balance the ability of the bus to move quicker with serving the needs of the community," Arkills said. "Sometimes that means creating transit priority lanes on the street, and sometimes it means eliminating some stops so buses aren't stopping every couple of blocks. There is a possibility of creating queue jumps along the corridor, which is when you pull up to an intersection and the bus gets a green light before the car does. They're also looking at bus bulbs in a few places and transit-only lanes."
West Seattle had some challenging experiences when the RapidRide C Line was first installed, but Arkills said that SDOT will learn from the aspects that didn't go well.
"The idea behind RapidRide is to take some of the busiest corridors in the city and county and to have speed and reliability improvements, longer service, and to build a market in a growing area," he said. "Route 120 is already one of the busiest buses in the Metro system. On each RapidRide line, they have the goal of increasing ridership by 50 percent in the first five years. The C Line has increased by over 100 percent."
Arkills noted that the C Line carries around 14,000 people a day, and SDOT expects the new H Line to exceed that amount.