SDOT completes final design of RapidRide J Line

Nov. 1, 2023
The project upgrades King County Metro’ Transit’s Route 70 with an improved RapidRide level of service that will enhance connections to Downtown, Belltown, South Lake Union, Eastlake and the University District neighborhoods.

The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) has completed the final design of the RapidRide J Line. SDOT will now advance the process of selecting a contractor and begin preparations for construction, which is expected to begin in summer 2024. 

The project upgrades King County Metro’s Route 70 with an improved RapidRide level of service that will enhance connections to Downtown, Belltown, South Lake Union, Eastlake and the University District neighborhoods. 

Highlights of RapidRide J Line

  • Features more walkable neighborhood with upgraded sidewalks, signals and curb ramps from Downtown to the U District. 
  • More reliable travel times with new transit lanes and bus signal priority. 
  • New stations, featuring shelters, lights, real-time updates and all-door boarding. 
  • Boosting connections to Link light rail, other bus lines and Seattle Streetcar
  • Protected bike lanes. 
  • Paving of Eastlake Avenue East with one foot of concrete for a 50-year-long street life. 
  • A watermain makeover on Eastlake Avenue East a watermain makeover. 

The RapidRide J Line project will bring many improvements to the neighborhoods served by the updated bus route. The improvements include: 

  • 15,130 feet of repaired sidewalks 
  • Two miles of repaved street  
  • 3.7 lane-miles of protected bike facilities 
  • Two miles of bus priority lanes 
  • 177 improved crosswalks 
  • 33 intersections with traffic signal improvements, including 253 new traffic signal devices 
  • 190 newly planted trees 
  • 8,900 feet of watermain replacement, in partnership with Seattle Public Utilities 

“Our administration is committed to enhancing access to fast and dependable transportation so people can easily reach their destinations. The RapidRide J Line project will connect communities from Pioneer Square to the University District, creating a swift, dependable route Downtown. These needed improvements are thanks to support from the Levy to Move Seattle and strong partnerships between King County Metro, Seattle Public Utilities, local businesses and community-based organizations,” said Mayor of Seattle Bruce Harrell. 

“The RapidRide J Line project will dramatically improve bus and bike connections between the University District and Greater Downtown. We’re thrilled to finalize a design that creates a more walkable, people-oriented street and we look forward to starting construction next year,” said SDOT Director Greg Spotts. 

The RapidRide J Line project improvements closely align with SDOT’s Vision Zero goal to end traffic-related deaths and serious injuries on Seattle’s streets. 

SDOT expects construction to begin in summer 2024 and plans to complete the project and replace the existing Route 70 with the improved RapidRide J Line in 2027. 

“Finalizing design for the future RapidRide J Line marks a major milestone in the critical partnership between Seattle and King County Metro to upgrade the rider experience and improve transit reliability for the communities we serve. More red bus-priority lanes and safer pathways for riders to access new bus stations will draw more people to choose RapidRide between the U-District, Eastlake, South Lake Union and Belltown. This is just the latest in a series of transformative projects we’re delivering together to improve mobility in our growing communities,” said King County Metro General Manager Michelle Allison.