City’s Transit Master Plan calls for rapid bus service on Madison

The city’s developing Transit Master Plan (TMP) calls for several priority corridor improvements, including a rapid electric bus line on Madison from Colman Dock downtown to 23rd Ave, according to a presentation to the City Council. A proposed increase in the city’s vehicle license fee (VLF) could provide some funding of the TMP while also funding street repairs and the pedestrian, bicycle and (future) freight master plans.

However, the size of that increase is up in the air. The Transportation Benefits District Board (comprised of all the City Council members) is set to send a proposal to voters today, but it is unclear whether the the Council will request the full $80 allowed (which I argued for over at Seattle Bike Blog) or a lower amount, likely $60. The Board has already instituted a $20 fee, which was the highest they could without voter approval. Any proposed increase in the fee would go to voters in November.

From an SDOT presentation to the City Council

The Transit Master Plan is still being developed, but updates to the City Council show that the plan will call for many city-wide transit improvements, including an electric Bus Rapid Transit line on Madison from Colman Dock downtown to 23rd Ave. In a July update to the City Council, SDOT presented concepts from the Transit Master Plan for several high-priority corridors, including a Streetcar route from downtown to Ballard via Fremont, a streetcar from downtown to the University District and the Madison bus improvements.

A streetcar was deemed unfeasible on Madison, according to the presentation. With the planned corridor improvements in place, the plan anticipates over 6,000 new riders on the corridor.

Some of the funds from the VLF — if the Council proposes it and voters approve it in November — would likely go to extending the First Hill Streetcar beyond it’s planned terminus at the under-construction Capitol Hill light rail station, according to Seattle Transit Blog’s Martin Duke, who is also on the Transit Master Plan Advisory Committee. Construction on the First Hill Streetcar is set to start in January, but there has been a push to extend the line to north Broadway, perhaps to Aloha.

The funds could also be used to build a connector streetcar extension through downtown to connect the South Lake Union and First Hill Streetcars. However, Seattle Transit Blog notes that there would not be enough money to build either project outright with the current planned funding breakdown and a more politically-friendly $60 fee. The funds could help with design and help find the projects matching grants while adding some of that match.

Meanwhile, the King County Council passed the $20 county-wide vehicle license fee Monday evening to prevent large cuts to Metro service. It was not a smooth process, though, with the council going into several extended recesses before the final vote. The fee passed 7-2 and will not need to go to the ballot for a public vote.

0 thoughts on “City’s Transit Master Plan calls for rapid bus service on Madison

  1. Not another dime for the city that burns money for the sake of it. Badly manages all projects and employees. Adminstrators that conspire to circumvent the law. We need to shut the city down, lay off 30% of the staff, replace nearly all administrators. Look back to Seattle PD of the 1970s – Criminals. FBI came in and cleaned up the PD. We need them to clean out the rest of the city. SPD is probably ok, but would not hurt to look at them too. Bottom line – nothing until we get new administrators that work in the light.

  2. Not another dime, I think it’s cute that the city thinks this will make it by voters in this climate. It will be fun to watch.

  3. You say SPD is probably ok?????? Bullshit.

    Just like they did in the 1970’s, FBI is currently investigating SPD due to the Williams shooting, the “Mexican Piss” Incident, and others.


    My question is – if FBI is investigating SPD, who’s investigating the FBI?

  4. Instead of voting on the entire $60 increase, why can’t we vote on three proposals: $20 for transportation; $20 for road repair; and $20 for additional bike improvements? I am all for transportation and road repair, but I don’t want another dime spent on bikes unless and until all adult bicyclists pay a bike tab fee to help pay for all the bike improvements that all taxpayers have underwritten so far.

  5. Zebragirl – we all pay taxes on things we don’t use. I don’t use the bus system, for example. I don’t have kids, but my taxes are used to fund public schools, and I’m perfectly ok with that. It’s not all about YOU.

  6. re: Voters should decide on what parts to fund

    bike infrastructure as well as most street projects are paid for by sales tax collected by the City of Seattle- people who ride bikes buy taxed goods – therefore they pay their share – in fact they pay a more for motorized improvements than non-motorized.

    most city bike riders own at least one car – therefore they will be pitching in.

    why does everyone hate on people on bikes?

  7. Good lord in heaven does this mean that we might have a bus which actually goes west on Madison and does NOT then meander all over hell and back before ending up in south downtown? I would so like to take the bus, but I live in Madison Valley and work in the south part of downtown. I can actually walk to work in the 40 minutes it takes the 11 to wind north then meander back towards the south part of downtown. I NEVER take the bus because it just takes too damned long to end up on what should be a straight shot down Madison. Hell yes, I’ll pay extra on my tabs to have a straight shot to downtown via the bus, rather than the nightmare it is to use the bus right now.

  8. Because there is a culture in Seattle of cyclists being rude, aggressive jerks who shoot snot shots on city streets without even looking to see if a pedestrian happens to be in the line of fire, ride illegally and aggressively, and shout lengthy conversations at each other at 5am on residential streets when the rest of us are trying to sleep. For starters.

  9. And Seattle drivers aren’t rude, aggressive jerks who honk at us, try to run us off the road, kill us (3 in the last 2 months), pull illegal U-turns then drive down the wrong side of the road (encountered on my commute on Monday…), set off their stupid car alarms at 5am when the rest of us are trying to sleep… pot meet kettle

  10. On the subject of bicycles that don’t look for pedestrians, I do have a few comments. I know that after a slog up some of the hills it is fun to sail down. I have never felt unsafe from a bicycle going up hill even if they didn’t stop for me as a pedestrian. I think that is due to the fact that they are going slowly enough that we can easily maneuver around each other and are aware of each other. However, when they are whizzing downhill going east on E. Union from 18th Avenue, for instance, many bicyclists seem totally unaware of anything but cars and never legally act as vehicles and stop at cross streets or crosswalks. Many are also speeding. This can be troublesome for a pedestrian especially if there are vehicles parked near the corners and the bicycle is in the bike lane, which makes it very difficult to see the bicycle before stepping out. I personally have encountered this situation several times after cars finally stopped allowing me to cross 21st heading north, only then to step out and suddenly am almost hit by a bicycle. I do not mind the bicycle conversations and appreciate these dedicated riders. I also know that it is not necessary to speed as fast as possible down the hills. I have observed some cyclists going downhill at reasonable speeds with an awareness of their surroundings.

  11. Yes, spiffy, we all pay for things in common. Then, if we have a car, we pay an additional tax in our car tab fee. Why not have a bike tab fee to help defray some of the “improvements” done specifically for bikes? Also, we all pay for operating schools, but we are sometimes asked to approve an additional bond measure for capital improvements (buildings). Why not be able to vote on capital improvements for bikes like we do for schools? If enough people support the fees, they will pass.

  12. Why does my asking for bikes to pay their fair share prompt you to ask “why does everyone hate on people on bikes?” Did I say that I hated bikes? No, I just asked to be able to vote on any further bike improvements, like I would on a school bond. How long have you had these feelings of persecution?

  13. zebra girl,

    i do not feel persecuted. i am sorry that you have interpreted that from my comment- but being that you are ignorant of civic matters – i can understand why you might post such a rude presumptuous statement for all to read and see.

    you say bikes should pay their fair share – yet you don’t even know how street projects are funded within the City of Seattle but you feel comfortable making such an inaccurate statement – and you probably vote – which is just as scary.

    Here is an accurate statement for you my fellow american: CYCLIST AND PEDS DO PAY FOR OUR FAIR SHARE – WE PAY MORE THAN OUR FAIR SHARE FOR NON-MOTORIZED INFRASTRUCTURE (sidewalks, bike lanes, etc.) – STREETS FOR CARS ARE SUBSIDIZED BY PEOPLE WHO CANNOT EVEN AFFORD CARS (the all caps is to give this comment some dramatic flare).

    Maybe SCCC on the hill has an advanced level Civics course you could take – hell maybe you could even get a tutor from Garfield to explain such simple civic matters – or instead of sitting around at your place in the CD watching re-runs of Designing Women on Lifetime – you could switch it over to the Seattle or King County channel and see how things operate.

    i would almost bet you are from cali or the east coast – as seattle folk seemingly have a better understanding of these sorts of matters (except for those that read the Times).

    have a blessed day miss.

  14. @ Zebragirl – I pay every single tax and fee that you do. We all pay sales tax and most of us bikers/walkers/bussers also own at least one car. Can’t bike and walk and buss everywhere, after all.

    @ james – I was with you until you started with the lame attempted slam about Lifetime and that tired old East Coast/Cali thing. That’s weak.

  15. Ya’ll are off the point arguing about who pays and doesn’t pay enough already. The point is the city will waste it all and the administrators are criminals. Yes, actually criminals who conspire to circumvent all laws and rules as they would apply to themselves and their prejudices and then expect all others to have the rules stuck to them and to pay a never ending pile of new fees. The city needs less, not more. Let’s starve them out.

  16. cd bike: Why do you assume I am commenting as the driver of a car, and go on the attack against car drivers? Re-read my post, which had nothing to do with comparing bikes to cars. Your logic is equivalent to saying “Yes, bikers are rude, but burglars are rude too!” And is about as relevant.

  17. My point is merely that *every* group has some rude folks – It is completely unjustifiable that everyone hates cyclists so much, just because there may be a few that break the rules. Drivers break more rules,are more rude and are 1000’s of time more dangerous than cyclists, but every time street funding comes up someone one like come out and start hate speech against them. I’ve seen people jay walk and flip folks off while doing it – there are bad eggs in every basket
    FYI – the last time some jerks were having a loud conversation outside of my window at 4 freaking AM they were standing around a car – some out some in YAK, YAK, YAK – and yes I was trying to sleep.

    This money isn’t solely for the benefit of cyclists, so if you want to protest this money being spent, then protest *all* the rude folks out there who might benefit – bus riders, drivers, pedestrians and cyclists alike.

    Joanna – I’m sure that there have been some folks going down Union too fast – but also be aware that while a cyclist moving slowly may be able to stop on a dime, a cyclist moving quickly (yes even within the speed limit – which would be 30 on that street) has a longer stopping distance than a car going the same speed. Before you insist that someone stop for you and step out in front of them, remember than one cannot simply slam on the brakes on a bike without repercussions – mainly locking up a front or rear wheel and crashing spectacularly. The top of Union is steep and 30 is relatively easy to achieve, so give the folks on Union a little break. And cyclists going down Union – if you are going the speed of traffic, it is much safer to take the whole lane – you are more visible to everyone and it will eliminate the problem of having a car stop when you may not be able to. (BTW Joanna -As I find it is best to practice what I preach and be a better person than most drivers, I often stop for pedestrians while cycling. Usually any car around is only looking at me…. and blows obliviously right by putting the pedestrian in danger… makes me wonder how wise it is to be polite)

  18. Pretty much everybody is an inconsiderate unsafe jerk on the roads. Car drivers, bikers, pedestrians, bus drivers, and taxi drivers. Everybody! I see every single one of those groups of people breaking traffic laws all the time, every day.

    All we can do is try to each be responsible for our own behavior no matter what mode of transport we’re using. It’s frickin crazy dangerous out there!

  19. I realize that often cars try to go around even cars who stop for pedestrians so a lone bicycle is not going to stop autos. The main problem comes when the cars stop and the bicycles do not. One the most extreme examples comes to mind. In one case the autos stopped for pedestrians trying to cross at 21st, and then as the pedestrians started to cross, one auto without stopping sped around the the stopped vehicle. Then as I stepped back a bicycle almost hit me. The other was at the crosswalk at 20th and also involved a skateboarder using the bike lane, and several bikes and a car in a similar situation. Anyway, remember that the pedestrians also are probably first looking to cars to stop and often have to step slightly into the bike lanes to see or to be seen. Bike lanes work well in some places but seem to need some type of improvement in others. It seems a problem worth some study.

  20. You won’t find any arguments from me about bike lanes… I don’t particularly like bike lanes. I think they encourage bad habits (like riding too close to parked cars), cause cyclists to be less visible and help motorist justify passing too closely/otherwise abusing cyclists. Downhill bike lanes can be outright suicidal.

  21. To be truly fair we must get taxes from people who traditionally evade them. A special tax on China town businesses and residents could solve more problems than the car tax. Alot of these folks don’t have cars or bicycles. Time for them to pay up as well.