Saturday, July 12, 2014

Madison Street Bus Rapid Transit: your thoughts?

Next Wednesday morning I will be interviewed about the proposed Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) for East Madison Street. I would like my replies to reflect the views of the neighborhood, and invite you to submit your thoughts as comments on this post. All I know is contained in the original E-mail (below) and the link in it:

I presume we will be able to invite them to a meeting if it becomes reality, but it would be good to register our views early.

My personal view is that Bus Rapid Transit only works well if there is a dedicated bus lane. Present Seattle BRT efforts appear to me to be mostly window-dressing: buses painted a different color and marked "Bus Rapid Transit".  See this Lake Union Trolley example I saw recently:

Good afternoon, Andrew –
The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) is now getting started on the yearlong study of options for bus rapid transit (BRT) service along the Madison Street corridor. Madison is one of five corridors identified in Seattle’s Transit Master Plan as a priority for investing in high-capacity transit service.  Better, higher quality service is needed to keep pace with the growing demands of businesses, major institutions, and residents along and around this corridor.

The Madison Corridor BRT Project Definition Study will take us from the broader vision in the Transit Master Plan to more detailed design, which will get us closer to making BRT on Madison a reality.
The study will identify a preferred design concept that includes transit, bicycle, pedestrian and streetscape elements on Madison and nearby streets.  It will also evaluate implementation options, such as phased improvements and funding opportunities. For more information about the Study, please visit:
We’re working with Nelson\Nygaard Consulting Associates to engage the community in this important effort. To begin the process, Nelson\Nygaard will be conducting individual and small-group stakeholder interviews with a variety of community representatives, including residents, property owners, businesses, and community organizations. As an active member of the community, I would like to invite you to participate in this interview process to share your views on opportunities and challenges that may arise as part of this project.
We’d like to schedule a 50-minute interview with you at the Seattle Municipal Tower, 700 Fifth Avenue, on July 15, 16 and 17. As a follow up to this email, a representative from Nelson\Nygaard will call you to schedule an interview.
In the meantime, please don’t hesitate to call me with any questions.  
Thank you in advance for your time.
 Maria Koengeter
Transit Strategic Advisor, Policy and Planning Division

O: 206.733.9865| F: 206.684.3238 |


  1. Thanks Andrew – good point. We will definitely need to look closely at parking impacts. There are RPZs near portions of the corridor but not all. I’m sorry I haven’t sent the notes from our conversation yet. I will have those out in the next couple of days.

    Thanks again,



    Nelson\Nygaard Consulting Associates
    1402 Third Ave, Suite 1200
    Seattle, WA 98101
    206-357-7527 (fax)

    Mobility | Accessibility | Sustainability

    From: Andrew Taylor []
    Sent: Wednesday, July 16, 2014 10:23 AM
    To: Briana Lovell
    Cc: Thomas Brennan
    Subject: Re: Madison Corridor Bus Rapid Transit Study -A final thought

    From a neighborhood perspective, one of the downsides of a good transit service to downtown is that it attracts commuters from the suburbs, who park in the neighborhood, take the bus downtown and hence compete for the already scarce parking in the area.

    I believe this is known as "park and hide".

    We could sweeten things for neighbors of the BRT if we institute residential parking zones (RPZs) on streets likely to be affected, adjacent to the BRT, and if the City pays the RPZ fees for residents (as Group Health does, I believe) for the RPZ in its vicinity.

    Thanks for the interview.

    Andrew Taylor

  2. Agreed. You point to a very real possibility. RPZ is a great tool for dealing with this and one that is in the City’s quiver. We’ll certainly take that into consideration as part of the project.