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Metro preps for the arrival of the RapidRide E Line along Aurora Avenue North

Summary

The transformation of an 11-mile stretch of Aurora Avenue North has begun as King County Metro Transit prepares to bring its fifth RapidRide on-line. The E Line will serve Seattle and Shoreline and is scheduled to begin February 15, 2014.

Story

New stations, transit signal priority systems make way for the start of service in early 2014

The transformation of an 11-mile stretch of Aurora Avenue North has begun as King County Metro Transit prepares to bring its fifth RapidRide on-line. The E Line will serve Seattle and Shoreline and is scheduled to begin February 15, 2014.

Crews have already started removing existing bus shelters in Shoreline and Seattle to make way for 29 new E Line stations. Many of the stations will have improved features such as bike racks, benches, sidewalk improvements and off-board fare payment, which will speed service. Shelters will be larger, provide more protection from the wind and rain, have improved lighting and will come equipped with stop-request signals so riders can alert bus drivers when they are waiting for a bus at night. Twenty-five other bus stops along the corridor will also be improved with shelters at most stops, benches and new signage.

New RapidRide bus shelters have already been installed at two stations – one at Aurora Village Transit Center, the other at Shoreline Park-and-Ride at North 192nd Street. From there, watch for RapidRide stations to spring up all along Aurora Avenue in Seattle. The new stations are expected to be in place by mid-September.

Crews are also connecting to existing fiber optic cable for a new communications network along the corridor. Once completed, Aurora Avenue North will become a Metro “Connected Vehicle” system that will give buses priority at selected intersections to reduce travel times. The network will also operate 29 real-time bus arrival signs at stations. Most of this work will be done near existing traffic lights so construction should not affect access to bus stops.

Meanwhile, the city of Seattle is considering the addition of Business Access and Transit (BAT) lanes along portions of Aurora Avenue that would further improve E Line travel times through the corridor. The BAT lanes would complement existing dedicated lanes already in place along some portions of the roadway. BAT lanes will be operational during morning and afternoon commute hours and are designed to keep buses moving while allowing access to businesses along the busy roadway. BAT lanes also enhance the capacity of the remaining travel lanes by removing buses from general traffic.

Once launched, the E Line will offer frequent 10 to 15-minute service the majority of the day and even greater frequency during commute hours. By taking steps such as consolidating bus stops, expediting fare collection and having transit priority at intersections, E Line travel times are expected to be as much as 10-15 percent faster than current trips.

Customers riding the E Line will also be introduced to new 60-foot hybrid-electric buses. The red, black and yellow coaches are equipped with three doors for easy boarding, have security cameras and will offer free WIFI service for customers who like to surf the web while they ride.

For more information about the RapidRide E Line, go to: www.kingcounty.gov/rapidride