The Seattle Department of Transportation’s RapidRide J Line continues to roll along, although it is not going to roll as far north as first expected.
In virtual meetings with the public on Dec. 9 and with the Eastlake Community Council board recently, SDOT officials outlined some of the changes for the line. Because of budget restraints, the line will now stop at the new Sound Transit light rail station in the U District rather than go farther north to the Roosevelt station at 65th.
The J Line stop going northbound now will be at Northeast 43rd Street, about a block from the new light rail station. The line will begin at Northeast 45th Street going southbound.
In its meeting with the ECC, SDOT officials said not much had changed about the Eastlake portion of the line, south of the University Bridge. One small change is to move parking on East Lynn Street to the north side of the street from the south side, which results in an extra space.
But in terms of other issues including bike lanes and parking on Eastlake Avenue East, the department said nothing has changed. Eastlake will be repaved as part of the project, including water main and sewer upgrades, but likely everything will be done as part of the overall project. In other words, not until 2024.
The line is projected to open now in 2026.
Among the questions the Eastlake neighborhood still has about the project and that the ECC is addressing with the City’s project managers are:
1. Will there be any studies of ridership of the #70? When was the last study conducted? The question is the usage of the campus stops that the current #70 route makes. The #70 provides several transfer points along Campus Parkway and 15th street. Would the new bus routes be as convenient?
2. Loading zones. There are currently no plans for loading zones on Eastlake or for businesses along Eastlake that do not have access to an alley which might be an alternative. What would these businesses do?
3. Do the sidewalks on Eastlake meet design criteria in that they are required to be 10.5 feet wide?
4. What will happen with loading for businesses during construction?
5. We had discussed the need for an updated parking study for Eastlake. Has there been any development with that?
6. An alternative for business parking was to implement a partnership with buildings that now have private parking on Eastlake. The City had initiated a change that would allow public parking to be used there but drew resistance from building owners. Is that a liability issue or safety issue?
7. Questions about the interchange at Fairview and Eastlake and how bikes and traffic would navigate in the northbound lanes.
8. Washington Holdings will be constructing a building soon between E. Roanoke and E. Louisa Sts. which could cause additional issues with loading to the businesses on Louisa. Will these construction issues be coordinated?
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