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RapidRide To Service Renton Starting Fall 2013

The F Line will connect the Burien and Renton transit centers. The route may someday extend to The Landing; however, it's not currently in the budget.

RapidRide is coming to Renton. 

The Metropolitan King County Council unanimous approved the proposed alignments and stations for Metro Transit’s two newest RapidRide lines that will begin operating in the fall of 2013. One of the two routes will travel between Burien and Renton. The second route will travel between Shoreline and downtown Seattle.

Under the current agreement and funding capacity, the F line will stop at the Renton Transit Center before returning to Burien; however there is a proposed extension from the Transit Center to The Landing that is currently unfunded (more details are below).

The F Line will offer a 10-mile connection between the Burien and Renton transit centers, serving major employment, commercial and retail centers in Burien, SeaTac, Tukwila and Renton. The F Line will replace Metro Route 140 between the Burien Transit Center and the Tukwila Sounder Station, following the current Route 140 routing along South 156th Street, the Tukwila International Boulevard Link Station, Southcenter Boulevard, Westfield Mall and the surrounding commercial area.

“People have been waiting years for more transit service like this in South King County,” said Council member Julia Patterson, a prime sponsor of the legislation and representative of the communities along the F Line. 

“This connection will provide an increase in east-west transit service for communities all along this route, providing options to important economic and job centers, like Southcenter, which is so desperately needed in South County.”

RapidRide's distinctive red-and-yellow buses are energy efficient, low-emission hybrid vehicles that run 19 hours a day seven days a week and arrive at least every 10 minutes during the weekday morning and evening commute. These new lines have buses with have low floors and three doors, so people can get on and off quickly.

The overall travel time savings for riders on the RapidRide E and F Lines will be 7 to 10 minutes, according to a statement from King Count.  The improved travel time is a result of the additional doors, signal priory for transit at intersections and in-lane stops, Business Access Transit (“BAT”) lanes, and consolidated stops.

At the highest ridership stops, RapidRide stations will be installed, which feature a shelter, benches, bicycle racks, electronic signs indicating how soon the next bus will arrive, and an ORCA card reader so riders can “tap on” before the bus arrives and enter through any of the RapidRide bus’ three doors. 

RapidRide was implemented in 2010 with the arrival of the A Line on Pacific Highway South between Federal Way and Tukwila International Boulevard Link Light Rail Station It was joined in 2011 by the B Line connecting downtown Bellevue with downtown Redmond via Overlake and Crossroads. The twin centerpieces of the Fall 2012 service change will be the September 29 launch of RapidRide Line C, connecting West Seattle and downtown Seattle, and Line D, connecting Ballard with downtown Seattle.

Potential North Renton Extension Explained By King County Metro:

At the request of the City of Renton, King County Metro has explored extending the F Line 1.75 miles to The Landing a mixed use development in North Renton. This extension would serve additional Boeing Company worksites in North Renton, including the 737 assembly plant. The preferred extension alignment to the Landing is via Logan Avenue and Garden Avenue North to a terminal on North 10th Street between Garden and Park Avenue North. The return routing is via Park Avenue North to Logan Avenue. The North Renton extension would include a single RapidRide station on North 10th Street at Park Avenue North. In addition to the RapidRide station, three intermediate stops would be located along the extension.

The extension to North Renton adds eight to 10 minutes to the F Line's running time and is not budgeted. Additional operating funds or restructure and reinvestment of Metro’s Renton-area bus routes are needed to extend the F Line to North Renton.

Until additional resources or service restructure options are identified, the F Line will operate between the Burien and Renton transit centers as originally planned. Metro will design infrastructure and facilities along the North Renton extension and will plan for the construction and implementation of the infrastructure and facilities when additional operating funds become available or service restructure options are identified.

Editor's Note: Information provided by the King County Council and King County Metro.

Adam W. August 02, 2012 at 04:38 AM
The Landing is a local destination itself, and with more Boeing offices nearby, it's unfortunate the extension is unfunded. Sounds like a no-brainer. I hope it gets funded soon!
Jenny Manning August 02, 2012 at 02:53 PM
Thanks for the comment, Adam. The City and business owners at The Landing agree. As far as I know, the City is still looking into funding options. The addition is estimated to cost approximately $3 million. About this time last year Rep. Reichert visited Renton in support of the F Line. You can read that article, which includes more background information on the project, here: http://patch.com/A-lxhG
Union_Hat August 03, 2012 at 06:53 AM
The announcement of the F-Line comes after a year or more of planning, multi-jurisdiction coordination, field research, design and funds allocation. Half of the time it takes to build a RapidRide line is in the preparation. The planning work to complete the F-Line to The Landing is already underway. The extension will be easier to prepare as it is all in Renton, most of the roadway is brand new, fewer of the signals will need significant upgrades and only two agencies need to coordinate the work. Finding the money (which has to be done by Metro Transit) might be difficult, but it should be possible to get the construction work done in time for the opening of the main-line. By about 2017 Boeing will have three production lines in Renton each capable of producing 21 - 373 MAX airframes per month. If they can keep the prices down, they might even be able to sell that many planes to the expanding global market, assuming the US economy doesn’t get completely Barack’d in the next six months. One of the most dense employment, retail and residential centers outside of downtown Seattle is in and around The Landing. Far more economic activity happens there than will ever take place around the Transit Center, no matter how many Libraries Renton builds there. A few months ago King County was all worried about how they could help keep production of the 737 MAX in the county. This short, affordable extension is clearly a way for them to follow through on their intentions.
Gregg August 04, 2012 at 11:14 PM
I think it should be left as proposed. There are already quite a few buses that run between The Landing and downtown that can be caught and the additional time required for the extension is not worth it. This is great news and a good solution until light rail runs along the 405 corridor.
Union_Hat August 05, 2012 at 01:57 PM
Mass transit, as operated in America, usually removes efficiency from the economy in part because transit designers typically show absolutely no respect for the time value of the cattle, er…, passengers. Paying drivers Union scale for eight hour shifts, running more empty seats than full seats, failure to respond to market signals, making political decisions rather than economic decisions, overproviding capacity in the vain hope of encouraging use, and the resulting requirement for ridiculous levels of taxpayer subsidies also contribute. Typically 5 % of commuters use mass transit options yet mass transit often consumes 50% or more of the capital budget for all transportation. KC Metro seems to have recognized some of these problems as a result of the Barack’d economy. They have actually eliminated or scaled back service on the most underused routes. Designing bus routes with the intention of respecting the value of the time of transit users is also a fairly recent innovation. This surprising new phenomenon should be expanded as far as it makes sense and more old inherently inefficient bus routes should be eliminated wherever possible. Extend the F-Line to the Landing, a dense regional center of employment, residence, retail and entertainment and remove the older bus routes to that area. And look at how event service to the Longacres Arena, located in the center of the expanded line could be provided.

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