The folks at the Seattle Depart of Transportation released an online public survey yesterday to gain public input on the Madison BRT project which will connect the Downtown Seattle Waterfront with First Hill and Madison Valley. (We previously covered this project back in November.) This survey primarily concerns the potential terminal locations, in Downtown Seattle and in the Madison Valley as well as the potential routes to get there.

Start Survey

Downtown Seattle Segment

Madison BRT potential Downtown Routing I would like to advocate for the Madison St/Spring St couplet (in red on the map) because it:

  1. Continues the connection to the Washington State Ferries Colman Dock;
  2. Provides a connection to the Center City Connector Streetcar (1st Ave/Madison St);
  3. Provides a better connection to the University Street Light Rail Station;
  4. Provides an excellent connection to the Central Library;
  5. Provides improvements to the King County Metro Route 2 on Spring St through the use of exclusive lanes, traffic signal priority, and enhanced station amenities;
  6. Provides a connection to Town Hall at 7th/8th Ave & Spring St;
  7. Removes the difficult turn at 6th Ave & Madison St; and
  8. Improves access to Virginia Mason Hospital while maintaining similar access to the Polyclinic.

Madison Valley Segment

Madison BRT Madison Valley Terminal Options For the eastern portion of the Madison BRT line, I would like to advocate for the MLK Jr. Way/29th Ave terminal (in red on the map) because it:

  1. Provides needed bus service to nearby residential communities;
  2. Supports planned construction in the area;
  3. Supports the businesses located in this area with improved access to Downtown/First Hill;
  4. Provides increased multi-modal connection opportunities;
  5. Provides enhanced station amenities for King County Metro Route 11 passengers where the lines overlap; and
  6. Removes a sharp turn and heavy traffic on 23rd Ave.

Madison BRT Alternate Bicycle Routes/Dangerous Intersections

Madison BRT Alternate Bicycle RoutesIn addition, the survey also seeks the public’s input on dangerous intersections throughout the corridor that are in desperate need of improvement for pedestrian and cyclist safety. In this case, I would advocate for Alternative 2 (in blue on the map):

  1. The route is a much more direct which is safer, less confusing, and more likely to be utilized; and
  2. As part of the First Hill Public Realm Action Plan, Union/University Streets on First Hill have already been identified as the location for an East-West cycle track.

As for the dangerous intersections, I will leave that up to those who are directly familiar with them and who have to make use of them each day (they all need fixing).

Potential Stop Locations

Here I would advocate for the following stop locations:


  1. Western Avenue/Alaskan Way between Madison St & Spring St: connections to Center City Connector Streetcar and ferries
  2. Spring St & 3rd Ave: connections to Link, Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel, and 3rd Ave buses
  3. Spring St & 5th Ave: Seattle Public Library and shared with Route 2
  4. Spring St & 8th Ave: Town Hall, residential Development, Virginia Mason Hospital, and Polyclinic
  5. Madison St & Terry Ave: replaces stop at Boren Ave and shared with Route 60
  6. Madison St & Boyslton Ave: Swedish Medical Center, replaces stop at Madison & Summit, shared with Route 60, and near First Hill Streetcar (Broadway/Boylston)
  7. Madison St & 12th Ave: shared with Route 2
  8. Madison St & 17th Ave/18th Ave: shared with Route 11
  9. Further stops east to MLK Jr Way: to be determined

  1. Stops west from MLK Jr Way: to be determined
  2. Madison St & 17th Ave/18th Ave: shared with Route 11
  3. Madison St & 12th Ave: shared with Route 2
  4. Madison St & Summit Ave: Swedish Medical Center, shared with Route 60, and near First Hill Streetcar (Broadway/Boylston)
  5. Madison St & Terry Ave: replaces stop at Boren Ave and shared with Route 60
  6. Madison St & 8th Ave/7th Ave: potentially over I-5
  7. Madison St & 5th Ave: Seattle Public Library
  8. Madison St & 3rd Ave: Link, Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel, and 3rd Ave buses

To participate in the survey, click the grey “Start the Survey” button or simply click here.

Start Survey

Full disclosure: I am a resident of First Hill and I am on the Board of the First Hill Improvement Association (FHIA) and sit on the Transportation Working Group. These are my personal opinions and while in sync with FHIA, they should not be construed as the official position of FHIA. Illustrations are courtesy of SDOT and used with permission.

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Gordon is a native New Yorker who wisely chose to leave the Northeast in the early 1990s. A past resident of Belltown, and Queen Anne, he currently calls First Hill home. He is a board member of the First Hill Improvement Association (FHIA) as well as the FHIA Transportation Committee Chair and is constantly looking for ways to improve transportation up the hill.


  1. Would this be live-looped downtown? While I also impressionistically like the Madison/Spring couplet, if it’s not live-looped it wouldn’t really improve connections to the DSTT, and would barely even if it was since the block closer is outbound. I guess it would help from Coleman Dock up the hill, but walking to Pioneer Square from Coleman Dock isn’t bad either.

    • I think the author is referring principally to riders coming from First Hill connecting to the DSTT (and visa versa), not from Colaman Dock. First Hill connections wouldn’t be dependent on a live loop.

  2. I’m confused. You support W3 (the red line), but then say it “Continues the connection to the Washington State Ferries Colman Dock”. Isn’t that backwards? Doesn’t the other line connect to the ferry dock?

    • It looks like they both would, but W1 hits the foot bridge, which I would argue is more convenient even if it’s a little further. Is it possible that rerouting will have to be done when Alaskan Way is rebuilt?

    • sorry for any confusion. my point is that the bus stopping on Western or Alaskan Way would provide for a connection to the ferries (tho different than the current stop at 1st/Marion) … as opposed to having the bus loop on 3rd ave.

      In the case that the current routing of the 12 is preserved (EB via Marion) the 1st/Marion stop will be removed anyway as the bus will terminate on Western between Madison and Marion. (The new streetcar line will prevent ETBs from making the loop on 1st ave).

    • OK, that makes sense. I basically said that I favored the red line because I thought it would be a bit faster. If they studied the intersections and found that not to be the case, then I suggested they go the other way. In general, while I like it if the connections are smooth and easy, I think speed (of the bus) is more important. This is different than say, a light rail line, where it will be faster no matter what, and station placement is essential (for fast bus to rail interaction). In that case the decision is usually a trade-off between convenience and money (and I choose convenience ever time — no sense being cheap).

      I also agree with you that given the choice between turning around at 23rd or continuing to MLK, it makes sense to go to MLK. I actually prefer the third option (not mentioned) which is to turn on 23rd and head south, at least to Garfield, if not further. I mentioned that in the comments. Hopefully someday soon we will get a similar BRT on 23rd; better yet, we should get a light rail line along this corridor (23rd over to the Capitol Hill station, then South Lake Union, then curving around to Belltown and downtown). That is a long way away, but it would compliment this BRT line quite well.

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