Why More Bus-Only Lanes on Rainier Avenue South Seattle?


Runta News-Seattle

Photo: Christine Alar at the bus stop on Rainier Ave. by the Colombia City Post Office on 33rd Avenue South near Safeway.  

Rainier Ave South which is one of the busiest streets in Seattle has recently received more bus-only lanes more than any other place in the city. The Seattle Department of Transportation in collaboration with King County Metro, has installed bus lanes on certain areas on Rainier Ave S that include northbound between S Alaska St and S Walden St, and southbound between S Oregon St and S Edmunds St in Rainier Valley.

Christine Alar of SDOT who has recently spoken to Runta News about this new project described the addition of bus-only lanes as a necessary step that would benefit the public at large.  “The Rainier Ave S Bus-Only Lanes are helping to improve transit reliability within the city”, said Alar who is a Senior Transportation Planner currently working within the Transit and Mobility division at SDOT where her team focuses on strategies and investments to improve transit service within the city.

When we asked why on Rainier Ave South, she pointed out that the Avenue is a high priority route that serve huge number of essential workers and has true solid ridership background. She also gave Route 7 which is one of most famous and frequent buses in Seattle as another major reason why bus-only lanes imposed in that area. “Route 7 is really high ridership route and is very high performing route and has been even before COVID and continues to be during COVID and after recovery”, she added.

Part of Seattle Prop 1, which Seattle Voters approved few years ago as a ballet initiative, increased Metro services and additional transit programs for Seattle residents which meant tax dollars in action. “We are evaluating to alternatives and want to hear from you! We encourage you to take our survey and attend the public meeting on October 25th” said Christine Alar.

Summary of the project 

  • SDOT in collaboration with King County Metro, recently installed bus lanes on Rainier Ave S northbound between S Alaska St and S Walden St, and southbound between S Oregon St and S Edmunds St in Rainier Valley.
  • SDOT is now evaluating two alternatives to extend the bus lanes. This extension would be on Rainier Ave S farther north between S Walden St and S Grand St.
  • Please take their our survey by November 13. You can share your input on the two proposed alternatives, how you travel on Rainier Ave S, and how they can further improve your experience taking transit.    
  • SDOT will be presenting the Phase 2 Rainier Ave S bus-only lane alternatives at a virtual public meeting on October 25. Meeting details will be posted on their website. They will post a recording to our project website after the meeting.

Here is the full interview of Christine Alar gave to Mulki Mohamed of Runta News Channel (49) Bus-Only Lanes on Rainier Avenue – YouTube