- Getting Around
Pierce Transit, along with our planning partners, are in the final stages of planning an improved service called Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) along a 14.4-mile corridor on Pacific Avenue/State Route 7 between downtown Tacoma and Spanaway.
The corridor is currently served by Route 1, which continuously has the highest ridership of any Pierce Transit fixed route. Currently, riders board the BRT portion of the Route 1 alone an average of 1.1 million times per year, which accounts for 12 percent of Pierce Transit’s total ridership systemwide. By 2040 we project 2.2 million annual boardings along the BRT corridor.
What is Bus Rapid Transit?
Bus Rapid Transit systems are designed to carry larger numbers of riders with greater speed, reliability and frequency than a standard fixed-route bus. Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) is:
- Safe, fast, and reliable transportation that will connect the South Sound community
- A time-saving escape from gridlock with relaxing, frequent service and state-of-the-art buses that can comfortably hold up to 90 passengers and have amenities such as Wi-Fi and multiple boarding doors.
- A fast ride that rivals car travel times, with buses arriving every 10-15 minutes
- New BRT Stations will feature pre-payment options, real-time travel info and weather protection
- Accessible to all with level boarding for bikes, strollers, wheel chairs and pedestrians
- Environmentally-friendly, high-speed transit for a fraction of the cost of rail modes
- A uniquely branded system that is easy to understand and use
- Better opportunities for economic development along the corridor
Provide your feedback on station locations!
Why is BRT Better?
Why Consider BRT for Pacific Avenue | SR 7?
- The study began in early 2017 by looking at the feasibility of High Capacity Transit along this corridor. High Capacity Transit (HCT) can take several forms, including light rail, commuter rail, bus rapid transit and rapid streetcar.
- After reviewing several HCT mode options and gathering public input, Bus Rapid Transit rose to the top as the preferred option based on several factors, including lower cost and more flexibility.
- In 2018, Pierce Transit entered a new phase of the study to develop a recommended Locally Preferred Alternative (LPA) that includes the mode, termini (where it begins and ends), and the alignment. The Pierce Transit Board adopted the LPA at its July 9, 2018 meeting. The LPA included mode(BRT), termini (downtown Tacoma and Spanaway) and alignment (Route 1 with modifications).
- Pierce Transit has engaged the community through a series of open houses throughout the corridor. The agency met with dozens of stakeholders in the area, solicited feedback and shared information online.
- In September 2018, Pierce Transit submitted an Federal Transit Administration Small Starts application which will be the mechanism to seek the remaining 40 percent of needed project funding.
- In April 2019, the Pierce Transit Board of Commissioners adopted the proposed station locations, BRT lane configuration (the Median-Hybrid alternative), and access routing (using E. 26th Street both in and out) to Tacoma Dome Station.
- Per a WSDOT requirement, Pierce Transit is evaluating 4 currently signalized intersections within the corridor for possible conversion to roundabouts. A final determination will be made over the summer of 2019, once the Intersection Control Evaluation (ICE) report is completed for WSDOT.
- Pierce Transit is coordinating with the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) to determine the appropriate level of environmental review, which will likely be completed in Winter 2019-2020.
- Service to begin in late 2022.
How Can You Get Involved?
Visit us at www.RideBRT.com
Phone: Call Project Manager Tina Lee at 253.589.6887
Sign up to Receive Email Updates: Visit piercetransit.org/StayConnected, enter your email address, and select the “Bus Rapid Transit” topic.
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(30th St. to Downtown)
Mid South Tacoma
(80th St to 32nd St)
Parkland PLU Corridor Concept
(146th St to 82nd St)
Pierce County Spanaway
(204th St to 149th St)
The design of the lane treatments and station locations for the Median-Hybrid Alternative (labeled “Center Running Option” on the maps) are conceptual and may be adjusted as the design advances. As part of the next design phase, a more detailed analysis of traffic issues and consideration of options to reduce project impacts will be considered.
This could result in some adjustments in the locations of the dedicated transit lanes and stations.
How will the new BRT service affect local service on Route 1?+
The BRT service will replace Route 1 between Spanaway and downtown Tacoma. It will follow the same routing with the exception of stopping at the Tacoma Dome Station to provide connections to other transit service, and serving downtown using Market Street instead of Pacific Avenue.
What happens to Route 1 from Commerce Station to Tacoma Community College?+
The portion of Route 1 between downtown Tacoma and Tacoma Community College would continue to operate using the same schedule and routing as the current service. The Route 1 would connect with the BRT service at the Commerce Street Transit Center.
What will BRT mean for economic development along the corridor?+
Typically, Bus Rapid Transit systems generate increased economic development along their corridors, as people have better access to educational, vocational and job opportunities, and businesses in the area. The City of Tacoma and Pierce County have already identified this corridor for higher-density, mixed-use, transit-oriented development.
Will BRT increase or decrease congestion?+
Congestion mitigation is one of the project’s primary goals. Faster, more frequent, more reliable service will provide a competitive alternative to driving, thereby reducing the number of cars in the corridor.
Will BRT require the removal of general-purpose lanes along the corridor?+
Plans currently outlined in the feasibility study do not call for the removal of any general-purpose lanes along the corridor. In some instances, a dedicated transit lane for buses and vehicles turning right may be added, or the bus may travel in the median lane, but the scenarios under consideration do not eliminate general-purpose traffic lanes. The 14.4-mile corridor has widely-varying travel configurations, so the portion of roadway where the bus runs will likely vary throughout the corridor. On-street or surface parking could change, depending on path of travel and station locations.
Is BRT a tested transit option?+
Yes, BRT is a rapidly-growing transit mode in Washington state. In the Puget Sound area, King County Metro has RapidRide and Community Transit has Swift. In Vancouver, C-TRAN recently opened The Vine, and Spokane Transit is in the planning stages for their inaugural BRT line.
How much do BRT projects typically cost?+
BRT projects typically cost about $10 million per mile. The Pacific Avenue | SR-7 BRT project is estimated to cost about $150 million (including vehicles). By contrast, street cars cost about $30 million per mile and light rail costs $200 million per mile.
How much faster will that 14.4-mile trip be once BRT is implemented?+
The answer to this question will depend on how much of the route will have dedicated transit lanes and how much time the bus will spend in mixed traffic. The more dedicated lanes, the faster the route will run. We will have a better sense of how much faster the trip will be once the lane configurations are selected in each segment of the corridor. Typically, BRT systems operate from 15-30 percent faster than the local fixed route. Since our current fixed route (Route 1) requires as much as 55 minutes to ride from Spanaway to downtown Tacoma, the agency will do whatever is possible to design a new BRT route that reduces that travel time by the maximum amount possible.