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High Capacity Transit Study
Pierce Transit is studying the feasibility of implementing Bus Rapid Transit along a 14.4-mile corridor on Pacific Avenue | SR 7 between downtown Tacoma and Spanaway.
The corridor is currently served by Pierce Transit’s Route 1, which has the highest ridership of any route averaging 5,300 weekdays boardings. Riders currently board this 14.4-mile portion of the Route 1 nearly 3,500 times each weekday and make up 65 percent of the route’s ridership.
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 sophisticated buses with amenities such as Wi-Fi and multiple boarding doors that can comfortably hold up to 90 passengers.
- A fast ride that rivals car travel times, with buses arriving every 10-15 minutes
- Advanced bus stop stations with real-time arrival information, large covered areas, bright lighting and enhanced security.
- 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
- An economic development catalyst through infrastructure and streetscape improvements
Why is BRT Better?
Why Consider HCT 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.
- In 2017, Pierce Transit held six open houses to share information about High Capacity Transit and solicit feedback. We have also met with dozens of stakeholders in the area, and solicited feedback and shared information online.
- 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, we have entered a new phase of the study to develop a recommended “Locally Preferred Alternative” that includes the recommended mode (BRT vs. other modes), termini (where it begins and ends), and the alignment (route). The Pierce Transit Board is expected to adopt the LPA at its July 9, 2018 meeting. From there we will develop recommended station locations and lane configurations.
- We held three more open houses in March 2018 to share this information and gather feedback.
- The full study is expected to wrap up in 2019.
- The Pierce Transit Board is expected to decide in the summer of 2018 whether to move ahead with the project; if so, it will also select a Locally Preferred Alternative (LPA).
- Once the LPA is selected, Pierce Transit will apply for federal funding for the remaining half of this $150 million project.
- If funding is secured, the design/environmental and review/construction process could get underway in late 2018 or early 2019, with service beginning 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 “Pacific Ave./SR 7 Bus Rapid Transit Project” topic.
Be social with us! Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for the latest news (these will be links to our pages)
Virtual Open House: CLICK HERE TO VISIT VIRTUAL OPEN HOUSE
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.