King County Metro plans to expand its RapidRide line in 2023 to connect Auburn, Kent and Renton. COURTESY PHOTO, King County Metro

King County Metro plans to expand its RapidRide line in 2023 to connect Auburn, Kent and Renton. COURTESY PHOTO, King County Metro

Metro recommends Canyon Drive alignment in Kent for RapidRide route

Road picked over East James Street for new 2023 line

Expect the new King County Metro RapidRide bus line in 2023 to use Kent’s Canyon Drive rather than East James Street to move riders between downtown and the East Hill.

Metro staff plans to recommend the Canyon Drive alignment for the new route between Auburn and Renton after talking to Kent community groups and residents about a preferred alignment. The route will connect Kent to Auburn via Central Avenue and to Renton along 104th/108th Avenue Southeast.

“We heard pros and cons about both alignments,” said Greg McKnight, RapidRide I Line project manager, in a report July 16 to the Kent City Council. “James Street (aka Southeast 240th Street) would be faster, we wouldn’t need as many as service hours and there wouldn’t be as many stations, so it would be less capital invested.

“But we heard the Canyon (aka Southeast 256th Street) alignment would serve a lot more community assets and it’s also where the current (bus) service is. It’s

still in process but it aligns with our equity goals because of more of a need along Canyon, and it serves a high school and other assets along the alignment.”

Kent-Meridian High School and French Field sit just north of Canyon Drive.

Metro is expanding its RapidRide lines to provide faster, more frequent and more reliable service. The King County Council will eventually choose the alignment, possibly in the spring, after consultation with the city of Kent. Metro staff plan to return in October to the City Council with its next update about the project.

The RapidRide I Line will serve more than 6,000 riders who use Routes 169 and 180, two of the busiest Metro routes in South King County. The new line will connect transit centers in Auburn, Kent and Renton, including Sounder train stations in Auburn and Kent. RapidRide buses send signals to traffic lights, so green lights stay green longer or red lights switch to green faster.

McKnight said staff went to eight community events and did outreach at bus stops to gather feedback about the RapidRide expansion. Staff also met with a new 27-member mobility board that includes people who live and work in the three cities. The board met for 10 hours over two days and discussions were in English, Spanish and Somali because of the board’s diversity. The group also includes senior citizens, students and people with disabilities.

The $120 million capital project will include station amenities such as larger roofs and better lighting, new transit lanes, sidewalks and bike lanes. Metro will apply next year for a Federal Transit Administration grant to fund up to half of the project. King County will supply matching funds and the state Department of Transportation recently awarded an $8 million grant to Kent for RapidRide street improvements.

This will be Kent’s second RapidRide line. Metro operates RapidRide A on the West Hill along Pacific Highway South that connects the Federal Way Transit Center and the Tukwila light rail station.


Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing editor@kentreporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.kentreporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) Please keep letters to 300 words or less.

More in News

t
SeaTac man sentenced to life in 2021 Des Moines triple murder

Jury convicted Joshua Puloka in May of shootings outside of sports bar

t
Tacoma woman, 18, faces vehicular assault charge after Kent crash

Reportedly had been drinking; female passenger, 18, in her vehicle suffers injuries

Cristopher Ruvalcaba (Court documents.)
Two Auburn men sentenced in murder of Kent man at Southcenter Mall

Chris Wesolowicz was shot in a carjacking incident on Nov. 18, 2022.

t
Asylum seekers again ask for former Kent Econo Lodge to be reopened

Several testify at Kent City Council meeting; but King County has no plans to open hotel

Volunteers enjoy the sunshine at Renton’s 2024 Juneteenth Celebration. The weather will be sunny this weekend as summer officially starts. Photo by Bailey Jo Josie/Sound Publishing
Summer kicks off with 80-degree weekend weather

Puget Sound region weather forecast for June 21-23.

t
Most Kent crime numbers declining so far in 2024 compared to 2023

Homicides, robberies, vehicle thefts, residential burglaries fewer in first 5 months

t
Kent Police chief says they have ‘strong leads’ in student’s fatal shooting

Rafael Padilla ‘cautiously optimistic’ detectives will solve who shot Kent-Meridian High student

t
Latter-day Saints make large food donation to Kent, Renton groups

Semi delivers shipment for Kent Food Bank, John Volken Academy and two local churches

t
Police arrest Kentridge High student who reportedly had gun on campus | Update

17-year-old boy under investigation for unlawful possession of a firearm and fourth-degree assault

t
Juneteenth flag goes up at Kent City Hall

Mayor Dana Ralph and Gwen Allen-Carston raise the flag for June 19

t
State Patrol honors 7 Kent Police Department members in trooper shooting

Officers helped save the life of Trooper Seaburg in February incident; detectives built case

t
Police arrest Kent boy, 16, for vehicular assault after 3-car collision

Teen and three others injured, two critically; boy reportedly stole vehicle prior to June 17 crash on East Hill