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RapidRide R Line

Coming to Rainier Valley

We're working to bring RapidRide to Rainier Valley, including better, more-reliable bus service and amenities. When launched, RapidRide R Line will serve neighborhoods between Downtown Seattle and Rainier Beach, including International District, Mount Baker, Columbia City, Hillman City, Brighton, and Dunlap.

Public transit is an important part of how we will meet the diverse needs and priorities of our rapidly growing region. As a part of that, Metro is working to provide and support better, more-reliable service to its customers in the communities of Rainier Valley.

Budget restores paused project

Changes to this project are included in King County's proposed budget and work on the project that had been paused in 2020 from budget shortfalls are now included in the budget approved by King County Council. More information on the 2023-2024 budget can be found in our blog post.


Project details

Route 7 has been a consistent form of transportation for Rainier Valley communities—a lifeline through Southeast Seattle that has helped to create a sense of place for many historically underserved communities. The route is one of Seattle’s busiest, serving up to 11,200 riders per day before the COVID-19 pandemic and continues to be a top ridership route during the pandemic, with 60 to 70 percent retained ridership.

RapidRide R Line:

  • Upgrades and replaces the Route 7
  • Runs between downtown Seattle and the Rainier Beach Link light rail station.
  • Increases access to reliable and frequent transit in the Rainier Valley.
  • Improves the quality and ease of connecting to transit safely, including the infrastructure, amenities, and technology riders use to access transit.

The goals of RapidRide R Line are to:

  • Increase access to reliable and frequent transit in the Rainier Valley.
  • Improve the quality and ease of connecting to transit safely.

Corridor Planning and Upgrade Report

We are building on previous engagement in the Rainier Valley community. The following themes from the community helped to shape RapidRide R Line design:

  • Concerns about service for riders south of S. Henderson Street
  • More reliable service within the Rainer Valley and other transit
  • Community values Route 7 for access to essential services
  • Concerns about distance between stations
  • RapidRide is unfamiliar
  • Better, safer access to stations, especially for people with mobility challenges
  • Concerns about personal safety
  • Clearly communicate how and when community can influence decisions
  • Concerns about fare enforcement and affordability
  • Community members have been underserved and deserve better service as soon as possible

We used community feedback to develop design concepts, inform our overall community engagement approach, and guide our project decisions. If we continue the project with the limited available funding, we risk overlooking the priorities we’ve heard from the community.

Related documents:

Needs Assessment Engagement Summary

Preferred Concept Engagement Summary

Final Preferred Concept Engagement Summary

Metro has completed RapidRide R Line conceptual project design, which provides a foundation for future work. Metro will continue frequent Route 7 bus service along its existing route. Although we will be pausing this project, the current preferred concept, guided by your feedback, provides a list of priorities to improve service quality along this route as funding becomes available. Seattle Department of Transportation will continue to make street improvements along Rainier Avenue S. as part of the Route 7 – Transit-Plus Multimodal Corridor project.

Once Metro receives the funding needed to build RapidRide R Line, we will re-engage with community members before restarting the project.

Download PDF maps of the current preferred concept: