In (slightly) less flame-worthy East Link-related news from Bellevue, the city council is undergoing discussions on the new NE 15/16th street in the Bel-Red corridor, which will require construction of a new right-of-way for Link. The street will become the centerpiece corridor for the city’s Bel-Red TOD plan, which has even garnered some recognition from Senator Murray. From the Bellevue Reporter:
[Council] discussion included the type and size of features to be included on the roughly 1.5-mile long roadway, such as the number of vehicle lanes, on-street parking, whether to have bike lanes or a bike-pedestrian pathway, and landscaping options. These decisions will determine how the various elements fit together and the width of the new street.
The greatest fear I have out of this project is Bellevue’s reputation for street improvements that are notoriously car-centric– leaving the potential that this new 15/16th Street could become nothing but a major thoroughfare. Slides from the city council’s presentation (PDF) show the various ROW cross-sections, with some designs ranging up to 170+ feet wide.
As the current NE 16th Street is only a back-road for industrial vehicles, the natural assumption is that the new street will provide capacity for drivers frequenting the corridor– completely new demand that is really unnecessary. The development slated there is supposedly being drawn in by Link as the primary transport mode, making the purposes of a new street counterintuitive. If new lanes are inevitable, however, I’d rather pedestrians not have to walk more than 130′ just to get to the other side of the street.
The city is hosting an open house (PDF) on the project November 9th from 4:30-7pm at Bellevue City Hall.