Correction: Clarifying the Bel-Red Design Options

A new design being considered by the council is far more walkable than the previous 177' option.

Monday’s notice about Bellevue’s open house for the future NE 15/16th Street arterial in the Bel-Red corridor didn’t go unnoticed by Bellevue planners, who’ve asked me to clarify the design options on the table for the arterial.  I’ve been a bit mouthy about one of the options, a 177-foot wide cross-section along NE 16th where Link would run along the center of the arterial in what is referred to as Zone 4 (PDF).  According to Rick Logwood of the Bellevue DOT, that option is no longer being considered, after recent council discussions.  Instead, a much narrower street is being considered, and one that I think is much more successfully scaled to pedestrians (see above).

Logwood also says that outside of the segment with center-running light rail,  the cross-sections are much narrower since Link will run off the street to the north:

Elsewhere, the typical section is much narrower.  The graphic shown has 177’ at the widest point in the entire corridor.  Where we are today in discussion is more on the order of 128’ – that is a significant difference – and will change public opinion.

The two perspectives (Alternatives: A, B) that do not show the LRT station are located between 120th and 124th Avenues NE.  As you can see the width is much less than what has been portrayed – where LRT is in fact in a different alignment.  The third is where the station is located, but reflects where the Bellevue City Council discussed reducing the number of travel lanes east of 124th Avenue NE to one through lane in each direction.

The other urban district in the corridor where light rail runs off to the north is referred to as Zone 2 (PDF) (the Spring District)– NE 15th Street between 120th and 124th Aves NE.  The two perspectives that Logwood mention show cross-sections with 4 travel lanes, 1 turn lane, and 1 parking lane.  The only difference between the two options is the addition of a cycletrack in Alternative B.

As far as the design options in Zone 2 go, their conduciveness to walkability can be debated.  Personally, I would like to see one travel lane in each direction for the entire corridor, but that wish usually never works out politically.




Comments

  1. Jason Mitchell says:

    Thanks for posting such a clear and prominent correction, Sherwin. A certain news site around these parts (sweet and fizzy beverage, anyone?) could learn a thing or two from you guys.

  2. Would link trains still be forced to go at the speed limit of the adjacent roadway in Bel-red? or could they go at 55mph?

    • Lack Thereof says:

      Without crossing gates, it’ll have to be at the speed limit.

      However, having done delivery work on both sides of the lake, I expect there’ll be MORE car/train collisions on the eastside than there have been along MLK, so they might end up adding them for safety reasons, which would allow the trains to go faster.

    • Sherwin Lee says:

      In Zone 2 Link will run in a retained cut north of NE 15th and stop in a below-grade station. I don’t know if trains will do the full 55 though, as they don’t even max out in the Beacon Hill tunnel.

  3. Elevate it or it put it underground! There isn’t even an existing neighborhood to disturb here… We only get one shot at this—let’s not mess up again by choosing surface.

  4. There’s no reason to bridge the ravine and connect 116th with a new major east/west arterial. All access well past the forseeable future can be served more than adaquately with improvements to 120th, 124th and 130th and their intersections at Northup and Bel-Red.

  5. alexjonlin says:

    I’ve been defending the wider option, but I have to admit, this does look a hell of a lot better.

  6. The open house was quite good. The renderings and maps portray a very different approach than what council and the transportation commit was reviewing even 6 months ago. I think the message is getting through :-)

    The new “15/16th” won’t connect with 116th. It takes a turn to the south and connects with 112th (aka Bel-Red Road). This intersection I think will cause more grief than help. Perhaps a westbound exit only with ped/bike access would make sense.

    Part of the “problem” east of the spring district is a fire code that requires 20′ roadway on each side (north and south) of the train tracks. A change in the development pattern would be required (or change in the fire code) to do much better than what’s propose.

    There was a lot of design work pointing to the creek drainages. I think this might be a response to the complete focus on pavement I’ve seen up until now. Next step, get the design money allocated to parks from transportation so that the green we see on the renderings actually is funded to the same level as the asphalt.

  7. Adam B. Parast says:

    Well it’s good to know that the public is with us on this.

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