Over the next couple of years, Bellevue will be undertaking a significant upgrade to its Downtown Transportation Plan. Last updated in 2004 as the transportation component of the downtown subarea plan, the current plan doesn’t reflect recent developments in transit over the last few years, notably the passage of East Link and the opening of the RapidRide B Line. From the City of Bellevue news release:
Targeted for completion in early 2013, the new plan could set the stage for projects as big as new highway overpasses and streets and as small as lane modifications and tweaks in traffic signal timing. The plan is intended to be “multi-modal,” addressing needs not only for cars, but also pedestrians and cyclists.
The draft principles note that the plan will be consistent with the city’s overall vision for downtown, and acknowledge the need to leverage a variety of funding sources and collaborate with regional partners for projects. The principles also emphasize inclusive public participation, involving downtown businesses and residents, as well as surrounding neighborhoods and the city’s entire business community. The Transportation Commission will guide the process.
The plan will also include updates to regional factors, like updated growth forecasts through 2030, 520 tolling, and the Bel-Red redevelopment. With road capacity nearly maxed out, it’s also predicated on a multi-modal strategy to drive up the non-SOV mode share, which is currently too low for significant growth to occur downtown in the future. The plan’s website has a fairly comprehensive page on the technical scope of work’s guiding principles.
Despite the city’s long tradition of auto-dominance, I think the priorities here are right, especially with the emphasis on multi-modal capital-intensive improvements. The public outreach strategy has been rather creative too, with recent bike rides hosted to solicit input from citizen bicyclists. Whether or not the City might consider a public bus ride for transit users remains to be seen.