There’s been a lot of argument about East Link Segments B and C, but since the “Bel-Red” alignment* was chosen, there hasn’t been very much chatter about Segment D.  That may change with Sound Transit’s open house about this segment tomorrow:

East Link Light Rail Preliminary Engineering Open House

Bel-Red/Overlake Corridor
Thursday, April 1, 2010
5 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
Highland Community Center
14224 NE Bel-Red Road, Bellevue

* Not actually on Bel-Red Rd. at any point.

18 Replies to “Bel-Red Open House Tomorrow”

  1. Bummer there isn’t another station between 130th and Overlake. Never happen, but a station at 20th and 140th. Seems like after the awkward Rainer Beach to Tukwila gap (and Columbia City to Othello to a lesser extent), some more stations would be nice to spur development and really open things up. But the Link is now a metro light from here on out.

    On a side note, perhaps a new ST website layout coming soon?

    1. a station at 20th and 140th

      There’s nothing there; a motorcyle dealer, an oil change outfit, a gas station and McDonalds. To the west is Luxury Auto Row, to the east is strip malls. South of Bel-Red you get back into low density residential and north of NE 24th is Bridle Trails. Plus the line has to be elevated here because it’s a steep grade from 140th NE up to 148th NE.

    2. Well does anyone know what the present comp. plan designations are for the area? If there’s something more than auto, it might be something worth talking about sooner rather than say post-ST2.

      1. 140th is outside the three areas designated in the Bel-Red Corridor study for higher density development. The only thing I see in the planning is to daylight the creek that’s just east of 140th. That will make a nice greenbelt connecting with Highlands Park. Another impediment to higher density development is the lack of large parcels of land. That’s what make the light industrial area so appealing, you can buy up 25 acre chunks and not worry about the body shop right next to you’re high end condo building.

  2. Watching the ST board meeting online last Thursday, there is discussion of moving the Overlake Village station from it’s proposed location, to more closer to the SR-520 freeway. This is to reduce the land takes.

  3. Where it’s proposed now is already the center of a lot of activity, well connected with the local street network, and poised for significant growth when it’s redeveloped. Meanwhile, the area by the freeway is a no-man’s land — like the area next to the “Vision Line” station by I-405. This is sounding like a proposal to sacrifice long term system value in order to save a few bucks. What kind of cost reduction would this yield?

  4. Are they serious about placing the lightrail yet again in the center of the road like on the MLK-mistake? I hope its an April Fools joke. They can’t be serious, ST is smart enough to know that Lightrail built in the center of the road is one of the worst planning jobs.

    Build us a Subway, not a streetcar.

    1. Most of the street crossings will be grade separated. The point of light rail is that the alignment type can be tailored to the environment. If we were building a pure subway system we wouldn’t have gone with light rail technology.

    2. I looked at many of the roads Link will be going on, and it seems to me like the at grade deal with be like SODO, for MLK way, so we should be fine.

  5. Just got back from the open house. I was mostly interested in the plan to move the Overlake Village Station. Indeed they have spiffy engineering drawings of how the ROW would stay along 405 and have an at grade station near 152nd and the new 32nd/36th overpass. I hung around the table for a while and it seemed everyone in the audiance thought that was a much better plan than the idea of following 20th and making the right angle corner onto 152nd. There were a couple of bigwig land owners that stopped by who owned multiple properties in the area. They were supportive of LR through Bel-Red (will up their property values) but they were very pleased with the prospect of keeping this section along 520.

    The one big drawback is that it’s planned to go over 148th at the overpass which means its going to be about 40′ higher than if they’d crossed 148th elevated at 20th. I’d sure like to see ST go to City of Redmond and WSDOT with some alternate road layouts (Redmond should do it but won’t and WSDOT just doesn’t care). If they could go under 148th it would be cheaper and the savings, along with what Redmond and WSDOT are already planning to spend in this area could fund it.

    The other part I don’t like is the multi story parking garage. Just what we need, more traffic on 520 trying to exit at 148th. If they really feel they must increase parking why not add to the parking at Overlake TC. I don’t think they need to do that either but it would seem to make more sense than screwing up this area too. I know the line isn’t going to open for years but maybe they could go to Group Health now and negotiate a long term lease agreement for a certain number of stalls to always be available on that property. Somehow I expect Microsoft is going to end up owning it someday anyway.

    City of Redmond and City of Bellevue had a presence there. The lady from City of Redmond explained that when the f-up 152nd with the slip ramp there going to create a 151st bike corridor. Better than a stick in the eye but still hate the slip ramp. Interesting that the ST people I talked to knew nothing about the slip ramp. It seems the alternate station idea was driven by City of Redmond.

    1. I think you meant 520, not 405. Anyway, moving the station to the 32nd/36th overpass is a thought, but just look how close that is to the overlake transit center. It also moves it away from the commercial/mixed-use developments of South Overlake, closer to the campus-style office parks of North Overlake. I don’t know the numbers, but it seems pretty clear that there would be far more riders using the currently proposed station.

      1. Thanks, I did mean 520. The ST rep brought up the same issue of the stations being so close as to “why bother”. Well, they’re still farther apart than 124th and 130th planned for Bel-Red and there’s actual demand right now in Overlake. There are apartments all along the Bellevue (west) side of 148th that would be closer to this station and have great pedestrian access over the new overpass. Riding home on the bike path I’ve seen a lot of people walking back from grocery shopping across 148th. If they’ll make that death march they’ll certainly walk to the LR station (although most of them probably work at Microsoft). It (two stations) does a better job of serving the MS campus which is on par with the UW as an employment center. The two stops would put more people within walking distance instead of having to rely on Shuttle Connect. There’s plenty of development potential all around it including the old Group Health site.

        If there were only going to be one station then perhaps they should consider scrapping Overlake TC. It’s in a very constrained location. MSFT has been pretty set against expanding it. The Overlake Village location is a much better tie in with Rapid Ride. Instead of two stations plow the money into a true multimodal transfer point that would include a flyer stop and pedestrian walkway (a mini lid) across 520. Totally redo the 148th interchange and make it a half diamond pointing west. Add a complimentary half diamond to 32nd/36th or upgrade the configuration of 40th/51st connection? Surface street improvements? City of Redmond person told me they were planning to redo 148th and add bike lanes (no time frame, I think it’s on the unfunded Xmas list). Maybe make 148th three lanes northbound, one lane southbound and do the opposite with 156th?

      2. Very good points, though I as I mentioned in another comment below, the 31st/36th overpass is still quite far away from the residential developments west of 520.

        The ultimate problem with Overlake – as you clearly stated – is 520 itself. The highway is literally cutting the neighborhood in half, making it difficult for any TOD to be done well in the area. Lids are probably the best solution as you recommended, and I certainly look forward to seeing the change in dynamics once the 31st/36th overpass gets completed.

    2. (Ugh, I wish I could edit).

      The Crossroads/South Overlake area represents some of the highest density neighborhoods east of downtown Bellevue, and my point is that the currently proposed Overlake Village station accounts for that. Moving the station up closer to the OTC station will be losing a significant chunk of usability, since no one lives next to 520.

      One could argue that the number of condos on the west side of 520/Overlake would make up for the numbers lost. Unfortunately, these condos are located 5+ city blocks from the future 31st/36th overpass.

      I think the current location of the station is best plan, primarily because the zoning in the area allows for potential development in the future. The 31st/36th overpass is not an area that has potential for future development.

    3. There are some details and maps of the proposed change on slides 14 and 15 of this presentation (PDF). It also has a good overview of the other East Link segments including all the downtown Bellevue proposals.

      ST has all their East Link docs here.

  6. Why is such a large area called Overlake? When I was growing up, Overlake meant the area around 24th and 148th: Group Health, Sears, and Safeway, called “Overlake Village” in the drawing. 40th Street was just Redmond, not Overlake, if anybody thought about it at all. Extending Overlake so far makes one wonder why it isn’t a separate city.

    1. The neighborhood distintions are kind of messed up. For example Bellevue calls everything up to Bel-Red road Crossroads. To me Crossroads is the area down by Crossroads Mall. It’s a completely separate retail area from the busineses along Bel-Red but Bellevue doesn’t refer to any area within the city limits as being Overlake. The apartments along the west side of 148th are lumped into Northeast Bellevue and there is no “Bel-Red” it’s officially part of Wilburton.

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