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.