Bel-Red Corridor

One of the features of redeveloping the Bel-Red corridor will be the addition of a new street grid in place of what is now a broken network of backroads and lightly used collectors.  The City of Bellevue is planning to establish a new central thoroughfare, which by current grid orientation, is tentatively designated NE 15th/16th Street.  Renaming of the arterial, plus parallel streets to the north and south, is currently under consideration.

Given the pressure to completely overhaul the Bel-Red corridor’s identity, the City might be more inclined to give NE 15th/16th a unique place-based name for the purposes of neighborhood branding.  On the other hand, NE 14th and NE 18th, by my inclination, would be better off as numbered streets to maintain the grid’s function as a reference for orientation.

Input and suggestions for the street names are currently being solicited online with a November 30th deadline.

36 Replies to “Name a Bellevue Street”

  1. There is absolutely no good reason to rename any of the numbered streets. If NE 15th changes to NE 16th somewhere along its length, so be it.

    1. They clearly want to make it a “place” by street names. I have mixed feelings about this sort of thing. On the plus side, the developers aren’t naming the streets. Hopefully the community gets some great names.

      1. I’d almost rather if the developers named 15th/16th. They’re the ones that will ultimately create the area’s new identity. What is the community supposed to come up with to describe a street that will go through an area completely different from what’s there now?

    2. I think naming one central street can be good for neighborhood identity, although three seems like too many for no good reason. I agree keeping all of the secondary grid streets numbered is important for navigation.

  2. What they call “14th Street” actually lines up with 13th Street for the west and 15th Street for the east section. What they call “18th Street” is at 18th for the east section, but should be 17th Street for the west section.

    I don’t mind the only through-street to be called something fancier, such as Spring Blvd.

      1. Well, according to convention isn’t the term “Way” restricted to thoroughfares that run predominately N-S? Like Avenues always run N-S and Streets always run E-W?

        But, ya having one of the streets be other than a numbered street is OK, but the grid should be predominately numbered.

      2. Ops, I stand corrected. A “Way” can run in any direction as long as it is properly designated.

        So how bout “Kemper Freeman My Way or No Way”?

    1. That’s too hard to type; Metro and Google trip planners seem to require the whole thing spelled out, e.g. Martin Luther King Jr Wy [S] for Seattle’s ‘MLK’. I think the names should be as short as possible, and adhering to numbered streets would make them more useful for wayfinding.

    2. Plus, there’s a street named that in half the cities in the country. Why don’t we honor another figure this time… maybe Frederick Douglass Way? Or for a vaguely-local less-well-known figure, John McLoughlin Way?

    1. Of course Miller Freeman has absolutely no connection to Kemper Freeman but when you’re desperate truth isn’t a big factor.

      1. Aside from having been Kemper’s grandfather, and having exploited anti-Japanese hysteria to consolidate landholdings and lay the foundations for the real estate empire over which Freeman the younger now reigns.

        Nope. No connection at all!

  3. Since Sherwin didn’t want to overlay where East Link would be on the map … from left to right, it’s going to appear just under the words Bellevue Base, and go pretty much straight across the map to the east. I have to ask, if light rail is such a wonderful form of transportation, and the answer to so many of our problems, why does a new road need to be built paralleling the tracks? If anything, I thought light rail coming to the eastside would mean we needed less roads.

    1. It’s always a shame when a troll goes hungry, so I’m going to feed this one (not the next one — I know the area well enough to speak to this but not that).

      One of the transportation challenges in the Bel-Red corridor is that the road network is not well connected, which often makes walking distances between places longer than they would be if it were connected (whether in a regular grid or the less organized layout of older cities). Another advantage of connected grids is that they often allow drivers and cyclists more options for avoiding left turns, especially mid-block and other uncontrolled lefts. Finally, well-connected networks can in some cases disperse traffic pressure from points of congestion (for example, when a good pedestrian network allows parking to be distributed).

      In the planned layout there are actually several places where roads still don’t go through but are connected with pedestrian paths. How well that will work depends on the details. In the US, where businesses and homes rarely front any path that doesn’t have direct car access, non-road paths (which also tend to be narrow and poorly lit) can feel more dangerous at night. On the plus side, it’s cheaper to maintain a pedestrian path than a road, and pedestrian paths require less pavement and can use permeable materials to limit runoff.

  4. Bellevue wanted East Link to go through this area because they wanted an excuse to get rid of the gritty, blue collar businesses that populated the area and replace them with shiny new developments where workers don’t get grease under their fingernails. Bellevue didn’t get its reputation as a snobby city for nothing. Whatever new name they select the roads, I’m sure it will something bland like Spring Lane.

    1. For Bel-Red Road or Northrup Way, maybe… anything else would, by definition, be a new highway.

      1. Hahaha. For historical context, Bellevue renamed the street after complaints from the Northup family that it was spelled wrong.

      2. Bellevue beginnings: Northup Post Office opens on July 29, 1892. This predates the account given in the City of Bellevue profile which says:

        a Northern Pacific rail line came through in 1904.

        I’m guessing that the Post Office was near the location of the South Kirkland P&R since the Northup family settled the Yarrow Bay Houghton area. The misspelling predates the incorporation of Bellevue as a City as seen in this King County Map from 1950. Most likely attributable to someone over on Queen Ann or Capital Hill ;-)

  5. I don’t get why the want to rename it. Honestly, the fact that the roads around here are aggressively numbered makes it much easier to get around and know where you are than many of the other places I’ve been to.

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