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News Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Council Roundup: Improving downtown transportation

A RapidRide bus in Bellevue.With light rail, "RapidRide" buses, a new State Route 520 bridge and changes to the I-405 corridor to affect the way people get to and through downtown Bellevue, the city has launched an effort to identify complementary improvements in Bellevue's transportation facilities.

The City Council Monday reviewed draft guiding principles and growth forecasts for an update of the city's Downtown Transportation Plan.

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 Bellevue's entire business community. The Transportation Commission will guide the process.

Residents and others interested in downtown mobility can offer input about transportation issues they want addressed at an open house and "scoping" meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 1, at City Hall, 4:30 to 6:30 p.m.

For the growth forecast to be used for the plan update, staff have developed new projections through the year 2030. The new forecast continues to track downtown as one of the strongest economic generators in the state. It anticipates residential and retail growth in the same numbers as previous forecasts, but due to the two recessions of the past decade, shows a little less growth in downtown employment. 

Transportation projects for downtown are outlined in the city's Downtown Subarea Plan, but it was adopted in 2004, before East Link light rail or RapidRide buses were envisioned, as well as other changes regionally and locally (such as adoption of the Bel-Red plan). City planners are now updating the Downtown Transportation Plan to address the changing transportation landscape.

In the fall of 2010 the council approved funding for the plan update in the 2011-12 budget.
Feedback: Kevin McDonald, Transportation Senior Planner, 425-452-4558 or  kmcdonald@bellevuewa.gov

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