Through station area planning, the city aims to better incorporate Sound Transit's East Link light rail stations into the neighborhoods around them. It is an opportunity for the people who live, work, do business or own property in those areas to consider what light rail could mean to their community and to make a plan for the future. Station area planning does not address the design, operation, alignment, or construction of the stations.
Public involvement — including citizen advisory committees, workshops, focus groups and open houses — has been a vital component of station area planning for the following areas:
- East Main - East Main station area planning was completed in the summer of 2016 through the work of a citizen advisory committee. The East Main Station Area Plan was adopted in August 2016. Implementation of the Station Area Plan began in Nov. 2017.
- South Bellevue - South Bellevue station area planning was conducted through a public involvement process. The South Bellevue Station Area Plan was adopted in January 2016.
- Downtown - Station area planning was addressed through the Downtown Transportation Plan Update.
- Wilburton - Station area planning is integrated with the Wilburton-Grand Connection initiative.
- Spring District/120th - Spring District/120th station area planning was conducted through a public involvement process.
- BelRed/130th - Station area planning was integrated with the BelRed Corridor Plan.
Bellevue's station area planning is completely separate from Sound Transit's East Link station design work. Each neighborhood area has different issues. For example, while transit-oriented development is viable in the areas around four of the stations, there is no TOD potential west of the East Main station or anywhere around the South Bellevue station, due to well-established city policy preserving existing single-family neighborhoods.
While each station is unique, issues common to all include:
- Pedestrian/bicycle access from the surrounding area;
- Local bus service to the station; and
- Improvements such as sidewalks, utilities, landscaping and way-finding that could enhance the area.
Station area planning seeks to:
- Seek input from nearby residents, business and property owners to identify what issues should be addressed in the plan.
- Analyze issues that can be addressed through the planning process, and develop different concepts and strategies.
- Recommend which concept and strategies should be in the final plan.
- Present the recommendation to the City Council for approval or further direction.
- Make the plan a reality by implementing the strategies included in the recommendation.
Note: Station area planning does not include the design of the station itself, construction, mitigation, operation or maintenance of light rail; those are the responsibility of Sound Transit.