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Bellevue City Council nears transit master plan update

Bellevue city councilmembers plan to approve an updated transit master plan this summer to identify project priorities in order to handle a significant increase in ridership projected by 2030.

The council got a peak at what's to come from the city transportation commission on April 14 when several commissioners presented the draft Transit Capital Vision Report. Council will review the master plan in July.

The transportation commission has identified 107 project candidates, of which 60 have been ranked from highest to lowest priority.

Councilmembers responded favorably to supporting the Bellevue College Connection project, which aims to improve transit, biking and pedestrian access to the college, which is how about 30 percent of students get to campus.

The project includes improved campus access at the intersection of 142nd Place Southeast and Southeast 42nd Street, improved walkways and pedestrian cover on the 142nd Avenue Southeast bridge and improved connection to the Mountains to Sound Greenway Trail. The commission also envisions a new transit station on Snoqualmie River Road.

Lower on the prioritization list are two projects on Main and Northeast 10th streets, both of which would replace one eastbound lane with a high-occupancy vehicle lane from Bellevue Way to 112th Avenue Northeast.

Councilmember Lynn Robinson said she prefers keeping Main Street a retail corridor, considering a Sound Transit light rail station will come in there as part of its East Link extension. Councilmember Kevin Wallace likewise was not in favor of the HOV lanes, stating he doesn't see a reason to give up lanes for mass transit after spending four years previously fighting light rail.

Mayor Claudia Balducci reasoned the low priority of these projects likely means they will never be taken up, but Councilmember John Chelminiak cautioned these projects will never occur if they are removed from the list and development continues on into 2030.

Councilmember Jennifer Robertson said she supports a proposal to create commuter parking facilities by leasing property from King County and churches. Drivers would leave their cars there and take public transportation. Transportation Commissioner Janice Zahn said there's already an uneven distribution of vehicles at area park-and-rides, including the South Bellevue P&R that tends to be over capacity.

 

Documents related to the transit master plan can be found at this shortened link: http://bit.ly/1nDdegM

 

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