The East Main area is envisioned to be redeveloped to promote pedestrian and light-rail use. Reducing car usage and incorporating affordable housing are also goals of the project. Courtesy Image

The East Main area is envisioned to be redeveloped to promote pedestrian and light-rail use. Reducing car usage and incorporating affordable housing are also goals of the project. Courtesy Image

Bellevue takes steps toward transit oriented development

Bellevue city council approves the guiding principles for East Main’s transit focused development.

Orienting future development of the East Main area around transit has been in the plans since 2014 and on July 8, the Bellevue City Council took a step closer to reaching that goal.

The city council approved the East Main Consolidated Guiding Principles, a set of principles that will inform the development of the land use code amendments for the area. The East Main area, which runs along 112th Avenue Southeast from Main Street to Southeast 6th Street, is the future site of an East Link light rail station.

Due to the upcoming light rail connection, Bellevue intends to orient future development around the station to take advantage of the new transportation method. Mike Brennan, director of the Development Services Department, said the principles will guide development of land use codes that will be used to bring the transit-oriented development to fruition.

Brennan said the vision is to promote redesigned streets and open spaces that create a pedestrian oriented streetscape. Both commercial and residential development is envisioned for the area, meaning people would be able to live and work in the area which would reduce reliance on cars and maintain access to transportation options through the light rail station.

“The council was very much on board with really recreating this neighborhood and taking advantage in the public investment in light rail,” he said. “That’s really the catalyst that started this whole effort — maximizing the development potential around that station with transportation-oriented development.”

In 2014, the council appointed a citizen advisory committee to create a vision document for the neighborhood, which was completed in 2016. Early this year the council adopted comprehensive plan amendments regarding the East Main area.

Land use code can take up to a year to complete and work is just now beginning, Brennan said.

With residential development envisioned for the future of the area, affordable housing remains part of the council’s vision as well.

“The specifics on that are yet to come, but the council was pretty clear last Monday that really taking advantage of the transit oriented development areas to generate affordable housing is part of their vision and they incorporated that into their principle statements. How that plays forward is part of the co-development process,” Brennan said.

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