Bikes lanes could be coming to Downtown Bellevue.
On Jan. 11, 2018, the city’s Transportation Commission is expected to make a recommendation on one or more routes going north to south and east to west for a proposed Demonstration Bikeway Project.
If recommended by the commission and approved by the Bellevue City Council, the Demonstration Bikeway Project would begin in spring 2018 and last for six months. The project will help city officials determine if more permanent bike infrastructure is the way to go and will not include any construction.
The desire to implement safe bike lanes in the downtown area dates back to 2009.
Transportation Commission Chair Vic Bishop said a performance target of the 2009 Pedestrian and Bicycle Plan was to complete one north-south and one east-west bicycle corridor through downtown by 2014.
“That didn’t happen,” he said, noting that only eight to 10 projects were completed of the 450 proposed.
But another performance target is fast approaching. Bishop said the Bellevue City Council has directed the Transportation Commission to work with staff and the community on a scope of work that links planning with implementation so they can “finish what we’ve started.”
The city is able to move forward on this project because in November 2016 voters approved the Neighborhood, Safety, Connectivity and Congestion Levy. David Grant, a city spokesperson, said there were six categories of transportation-related improvements under the levy with bicycle connectivity, lanes and projects included. Approximately $350,000 to $400,000 is budgeted for the Demonstration Bikeway Project, he added.
In an open house last week, city staff sought community input on the Demonstration Bikeway Project by providing details on four proposed temporary routes for bike lanes.
The first and most popular route, according to an instant poll done at the open house, is along 108th Avenue Northeast from Main Street to Northeast 12th Street. There’s also proposed routes along Main Street from 105th Avenue Northeast to 112th Avenue Northeast, along 106th Avenue Northeast from Bellevue Way Northeast to 110th Avenue Northeast and along 106th Avenue Northeast from Main Street to Northeast 12th Street.
“I think it’s a great project,” Matthew Sink, a general manager for Seattle Spin, a bike share business, said at the open house. “I’m really in favor of bikes in Bellevue and making it a more bike friendly atmosphere.”
Sink said having dedicated bike lanes makes it easier for bikers because they don’t have to compete with cars for the lanes and there are fewer collisions.
“Cars have their lanes and bikes have their lane and it makes things easier for both parties,” he said.
Padraic Casserly, a student at the GIX (Global Innovation Exchange) Institute, University of Washington in Bellevue, also welcomes the project because he’s felt unsafe biking to school.
“I just moved to Bellevue in September and I’m coming from the Midwest, Minneapolis, and there’s some great biking infrastructure there,” Casserly said. “I was expecting better infrastructure here.”
He said he has to rely on sidewalks to bike from where he lives in Bellevue’s Spring District to his college campus or just to get groceries, as he doesn’t have a car. Luckily, he hasn’t had much problems with pedestrians (who have the right of way).
According to the city’s bike map, officials have labeled downtown streets as “caution areas” because of heavy traffic, high speeds and the absence of bike lanes or shoulders.
In addition to hosting multiple open houses, the city has solicited feedback through an online survey, which has received 880 responses as of Monday. To take the survey, visit http://www.surveymonkey.com/r/BvueBikeDemo. The survey will be available through Dec. 31.