Council approves Eastgate focused traffic projects

Bellevue is creating a list of project concepts directly aimed at addressing traffic congestion.

Identifying the demands of traffic has been a priority for the city of Bellevue as the region continues to experience rapid growth. To address the traffic issues in the Eastgate area, the city of Bellevue is creating a list of projects directly aimed at traffic congestion.

At a July 15 study session, the city council approved the Eastgate Transportation Study to be added to the city’s comprehensive plan. The Eastgate Transportation Study is a analysis of traffic around Interstate 90 from Factoria Boulevard to 150th Avenue Southeast. The study has nine recommended projects that aim to make improvements to infrastructure capacity and to accommodate the growth expected by 2035.

Kevin McDonald, the city’s principle transportation planner, said adoption into the comprehensive plan will help make each project eligible for grant finding, and allow the projects to be prioritized along with other transportation elements.

The project coming to the city first will be the addition of a second westbound left turn lane at the intersection of Southeast 38th Street and Factoria Boulevard to relieve congestion from vehicles coming from T-mobile and surrounding residents.

“Council asked us to do that as soon as we could,” McDonald said, before adding that the project could begin as early as 2020.

The study began in 2016 when the city council directed staff to analyze what transportation would look like in 2035 given anticipated growth and if there were projects that could address congestion in the long-term forecast.

Staff worked with the Transportation Commission on the scope of the work, hiring a consultant and looking at the existing conditions. Measurements of traffic data in 2018 served as the basis for doing the 2035 analysis.

The city also held three public meetings in the Eastgate area at the South Bellevue Community Center, McDonald said.

With a forecast for the demands of traffic in 2035, the council also directed staff to develop project concepts to relieve congestion in the Eastgate area. From a total of 20 project concepts, the list was narrowed down to nine.

The Transportation Commission was tasked with screening out the projects that didn’t make sense from a cost-benefit analysis. McDonald said the remaining projects weren’t the least expensive, but they were the most productive based on the investment necessary.

The study will be added to the Comprehensive Transportation Project List, an official document part of the comprehensive plan, as well as the transportation facilities plan.

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