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Thank you so much for all of your efforts over the last several months in writing and sending hundreds of letters to the Bellevue City Council and Transportation Commission, and for showing up to testify in person and virtually to share your perspective and concerns about Bike Bellevue. This plan would have removed 6 miles of arterial road lanes to provide bike lanes throughout our city. 

Instead, Council has listened to residents and directed the Transportation Commission to consider alternatives that implement bike lanes adjacent to travel lanes, not in replacement of them – and only repurpose travel lanes as a last resort. You have made a difference! 

New Council direction on Bike Bellevue

On March 25th, the Bellevue City Council directed the Transportation Commission to develop recommendations for each of the 11 proposed Bike Bellevue corridors, consistent with the categories below:

The Council amended and added to the staff-proposed categories – the most notable being Councilmember Jared Nieuwenhuis’ amendment to category #2, which states that if a travel lane is repurposed, it should be done so only as a last resort. This amendment passed with supermajority support. Councilmember Nieuwenhuis clarified on April 11th that “last resort means we’ve looked at everything else before looking at eliminating a travel lane…[it means] every other option has been exhausted before deciding to eliminate travel lanes.”

Several councilmembers echoed this point in their individual comments:

Mayor Lynne Robinson also added an important amendment to this category that if a travel lane is repurposed as a last resort and is evaluated as a trial or demonstration project, data will be used to inform the decision by the Transportation Commission.

Council then directed the Transportation Commission to quickly implement projects that do not remove travel lanes, consistent with category #1.

Transportation Commission approves 3 bike projects that will not remove travel lanes

On April 11, consistent with Council direction on category #1 to implement projects that do not remove travel lanes, the Transportation Commission approved Bike Bellevue Corridor 7 (Lake Washington Blvd conversion of parking spaces), Corridor 9 (restriping Wilburton route), and Corridor 6B (NE 2nd between Bellevue Way and 112th). 

Bike Bellevue Corridor 6B was passed contingent on staff creating an updated plan for 6B that does not remove any travel lanes (including right turn, center, thru, left turn), as the current design does. If staff are not able to redesign this corridor to be consistent with what Council has asked them to do, they need to come back to the Transportation Commission and explain why. 

Staff discussed replacing the current plan for 6A (the second, controversial portion of the NE 2nd project that would convert NE 1st and NE 2nd between 100th and Bellevue Way to a one-way eastbound only) to be sharrow markings only, preserving two directions of travel for drivers. However, this portion of the project was not voted on.

Below are the three projects that are moving forward (with NE 2nd Street to be redesigned so as not to remove any travel lanes)

A balanced, fair approach to adding bike lanes in Bellevue

This new, moderate direction from Council for the Transportation Commission and staff will expand Bellevue’s bicycle infrastructure and connectivity without removing arterial road lanes we all depend on for mobility, freight and emergency response services.

Overlake Medical Center has come out in support of this approach, saying in a March 25 letter that “cycling lanes must not come with a reduction in driving lanes through the affected areas. As one of the community’s stewards of health and wellbeing, we cannot support an initiative that would potentially slow our city’s ambulance and fire response through the urban core. An alternative bike network through Downtown, Wilburton, and Bel-Red that does not take away road lanes is an approach that we would find sensible to further our collective cause.”  

The Council’s balanced, forward-thinking direction on Bike Bellevue comes at a critical time when the city plans to accommodate 30,000+ new residents in the next two decades. 

Expanding our multimodal transportation network includes maintaining the arterials we have, and designing new capacity where it is most needed to accommodate this anticipated growth. 

Chamber of Commerce poll: 72% oppose replacing road lanes with bike lanes

The City’s new direction on Bike Bellevue is also directly responsive to the priorities of Bellevue residents and voters, not outside interests. 

The Bellevue Chamber of Commerce conducted a poll of 400 Bellevue voters by EMC Research and found the following:

Take a moment to thank City Council and Transportation Commission

This is a great opportunity for our community to thank: 

  • Bellevue’s Transportation Director, Andrew Singelakis, for pausing the project and bringing it back to Council for clarified direction, which we now have
  • Bellevue City Council for listening to their constituents and providing balanced direction on Bike Bellevue
  • The Transportation Commission for being responsive to Council direction and providing the thoughtful feedback to staff necessary to move us forward on this project.

You can contact the City Council at Council@bellevuewa.gov and the Transportation Commission at TransportationCommission@bellevuewa.gov. Send them your appreciation for listening and responding to your concerns.

What’s next?

  • April 23: Staff have prepared a briefing for the Bellevue City Council regarding the Commission’s recommendation for the three corridors that will move forward in implementation. The memo for this meeting can be found here.
    • Please remind Council that the Corridor 6B (NE 2nd) was passed contingent on staff redesigning the project so that any portions of vehicular travel lanes are not removed. This is a requirement of the project moving forward.
  • June 13: The Transportation Commission will categorize the remaining corridors based on prepared staff recommendations. That will be the time to advocate for projects to be removed from the list (like Bel-Red Road) and replaced with better alternatives (like Spring Blvd.).

An alternative has been provided to Council and the Transportation Commission from Kemper Development and Wallace Properties. The City Council has asked the Transportation Commission to consider these designs and report back with an alternative Bike Bellevue.