How well will trails & transit fit together In Bellevue?
The design of Sound Transit’s train maintenance hub project in Bellevue is critical to the success of the Eastside Rail Corridor and nearby light rail station. Let Sound Transit know that safe trail connections are important and integral to the success of this project.
This Thursday, Sound Transit will host an open house to kick off construction of its Eastside maintenance hub.
Sound Transit’s OMFE (“Operations and Maintenance Facility East”) will store and maintain Link Light Rail trains in Bellevue when service starts in 2023, with testing underway as soon as 2021. The site will also be home to a Transit Oriented Development (TOD) mixing office, retail, and affordable/market-rate housing.
Proposed site plan, looking east. The maintenance facility, and associated Transit Oriented Development will be sited directly between the Eastside Rail Corridor trail (top), and the Spring District Link Light Rail station (lower left). Access for people to safely and intuitively move between trail and transit, while avoiding tracks and moving trains, is an important design issue.
It’s a big facility, and just a stone’s throw from the Spring District Link Light Rail station and the Eastside Rail Corridor (check out the site plan above). Trail and rail tracks will run parallel for a mile in the Eastside Rail Corridor right-of-way, where the new Eastside Rail Corridor trail will connect Bellevue to Kirkland (and eventually further north to Woodinville and east to Redmond). With the rail tracks running closest to the facility, any trail connections to the maintenance facility, Transit-Oriented Development site or light rail station must cross the tracks.
Sound Transit design rendering shows a view of the Operations and Maintenance Facility East (OMFE) from NE 120th in Bellevue, to the east of site. Sound Transit will create this shared use path as a detour around the maintenance facility until the Eastside Rail Cooridor Trail is constructed on the west side, some time after 2023.
So while the OMFE is mostly just a big train yard, the site design really matters for people who walk, bike and take transit – or want to!
CONNECTIONS BETWEEN TRAIL AND TRANSIT ARE KEY
Access along the Eastside Rail Corridor during construction, and after, have been huge unknowns until now. And the big public unveiling happens this Thursday, June 22. Sound Transit will host its first open house on the project since 2015. Construction is scheduled to start later this year, so this is your chance to learn about the plan and give any last feedback before the trucks start rolling in.
Design & Construction Kickoff Open House for the Operations & Maintenance Facility: East
Thursday, June 22, 5:30 – 7:30 p.m.
Presentation at 6 p.m.
1919 120th Ave NE, Bellevue
HOW DOES THE DESIGN INCORPORATE BIKING AND WALKING CONNECTIONS?
At first blush Sound Transit appears cognizant that people need a safe way to bypass the construction site on bikes and on foot, both when construction begins, and in the coming years as more pieces of the Eastside Rail Corridor come online. The design proposal outlines plans for safe, protected and connected trail access at the various stages of the project.
A proposed bike /ped path will ultimately connect the Eastside Rail Corridor and the Light rail station that will hook into the shops, offices and housing created through the TOD. But with no construction date in sight for the Eastside Rail Corridor in this area, the interim solution creates a shared use path adjacent to 120th in Bellevue, providing a safe and protected reroute from the Eastside Rail Corridor that users of all ages and abilities will feel comfortable using. With the Eastside Rail Corridor segment just north of here opening by the end of the year, and connecting Bellevue to Kirkland on the Eastside Rail Corridor, an interim solution is critical.
While the broad strokes of the design look good, unanswered questions remain concerning the exact locations and timing for all the project elements, as well as – importantly — who’s footing the bill for ensuring that biking and walking is safe, easy and convenient? But with a proposed design unveiled, those questions can start to be answered.
Head to the open house to learn about what the project means for people who bike — or who want to bike — in Bellevue. Let Sound Transit know that safe trail connections are important and integral to the success of the project.