Bellevue is delivering on its transportation levy promises, with 19 miles of bike lanes coming online this year

Thank Bellevue City Council for delivering on the Bellevue Bike Network!

In November 2016, Bellevue voters approved a property tax levy to fund new transportation projects. With it came funding to start construction of the Bellevue Bike Network. This summer, Bellevue crews will be hard at work constructing new bike infrastructure in many corners of the city, all intended to make it safer and more comfortable to bike to and through Bellevue.

Together, the projects are starting to patch together the cohesive Bellevue Bike Network: a shared vision, desired and supported by many in the city.

Bellevue’s swift follow through on their promise to voters is important. Please take a second now to thank Bellevue City Council leaders for fulfilling their commitment to building safe biking infrastructure with levy funding. It’s important that councilmembers hear that being able to bike safely in Bellevue matters to Bellevue residents, workers, and visitors alike.

The bike / SUV collision in Bellevue last week, near the corner of Southeast Newport Way and 129th Place Southeast, is a reminder that a network of protected bike facilities – including protection at intersections  – can’t come soon enough and is an essential element of the city implementing its Vision Zero policy. A bike lane project in the crash location is in the planning stage. We are hopeful the design protects people on bikes from people in cars, so that a repeat of tragedies like this will be prevented.  

Levy Funding At the Right Time to Leverage Regional Biking and Transit Investments

The Bellevue Bike Network is one of six program areas in the Transportation, Neighborhood Safety, Connectivity, and Congestion Levy that will receive funding through the levy’s lifetime of 2017 to 2027. And it’s a timely investment: new regional transit and biking infrastructure is rapidly coming online in and around Bellevue.  

The first mile of the Eastside Rail Corridor (ERC) trail in Bellevue opened this year. Additional connectivity between Kirkland and Renton, via Bellevue (with a total of seven miles of trail through Bellevue) is slated by 2020. Add to that the newly opened SR-520 bridge trail and bike lanes along Northup Way, which create a mostly protected bike route east - west across Lake Washington. And then there’s East Link light rail, due to open in 2023 with five stations in Bellevue: first and last mile biking connections are essential to getting the most from this regional investment in high capacity transit.

Advancing the Bellevue Bike Network Vision with Rapidly Deployed Projects

Since 2014 Cascade, and members of the community, have been calling on the city to build the Bellevue Bike Network: a connected, protected and safe network of bike lanes through the city. The levy starts to lay that plan on the ground, by advancing projects identified in the Bicycle Rapid Implementation Plan, which aimed to quickly deploy bike lanes in existing streets. 

The 2018 cornerstone project of the bike network is the 108th Ave NE demonstration bikeway: the first true north-south connection through the city that will create an intuitive connection between downtown and the I-90 trail, and SR-520 trail. Earlier this year, lengthy deliberations among the Bellevue Transportation Commission ended in a positive vote, in support of the bikeway, paving the way to downtown Bellevue’s first safe biking route. 

The city’s approach to 108th Ave NE embodies the “rapid implementation” approach, and followed national best practices to “demo projects”; adjust and refine in short order to perfect; and measure impacts to corridor users, and nearby businesses. The 108th Ave NE Bikeway will open late July, and the pilot will run for one year.

When you add up every connection, it equals a more liveable and bikeable Bellevue. Please take a second now to thank Bellevue leaders for following through on bike infrastructure commitments.

Megan Conaway's picture
Megan Conaway