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Cascade: Support Bellevue’s downtown bike lane plans Thursday

As we reported previously, the City of Bellevue plans to build one or more demonstration bike lanes in its downtown core this spring as a pilot project to try out the design and give people a chance to see them in action.

Since announcing the concept, 108th Ave NE has emerged as the single best street for a bike lane pilot, Cascade Bicycle Club’s Vicky Clarke wrote in a recent blog post. The central north-south street “is a major north/south corridor through downtown that’s home to many large office towers, adjacent to the transit center and connected by bike existing facilities to the I-90 and SR-520 trails,” she wrote. Especially considering the potential for bike share expansion to Bellevue, a strong connection to the Bellevue transit center has huge potential for serving more people for more trips.

Imagine stepping off a bus in the heart of Bellevue and finding a $1 bike waiting for you next to a safe, comfortable bike lane that goes where you’re going.

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Cascade has put out a call for people to show up to the Bellevue Transportation Commission meeting 6:30 p.m. tomorrow (Thursday) at Bellevue City Hall to voice support for the bike lane pilot.

More details from Cascade:

The “demonstration bikeway” proposal unveiled by Bellevue last fall will create the city’s first protected bike lane and be a first chance for most people who bike – or want to – to feel safe in downtown Bellevue. Join us at the January 11 Bellevue Transportation Commission meeting to support the demonstration bikeway on 108th Ave NE.

This Thursday, January 11, the Bellevue Transportation Commission will make a formal recommendation to Bellevue City Council on whether to construct a demonstration bikeway through downtown Bellevue by May 2018 and if so, which corridor to select. We’re going to let the Transportation Commission know that the community supports this proposal. Will you join us?

Months in the Making

Last fall, the city proposed four corridor options for the demonstration and sought public comment. A “demonstration” is akin to a “pilot” bike lane, which uses temporary materials, can be installed and modified quickly, and where data collection on impacts (good and bad) inform changes. City officials say they have money to create a demonstration bikeway on just one of the four corridor options in 2018.

Over 1,000 people took the city’s online survey about the demonstration between October and December 2017, and the results are clear: 108th Ave NE is the most favored of the four candidate corridors for bikes.

108th Ave NE is a major north/south corridor through downtown that’s home to many large office towers, adjacent to the transit center and connected by bike existing facilities to the I-90 and SR-520 trails. For connectivity and functionality, the bikeway on 108th Ave NE makes sense.

For most people who bike – or want to – it’s a first chance to ride to downtown Bellevue shops, offices and homes without fear. But it’s not a done deal, with both Transportation Commission and City Council approval needed before temporary paint and posts can be installed.

That’s why Cascade, business partners and caring neighbors will be attending Thursday’s Bellevue Transportation Commission meeting to speak up in support of a downtown Bellevue demonstration bikeway on 108th Ave NE. Please join us!

Making Good on Years of Commitments

Since 2009, Bellevue’s had a stated policy commitment to building two east/west and two north/south bike corridors through the city. Progress started slow, but the passage of the 2016 Transportation Levy, which included specific funds for the Bellevue Bike Network, has advanced several smaller projects east of I-405 (like the 116th Ave NE bike lanes) and in residential neighborhoods.

Yet, downtown remained a challenge, both for Bellevue planners and for the people who want to bike to and through it. The demonstration bikeway would address a long-term deficiency in the budding Bellevue Bike Network by creating a largely protected/buffered lane – necessary for safety given the number of lanes, and speed of vehicle traffic.

Far from a Done Deal – Your Voice is Critical

Bellevue has long planned its city for cars, and more cars. So, even while the new design for 108th Ave NE fits within generally accepted engineering practices for the level of traffic on the road, some Bellevue voices oppose the bikeway on principal.

That’s why you demonstrating support for the bikeway on Thursday is so important.

See you there! RSVP today.

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