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Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Bel-Red Final Plan Sept 2007

Bel-Red Corridor Project

September 2007



Section 1 Transmittal Letter
Section 2 Introduction/Planning Context
Section 3 Planning Process
Section 4 Preferred Alternative
Section 5 Implementation

Steering Committee
September 2007

Steering Committee

City of Bellevue Core Staff

Matt Terry, Planning & Community Development Director

Voting Committee Members

Mike Creighton (Co-Chair)

Terry Lukens (Co-Chair)

Sue Baugh

Steve Dennis

Joel Glass

Norm Hansen

Doug Mathews

Earl Overstreet

Bill Ptacek

Dean Rebhuen

Faith Roland

Ken Schiring

Pat Sheffels

Kurt Springman

Laurie Tish

Committee Alternates

Jan Holler

Kurt White

Goran Sparrman, Transportation Director

Dan Stroh, Planning Director

Kris Liljeblad, Assistant Transportation Director

Kevin O’Neill, Long Range Planning Manager

Kevin McDonald, Senior Planner

Emil King, Strategic Planning Manager

Other City of Bellevue Staff

Tresa Berg

Diana Canzoneri

Dan DeWald

Patrick Foran

Carol Helland Consultants

Glenn Kost CH2M HILL

Lacey Madche Crandall Arambula

Pam Maloney EDAW

Shelley Marelli Leland Consulting Group

Michael Paine

Kit Paulsen

Bernard Van de Kamp

Section 1
Transmittal Letter

Dear Mayor Degginger and City Council members:
On behalf of the entire Bel-Red Steering
Committee, it is our pleasure to t ransmit to the
City Council the committee’s recommendations for
the future of the Bel-Red corridor. We are excited
about the extraordinary potential of the Bel-Red
area, and we believe the committee’s recommen-
dations set the stage for transforming the area into
a model of sustainable development, where land
use, t ransportation, environment and economy
are closely linked.


As the Council is aware, the committee has been working the past two years on
processing a great deal of technical information, considering a large amount of
public input, and developing future alternatives and then a preferred alternative
for how we believe the Bel-Red corridor should develop in the future. Consistent
with our charge from the City Council, we were guided by the project principles
established by the Council at the beginning of the project; we solicited and
deliberated upon input from the general public; and we carefully considered the
perspective of each member of the committee in arriving at our recommenda-
tion. Each member of the committee participated actively in the process, and
each member was instrumental in developing the recommended vision.
As outlined in the attached report, the committee’s vision for the corridor is that the land use pattern would change in portions of the corridor to reflect a more mixed use (housing/office/retail) area that supports the City’s economic develop-
ment strategy by establishing office and housing development opportunities not found elsewhere in Bellevue. This land use pattern would be supported by a more robust, integrated, and multi-modal transportation system; would support future light rail extensions and service in the corridor; and would include parks, open space, and environmental amenities that the area currently lacks. The open space strategy is particularly significant in that it would restore the ‘head-
waters’ of many of Bellevue’s open streams, and reestablish many of the ecologi-
cal f unctions that these areas have lost over the last 50 years.
Much of the area east of 134th Ave NE and the area north of NE 20th will remain largely as is between now and 2030. This decision was based on the conclusion that Bel-Red should continue to provide many of the small service and retail uses that serve the surrounding neighborhoods and community.

As the Council and community review the committee’s report, we would
like you to consider several key themes embedded in our conclusions:

 The Bel-Red area should be an extraordinary and unique place:
As outlined in our vision statement, we believe that the Bel-Red corridor
has the opportunity to be an area unique within Bellevue, and within the
Puget Sound region generally—an area that combines vibrant neighbor-
hoods, a strong economic base, a multi-modal transportation system, and
environmental/open space amenities. Positioned as it is between Down-
town Bellevue and Microsoft, this area offers unparalleled opportunity for
high-quality office and residential development. The City should expect the best that the private sector can offer for its redevelopment.

 Bel-Red redevelopment and change should improve the entire
city: One thing that is very important to the committee is that as Bel-Red
changes and redevelops, what happens within the corridor benefits not
only property owners and businesses/residents within its boundaries, but
also surrounding neighborhoods and the entire city. These types of broad-
er amenities include riparian corridor improvements that would benefit the
entire Kelsey Creek system; connecting the area to the broader city and
its system of regional parks and open space; and connecting the area to surrounding neighborhoods through an enhanced and i ntegrated bicycle and pedestrian network.
One area that deserves additional mention in terms of overall
improvements is housing. The committee has felt strongly all along
that housing should be added to the corridor as a way to help enliven
the area, create new neighborhoods and allow for new housing types,
provide a new location in Bellevue to accommodate residential devel-
opment, and support transit. We also believe that this area provides a
unique opportunity for affordable and/or workforce housing. While we

realize that this is a citywide challenge, Bel-Red provides opportunities
that may not be found in other parts of the city to locate more afford-
able housing types in close proximity to jobs, services, and transit.

 Bel-Red should be a model of environmental sustainability:
Environmental sustainability was one of the Council’s framework principles,
and was an issue that the committee considered throughout our work.
Sustainability, as we understand it, is not just about improving the natural
environment, although we believe that to be a critical part of the overall
vision. It also means having land use patterns in place that support transit
and other forms of transportation, and allow people to live in close prox-
imity to jobs and services; having connected sidewalks and bike paths;
adding more green space in the corridor; and encouraging low impact
development techniques in private construction and public infrastructure.
We understand that Bellevue as a whole is moving t owards advancing
additional environmentally sustainability practices, and we believe that
Bel-Red can provide an exciting pilot area to test many relevant ideas.

 The plan is more than just a “rezoning” exercise: During the course
of our work, many questions have arisen from both property owners and
surrounding neighborhoods about how the area might be rezoned in the
future as a result of this planning effort. While we understand the concern,
and acknowledge that the Planning Commission and City Council will be
devoting careful consideration to amendments to the Land Use Code, this
plan is about much more than zoning. It is about providing new neighbor-
hoods for future Bellevue residents, supporting the city’s overall economy,
improving overall transportation mobility (both to and within the corridor),
and adding parks and environmental amenities that improve both the


area itself and the rest of the city. This will require an array of public and
private investments, catalyst projects, and other strategies in addition to the application of new zoning.

 The plan is not just about accommodating light rail: When we began
this planning effort, one of the principles transmitted to us from the City
Council was to look at high capacity transit as an opportunity to both
enhance mobility and effect land use change within the corridor. We have
spent considerable time looking at future light rail transit opportunities
within the corridor, and evaluating different station options vis-à-vis
alternative land use patterns. The recommended plan i ntentionally
integrates land use and transportation, with a particular focus on potential
transit stations that would be developed by Sound Transit as part of the
East Link project. However, we believe that the overall land use pattern in
the corridor has to make sense with or without light rail—and we believe
that it does. There are many benefits to a more intense, mixed-use land use
pattern than its compatibility with light rail. While light rail will be impor-
tant in supporting the recommended land use pattern and the ultimate
intensity of development, if it does not come to the corridor within the
2030 planning horizon, we believe that other types of transit can be imple-
mented to support the land use vision. We also believe that transit should
be i mproved within the corridor for the interim period before light rail is
developed, and then to support light rail (through enhanced bus service)
after it is operating.

 The plan respects existing businesses: While the committee sees
change occurring over time within the corridor, we feel that it is very impor-
tant to respect and acknowledge the rights of existing businesses in the

corridor to stay in the area. Many businesses in the area provide valued
services that are important to Bellevue residents. We received a great
deal of public testimony about existing uses, carefully considered how to
accommodate these uses, and evaluated several alternative approaches
to doing so. The plan provides flexibility for accommodating existing
businesses, and also provides many places for new retail and services uses
to locate within the corridor.

 Implementation is critical, and requires a robust funding strategy:
The time horizon for this planning effort is 2030. We recognize the
challenges inherent in achieving this vision between now and then.
The recommended plan includes many significant investments in transpor-
tation, parks, and environmental improvements, and we recognize that
a robust finance plan will be required. Much of the investment in infra-
structure and amenities needed to transform the area will need to come
from properties undergoing redevelopment. As a key part of the funding
strategy, the committee supports the use of incentives, so that, in exchange
for greater zoning intensities or building height, development would build
more of the needed infrastructure and amenities than would otherwise be
expected. We also believe that development should be phased in over
time in conjunction with the infrastructure needed to support it, and that
this phasing will need to be part of the overall i mplementation strategy.
We also strongly believe that implementation of the Bel-Red plan will have
to be carefully integrated with implementation of the Overlake neighbor-
hood plan in Redmond. This will help ensure that any cumulative impacts of
the two plans are identified and mitigated, and also that there is synergy
between the plans in terms of light rail implementation, streetscape design,
pedestrian and bicycle facilities, and other issues.


The Bel-Red Steering Committee is tremendously excited about the opportunities
that Bel-Red offers for both the City of Bellevue and the greater region. Given
its proximity to Downtown Bellevue and Overlake, and the amenities that can
be created and enhanced within it, the Bel-Red Corridor presents a degree of
potential that is rare in today’s urban environment. We hope that the planning
process we have just concluded has allowed a wider audience to envision that
potential. We believe that this process has been careful and comprehensive, and
that it requires an equally thoughtful, comprehensive i mplementation strategy.
We urge the City Council and staff to make this a priority.
It has been a privilege to serve as co-chairs of this important committee, and
we thank the City Council for this assignment. We look forward to seeing, and
participating in, the future development of the Bel-Red area.

Mike Creighton Terry Lukens
Committee Co-Chair Committee Co-Chair


Section 2
Planning Context

While an important employment center, the
Bel-Red corridor has been an area in t ransition,
given it’s proximity to Downtown Bellevue and
Bel-Red in the Region
the Microsoft campus in Overlake. The

Bel-Red Corridor Project seizes an opportunity
to capitalize on the corridor’s strategic l ocation, the city of Bellevue’s economic strength, and the potential for l ight rail transit to serve the area.


Planning Context

As one of Bellevue’s major
employment areas, the
Bel-Red Corridor includes
more than 50 percent of
all land in the City zoned
for light industrial use; over
1,100 businesses; and near-
ly 17 percent of the City’s
total employment. In recent years, however, the corridor has been an area in
transition. Several large employers have moved out of or have greatly reduced
operations in the area. For example, Safeway, the corridor’s largest landowner,
has shifted most of its distribution operations out of the area and sold about half

Section 2 Introduction/Planning Context

Bel-Red Study Area
of the 75 acres it owned in the corridor. The former King County
Journal also moved operations from the Bel-Red Corridor to Kent.
Concurrently, employment has also declined: between 1995 and
2004, employment dropped by more than 5 percent in the Bel-Red
Corridor while increasing by 20 percent in Bellevue as a whole.
The corridor’s physical characteristics reflect its light industrial use
pattern. The transportation network is sparse and discontinuous
with little in the way of a street grid, particularly on the corridor’s
west side. Although the corridor is bordered by SR 520 along its
northern edge, there are only two access points to the highway:
one at 124th Avenue NE, which only provides access to and from
westbound SR 520, and one full interchange at 148th Avenue
NE. Six streams run through the corridor—most highly impacted
by historical development, but some still providing natural func-
tions and sustaining habitat for salmonids. There is one major
recreational facility (Highland Community Center) in the corridor’s
900-plus acres, but there are no substantial neighborhood parks
or trails.
When it was last updated in 1988, the Bel-Red/Northup Subarea

Plan affirmed the area’s light industrial and commercial land use pattern. Since
then, Downtown Bellevue has grown dramatically, and Redmond’s Overlake
area has become a major regional employment center. With these two regional
urban centers as its “bookends” and major development occurring in both, a
reexamination of the corridor was appropriate. The need to consider future land
uses was heightened by Sound Transit’s ongoing work to evaluate an extension
of light rail transit (LRT) through the Bel-Red Corridor and into Redmond. LRT
could support changes in the area’s land use patterns by providing new trans-
portation system capacity; experience in other urban areas has demonstrated
that LRT can serve as a catalyst for redevelopment to different types of uses
and greater densities. The corridor’s current zoning, however, limits the extent to


which land use could support LRT because industrial and commercial uses tend
to be relatively low-intensity and oriented more toward driving than transit use.
The most recent update of the City’s Comprehensive Plan identified particular
economic challenges facing Bellevue in the years ahead. One of the challenges
listed was the presence of aging commercial areas in various areas across the
City that would need some repositioning to reach their full potential. The Bel-Red
Corridor was identified as including some of these aging areas, and the plan
noted that those uses in the corridor (primarily warehousing, distribution, and
manufacturing) might not be the best long-term uses, given Bellevue’s place in
the current economy.

Section 2 Introduction/Planning Context

Project Purpose and Major Goals

Bellevue’s economy has been dynamic in recent years, with significant increases
in overall employment and rapidly increasing land values. These land value changes, coupled with warehouse and distribution activities relocating to other areas in the region, have signaled an increase in market demand for office and residential uses in close-in locations. This employment decline previously noted, combined with requests for changes in land use in parts of the corridor and the fact that the area had not been planned for in a comprehensive manner in over 15 years, motivated the City to reexamine land use in the corridor.
The City had several other reasons for initiating the project. One was to be in a position to influence upcoming decisions by Sound Transit about the future of high-capacity transit (HCT), which is planned to serve the City of Bellevue and pass through the Bel-Red area. Another was the City’s recognition of the corri-
dor’s strategic location connecting Downtown Bellevue and Overlake, prompting the desire to be proactive in determining the corridor’s role in its overall growth management and economic development strategy.
Based on these factors, in 2005 the City Council approved launching the Bel-Red Corridor Project. The objective was to work with the community to plan and manage change, rather than to accommodate the inevitable change in a haphazard, piecemeal way. The major goals of the project are to:

 Identify a preferred long-term land use vision for the Bel-Red corridor that:

— Provides clear and deliberate direction for the area’s future.

— Enhances the economic vitality of this area and of the larger city.

— Complements Downtown Bellevue and other employment centers in
the city.

— Strongly integrates land use and transportation systems in an
environmentally sustainable manner.

 Devise a multi-modal transportation system for the area that accommo-
dates future growth, enhances overall mobility, and mitigates impacts on
adjoining areas.

 Evaluate the impact and opportunities presented by HCT through the
area on both land use and transportation, and identify a preferred HCT
route and station locations through this corridor in coordination with Sound

 Identify community and neighborhood amenities that will complement the
preferred land use vision for the area and serve the broader community.

 Protect adjoining areas from impacts of land use and transportation
changes in the study area.

In August, 2005, the City Council decided to launch the planning effort, and
endorsed a set of planning principles to frame this effort.


Section 2 Introduction/Planning Context

Council’s Principles

1. Long-Term Vision. The preferred vision resulting from this project should be long-term,
ambitious, and rooted in reality, providing clear direction for the future of the Bel-Red
2. Economic Vitality. This project should establish a solid and dynamic economic future for
Bel-Red, enhancing the area’s existing strengths and its future potential.
3. Differentiated Economic Niche. Bel-Red should provide for future growth of jobs and
firms that have significant potential for expansion, and which are not well accommodated in other parts of the city.
4. Building from Existing Assets. This project should build on existing assets of the corridor,
including the large number of viable, successful businesses in the area.
5. High Capacity Transit as an Opportunity. This project should approach High Capacity
Transit as a significant opportunity to both enhance mobility and affect desired land use
6. Land Use/Transportation Integration. Given the importance of maintaining a well-
balanced transportation system, and the inter-dependence between transportation and
land use, this project should closely integrate land use and transportation planning.
7. Community Amenities and Quality of Life. The Bel-Red plan should protect existing
natural resources and community amenities, and identify an extensive package of new
amenities for the area.
8. Neighborhood Protection, Enhancement, and Creation. This project must identify
strategies to identify and mitigate potential neighborhood impacts related to future
Bel-Red development.
9. Sustainability. The vision for Bel-Red should identify opportunities to manage the area’s
natural resources in a sustainable manner.

10. Coordination. This planning effort requires solid coordination with other affected


Section 3
Planning Process

Planning for the Bel-Red Corridor began
with a Steering Committee of community
stakeholders charged with defi ning and
evaluating future development scenarios.

Over its nearly two-year tenure, the committee
studied a wealth of data, listened to public input, framed a range of policy choices—and, ultimately, recommended a preferred alternative for the future of the corridor.


Public Involvement
Involving affected members of the public in the planning process is a key priority for the City of Bellevue. Given the importance of the Bel-Red planning effort, the City Council decided that the corridor project should be guided by a Steering Committee that would be made up of a variety of community stakeholders.
These stakeholders included former City Council members,
members of City Boards and Commissions (the Planning
Commission, the Trans portation Commission, and the Parks
and Community Services Board), representatives from the
Chamber of Commerce, and residents from neighborhoods
surrounding the study area.

In October 2005, the City Council confirmed a 16- member
committee that represented these broad interests.
Subsequent to beginning the process, one Steering
Committee member resigned.

Section 3 Planning Process
Assessment of Existing Assets

The Council’s charge to the committee said, in part:
“The Bel-Red Steering Committee is directed to provide guidance to City
staff in developing work products to accomplish the Bel-Red corridor project.
Specifically, this work will involve developing future development scenarios for
the Bel-Red corridor, evaluating those scenarios in an Environmental Impact
Statement, and ultimately selecting a preferred land use and transportation
alternative and identifying actions to implement the preferred vision. The
project will culminate with a
final report summarizing the
recommendations of the commit-
tee … The Steering Committee
will serve in an advisory capacity
to the City Council, the Planning
Commission, the Transportation

Commission, and the Parks &
Community Services Board. The
City Council, upon review by
City boards and commissions,
will ultimately approve the final
report on the project, which will lead to follow-up work on Comprehensive Plan and subarea plan amendments, and potentially changes to the Land Use Code and Capital Investment Program Plan. In conducting its work, the Steering
Committee should recognize that a wide representation of opinions, expertise, and objectives exists within the individual members of the committee. The Steering Committee members should respectfully consider each other’s views and right to participate, and fully consider all aspects of any issue before draw-
ing conclusions and recommendations. The Steering Committee should also participate in broader public outreach efforts on the project and solicit input from the general public and other key community stakeholders.”

Assessment of Streams


Section 3 Planning Process

The Steering Committee conducted 19 meetings over the course of the planning
effort, all of which were attended by members of the public. At each meeting
the committee listened to comments from members of the public and business/
property owners in the area. Committee members also attended, and partici-
pated in, events with the broader community and business/property owners in the corridor. The committee’s recommendation on the future of the corridor is in large part informed by this public interaction.
In addition to their regular meetings, the committee held several special work-
shops, particularly focusing on the development of plan alternatives. Another special workshop was a tour of Portland’s Tri-Met Max light rail system, with visits to a number of stations where members observed examples of transit-oriented development and redevelopment in the Pearl District.
In addition to the Steering Committee process, there was significant public out-
reach and involvement through the duration of the planning effort. Community meetings and open houses included scoping meetings at the beginning of
the project, as well as community-wide meetings for review of draft land use
alter natives and development of the preferred alternative. The City undertook
special efforts to inform and involve property owners and business owners in
the area, since these stakeholders will be most directly affected by the planning process. For example, the City convened “panels” of business and property owners in the corridor on three occasions: to get their feedback on the issues to be considered in developing land use alternatives, to request feedback on the draft alternatives, and to get input into creating the preferred alternative. These panels, each of which lasted approximately 2 hours, were run like focus groups; the information gained from them helped guide the work of City staff and was provided to committee members to help inform their decisions.
Throughout the course of the project, staff provided briefings to City boards and
commissions, including the Planning Commission, Transportation Commission,
Parks & Community Services Board, and the Environmental Services Commis-
sion. These boards and commissions have important long-term responsibilities in


the implementation of the Bel-Red Corridor Project vision. The City Council also
received briefings at key milestones in the project, including a joint meeting with Redmond City Council at which issues of mutual concern were discussed.

Defining Existing Conditions in the Corridor
An important part of the Steering Committee’s early work was gaining a clear
understanding of what the Bel-Red Corridor is like today. Early on, the commit-
tee was presented background information and data on various aspects of
the corridor. This included information on economic and employment trends,
existing land use characteristics, environmental features (including an in-depth
analysis of the conditions and restoration potential of several riparian corridors
that run through the area), transportation patterns and trends, and environ-
mental sustainability opportunities. The committee also received information
summarizing relevant portions of the existing Bel-Red/Northup subarea plan,
the Comprehensive Plan, and other relevant planning efforts, such as the Bel-
Red Overlake Transportation Study (BROTS) and the 2005-06 update of Sound Transit’s regional transit plan.
In addition to information on existing conditions, the committee was presented
with data about the future development potential of the area (age of buildings,
improvement to land ratios, parcel ownership patterns, etc.). This information
was derived from the economic/market analysis, which was the first major
product prepared as part of the project. Committee members also toured the
area to gain a better understanding of its existing land use pattern, topography,
and environmental features, and to discuss future development opportunities.
Supplementing the technical background and data, the committee also reviewed public input submitted as part of the scoping process for the Environ-
mental Impact Statement. The scoping process, which included a well-attended community meeting, occurred in November and December of 2005. It generated a number of comments and concerns that helped inform the committee’s thinking and perspective about the area in the early part of their work.

Section 3 Planning Process

Year Built Land Use

Floor Area Ratio (FAR) Major Holdings


Section 3 Planning Process

Analyzing Economic Trends and Market Potential

In the summer of 2005, the city retained Leland Consulting Group to prepare
a market/economic study of the Bel-Red Corridor area. The main purposes of the study were to assess future market conditions for various types of land uses, identify the amounts of various future land use that could be anticipated in
the f uture based on those market conditions, and identify market strategies to encourage future development in the corridor.
Leland evaluated existing land use and development patterns in the corridor, projected employment and household growth patterns in Bellevue and the
region, studied demographic data, and evaluated and mapped several features of the area, such as age of buildings, improvement-to-land ratios, and ownership patterns. In addition, Leland conducted stakeholder interviews with property
owners, real estate experts, and developers to understand local perspectives on future development potential within the area. They also identified several
subdistricts within the corridor which had unique characteristics: the 116th office corridor, the light industrial core area, a services core, and a retail core on the north and east ends of the planning area.
Based on this work, Leland forecast that the area could anticipate a strong future demand for office and housing units, and a less strong (but still increased) demand for retail and hotel uses. The upper range of the forecasted demand was 4 million square feet of additional office space, 500,000 square feet of additional retail space, and 5,000 housing units. They also concluded that warehouse/industrial uses were unlikely to locate in the area in the future due to already high, and rising, land prices. Other major conclusions included:

 Overlake Hospital Medical Center and the Microsoft campus, located
to the west and east of the corridor (respectively), function as economic
anchors at each end of the corridor, and present opportunities to
encourage redevelopment within it.

 Much of the land within the Bel-Red corridor is underdeveloped, as
calculated on the basis of land values vs. improvement values.

 The Bel-Red area can provide space for large corporate employers who
might want more of a campus-like setting, rather than a dense, high-rise

Leland also i dentified several potential development themes and issues that
could frame future planning of the corridor. These were shared with the Steering
Committee in early 2006, and helped shape the committee’s thinking about the
area. These conclusions included:

 There are significant opportunities to build more housing in this area, given
the strong housing demand in East King County generally, and access to
close-by shopping and employment. Areas adjacent to Lake Bellevue or
Highland Community Center might be places where this could occur in the
shorter term.

 Wetlands and riparian corridors should be treated as an amenities, and
improvement of these degraded environmental resources could be an
asset for future development (either office or residential).

 Transit should be aligned with new development, and there are opportuni-
ties to create “transit villages” within the area, such as the area near the
Safe way site or the “Uwajimaya triangle” area on the east end of the study

 A health care/medical office corridor could and should be created along
116th Avenue NE.

The committee and staff used the findings in the Leland study in the development
of future land use alternatives that were evaluated in the next step of the process.


Section 3 Planning Process

Developing and Evaluating Alternatives for the Corridor
Many of the early meetings of the steering committee involved presentations of
reports and analysis by staff and consultants. These presentations, along with
documents, field trips, and community input, armed the committee with a strong
background on the important components that would eventually make up their
preferred alternative. After considering this background—but prior to developing
any alternatives—the committee articulated the attributes that they believed each
alternative should contain. That discussion led to the development of a set of
objectives that the committee adopted to frame development of the alternatives.

Steering Committee Objectives
The objectives used to help create the Bel-Red Corridor alternatives were developed after extensive committee discussion, and were based on:

 The ten planning principles adopted by the City Council.

 Public comments, which provided some clear themes: improving the natural
environment; adding parks/open space amenities; accommodating service
uses; supporting housing, office, and mixed-use development; and increas-
ing transportation mobility (streets, non-motorized, and transit).

 Technical reports and analysis by City staff and consultants, including
analyses of economic and market conditions, existing land use conditions,
transportation, and riparian corridors.

 Steering Committee discussions.
In April 2006, the steering committee approved the following set of objectives. These objectives were used as a preliminary screening of the alternatives to ensure that each alternative analyzed would be a viable one.


Market Feasibility
 Incorporate elements of market forecast (office, housing, retail)
 Serve distinctive market niche
 Meet market needs and economic realities
 Leverage nearby opportunities (i.e., Overlake Hospital expansion)

Land Use
 Jobs-housing relationship (accommodate housing and commercial uses)
 Accommodate service uses
 Land use takes advantage of HCT stations (mixed use nodes)
 Appropriate scale of development within area

Neighborhood Impact
 Land use sensitive to surrounding areas
 Addresses transportation spillover impacts

Environmental Quality
 Improve environmental resources (streams, wetlands)
 Support sustainable development patterns

Parks and Open Space
 Parks integrated with future land use concepts
 Achieves critical mass of park improvements
 Adds value to overall system (include regional facility)

Section 3 Planning Process

Transportation Accessibility and Mobility
 Addresses multi-modal transportation improvements in the corridor and
adjacent neighborhoods
 Provides improved access to regional system
 Provides improved local access and circulation
 Accommodates planned level of development
The steering committee, together with Bellevue staff and a consultant team
led by Crandall Arambula, developed the action alternatives for the Bel-
Red Corridor Project Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) through
a structured process that involved analyzing market conditions and existing land use patterns, developing potential land use and transportation scenarios, and seeking input from the public, property owners, and business owners. As described earlier in this chapter, there was extensive public involvement during this phase, including two panels of area business and property owners.

Major Components


When developing and approving the alternatives for further review in the DEIS,
the committee and staff made a conscious effort to make the alternatives differ-
ent from one another. These differences allowed the committee to evaluate the
effects of different policy choices, including varying land use patterns, amounts
of future development, ways of dealing with light industrial or service uses, and
locations of light rail stations. Framing the alternatives in this way allowed for a
more robust discussion and evaluation of choices and preferences when it came
time to develop the preferred alternative. In June 2006, the committee selected
four alternatives (including the “No Action” alternative) for evaluation in the DEIS.
Prepared by CH2M HILL, the DEIS was published in January 2007. It analyzed
the environmental impacts of each alternative and identified mitigation
Fundamental Concepts

Section 3 Planning Process

Identifying the Preliminary Preferred Alternative

Public comment on the alternatives evaluated in the DEIS helped shape the
development of a preliminary preferred alternative, and reflected the strong public interest in the project. The City received numerous written comments and considerable oral testimony on the DEIS. Each individual comment was re-
sponded to in the Final EIS (FEIS). Published in July 2007, the FEIS evaluated the preliminary preferred alternative as recommended by the Steering Committee. This alternative included components of each previously studied alternatives, including the No-Action alternative, but most closely resembled the land use development program proposed under Alternative 3 in the DEIS.
Several attributes of the preliminary preferred alternative embodied constant themes within each of the DEIS alternatives, including:

 A nodal development pattern based on potential future light-rail station

 Medical office uses along 116th Avenue NE

 Lower-intensity office uses south of Bel-Red Road

 Low-density mixed-use retail/housing along 156th Avenue NE

 Retail along NE 20th Street/Northup Way

 Stream and open space enhancements

 Parks and recreation opportunities


The following maps and table summarize and illustrate each of the Bel-Red
Corridor alternatives evaluated in the environmental impact statement. The next chapter of this document describes the preferred alternative in greater depth.

No Action Alternative (DEIS)

Section 3 Planning Process

Alternative 1 (DEIS) Alternative 2 (DEIS)

Alternative 3 (DEIS)


Section 3 Planning Process

Sumary of Alternatives Evaluated

Attribute No-Action Alternative

Net change in 606,500 Office
nonresidential 124,000 Retail
development (square 300,000 Industrial
feet) through 2030

New housing units None

Light-rail stations Two stations:
and locations • Overlake Hospital
Medical Center
• 152nd Avenue NE

Other features

Alternative 1 Alternative 2 Alternative 3

3,200,000 Office 2,300,000 Office 4,000,000 Office
300,000 Retail 200,000 Retail 500,000 Retail
-2,690,000 Industrial -1,980,000 Industrial -2,490,000 Industrial

3,500 5,000 5,000

Two stations: Three stations: Three stations:
• 122nd Avenue NE • Overlake Hospital • 122nd Avenue NE
• 152nd Avenue NE Medical Center • 130th Avenue NE
(Redmond) vicinity • 152nd Avenue NE
• 130th Avenue NE (Redmond)
• 148th Avenue NE

Services core Light Industrial


Preferred Alternative
4,000,000 Office
500,000 Retail
-2,490,000 Industrial


Four stations:
• Overlake Hospital
• Medical Center
• 122nd Avenue NE
• 130th Avenue NE
• 152nd Avenue NE
• Arts District
• No non-conforming
light industrial and
service uses; new
service uses
accommodated in the
• Floor area ratio
(FAR) of up to 2.5
in development nodes
• FAR of up to 1.0
outside of nodes
• Analysis of heights
of up to 150/165 feet
in development nodes

Section 4
Preferred Alternative

The preferred alternative for the Bel-Red Corridor

is a comprehensive array of components that
respond to each of the project’s planning
principles: economic vitality, integration of t ransit
and land use, environmental sustainability,
preservation of existing assets, and protection of
the surrounding neighborhoods, to name just a
few. It represents a comprehensive vision for
Bel-Red that is suffi ciently detailed to allow the
City to begin its planning for i mplementation.
This section describes key features of the
preferred alternative.


Components of the Preferred Alternative
The Steering Committee’s recommended preferred alternative comprises a number of components that were developed over several committee meetings in the spring and summer of 2007. Discussed in detail below, these include a vision statement, land use components, transportation components, riparian corridor/ green infrastructure components, and parks/open space components.

Vision Statement
The Bel-Red corridor in 2030 will be an area that is unique within the city of
Bellevue and the entire Puget Sound region. It will be an area where thriving
businesses will be adjacent to, and sometimes mixed with, livable neighbor-
hoods, all served by a multi-modal transportation system that connects the area to the greater city and region. The area will also be distinguished by environ-
mental and community amenities that will serve residents and employees in
the area, as well as residents from surrounding neighborhoods and the entire
city. The area will transition gracefully over time, with existing businesses being
accommodated while new types of development occur as conditions warrant.

Section 4 Preferred Alternative

Specifically, the area will be distinguished by the following attributes:

 A thriving, diverse economy. Bel-Red will be home to major employ-
ers, types of businesses and employment sectors unique to this part of Bellevue, and services that are important to the local community.

 Vibrant, diverse neighborhoods. Bel-Red
will contain a variety of housing types to
meet the needs of a diverse population of
varied income levels. Neighborhoods will
have convenient access to shopping, jobs,
and community amenities, and will also be
well connected to the larger city and region.

 A comprehensive, connected parks
and open space system. Bel-Red will
have a park system that serves residents,
employees, and visitors to the area, and
provides recreation and open space benefits
for residents from surrounding neighborhoods as well. Park system components will include trails along stream corridors, community f acilities, neighborhood parks, and cultural/arts features.

 Environmental improvements. Redevelopment of the corridor will
provide opportunities for major environmental enhancements—i ncluding improving riparian corridors and adding trees and green spaces—and will implement a more sustainable approach to managing stormwater and other natural resources.

 A multi-modal transportation system. Bel-Red’s transportation system
will take maximum advantage of its proximity to Downtown Bellevue and
Overlake by providing convenient access and short travel times within and
outside the corridor for drivers, transit riders, vanpools and access vans,
bicyclists, and pedestrians, while minimizing spillover traffic i mpacts on adjoining neighborhoods.

 A sense of place. Bel-Red will have a character that is different from
Downtown Bellevue, Overlake, or other Bellevue neighborhoods. The area
will build on its industrial past while incorporating new development types
that will offer a unique experience for residents and employees.

 Appropriate scale of development. Development and redevelopment
in Bel-Red should complement, not compete with, Downtown Bellevue, and
should provide graceful transitions in scale in areas adjacent to residential

 Timing of development. As the Bel-Red corridor redevelops over time,
provision of infrastructure (particularly transportation infrastructure)
and public amenities (such as parks) should occur concurrently with

 Sustainability. New neighborhoods, buildings, streetscapes, parks and
open space systems, environmental enhancements, and transportation
facilities will be planned, designed and developed using state-of-the-art
techniques to enhance the natural and built environment and create a
more livable community.


Section 4 Preferred Alternative

Preferred Alternative

LEGEND (Color-intensity denotes intensity of development)

Optional locations
and alignments for
Overlake Hospital
Transit Station (to be
determined through
separate process).

Parks and open space are key components of the land use
vision. Parks features are shown conceptually, and will be
further developed during project implementation.


Retail (Pedestrian-Oriented) Transit Stations (with 1/4 mile radius)

Commercial/Retail Other Transit Station Options

Mixed-Use Housing/Retail Regulatory 50 -foot Buffer

Housing Additional 50 -foot Incentive Buffer

Mixed-Use Housing/Office or Proposed Light Rail Alignment
Office (near 124th & 148th)
Potential Community/Neighborhood
Office/Housing (Transition Area) Park and Open Space Opportunities

Office/Medial Office Green Streets

Cultural/Arts District Park Blocks

Section 4 Preferred Alternative

Land Use Components
The preferred alternative map, shown on the previous page, is the basis for the
Steering Committee’s land use vision. The land use components of the preferred
alternative are outlined below. Parks and open space components and treat-
ment of the riparian corridors are generally indicated on the land use map, and are discussed in greater detail in the sections on riparian corridor/green infrastructure and parks/open space components.

Development Nodes
A major theme of the preferred alternative is the “nodal” development pattern,
which would concentrate development in the vicinity of potential future light
rail stations (generally within a quarter-mile radius). The development nodes
would be located in the vicinity of Overlake Hospital, at 122nd Avenue NE, at
130th Avenue NE, and 152nd Avenue NE (with a station in Redmond). These
nodes would be mixed-use in nature, with a high level of pedestrian amenities.
Land use intensities within transit nodes could reach a maximum development
intensity of 2.5 FAR, but only if developers participate in an incentive system
that provides public amenities in exchange for higher densities. The base FAR
will be much lower than this maximum. Several factors framed the designation
of appropriate FARs: the Council’s desire that the area complement, but not
compete with Downtown; the interest in having adequate FARs in some places to
support light rail transit; and the finding in the economic analysis that there was
demand for a more “mid-rise” office product in Bellevue. Building heights within
nodes are discussed below.
The committee endorsed the following mix of land uses within the development nodes:

 Vicinity of Overlake Hospital—Office, with an emphasis on medical

 122nd Avenue NE—Office and housing, with more of an emphasis on

 130th Avenue NE—Housing, retail, and services, with pedestrian- oriented
retail street

 152nd Avenue NE—Mixed use housing/retail in the “Uwajimaya t riangle”
along 156th Avenue NE

The intensity of development and uses within the nodes is designed to support
transit. The highest intensities are generally concentrated in the west half of the
corridor. The decision to locate new employment-generating uses in the nodes
is intended to link development areas to locations where the existing or planned
expansion of transportation facilities could support development, and to protect
residential neighborhoods located to the north, south and east of the corridor
from cut-through traffic.

Land Uses Outside Nodes

A number of land uses would be designated outside of the development nodes.
Some of these would be very consistent with existing plans and zoning in place
today, while others would be different. Land use intensities outside nodes could
reach a maximum of 1.0 FAR through an amenity incentive system. Land uses
identified by the Steering Committee include:

 Medical office uses along the 116th Avenue NE corridor. The vision is
that medical office would be the emphasis along 116th Avenue NE north of
NE 12th Street due to the proximity of Overlake Hospital Medical Center,
but other office uses (not just medical) could be included as well. The
highest intensities would center on the development node, which could be
located near the hospital at NE 12th Street or further south.


Section 4 Preferred Alternative

 Retail commercial emphasis along the NE 20th Street corridor. The
preferred alternative includes retail along the central portion of the NE 20th
Street corridor. This is not an area contemplated for more intense devel-
opment, so uses in this corridor would generally have the same planned
intensity as under
current zoning.

 Mix of office and housing south of Bel-Red Road. The south side of
Bel-Red Road is, for the most part, planned and zoned for office uses. The
existing development pattern is low-intensity office buildings of one or two
stories. This land use pattern is an appropriate buffer between the uses
north of Bel-Red Road and the single-family residential neighborhoods to
the south. The committee recommended that, while office should remain a
focus, housing should also be included in the preferred vision for this area.

 Mixed housing and retail. The area just west of 148th Avenue NE within
the Bel-Red corridor is currently planned, zoned, and developed as auto-oriented retail uses. Large and medium-size shopping centers are located in this area, including the Fred
Meyer store on 148th Avenue NE and
Evergreen Center on 140th Avenue NE.
The committee discussed whether the
future development of the area should
include housing as well as retail. They
concluded that, while retail would
remain an i mportant element in future
development, mixed-use development

with housing in addition to retail should be part of the preferred vision
for this area. The committee also believed this same retail/housing land
use pattern should be in place near Highland Community Center, in the
Sherwood Shopping Center area, and in the triangular area south of
NE 12th Street, east of 120th Avenue NE.

 Housing in northwest portion of planning area (south side of
NE 20th Street). The northwest portion of the study area (north of the
Metro base along the south end of NE 20th Street) is shown as housing in
the preferred alternative. This was driven in part by the idea that housing
in this area could take
advantage of view corridors
to the south and west (this is
one of the highest points in
the study area), and would
also benefit from potential
improvements to the West
Tributary stream corridor.

 Office. There are a few
other areas outside develop-
ment nodes designated for an office focus. These include the areas along
124th Avenue NE south of Northup Way, and off 148th Avenue NE south of
NE 24th Street. The intensity of these office uses would be substantially
lower than within development nodes.

 Retail/commercial southwest portion of study area (south of
NE 12th Street). The southwest portion of the study area (generally south
of NE 12th Street and contiguous to Lake Bellevue) is currently planned and
zoned for general commercial uses, and has a combination of retail, office,
and car dealerships. The committee elected to continue to designate this
area as retail commercial in the preferred alternative.


Section 4 Preferred Alternative

 Cultural/Arts District. The preferred alternative includes a Cultural/
Arts District in the vicinity of the Pacific Northwest Ballet School on
136th Place NE. The concept of the arts district is to build upon the PNB
school concept through adaptive reuse of existing buildings for arts class-
room or rehearsal spaces. This could result in a cluster of studio, rehearsal,
and possibly performance spaces that could be used by artists and/or non-
profit organizations. Uses could also include the creation of crafts such as
pottery, sculpture, and glass-blowing.

Building Heights in Development Nodes
As the Steering Committee began developing the preferred alternative, several
prospective developers in the area stated that they were interested in devel-
opment that could exceed the anticipated maximum building heights of up to
6 stories for new buildings in the corridor. Because greater building heights
were not analyzed in the DEIS, the committee asked that an analysis of potential
building heights of up to 150 feet within development nodes be included in the
Example of Building Height Analysis


FEIS. Building heights outside of development nodes would generally be limited
to up to 60 feet, with lower limits in place in areas such as the transition area south of Bel-Red Road.
There were several components to the building height analysis: visual impacts from public vantage points; urban form and its impact on community character and identity; locations of taller buildings in citywide context; relationship of build-
ing height to the Bel-Red implementation strategy; and the desire to maintain a differentiated economic niche that would not compete with Downtown Bellevue. An underlying assumption was that base heights would be substantially lower than any new maximum heights recommended, while taller buildings would be permitted as incentives to developers who provided amenities in the form of open space, stream buffers, and other benefits.
Following substantial discussion, the committee’s recommendations regarding building height are listed on the following page (see map below).

Section 4 Preferred Alternative

Area A Overlake Hospital Medical Center vicinity transit node, east of
116th Avenue NE
Recommendation: Allow buildings up to 150 feet

Area B Area east of Lake Bellevue
Recommendation: Allow building heights up to 60 feet, except for areas
within the transit node, which could be up to 75 feet

Area C 122nd Avenue NE transit node
Recommendation: Up to 150 feet in core of node, up to 125 feet on

Area D 130th Avenue NE transit node
Recommendation: Up to 150 feet in core of node, up to 125 feet on

Area E 152nd Avenue NE transit node (Uwajimaya/Angelo’s Nursery)
Recommendation: Retain height limits consistent with existing
zoning— generally 45 feet and 60 feet, depending on underlying zone

FEIS Analysis of Potential Locations of Taller Buildings


Bel-Red Height Analysis
It is important to note that the committee’s recommendations for additional build-
ing height within development nodes do not equate to more density or inten-
sity—they are a matter of urban form.
An important part of the building height recommendations is their relationship
to the Bel-Red implementation strategy. The Steering Committee identified a
number of enhancements to infrastructure, urban amenities, and the environ-
ment that will be needed to realize the vision of a redeveloped Bel-Red area. It is anticipated that all development will contribute to this package of improve-
ments. Allowing for taller buildings could be a component of land use incentives granted in exchange for providing a higher level of public benefit than would otherwise be required for new development.

Strategy for Accommodating Traditional Light Industrial Uses
Approximately half of the study area is presently planned and zoned for light
industrial (LI) uses. In addition, out of the 750 acres of land in Bellevue zoned
for LI uses, approximately 450 acres, or 60 percent, is located in the Bel-Red
corridor. Therefore, a strategy for “traditional light industrial uses” was an important topic for the Bel-Red work. Staff and the Steering Committee also heard many concerns expressed by existing businesses (such as the Coca-Cola bottling plant) that had been in the area for some time, and were interested in remaining. Thus, the deliberation on how to accommodate LI uses became an important part of the committee’s overall discussion.
While there are a number of different uses in the LI-designated portion of Bel-
Red, traditional “LI uses” are generally distinguished as either industrial and
manufacturing (characterized by business activities, manufacturing, assembly,
processing, and similar operations) or warehouse/distribution (characterized
by businesses involved in the warehousing and distribution of wholesale goods
and supplies—typically associated with heavy truck traffic ). Understanding the
unique attributes of the LI zoning was a source of some confusion, because many

Section 4 Preferred Alternative

of the area’s service uses (see next section of committee’s recommendation) are
designated in the LI area, although such uses are also located in many other parts of the planning area and City.
In arriving at the preferred vision, the Steering Committee discussed four options for how to deal with LI uses in the corridor. After much discussion and deliberation, the committee decided on a strategy that allows existing uses to continue, but recognizes that market forces are likely to reduce the demand for these uses over time. The strategy can be summarized as follows:

 Existing LI uses will be allowed and may be continued by future owners.

 No new LI uses will be allowed.

 Expansions to existing LI structures will be permitted.

 Discontinued LI uses may not be re-established.

 Destroyed LI structures may be reconstructed.
Existing light industrial uses will not be considered “nonconforming” uses
under the provisions of the Land Use Code. Bellevue’s Land Use Code does
not currently include a term for an existing use that is allowed to continue and
expand its structure, but would not otherwise be
allowed as a new use. Accordingly, a new zoning
term and approach will be developed to address
the treatment of existing LI uses in the Bel-Red

Strategy for Accommodating
Service Uses

One of the City Council’s Planning Principles for
the Bel-Red Corridor Project was to build from
existing assets, including the many successful
service-related businesses that serve the local


community. Accommodating service uses is also one of the objectives adopted
by the Steering Committee, and this objective has been widely supported by existing businesses and members of the public. This theme was consistently expressed by members of the community from the very beginning of the project. Therefore, the committee spent considerable time analyzing the composition of existing services uses in the corridor, and exploring how a future vision should best accommodate these important uses.
The services sector is very broad, and approximately 50 percent of existing
businesses in the corridor fall into this category. Service uses include health care,
business and professional office, household repair, and auto-oriented services
(such as auto repair). The Steering Committee reached consensus that most
uses in the broad service uses heading, which typically have characteristics of
general retail as opposed to light industrial, would be appropriate throughout
the corridor and should be included in the preferred alternative. The examples
given ranged from medical-related services, to dry-cleaners, to an existing saw
repair shop.

Strategy for Broad Service Uses (Those service uses with characteristics and impacts similar to general retail)
The committee recommends that all existing and future uses in the broad Service Uses sector (those services that have characteristics similar to general retail) should be allowed to occur throughout the corridor (e.g. health care, business and professional office, household repair).
The committee then shifted to those select service uses that display unique characteristics typically associated with light industrial uses. This focused
definition of service uses includes auto repair, automotive parts and accessories (including tire shops), auto dealers and boat dealers (particularly the service/ repair component), car washing and detailing, and towing and car rental. These uses were distinguished from the many other service uses because they could have potential impacts on adjacent future uses (such as noise, odor, fumes, aesthetics) that are similar to those of light industrial uses.

Section 4 Preferred Alternative

The committee discussed a range of options to accommodate these specific
types of service uses. After deliberation on the options, the committee recommended the following:

Strategy for “LI-type” Service Uses in nodes and standalone housing areas (Existing uses allowed, market forces could pressure)

 Existing service uses will be allowed and may be continued by future

 No new service uses will be allowed.

 Expansions to existing service structures will be permitted.

 Discontinued service uses may not be re-established.

 Destroyed service structures may be reconstructed.

Strategy for LI-type Service Uses in area outside nodes and outside non-
standalone housing locations (New service uses allowed across the district)

 Existing service uses will be allowed and may be continued by future

 New service uses will be allowed.

 Expansions of service uses will be allowed.

 Destroyed service structures may be reconstructed.
Service uses with LI characteristics located in transit nodes and standalone
housing areas will not be considered “nonconforming” uses. As noted above,
Bellevue’s Land Use Code does not currently include a term for an existing use
that is allowed to continue and expand its structure, but would not otherwise
be allowed as a new use. Accordingly, the Land Use Code will address the
treatment of existing service uses with LI characteristics in the Bel-Red corridor.


Principles on Workforce/Affordable Housing
The preferred alternative envisions the creation of 5,000 additional housing units
in the Bel-Red Corridor. Bellevue has not created this much new housing poten-
tial in decades. The committee recognized the importance of this, and also the
importance of developing a thoughtful strategy for incorporating a wide range of
housing types in this new supply. This issue of housing diversity was also impor-
tant to many members of the public. The committee recognized the complexity
of the issue, but felt the need to provide some perspective on how to realize
its vision of creating a variety of housing types available to a wide range of
households. Accordingly, the Steering Committee developed some preliminary
principles on housing that are included as part of its recommendation. These
principles are as follows:

 Vision. One element of the Bel-Red Steering Committee’s vision for Bel- Red
is that the area “will contain a variety of housing types to meet the needs
of a diverse population of varied income levels.” While Bel-Red will likely
include some high-end housing and a predominance of market rate prices,
a deliberate strategy will be required to deliver on this vision of diversity in
housing form and pricing.

 Integration with larger City. As Bellevue continues to experience the
escalating prices of a very dynamic housing market, maintaining some
housing options for low and moderate income workers and households on
fixed incomes is a growing challenge for the City as a whole. The City also
faces challenges in meeting the housing needs for a growing segment of
our labor force who cannot afford the rising costs of housing in the Bellevue
area. While no one area of the city will solve Bellevue’s affordable housing
challenges, Bel-Red provides an opportunity to contribute to City-wide solu-
tions. Housing affordability approaches here should be integrated with the
City’s wider approach to the challenge of affordable housing.

Section 4 Preferred Alternative

 Timing. Bel-Red represents an extraordinary opportunity to develop new
capacity for housing in Bellevue, with the potential for 5,000 housing units
in an area that today accommodates virtually no housing. The time to
consider workforce/affordable housing strategies is up-front, as part of the
zoning and land use strategy to create this new housing capacity.

 Multi-pronged strategy. Providing a range of housing choices requires
a multi-faceted approach. Bel-Red implementation should consider a wide
range of options for encouraging affordable housing, including incentives,
tax policy, and regulatory measures.

Transportation Components
To support the development program envisioned in the preferred alternative,
additional transportation system infrastructure will need to be built for all trans-
portation modes—cars, transit, and nonmotorized (pedestrian and bicycle). This
need is not unique to the preferred alternative—new infrastructure would be
needed under all the action alternatives analyzed in the DEIS. Traffic analysis for
the 2030 planning horizon suggests that transportation capacity improvements
would be needed mostly in the western part of the study area, because much of
the potential employment and residential growth would be directed to this area.
The map on page 4-14 shows the major transportation system improvements in
the preferred alternative.

Existing Conditions

 Streets. The Bel-Red Corridor is characterized as having an “immature”
street system. Many arterials within the study area have two lanes and no
pedestrian or bicycle facilities. There are few east-west street connections,
except for the major travel corridors of Bel-Red Road and NE 20th Street on
the perimeter of the study area. In the western portion of the study area,
120th Avenue NE and 124th Avenue NE primarily serve light i ndustrial users.
Arterials further to the east carry commuter traffic through the study area
and provide local access to retail and service uses.


 Transit. King County Metro provides limited bus service within the Bel-Red
Corridor. That service is confined primarily to the roads on the perimeter
of the study area: Bel-Red Road, NE 20th Street, 116th Avenue NE, 148th
Avenue NE and 156th Avenue NE. Several bus routes provide peak-hour
service only, with other routes operating on 30 to 60 minute headways.

 Non-Motorized Transportation. Sidewalks exist on some of the streets,
but the system is discontinuous. Within the interior of the Bel-Red Corridor,
many segments of road have no sidewalks. Bicycle accommodation is
limited to shared roadway facilities; there are no exclusive bicycle lanes.

 BNSF Corridor. This existing rail line runs
north-south in the western portion of the
Bel-Red Corridor and provides only l imited
freight mobility. The planned removal of
the Wilburton Tunnel to accommodate I-405
expansion will diminish the rail line’s viability
as a freight corridor. Regional efforts to
acquire the BNSF Corridor would result in
its preservation for public use, potentially
including use as a pedestrian and bicycle

Future Traffic Volumes
The location and intensity of proposed land uses will determine the pattern and volume of traffic in the future. Although it is difficult to know what modes of travel people will choose to use 20 or more years from now, it is important to note that the traffic modeling provides a forecast that is based on actual existing condi-
tions and assumed future land use and transportation system changes.
Increases in traffic and corresponding increases in congestion would occur in the
Bel-Red Corridor, surrounding neighborhoods, and the regional system with both
the No-Action Alternative and the preferred alternative. In general, traffic volume

Section 4 Preferred Alternative

for the preferred alternative would increase by about 10 percent compared to
the No-Action Alternative. This increase would be due in part to regional f actors, including economic growth and land use changes outside of Bellevue.
In the No-Action Alternative, 86 percent of people would drive alone from home
to work, 5 percent would use various ridesharing alternatives, and 9 percent of
commuters would use transit. For the preferred alternative, only 75 to 80 per-
cent are projected to drive alone, 4 to 5 percent would share a ride to work, and 19 percent are expected to take a transit mode.
Work trips in the preferred alternative would increase by about 72 percent over the No Action Alternative. Because of increased roadway congestion and the availability of light rail, the use of transit would grow by 285 percent, while the percentage of carpool users would remain about the same.

Traffic Congestion at Intersections
Modeling results for traffic operations in the preferred alternative are somewhat
counterintuitive. They show that the number of congested intersections is lower
than under the No-Action Alternative, despite the fact that the preferred alter-
native has higher concentrations of commercial and residential development. Transportation capacity differences between the alternatives explain the results. For example, the preferred alternative includes light-rail stations surrounded
by high-density uses, resulting in high transit ridership and fewer vehicle trips.
Further contributing to reduced vehicle trips is a land use pattern that provides employment and housing opportunities close to transit. Also, there are a number of roadway capacity projects included in the preferred alternative. These differ-
ences would all help to diffuse the potential traffic impacts associated with the preferred alternative.

Neighborhood Impacts

Traffic modeling for the preferred alternative shows that new development in the
Bel-Red corridor, combined with development around the region, is projected
to cause some increase in traffic on arterials such as 140th Avenue NE and
116th Avenue NE that
traverse residen-
tial neighborhoods.
Mitigation for poten-
tial traffic impacts on
arterials must create
a roadway character
that alerts drivers that
they are in a neighbor-
hood and encourages
them to drive accordingly. Medians, special paving, and other options for
mitigation are identified in the DEIS. Specific measures to address traffic volume
and speed on arterials will be developed in coordination with the affected

Traffic-calming devices and traffic control measures would be considered on a
case-by-case basis for non-arterial streets meeting Bellevue’s Neighborhood
Traffic Control Program criteria within residential neighborhoods in and around
the Bel-Red Corridor.

Light Rail

The proposed light rail route between downtown Bellevue and Overlake would
traverse the Bel-Red Corridor. An alignment through the center of the corridor
along approximately NE 16th Street would maximize the potential to create
transit-oriented, mixed-use neighborhoods and employment areas. Prior to
the development of the light rail system, enhanced bus transit can help support
additional land use. When light rail is operating, “feeder” bus service can be
reallocated to connect neighborhoods with the light rail stations.


Section 4 Preferred Alternative

Ridership. During the morning peak hour, the preferred alternative would
generate substantial demand for light rail within the Bel-Red Corridor itself, with about 1,800 boardings and 5,300 alightings. This level of ridership is attributed primarily to the proximity of the light rail stations to areas of mixed-use housing, commercial, and retail uses.

Non-Motorized Transportation

The preferred pedestrian and bicycle system consists of sidewalks and bicycle
facilities along roadways and stream corridors, plus a paved multi-purpose path
on the BNSF railroad right-of-way. The preferred alternative offers the potential

As described elsewhere in this report, the planning in the corridor has been based
in part on a decision by Sound Transit and the City of Bellevue to develop light rail through the Bel-Red corridor as part of Sound Transit’s East Link project, which will extend light rail from downtown Seattle to Redmond. The plan f ocuses
development around transit-oriented nodes, and is designed to encourage mixed-use development in ways that depend on, and will also support, transit service. It is important to note that if light rail does not come to the area during the project’s planning horizon (2030), the overall land use plan and development program will remain valid. However, the i ntensity and timing of development may need to be adjusted to reflect the level of transit service that can be deliv-
ered to the corridor by other forms of transit in the interim.
While the Bel-Red Corridor Project identifies a preferred alignment and station locations, and anticipates that a light rail maintenance base may be located somewhere in the Bel-Red corridor, the Sound Transit Board is the final decision-
making authority regarding light rail.
Stations. Station locations in the vicinity of Overlake Hospital Medical Center, 122nd Avenue NE, 130th Avenue NE and at 152nd Avenue NE/NE 24th Street in Redmond’s Overlake Village would support the Bel-Red Corridor land use vision. About three-quarters of residents and employees in the preferred alternative would have convenient, walkable access to the light rail stations.


to create transit-rich development nodes and neighborhoods in which walking
and bicycling opportunities abound. Some bicycle facilities would be geared
toward the commuter, and others geared more for the recreational cyclist. Links
to local parks and connections to the regional system are part of the vision. A few
key components of the non-motorized transportation system are highlighted

 BNSF Corridor. As noted above, the BNSF corridor may be acquired and
preserved for future public use. Providing multiple access points to the
BNSF corridor would allow opportunities to enhance the local and regional
non-motorized transportation system. In accordance with the rail-banking
legislation under which the BNSF corridor would be acquired, the corridor
would be used in the short
term for non- motorized
trans portation. Long-term
use is envisioned to include
the trail t ogether with a
light rail or commuter rail

Section 4 Preferred Alternative

 Stream Corridor Trails. A component of the Bel-Red Corridor “Great
Streams” vision (described later in this chapter) is to make use of the
stream corridors for multiple purposes to enhance the community and
the environment. The riparian corridor along the West Tributary of Kelsey
Creek is particularly well suited for a future trail system that would connect
the BNSF Corridor to Bel-Red Road. A pathway and sidewalk system that
is more urban in character along Goff Creek would knit together the new
neighborhood. Trails are envisioned along other stream corridors in the
area as well, and might be developed in partnership with adjacent private
property owners.

 NE 16th Street. As a major future arterial and light rail corridor, an exten-
sion of NE 16th Street is also proposed to be the primary component of an east-west non-motorized transportation system. Providing a high quality pedestrian and bicycling environment along this arterial would create
auto-free access between neighborhoods, to regional trail systems, and to light rail stations. The east-west pedestrian and bicycle corridor is also intended to be the connective facility that links the various north-south trails and sidewalks.


Roadway Projects
To support the 2030 land use development program, additional roadway infra-
structure would be required within the Bel-Red Corridor, along with improved connections to downtown Bellevue and to SR 520. New or extended east-west arterials are proposed for corridors along NE 4th Street, NE 10th Street and NE 16th Street. Arterial improvements and expansions are proposed for 116th Ave NE, 120th Ave NE, 124th Ave NE, and NE 136th Place. 130th Avenue NE would be redeveloped as a pedes-
trian- oriented retail street. The
following list and map describe
the roadway capacity improve-
ment projects in the preferred
alternative. I ntersection improve-
ments would also be necessary
for the transportation system
to function properly; these are
shown on the map and are
described in the FEIS.

Recommended List of Transportation Projects
R-1 Northup Way, two-way left-turn lane west of 120th Avenue NE
R-2 Northup Way, add eastbound through lane between 120th and
124th Avenue NE

R-3 NE 4th Street Extension, 116th to 120th Avenue NE, four lanes

R-4 116th Avenue NE, develop to include two lanes in each direction plus
a center turn lane

R-5 120th Avenue NE, widen to five lanes between Northup Way and
NE 4th Street

R-6 124th Avenue NE, widen to five lanes between Northup Way and Bel-Red Road

Section 4 Preferred Alternative

R-7 130th Avenue NE, redevelop to two lanes
plus on-street parking between
NE 16th Street and NE 20th Street

R-8 NE 16th Street, five-lane roadway, linking
core of study area to Downtown
Bellevue via NE 12th Street
R-9 NE 16th Street:
— East end treatment with terminus at
NE 20th Street via 136th Place NE
— Five-lane to three-lane reduction following
along 136th Place NE
— Continue three-lane section to
NE 20th Street along 136th Place NE
— Two-lane non-arterial connection between
136th Place NE and Bel-Red Road

R-10 NE 10th Street/ I-405 overcrossing

R-11 NE 10th Street extension, 116th to
124th Avenue NE Four-lane roadway with
turn pockets
R-12 NE 12th Street:
— Widen to six lanes between 112th Avenue
NE and new NE 16th Street connection
— Reduce functional class and capacity
between new NE 16th Street and
124th Avenue NE

R-13 SR 520 and 124th Avenue NE interchange,
complete the interchange by
constructing ramps to and from the east

Preferred Alternative Transportation Improvements


Section 4 Preferred Alternative

Riparian Corridor/Green Infrastructure Components: The Great Streams Strategy

As described earlier in this report, several streams run
through the Bel-Red area. These riparian corridors
suffered severe impacts during the development
that occurred in the area in the 1960s and 1970s, prior
to the advent of current environmental regulations.
One consistent message from the community was
an interest in improving these corridors, and the
Steering Committee made this part of their overall
Four principles of stream restoration are embodied
in the Bel-Red Corridor “Great Streams” Strategy:
place-making, habitat enhancement, greenways and
trails, and green infrastructure. The preferred alterna-
tive embraces the concept of enhancing the stream
corridors to attain these multiple benefits. While there
are opportunities along each stream corridor, and

each degraded stream system will accrue incremental benefits as redevelop-
ment occurs, the greatest opportunities for enhancement have been identified along the West Tributary and Goff Creek.
Along the West Tributary, a natural systems approach would create wider buffers for habitat and open space. Trails, passive recreation areas, environmental education, and stormwater management are among the uses envisioned for this stream corridor. In particular, a trail following the creek that connects Bel-Red Road and the future BNSF Corridor trail will provide an important component of local and regional non-motorized transportation.
Goff Creek enhancement opportunities present an urban approach that highlights the creek as an important feature in urban plazas, where people can see, hear and touch the stream and watch salmon as they migrate to protected spawning areas. Much of Goff Creek south of NE 16th Street is currently in

a pipe. “Daylighting” this stream segment can create a significant urban
amenity and improve fish and wildlife habitat in the creek as a whole.

Achieving this vision will require wider riparian corridors than currently exist, plus
acquiring and developing “opportunity areas” where elements of the parks and
transportation systems interface with the streams. Improving stream conditions
and corridors in Bel-Red will not be accomplished through additional regulatory
requirements. The baseline regulations would be those in the City’s existing
Critical Areas Ordinance. Enhancements to the stream corridors are planned to
be accomplished through use of incentives that would offer increased density
and/or building height to achieve greater setbacks. City investments would also
play a role at key locations where parks, transportation, or stormwater projects
could be integrated with habitat improvements.


Section 4 Preferred Alternative

The use of green i nfrastructure—or low-impact development techniques—would
be encouraged throughout the study area, so that properties not i mmediately
adjacent to a stream corridor would also contribute to environmental enhance-
ments. Low-impact development techniques manage stormwater in a manner
that allows rainfall to
infiltrate into the soil on the
site, or even to be used
on the site, rather than
running off quickly and
carrying contaminants into
nearby streams. Green
infrastructure would be incorporated in private-sector redevelopment, and also in t ransportation infrastructure and parks. “Green streets” would have abun-
dant street trees and areas of landscaping to improve stormwater runoff, and
in places, porous pavement would reduce the amount of runoff. A number of
techniques are available, and a customized green infrastructure approach could be crafted to suit each location.

Opportunities for Stream Restoration

Each stream in the Bel-Red Corridor has been rated using criteria to indicate
whether stream conditions are good, moderate, or poor with respect to the
overall stream health and habitat suitability for fish. These ratings have been
used to identify and prioritize the potential fish habitat and riparian rehabilitation
opportunities of the
streams. The focus of
potential enhancements
is on i mproving the eco-
logical health of streams,
as well as creating open
space amenities for the


Section 4 Preferred Alternative

All streams in the Bel-Red Corridor are degraded to some extent. Ecologically speaking, those with the least number of constraints are those with the high-
est potential opportunities for rehabilitation. Types of constraints include fish passage barriers, impervious surfaces and buildings adjacent to streams, piped streams, and poor water quality.
Opportunities to enhance Bel-Red Corridor streams are related to the potential
land use changes adjacent to the stream and in the watershed. Ecological
analysis, coupled with the opportunities inherent in recommended future
land uses, indicates that enhancement efforts should be focused on the West
Tributary and Goff Creek. Removing fish passage barriers, daylighting piped
stream segments and restoring riparian habitat would transform these streams
from their degraded conditions into community and environmental amenities.

Parks/Open Space Components
The Bel-Red corridor is a component part of the City’s larger system of parks,
streams, wetlands, plant, wildlife, and cultural/recreational elements. The
preferred alternative supports park and community service enhancements that
will help create and sustain new neighborhoods.
A robust park and open space
system is a key element of the
Bel-Red vision. Beautiful and
functional open spaces will help
transform the area, support
new residential and commer-
cial uses, improve the environ-
ment, and be an asset for the
broader Bellevue community.
A “ critical mass” of parks and
open space is needed. The
preferred alternative includes


Section 4 Preferred Alternative

expectations for a park and open space system that is based on an urban
approach to determine the type, amount and location of space. The Bel-Red park and open space system would be implemented through a mix of public funding and private development with potential City incentives.
Embedded in the preferred alternative is a park and open space concept that would be implemented as follows:

 Utilize opportunities along stream corridors, especially the West Tributary
and Goff Creek, to enhance open space, provide fish and wildlife habitat,
develop trails, and improve stream water quality.

 Develop community park facilities that can serve new Bel-Red residents
and employees as well as city-wide patrons.

 Provide neighbor-
hood “pocket” parks,
particularly in areas
of new residential
development, and link
these with sidewalks
and trails.

 Develop connective
trails and corridors at
both the local and regional scale, including major non-motorized f acilities
along the extended NE 16th Street, along the West Tributary of Kelsey
Creek and along the Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad corridor.

 Incorporate “green infrastructure” in park development to provide
community amenities and watershed benefits by allowing for stormwater to
infiltrate on site through such features as swales, rain gardens, and pervi-
ous pavement.

 Manage the area’s natural resources in a sustainable manner to preserve
and rehabilitate environmentally sensitive natural areas.

 Consider the Bel-Red Corridor study area as a suitable location for a poten-
tial major recreation facility that would meet an identified city-wide need
for both indoor and outdoor recreation. Elements such as indoor soccer,
basketball, fitness activity, an aquatic center, and outdoor sports fields are
potential components. If this city-wide facility were to locate in Bel-Red, it
should also serve as a community park for the new neighborhoods in this

 Some of the committee’s vision for parks and open space is captured on
the preferred alternative map. Other elements cannot be precisely sited
in advance of additional work on land assembly opportunities, road and
trail projects, the interface with redeveloped stream corridors, and other


Section 5

To implement the Bel-Red Corridor Project
land use and transportation vision will require
a comprehensive, challenging effort that will
equal or exceed that of the planning process.
In the near term, implementation will involve
a complex and interrelated set of City actions

that will require further deliberation by City
Boards and Commissions, the City Council, and the public. In the longer term, i mplementing the plan will require a combination of private redevelopment and public facilities, and a
long-term commitment that will need to be well thought-out, yet fl exible, as it proceeds.


In the near term, implementation of the Bel-Red vision will consist of the following
general components:

 Comprehensive Plan amendments

 Land Use Code amendments

 A phasing plan

 A financing plan

 An update or successor to the Bel-Red Overlake Transportation Study
(BROTS) agreement

Section 5 Implementation

The committee considered a number of specific details relating to these various
items. These are listed and described in more detail below.

Comprehensive Plan Amendments
Comprehensive Plan amendments will capture the Bel-Red vision from a policy
perspective, provide background and context, and provide the basis for regu-
latory decisions, public investments, and other implementing actions. Two parts
of the Comprehensive Plan would be amended. The first part is the General
Elements—such as Land Use and Transportation—that apply citywide and also
must be consistent with the Bel-Red vision. The second set of amendments would
be to the Subarea Plans, which map the area land use and describe specifics
about the vision and how it is to be implemented.

Comprehensive Plan amendments are anticipated to include:

 A new Subarea Plan for the Bel-Red area that articulates the vision for the
area’s future.

 A new land use plan map for the Bel-Red area.

 A detailed description of the necessary transportation infrastructure and
parks and open space system to support anticipated development. The
plan will be developed in a manner that protects arterial road, transit and
pedestrian/bicycle system right-of-way.

 The City’s preference for Sound Transit’s light rail routing and stations
through the Bel-Red Corridor.

 Modified level-of-service (LOS) standards for the Bel-Red area to acknowl-
edge the creation of a higher intensity mixed-use area with multi-modal trans-
portation choices. The standards would change from an average volume/
capacity ratio of D (0.85) to E+ (0.95). This would be accom panied by policy
direction to consider amendments to parking standards, transportation
demand management (TDM) measures, improved local transit service, and
other mechanisms to reduce SOV use and encourage other travel modes.

 Amendments to other Subarea Plans and the Comprehensive Plan General
Elements as necessary to be consistent with the new Bel-Red vision.

Land Use Code Amendments

The Land Use Code is the document that establishes the regulatory structure for
new development and redevelopment. These regulations will implement the
Bel-Red vision as follows:

 Direct a majority of the office and residential development capacity to
identified transit-oriented development nodes.

 Establish three transit-oriented development nodes of higher density,
mixed land use:

— Overlake Hospital Medical Center vicinity: intended principally for
office/medical office uses

— 122nd Avenue NE: intended principally for office use with some
residential and retail

— 130th Avenue NE: intended principally for residential and service uses

In addition to these three nodes, there is an opportunity on the east side of
Bel-Red to take advantage of a transit station in Redmond’s Overlake district.

 Utilize an incentive zoning structure as follows:

— A base floor area ratio (FAR) and height would be permitted outright,
with the maximum FAR/height to be achieved only through participation
in an amenity incentive system.

— Amenities would include stream restoration, “green” infrastructure,
affordable housing, parks and open space, and other potential

— Administrative Design Review would be required for individual projects,
and master plan review for large phased projects.


Section 5 Implementation

 Allow for a continuation/expansion of existing service and light industrial
uses in the manner described elsewhere in this report.

 Provide for a range of housing densities and types.

 Require development to meet basic standards and requirements, and to
participate in the Bel-Red financing plan.

 Provide for light rail facilities including light rail guideway and stations,
electrical power systems, and an operations and maintenance facility.

 Explore use of regional transfer of development rights (TDRs), a tool
intended to help preserve rural open space, habitat and resource lands proposed by the Cascade Land Conservancy. This idea should be further evaluated in the context of the full suite of investments needed in the
Bel-Red corridor.


Phasing Plan
One foundation for the Bel-Red Plan has been the integration of planning for land use and transportation. This same integration needs to take place with respect to implementation. Neither the land use nor the transportation infra-
structure can be accomplished all at once. A phased approach to both will ensure that adequate public facilities are available to support new residential and commercial development. Phasing will:

 Link new commercial development to the City’s incremental expansion
of multi-modal transportation capacity, supplementing the City’s current
concurrency system.

Section 5 Implementation

 Allow residential development, which will bring home and work trips in
the area closer together, to occur as the market warrants, limited only by

 Rely on the current development capacity in the BROTS (Bel-Red Overlake
Transportation Study) Interlocal Agreement, until the agreement is modified
or expires.

Financing Plan
Key to the phasing of public facilities is the financing available to pay for them. Funding for public facilities is anticipated to come from a variety of public and private sources, with Bel-Red development paying for a significant share of the infrastructure and amenities needed to transform the area. A comprehensive financing plan will:

 Provide an overall funding strategy to accomplish investment needed to
support the development program.

 Link financial participation with benefits derived from the investments.

 Include examination of a broad array of financing strategies, including
impact fees, benefit districts, Local Improvement Districts, use of new tax
revenues from new development, general CIP investment, outside grants or
loans, and other strategies as appropriate.

 Be coordinated with the land use incentive system, which can also provide
for some of the area’s infrastructure and amenities.

 Be robust enough to provide for the first phase of infrastructure investment,
along with investments in parks and other amenities to support residential
development in the first development cycle.

Bellevue/Redmond Growth Impact Reconciliation

Both Bellevue and Redmond have engaged in separate planning efforts that
will intersect where transportation facilities are involved. These neighbors will
engage in joint efforts to understand the transportation system impacts from
growth, and devise a method to mitigate those impacts that cross City borders.
This reconciliation process is intended to:

 Model the combined effects of growth from both cities’ plans to identify
transportation system impacts.

 Identify key infrastructure projects and growth phasing to maintain mobility
and mitigate interjurisdictional impacts.

 Fund interjurisdictional impact mitigation from development occurring in
Bellevue and Redmond.

 Require the current agreement between the two cities to be modified or
re-drafted, extending the timeline consistent with each city’s updated plan-
ning horizon (2030).


Achieving the Bel-Red Steering Committee’s vision will require more than just
adopting changes to City plans and codes. It will require an ongoing, vigilant
effort to advance the vision over the long term. This may include the need for
staff devoted to coordinating plan implementation, development of a local asso-
ciation of businesses and residents (such as the Bellevue Downtown Association),
and new financing mechanisms. The Bel-Red area has the potential to be an ex-
traordinarily vibrant, unique, and environmentally sustainable area of Bellevue
and the greater Eastside and Puget Sound region. It will require a dedicated,
ambitious, and on-going implementation effort to get there.


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