On Monday, the City Council’s extended study session was bookended by presentations on the Eastside Rail Corridor (ERC) and Grand Connection. Both projects are City Council’s visions that are priorities and will highlight Bellevue’s efforts to create multi-use pedestrian and bicycle connections that provide transportation options into the city’s job center.
The ERC is a 42-mile old rail line, stretching from Renton to Snohomish County through Bellevue. Once open the corridor will provide key connections from the north to the south, and a significant opportunity to implement trail and transit-oriented development in the Wilburton commercial area.
During the presentation, staff showcased renderings of the Wilburton segment, which will interface with the proposed Grand Connection, Wilburton Trestle trail and Interstate 405 gap crossing. Staff also updated the council on plans for a potential Northeast Eighth Street overcrossing. The council is expected to finalize an updated interest statement that lays out key city priorities at a future meeting.
Later in the meeting, staff also provided the council with new information on the Grand Connection, including additional public space and connectivity improvements and alternatives for the proposed I-405 crossing. The Grand Connection is intended to offer a safe, comfortable link from downtown to Wilburton and the Eastside Rail Corridor. So far, the project consultant has provided three options with varying levels of complexity. One option consists of a park-like lid over the highway between Northeast Sixth and Fourth streets. Councilmembers continued to voice their enthusiasm for the “signature” urban landmark. Refined alternatives will be presented at a later meeting.
The council also approved a slate of Bellevue residents who will advise the city on the Grand Connection. The citizen advisory committee has 15 members, five of them drawn from city boards and commissions. Candidates were selected by the mayor with consultation from other councilmembers. The committee will be co-chaired by Jeremey Barksdale from the Planning Commission and Lei Wu of the Transportation Commission.