After months of negotiating with residents on how best to squeeze in space for bikes and pedestrians along Bellevue's scenic and busy West...

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After months of negotiating with residents on how best to squeeze in space for bikes and pedestrians along Bellevue’s scenic and busy West Lake Sammamish Parkway, city transportation officials hope their latest proposal does the trick.

On Saturday, they will take busloads of people on a tour of Bellevue’s 5.5-mile portion of the two-lane road that stretches north from Interstate 90 to Redmond.

They’ll point out proposed changes marked on the pavement for the occasion with duct tape and flags “so people can physically see, ‘Oh yeah, that’s how it affects me. That’s how it affects my driveway,’ ” said Nancy LaCombe, senior project manager for the city Transportation Department.

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Today, West Lake Sammamish Parkway has one usable shoulder; the other is largely nonexistent, with no marked bike lanes or buffers from traffic. After receiving more than 350 comments on five different ideas for the parkway, the city saw no clear winner and opted instead to combine several of them, hoping to drum up public support, LaCombe said.

Under the new proposal, the city would shrink auto lanes slightly in some areas and make use of the city’s right of way along each side of the road to squeeze in a 4-foot-wide shoulder on the east side and an 8- to 10-foot multiuse trail to the west. A landscaped strip would buffer the multiuse trail from southbound traffic in many spots along the parkway. The city also would look into lowering the speed limit, LaCombe said.

Residents have complained for years that the parkway’s traffic makes it tough to back out of steep driveways safely. But they blocked the city’s attempt to widen the road and add a bike lane on each side in 1997, saying reduced visibility could make them more likely to hit passing cyclists.


West Lake Sammamish Parkway proposal




Bellevue is hosting
an open house Saturday to display proposed changes to West Lake Sammamish Parkway. School buses will leave every 15 minutes between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. from Vasa Park Resort, 3560 West Lake Sammamish Parkway S.E., to visit examples at three locations along the route. For more information, visit www.cityofbellevue.org or contact Tresa Berg at 425-452-4638.

Source: Bellevue transportation department


Cyclists complain that Bellevue should follow Redmond’s lead along its portion of the parkway and add dedicated bike lanes to transform the road into a safer route connecting several Eastside communities. They worry that a multiuse lane would encourage cyclists, dog-walkers, baby-carriage pushers and other users to vie for too little space.

Even with neighborhood support and City Council approval, the $20 million project could be years away. Bellevue has yet to budget money for its construction, so the project would compete with others for a spot in the city’s capital-improvement program. The Transportation Department also would seek grants, LaCombe said.

The department will present its plan at 6:30 p.m. March 24 at the Bellevue Transportation Commission meeting. The City Council is expected to hear the final project recommendation during its April 11 meeting.

Karen Gaudette: 206-515-5618