Support for 57 miles of bike lanes in Bellevue

Over 130 caring neighbors attended Bellevue’s Bike Lanes Open House on Wednesday, March 23 to show support for a 57 mile network of safe bike lanes throughout the city. Council chambers were filled with the energy and enthusiasm of a community that is ready for a transformation. Along with residents from Bellevue and surrounding cities, Mayor John Stokes, Deputy Mayor John Chelminiak, and Bellevue City Council members Conrad Lee and Vandana Slatter attended the open house.

“I was completely thrilled with the turnout for our open house this week on improving Bellevue’s bicycle network. It really demonstrates how much interest there is in making it safer and easier to pedal around our city. Most of our city council and transportation commission members were there, as well as four local TV stations. We have lots of work to do, and I’m very encouraged by this show of support,” stated Council member Slatter after the event.

The proposed network is part of Bellevue’s Pedestrian and Bicycle Implementation Initiative and will connect the city with 23 miles of protected bike lanes, 13 miles of painted bike lanes and two miles of off-street trails. Bellevue’s Transportation Commission is in the process of identifying proposed routes that city council will have the opportunity to approve and fund this fall.

Making safer streets for everyone remains a top reason to make investments in Bellevue. At the open house, 35 percent of attendees reported that they ‘feel unsafe’ riding a bicycle in Bellevue and 48 percent reported that they ‘sometimes feel unsafe’ riding a bicycle in Bellevue. When asked what might prompt attendees to ride more often, 40 percent reported more separation between cars and bikes. There is great potential to increase the number of people who might choose bicycling for health or financial reasons if the city is able to build a safer and more connected network of facilities.

Cascade strongly supports the initiative’s emphasis on safe and protected bicycle facilities, such as protected bike lanes. According to trends around our region and country, we know that 60 percent of people would like to bike more often, but don’t because they feel unsafe. 

This is an exciting opportunity for Bellevue to start transforming into a city that’s walkable, bikeable and safe for everyone to get around, no matter their mode of travel. Safe routes through Bellevue are needed now more than ever. On the same day as Bellevue’s open house, a woman was hit and critically injured while while riding her bicycle on the Lake to Lake Trail and crossing 118th Avenue SE. Bellevue must start implementing strategies, like building safe bicycling infrastructure, that aim to reduce and eliminate fatalities and serious injuries of our most vulnerable users. Bellevue City Council endorsed Vision Zero last year and must now start redesigning streets so that people can safely travel on bike and foot to work, school or the grocery store.  

As momentum around creating healthy, safe, walkable and bikeable communities is growing around our region, Bellevue is becoming a leader in developing a bike network proposal that is comprehensive, connected, and achievable in the near term.

To share your ideas for the network, check out Bellevue’s WikiMap.

If you’re interested in getting involved in Cascade’s advocacy work around the Bellevue Pedestrian and Bicycle Implementation Initiative, please email mckaylad@cascade.org or robinr@cascade.org to learn more.