Feet First, an organization dedicated to promoting walkable communities within the urban environments of Washington, held its 2016 Walkable Washington Symposium in Bellevue’s City Hall on June 7.
Most of their achievements have included improving the walkability in various locations in Seattle, but now they have their sights set on improving Downtown Bellevue for pedestrians.
The organization’s newest initiative was announced during the symposium. The plan is dubbed the “Grand Connection” and the goal is “to develop a landmark pedestrian route through downtown.” The plan is to connect the waterfront at Lake Washington at Meydenbauer Bay Park to the Eastside Rail Corridor. It will connect Old Bellevue to Downtown Park to the Bellevue Collection and shops on Bellevue Way and the Transit Center.
“We are currently in the planning stages, or what we are referring to as high level visioning. This part of the project is expected to be substantially complete in late fall of 2016. From there we will be able to examine issues of cost, timeline, feasibility, and then move onto a more refined design,” said Bradley Calvert, community development program manager for the city of Bellevue.
The keynote speaker was Dr. Eric Scharnhorst who designed Opportunity Score, a tool that online real estate company, Redfin, uses to see how jobs and houses are interconnected by walking and public transportation. Topics covered in the symposium ranged from design-engineering, advocacy for walkability, planning for the future, a poster presentation and an awards ceremony.
The event as a whole was an opportunity to share with the community ideas for improving on public space and how other projects or initiatives are designed to have easily accessible public space for pedestrians. It also promoted connectivity in an urban environment so that people can have access to transit and the city.