Downtown Bellevue’s Curbside to be Science Experiment
Mobility have changed quite a bit over the last decade in Downtown Bellevue. Last year the BDA Board updated its Downtown Access Strategy for the first time in 8 years, the association’s policy framework for identifying priorities and guiding committee work. Drafting the strategy update took months for the BDA Transportation Committee to complete – because finding consensus on mobility priorities in the Puget Sound Area is always a challenge. But, there was one issue that was unanimously identified as a priority – curbside management.
Before the COVID-19 crisis, urban centers across the country were experiencing curbside stress. Increased volumes of Transportation Network Companies (TNC), freight, service vehicles, and employer shuttles were competing for the curb and creating congestion that original planning could not have expected.
The City of Bellevue has taken a leadership role on resolving curbside challenges. In 2019, Bellevue was selected along Boston and Minneapolis to participate in the 2020 Smart Cities Collaborative to launch a pilot project to study curbside demand and find solutions to reduce stress.
The City is installing research equipment along 106th Ave NE between NE 4th and NE 8th Streets to monitor travel behaviors. The COVID-19 crisis has delayed the study’s start date to later this summer. Data may be different than originally expected, but the City will be positioned to gather valuable data around new travel behaviors in a post COVID-19 world.
The BDA supports the City’s involvement in the Smart Cities Collaborative program and will serve as stakeholder resource for feedback when the time is right. In the meantime, it's exciting to hear progress is being made to address curbside use challenges.