The Redmond City Council voted unanimously on Tuesday to make a recommendation to the Bellevue and King County City Councils that 152nd Avenue Northeast in Overlake become a future major corridor for high capacity transit.
The Redmond Council prefers the new “RapidRide” transit go along 152nd Avenue Northeast as opposed to 156th Avenue Northeast.
But while the Council and the staff may want RapidRide to come down 152nd, the decision ultimately isn’t theirs to make.
That decision will belong to the King County Council, which is expected to vote on the issue in May or possibly June, Redmond Associate Planner Jayme Jonas said.
Bellevue City Council will make its formal recommendation on April 14, one day before Redmond’s Council will make its official recommendation for 152nd. Tuesday’s vote was to show their intention to Bellevue and King County Councils on how it planned on voting.
The RapidRide program is a major portion of Transit Now, which has a goal of improving multi-modal transportation. RapidRide will have fewer stops, and thus take less time and will come more frequently so riders don’t need a bus schedule. The goal is for it to come every 10 minutes during peak times, and 15 minutes during non-peak times. Metro is developing five RapidRide programs, including one between downtown Redmond and downtown Bellevue, which is scheduled to be operational by 2011.
The Redmond city staff, Metro and the advisory committee were in agreement in nearly all areas of the RapidRide proposals, with the exception of what road to go along in Overlake: 152nd or 156th.
Metro and an advisory panel both recommended 156th, in part because it was a quicker route, said Redmond resident Josh Benalow, speaking on behalf of the advisory panel. Jonas, who had to summarize Metro’s case for 156th because Metro officials were stuck in traffic due to an accident on SR 520, said the estimated difference is two minutes.
Benalow did say a “significant minority” supported 152nd because it better served the current users.
Jonas said the Redmond city staff recommended 152nd because of the potential for growth, which includes the future development of the Group Health site.
Group Health sent out a letter earlier this year that it planned on closing down its current location on 152nd at the end of April and open up its new location in downtown Redmond soon after, longtime City Councilman Richard Cole said. It is widely believed, and the Council has previously heard testimony supporting the fact, that the Group Health site will be developed into a mix-use residential-retail complex, and Cole said it is important that the site have high capacity transit.