The City of Bellevue has secured New York-based design firm Balmori Associates to serve as the lead consultant for the Grand Connection, a pedestrian trail that will connect Meydenbauer Bay Park to the Eastside Rail Corridor and the Wilburton neighborhood.
The Grand Connection will be a pedestrian walkway and bridge through downtown Bellevue as another option to move people in and out of downtown. In addition to providing a network of pedestrian-oriented routes through the city, project manager Bradley Calvert told the city council that the Grand Connection is as much about creating a sense of place as it is a way to move people across I-405.
“The Grand Connection is an inspiring and transformative concept that highlights Bellevue’s emerging role as a major urban center,” Mayor John Stokes said in a statement. “Balmori’s history of exceptional design and experiential public spaces will make this an exciting, collaborative process.”
The Wilburton neighborhood rests between downtown Bellevue with the Bel Red neighborhood, and is prime for redevelopment with the extension of Sound Transit’s light rail to Overlake.
Per the city’s website: “Wilburton’s enhanced connectivity will help generate the need for a new land use vision, improved amenities, and an opportunity to establish a unique identity and character that compliments its context and prominence.”
One of the Sound Transit East Link stations will be located in Wilburton when the light rail expansion is completed in 2023.
The project scope, values, and principles were approved by the city council in December 2015, and the 2015-2016 budget included funds to complete a land use study and “some work” on the project. The pedestrian corridor is expected to be complete early third quarter of 2016.
Click to see the December presentation to the city council.