Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Bel-Red Area to Pilot Newcastle Development

Bel-Red Area looking toward downtown

Bellevue, or “Microsoft Office” as some call it, has an area east of the BNSF tracks they call “Bel-Red.” It’s sort of on the north side of the Bellevue Redmond Road. Northup Way is on the other side. It’s spelled that way because they ran out of “Rs” years ago. We have plenty now but nobody wants to change.
Some of the business in the Bel-Red area.

In the past the railroad carried heavy freight into the area which made it a good location for warehouse and bulk material businesses. If you had some capital and thought the world needed more bulk you bought 10 acres and set up a big bulk distribution center. Your bulk arrived in box cars along with the hobos and rats. The rats are still there. The hobos are now rich developers in Bellevue.

The Coca Cola Distribution Center
Coca Cola and Safeway had major bulk centers there. Coke still does. Safeway moved to a place with lower property tax. Turns out Safeway is part of the trend – lots of bulk businesses left. Coke can’t leave yet because the EPA would make them clean up. Its bulk is very sticky.

The railroad closed the track from Renton and put it up for sale. Whole nother story. The obvious reason for the rail closure is the enormous cost that would be required to make the grade crossings safe. BNSF couldn’t see going to all that expense because bulk cola comes by truck now.
Bulk Coke supplies come by truck now - but they have to sneak in.
Apparently grade crossing issue is not obvious to some people who’re trying to promote a commuter rail line along the corridor. Again, whole nother story. Good for laughs, though.
There are hundreds of low brow businesses and empty places around the Bel-Red area now. Metro has a bus parking area, for example. The Bellevue City Council thinks they should be able to collect more tax revenue so they want to change the look to high brow business.

Low brow type installations.

The concept is along the lines of the “Urban Village” with low rise combination structures. They want apartments, retail, and professional business. Also a library and several mattress stores. Mattress stores are everywhere.

They want this because after years of runaway high rise development by the downtown hobos it’s not “Bellevue” any more. You might as well be in Cleveland.
This place - Don't go over 5 MPH while exercising.
Last November voters approved the light rail branch to the east side of Lake Washington. Bellevue thinks it’s naturally going to run through the Bel-Red area.

Bellevue City Council has the wind in its sails after finally reaching an agreement on the Bel-Red area development plan so they jumped into picking a specific route for the East Link. They picked a tunnel for the downtown segment. Apparently they failed to realize the tunnel boring machine will be busy in Seattle replacing the Alaska Way Viaduct.
Not a real high tech area.
The East Link route is tentatively planned for the I-90 bridge/tunnel/cutoff on what we now use for reversible diamond lanes. Won’t need those any more. Next year the DOT will put toll booths on both floating bridges so traffic will drop way off. Everyone will go around. They are hoping it will force more riders onto the transit systems.

The alleged Bellevue route will catch the line coming off I-90 from Mercer Island (those people again). It’ll bump and rattle up Bellevue Way and into the new tunnel (proposed) under downtown. It’ll kind of twist and turn under several high rise office buildings and head east again.

That’s where it pops up above ground smack into the Bel-Red area. Then it runs along a new street in the Urban Village before heading to the main Microsoft campus. By the time its complete Windows will be relocated to Kansas or Nebraska and Microsoft will be a mere shadow of what it is today. Hearst will use the buildings for its electronic newspaper business.

Leaving Microsoft the rail line will end up in Redmond. Maybe. I doubt anyone will notice during the year 2100 parties.

A similar Urban Village concept has already been approved for Newcastle and the Lake Boren area. They will watch closely to spot the surprise problems as they come up. Once the whole Bel-Red plan falls through in Bellevue the Newcastle City Council launch a much better plan.

Newcastle City Council solution to the fencing question.
Newcastle is the natural location for the East Side Transit Station. People going to Seattle from the East Side will catch hundreds of busses and trolleys headed for Newcastle. Once there they’ll transfer to the East Link Light Rail and rocket over the lake at about 200 MPH. Why not?

The East Side Transit Station overlooking Lake Boren will set the American standard (plumbing reference). It’ll combine city offices, library, post office, car wash, and 900 residential units. And no parking. There could be a major new shopping mall attached.

There will be huge windows so everyone will get a great view of Lake Boren. World Class dining and a 2000 unit hotel could be part of the package.

They will call it the “West Lake Boren Transit Center” so as to differentiate it from the East Lake Boren area. And everything needs to be called “center” for some reason.



Hair Farmer Joe said...

I love your humor Al, but I sense a feeling of wishing you lived here in 'Microsoft Office' ...

Donna said...

Este Blog investe e acredita na... PROXIMIDADE!

I received this award from Michelle:
"I received this award from two dear blogpals, first MiniKat and then Sharon. I wasn't going to post about it, since it's given to blogs that "invest and believe in the PROXIMITY- nearness in space, time and relationships. These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in prizes or self-aggrandizement! Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give more attention to these writers!” See that little line, "not interested in prizes or self-aggrandizement"? How do you accept an award without appearing interested in self-aggrandizement? But when it came my way a second time, it seemed rude to ignore the kind gestures of these two ladies, and not pass the award on to eight others. When I looked through the list of blogs I follow, I realized I've had the fun of meeting nine of them (not counting my sister, neighbor, and the proprietors of two local yarn shops). So although this award is not necessarily for those with whom one has shared a physical proximity, these bloggers fit the other descriptions, too. Tina, Allena, Karla, Franna, Tammy, Donna, Lois, Shannon, and Tammy - consider yourselves awarded!"

So in considering this, I chose 6 bloggers that have relative proximity in relationships and in physical location who have charming blogs. (There are two repeats from the above.) They are:

Hill said...

Do you want to have a say
in how the Bel-Red Corridor will
develop over the next 30 years? In
January a draft environmental impact
statement with alternatives for how
the area could develop in the future
will be released for public comment.
utah plumbers