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Bellevue, Washington Could Put a 'Lid' on its Freeway

The idea is still very preliminary, but the city of Bellevue, Washington is circulating a plan that could create a freeway cap park spanning the I-405 freeway as a component of a new bike and pedestrian path.
August 24, 2017, 9am PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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Freeway Cap Park
Conceptual rendering of the I-405 lid park.

"The City of Bellevue [Washington] is in the early stages of charting future development that could include a 'lid' connecting two areas of the community that are now divided by Interstate 405," reports Michele Chandler.

The lid, or freeway cap park, is one of three options for spanning I-405 as part of the proposed Grand Connection, a "1.5-mile pedestrian and bicycle path would wind from Meydenbauer Bay Park at Lake Washington, connect through the downtown core and ultimately terminate at the regional multi-use Eastside Rail Corridor."

Other options for spanning I-405 include a sculptural bridge and a stand-alone bridge. The Grand Connection Framework Plan, made public in June 2017, is careful to note that the Framework Plan would not constitute a decision regarding any those options. The I-405 crossing will, however, "be evaluated as part of the Wilburton Commercial Area Environmental Impact Statement," writes Chandler. That planning effort is a two-phase project, including the Grand Connection urban design work and land use and transportation plan for the Wilburton commercial area. "The city will release a draft Environmental Impact Survey for the Wilburton commercial area and the I-405 crossing segment in late September," adds Chandler.

Still, the I-4-5 lid is likely to remain a hot topic. The lid idea is not the only such idea in the region. Seattle residents and designers proposed the Seattle C.A.P. Park for I-5 in that city's downtown in late 2015. Several other major cities around the country have freeway cap parks at various levels of concept, design, and planning, including Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Atlanta, Dallas, and Denver.

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Published on Wednesday, August 23, 2017 in The Registry
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