Pilot Program: Restrictions at SE 16th Street

Pilot Turn RestrictionsWith East Link light rail construction occurring on Bellevue Way and on 112th Avenue SE, the city is implementing a three-month pilot traffic mitigation program that is intended to discourage commuter traffic from using some neighborhood streets to access Bellevue Way during the evening commute hours (4 to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday).

Temporary turn restrictions were implemented on SE 16th Street at Bellevue Way and SE 16th Street at 108th Avenue SE. The three-month pilot program started Tuesday, September 5, 2017.

UPDATE: Public comments received to-date:

Addresses within the Surrey Downs, Bellecrest, and Enatai neighborhoods and Beaux Arts Village were sent an informational mailer detailing the pilot program in late Aug. 2017.

Let us know your experiences and observations with the pilot project by completing a short survey. Also, the city will collect traffic data during the pilot and will keep the Neighborhood Traffic Mitigation Committee (NTMC) informed of impacts of the program.

The Committee has been extremely sensitive to recommending mitigation that is intended to discourage commuter traffic and recognizes how mitigation also impacts residents. While the pilot restrictions come with changes for residents in accessing their neighborhoods, the intent is to discourage commuter traffic from using neighborhood streets to reach their destination.

Please contact the city with questions or concerns. Staff contact information is to the right.

Why is the pilot project happening now?

  • Increases in commuter traffic on neighborhood streets as a result of East Link construction has long been a concern of neighborhoods adjacent to East Link construction zones.

  • The Committee was formed to develop mitigation tools to address this concern.

  • Traffic increases have been occurring on neighborhood streets since East Link construction began. (View slideshow from 7/6/17 NTMC meeting)

  • Lane reductions on 112th Avenue SE—planned to start on July 31—and Bellevue Way will make neighborhood streets more appealing for commuters to use (as was seen during similar lane reductions during a city Utilities project in 2015) (View 07/25/17 East Link Construction Alert)

View the Pilot Project Handout (mailer)

How long will the pilot turn restrictions last?

Three months. Traffic volumes will be measured during the pilot and community feedback will be gathered to help aid in determining if the pilot is continued.

View the Pilot Project Handout (mailer)

Can the pilot turn restrictions be made permanent?

The pilot—and all work associated with the Neighborhood Traffic Mitigation Committee—is temporary in nature and is only be considered while East Link construction is underway.

View the Pilot Project Handout (mailer)

What have the initial stages of the pilot shown?

At it's Sept. 28 meeting, the Neighborhood Traffic Mitigation Committee (NTMC) was presented:

  • Community feedback prior to and during the initial days of the pilot; and
  • Data from a traffic volume study conducted during the initial days of the pilot

Of 1,700 mailers sent to addresses within the Bellecrest, Surrey Downs, and Enatai neighborhoods and Beaux Arts Village, a little more than 60 individual comments were received. The majority of comments were from area residents. Most comments expressed frustration for having to re-route routine trips which take longer than prior to the turn restrictions being implement.

Data shows an overall decrease in evening and daily volumes at key locations near the turn restrictions. There are a few irregular data points as these locations have not been recently surveyed.

Community feedback and traffic data are contained on the NTMC page (Sept. 28, 2017 Meeting #10)

What if my navigation app directs me through the intersection in contraction to advisory signs?

You need to obey the law - which is to obey the advisory signs.

A moving violation is $136 and a mark on your driving record.

Will the city implement a method (e.g. placard, sticker, decal) to exempt residents from the turn restrictions?

No. The issue of exempting residents from any traffic mitigation implemented during East Link construction was raised when a draft mitigation plan was presented to impacted neighbors in Sept. 2016. The city advised the NTMC that there are many challenges with such a system:

  • lack of local or national precedence in application or case law
  • program administration difficulty (e.g. facilitating guest access)
  • inadequate resources to maintain the program
  • precedent setting for neighborhoods
  • enforcement requires substantial resources,
  • could create unwanted and unexpected driver behavior
  • may create jurisdictional challenges because Beaux Arts Village is its own municipal entity.

For these reasons, a placard system is not prudent or plausible for the city to pursue.

How will the pilot program discourage commuter traffic in neighborhoods?

Commuters sometimes use neighborhood streets to bypass congestion on neighboring arterial streets. The pilot will discourage this activity by restricting through movements on convenient bypass streets—in this case, 108th Avenue SE between Main Street and Bellevue Way—thereby keep commuter traffic on the arterial street network. Police will help to enforce the restrictions. Additionally, the restrictions will be reflecting on navigation apps routing (e.g. Waze, Google Maps), effectively removing some streets as a possible route for users of these apps.

View the Pilot Project Handout (mailer)

What are the features of the pilot program?

Features of the pilot include:

  • Pilot will be in effect Monday through Friday, 4 to 7 p.m.

  • No access to 108th Ave SE south of SE 16th St from southbound 108th Ave SE through the use of signing and a flashing beacon

  • No access to southbound Bellevue Way or westbound SE 16th St from westbound SE 16th St at Bellevue Way

  • Advanced warning of restrictions at Main St and 108th Ave SE through use of a sign

  • Advanced warning of restriction for southbound 108th Ave SE traffic approximately 300’ north of SE 16th St through the use of signing and a flashing beacon

  • Transit and bicycles are exempt from the restrictions

  • Pilot program is enforceable

    • Pilot is supported by Police Department

  • Navigation apps would reflect change

  • Traffic data collection will occur during pilot

  • Community can give feedback on pilot

View Pilot Project Handout (mailer)

Does this pilot apply to buses or people bicycling?

No. Buses and people biking are exempt from the restrictions and are permitted to travel through the intersections. Signs will communicate this exemption. This exemption is similar to the existing no through restriction at 108th Avenue and Main Street.

View Pilot Project Handout (mailer)

Are the turn restrictions enforceable?

Yes. Police will enforce the turn restrictions. If you are found to violate the restrictions, the infraction is $136.

Must all motorists abide by the restrictions?

Yes. All motorists must abide by the restrictions. Similar to the existing no-through restriction at 108th Ave and Main St, transit vehicles and people biking are exempt from the restrictions.

I either live south of these restrictions or am trying to travel south through this area between 4 to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday. How do I get to where I’m going?

If you use 108th Ave SE and/or SE 16th Street between Main Street and Bellevue Way to get to Enatai, I-90, you will have to find alternative routes. Fortunately, there are numerous other ways to get to I-90 such as traveling on Bellevue Way from downtown, using 112th Ave SE to Bellevue Way, or using one of the downtown entrances to I-405.

Please see pilot program handout (mailer) to see how to access destinations south of the restrictions.

How was the pilot program developed?

Through its discussions, the Neighborhood Traffic Mitigation Committee recognized that a pivotal point of traffic impacts could be at the intersection of Bellevue Way and 108th Avenue SE and originally proposed turn restrictions there. The Police Department advised enforcement would be difficult on Bellevue Way and cautioned that implementing restrictions would mean officers having to pull over drivers onto Bellevue Way, which would compound traffic issues.

In light of the Police Department’s advisement, city staff proposed pilot turn restrictions north of the Bellevue Way/108th Ave SE intersection and presented it to the Committee. Although not all Committee members support the pilot program, there is recognition that mitigation should be in place now that construction is happening on Bellevue Way and began on July 31, 2017 on 112th Avenue SE.

How is the City informing the community about the pilot program?

City staff are reaching out to properties adjacent to the area where the turn restrictions will be implemented, neighborhood association leadership, Bellevue High School and other stakeholders.

Public information will be released through city communications tools including:


Marie Jensen, East Link OutreachJohn Murphy, Neighborhood Traffic Safety Services


425-452-2064 (Marie) 425-452-6967 (John)


mjensen@bellevuewa.gov jmurphy@bellevuewa.gov
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