NE 51st Street is designated as a minor arterial street with plans for roadway improvements including bicycle lanes and turn lanes in Redmond’s Transportation Master Plan.
Microsoft proposed the construction of two new buildings south of NE 51st Street approximately ten years ago. New buildings are required to undergo a transportation review. This review required several transportation projects to be completed as mitigation for the new buildings:
- Intersection improvements at 156th Avenue at 45th Street
- Turn lanes at the intersection of 51st Street and 154th Avenue
- A bicycle lane on the south side of 51st Street from the eastbound 520 off ramp to 154th Avenue
In 2016, Microsoft agreed to fund the NE 51st Street improvements paid for by Microsoft through a financial mechanism called a “community facility district.” Redmond City Council approved the petition for a community facility district with the condition that Microsoft also fund the completion of bicycle lane on the north side of 51st Street from 154th Avenue to the eastbound 520 on-ramp, as called for in the Transportation Master Plan.
Redmond initiated design of the 51st Street Improvements in late 2016. To date, the City has updated the 2008 Microsoft transportation study, advanced design to 100%, and held a public meeting in March 2017 to review the project.
The Washington State Connecting Washington transportation revenue package is providing funding to improve pedestrian safety at the intersection of 51st Street and the Westbound SR 520 ramps. This includes installation of truck aprons intended to slow down turning movements.
Redmond held a public meeting in March 2017 to discuss the 51st Street project. The project team heard significant interest in the project from the community around three main themes:
- Support for the addition of an eastbound left turn lane at 156th Avenue
- Concern about ingress/egress at 51st Street and 154th Avenue
- Traffic issues on 156th Avenue north of 51st Street
Redmond’s design team has been reviewing these interests and coordinating with the Washington State Department of Transportation and Sound Transit regarding these improvements. Here is the current status of each item:
- Support for the addition of an eastbound left-turn lane at the intersection of 51st Street and 156th Avenue. Resolution: This scope of work has been added to the project. Microsoft, the project sponsor, supported this addition and Redmond City Council subsequently authorized the additional expenditures to complete the work.
- Concern about ingress/egress at 51st Street and 154th Avenue. Resolution: The consultant engineer team generated a signal warrant analysis at this intersection. Redmond’s City Traffic Engineer reviewed the report and applicable federal information and made a determination as described below.
- Traffic issues on 156th Avenue north of 51st Street: Sign to I-405 misdirecting drivers north of 51st Street and sight distance for southbound vehicles. Resolution: The City has revised signage to provide a larger, clearer arrow pointing left to SR 520 and I-405. In addition, Redmond has worked with the property owner at the northeast corner of 51st Street and 156th Avenue regarding sight distance and will be following up in the future to ensure the sight distance triangle is provided at this location.