So I get it…naming a transit station is not nearly as entertaining as naming the next British Royal. But it should be. Sound Transit’s East Link Extension design and station naming process is well underway. Ride the Wave! The City of Bellevue will be engaging stakeholders in further station naming efforts in the coming months before review with Council this Fall. Open Transit design…a design process that leverages all things open data, open source, open process…in the service of achieving successful, innovative and inspired community-centered design solutions…intrigues me. It, like many other “open” initiatives, engages community in fun, creative and unprecedented ways. I am trying to learn more about this. This is an interesting article by Peter David Cabaluzzi Faia, describing a new approach to transit design: Open Transit Design: Why Station Designed for Non-Transit Users Are Most Successful. Fresh approaches to engagement to like these have the potential to be transformative tools in urban planning and community development.
The City of Bellevue’s vision for Bel-Red and the pioneering opportunities to ignite a wide range of economic, cultural, and community development there are inspiring. The rezone planning process allowed for the City and Commissions to collectively draft a plan for Bel-Red that included a vision for a vibrant arts/cultural district in the heart of BelRed, a perfect frontier for creative and entrepreneurial industry settlements. With this plan, Bellevue has an opportunity to create some differentiated urban and cultural spaces that compliment those in the Downtown. That differentiation really begins with the naming process. Below is the Sound Transit naming criteria that has been given:
- Reflect the nature of the environment: neighborhoods, street names, landmarks, plus geographical locations
- Be brief and easy to read and remember
- Comply with federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) guidelines and requirements and be limited to 30 characters
- Avoid commercial references because they may change, prove confusing to the public and be costly to change
- Avoid similar names or words in existing facility names
An Arts District Station moniker telegraphs the exisitng and soon to be rooted arts/cultural businesses in BelRed. Donn Bennett Drum Studio, Bellevue Art & Frame, Mike Lull Guitar Works, Northwest Guitars, Evolution Studios, American Music, Mills Music…and the jewel in the crown, Pacific Northwest Ballet School/Francia Russell Performing Arts Center are all familiar Bellevue cultural assets anchored in East Bellevue near the 130th Street Station. The recent issues surrounding the route alternatives around the Pacific Northwest Ballet illuminate the critical importance of our anchor cultural asset situated in the heart of BelRed…a stone’s throw from 130th St Station. Building on this key cultural asset, with the right transit path and the right transit station name, will be critical to creating an our East Bellevue arts/cultural district.