Cleveland Street: Redmond, Washington
In 2005, when Redmond, Washington's Transportation Master Plan was first adopted, community residents said that circulation difficulties in the downtown area diminished community cohesiveness and had a negative impact on their quality of life.
They liked the core community character: Redmond is part of a great metropolitan region with extensive urban amenities, while still feeling like a small town with a strong "green" focus. But residents said their ability to use transit, walk, and bike was constrained because of the time and convenience challenges of those modes in Redmond.
The community supported the proposal to make Cleveland Street a people-oriented street that would contribute to and reinforce the downtown area as a destination. Cleveland Street was envisioned as a traditional "Main Street" promenade that would represent Redmond's character, seamlessly integrated within its neighborhood, conducive to walking and biking, and inviting to people. It would facilitate placemaking through its design, but also contribute to economic vitality by ensuring that safe and convenient travel would be supported for all of the ground transportation modes: transit, walking, bicycling, personal motor vehicles, and freight.
Even though the national economy was in the midst of a major recession, residents' vision for a walkable, bikeable, and transit-supportive downtown remained strong. Some developers were concerned about being able to lease ground-floor retail spaces, but the groundwork that had been laid helped create conditions that encouraged development.
The process was not without its challenges. People weren't happy about being rerouted during construction. Residents living in apartments along the street and ground floor businesses had to be accommodated. The team created a downtown liaison role to facilitate communication about construction and upcoming closures, and help solve problems around inevitable friction points. Mini entertainment events were held and communication was aided by display boards, website updates, and frequent e-mails.
"As part of Redmond's 20-year vision, the Cleveland Street project was a catalyst for creating a vibrant 18-hour urban environment in Downtown Redmond. This project helped further facilitate private investment in Downtown; creates progressive accommodations for the city's share of regional growth; encourages biking, walking and soon light rail in 2024; and the curbless festival street design supports opportunities for events, arts and culture."
—Redmond Mayor John Marchione
Ultimately, Cleveland Street was transformed into a two-way street that features a downtown park, a mix of housing options available at both affordable and market rates, local retail businesses, and a connection to a regional rail-to-trail system. Commercial retail spaces along Cleveland Street have become highly attractive locations.
A pedestrian-oriented streetscape populated with street furniture, design and artistic features, and an adjacent new downtown park have supported development that has changed Downtown Redmond to a vibrant, dynamic place where people walk, shop, eat, and come together to celebrate community.