Travel Smart During the Holidays

The holiday season in Bellevue is near.  Soon, ice skaters will be tightening their laces at Downtown Park, spectators will gawk at Garden d’Lights at Bellevue Botanical Garden, and shoppers will swarm area stores. 

While the holidays are a joyous time, they can also be a travel headache if you are stuck in traffic.  This year, consider other travel options rather than simply driving alone.  Whether you drive, take the bus, walk, or bike, here are some tips that will help you get moving and reduce those travel headaches.

  • Before you leave, check the real-time Bellevue Traffic Map!
  • Gather your friends and carpool!
  • If you are traveling with two or three people (restrictions are location dependent),  then you can use the HOV lanes!
  • During congested traffic times, there will be no right turn from eastbound NE 8th St to southbound Bellevue Way; a sign will indicate whether the turn is restricted.
  • Additionally, there may areas around Bellevue Square that have limited opportunities to enter into the mall as to avoid unnecessary congestion.  In these cases, there will be cones and officers directing traffic.  When exiting Bellevue Square, traffic may be directed to other streets adjacent to the mall to reduce congestion on NE 8th St.
  • Snowlake Lane is a nightly celebration along Bellevue Way between NE 8th St and NE 6th St featuring lights, music, toy soldiers, and snow.  During this time, traffic can be heavy.  Snowflake Lane begins on November 23 with a parade and runs until December 31. 
  • There are several flashing yellow arrow (FYA) signals around Bellevue Square and Downtown Park to reduce delays at signals.
  • Follow the Bellevue Transportation Department or WSDOT Traffic on Twitter for real-time travel updates.

  • There are numerous  bus routes running through Bellevue.  Here is a full list of King County Metro and Sound Transit buses that serve Bellevue.
  • Fares on King County Metro are $2.25 per off-peak trip and $2.50 and $3.00 for peak one-zone and two-zone trips, respectively.  (Sound Transit trips are $2.50; $3.50 if crossing county lines.) 
  • Remember that Metro operates on reduced schedules on some days during the holidays (Thanksgiving, the day after Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, December 26-28, New Year’s Eve, and New Year’s Day). 
  • There are 10 Park-and-Rides in Bellevue, all with free parking with capacity to hold 2,569 vehicles.  Consider driving to a Park-and-Ride and taking the bus the rest of the way to your destination.

  • Walking is easy in downtown Bellevue.  Park your car once and explore the city!  By eliminating short trips, there is one less vehicle on the road and less congestion and it’s often faster to walk than park and drive short distances.
  • There are 250+ stores and 150+ eateries within easy walking distance in downtown Bellevue!
  • The Bellevue Transit Center is only one-quarter mile from Bellevue Square.  Downtown Park is less than one-half mile from the Transit Center.  Use the pedestrian corridor on 106th Ave NE near the transit center for easy access to Bellevue Square and Downtown Park. 

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