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A. Purpose. The purpose of this section is to:

1. Identify existing neighborhood characteristics that can be enhanced or incorporated into the designs of new development projects;

2. Address neighborhood compatibility and transitions between adjacent land uses, buildings, and street frontages; and

3. Establish criteria for street design, transit service, pedestrian, and vehicle areas.

B. Design Contexts.

1. Intent.

a. To provide contextual references that can be used to encourage creative and distinctive designs for new development and redevelopment projects while avoiding sameness in design.

b. To create contexts that capture the community visions and values as reflected in the Comprehensive Plan, Redmond Zoning Code, and Design Review Handbook. Contextual elements could include the following:

i. Context Defined by Natural Forms and Patterns. These are natural landforms found in the Sammamish River Valley and other parts of the City. Examples include river contour forms; river bench terraces; multiple silhouette ridgelines; and panoramic vistas with associated mountain, lake, river, and ravine forms.

ii. Historic and Cultural Context. Historic landmarks and the section of Leary Way framed by older historic structures have been identified as contributing to the historic character of the City. In addition, Redmond’s native peoples and Redmond’s heritage as a logging and farming community, and as a historic urban crossroads, define the more general historic and cultural context of the City.

iii. Architectural Context. This includes buildings with articulated facades, pedestrian-friendly scale and detailing, historic building features or character, and interesting rooflines.

2. Design Criteria.

a. Site development should not substantially alter natural landforms.

b. Developments that have a historic or cultural context should incorporate or enhance historic or cultural references with the use of symbolic design details, interpretive signs, or informational plaques.

c. Developments within an area that is consistent with the goals and vision within the Comprehensive Plan, and have a distinctive common architectural context in terms of building height, roof type, base, cap, windows, entries, and other similar features, should carry it forward with consistent architectural types, materials, and detailing.

C. Natural Features - Ridgelines and Hill Tops.

1. Intent.

a. To reduce natural hazards and impacts on the natural environment and to minimize the visual impact of development on hillsides.

b. To respect natural landforms and to use them to provide definition between various parts of the community and to provide project identity.

2. Design Criteria.

a. Development on hillsides should minimize visual and environmental impact by incorporating the following techniques as appropriate:

i. Except in Urban Centers, locate structures to ensure the tops of structures are located below prominent ridgelines or the vegetation along ridgelines.

ii. Retain existing wind-resilient vegetation along ridgelines.

Figure 21.60.020A
Ridgelines and Hilltops

Ridgelines and hill tops

D. Relationship to Adjacent Properties.

1. Intent.

a. To promote the functional and visual compatibility between adjacent neighborhoods and different land uses;

b. To encourage building designs which use natural, historical, traditional, or cultural context references to create elements which link the development to the neighborhood and community;

c. To use building design to create a transition between development and natural features; and

d. To promote a gradual transition between different uses.

2. Design Criteria.

a. Coordinate proposed development with surrounding site planning and development efforts on adjacent properties.

Figure 21.60.020B
Relationships to Adjacent Properties

Relationships to Adjacent Properties

b. The site's zoning and other relevant Comprehensive Plan policies shall be considered as indicators of the desired direction for the area and project.

c. Properly link proposed development to existing and planned walkway, trail, street drainage, and utility systems, and assure efficient continuation of such systems.

d. Consider the impact of building mass, color, lighting, and design upon adjacent open spaces, continuity of identified public view corridors, public open spaces or parks, and recreation areas.

e. Designs shall minimize impacts to historic structures or sites, and mitigate impacts through such means as:

i. Developments adjacent to historic landmarks should ensure that significant features of historic landmarks are not obscured from public view. In cases where this is not fully possible, developments shall mitigate with photo documentation, showing the significant features that will be obscured and the relationship of the structure to that adjacent site prior to construction of the obscuring structure.

ii. Use of color on developments adjacent to historic landmark structures that allow the existing historic landmarks to remain prominent within the immediate area.

iii. Use of materials or design that emulate existing historic landmarks but which can be differentiated in age from that of the landmark.

iv. Views from the new development may include views of significant features of the historic landmark.

E. Relationship to Street Front.

1. Intent.

a. To create a relationship between a development and the street front that provides safety and amenities for a development’s residents, employees, and customers, and for surrounding properties.

b. To relate residential development to the street front that helps define neighborhood character. For example, residential areas with porches and balconies can create a sense of community and improve safety along public sidewalks and streets.

c. To relate commercial development to the street front to ensure active street environments that encourage pedestrian activity, stimulate business, and encourage walking as a transportation mode. For example, commercial buildings with windows and entries oriented to the street can enhance pedestrian activity.

d. To create an attractive street edge and unified streetscape and to provide pedestrian access where it does not conflict with private property security issues.

2. Design Criteria.

a. Building setbacks from public streets should be minimized in commercial developments.

b. Buildings should be arranged on-site to minimize distances between buildings to create a walkable environment and to allow for the creation of public plazas and courtyards where required.

c. All development shall include site-planning measures to create an attractive street edge and accommodate pedestrian access.

i. Define the street edge with buildings, landscaping, or other features.

ii. Provide for a sidewalk at least five feet wide if there is not space in the public right-of-way (ROW).

iii. Provide building entries that are accessed from the sidewalk. Preferably these access ways should be separated from the parking and drive aisles. If access traverses the parking lot, then it should be raised, clearly marked by a change in surface treatment, or both.

iv. For businesses which require outdoor display oriented to the street, such as nurseries and auto sales, the street edge shall be defined.

d. Create a streetscape to allow for the safe movement of pedestrians. Wherever possible, relegate parking and drive-through passageways to the side and rear of all buildings.

e. Provide site development features that are visible and pedestrian accessible from the street. These features could include plazas, open space areas, employee lunch and recreational areas, architectural focal points, and accent lighting.

f. Where nonresidential ground floor uses such as structured parking are permitted, windows, rather than blank walls, shall be provided on the street level in order to encourage a visual link between the business and passing pedestrians. A minimum of 60 percent of the length of the storefront area facing streets (between two feet and seven feet above the sidewalk) shall be in nonreflective, transparent glazing.

g. In the Neighborhood Commercial 1 (NC-1) zone, windows shall also be provided along the side and rear facades. A minimum of 20 percent of the total length of the rear and the total length of each side facade shall be in nonreflective, transparent glazing.

Figure 21.60.020C
Relationships to Street Front

Relationships to Street Front

F. Street Design.

1. Intent.

a. To balance the needs of vehicular, transit, pedestrian, and bicycle uses, and to create attractive streetscapes, while maintaining safety as the top priority;

b. To create attractive connections that provide safe linkages to public facilities, shorelines, and other public open spaces, and that complement the aesthetics of adjacent natural features and buildings.

2. Design Criteria.

a. Street design shall be based upon the Pedestrian System Plan, Bicycle System Plan, Design Guidance and Multimodal Transportation Systems Plan chapters of the Transportation Master Plan; Bicycle Facilities Design Manual; the  City's Construction Specifications in RZC Appendix 2, Construction Specification and Design Standards for Streets and Access; and any corridor study adopted by the City Council for the street(s) in question.

b. Minimize steep gradients in circulation patterns to the extent allowed by site topography.

c. Promote safety through adequate sight distance, limited driveways on busy streets, and avoidance of difficult turning patterns.

d. Allow safe, efficient access for emergency vehicles.

e. Discourage through traffic and long curvilinear cul-de-sacs, while assuring adequate circulation between neighborhoods.

f. Accommodate transit on Transit Modal Corridors (see Transportation Master Plan, Transit System Plan), arterial streets and, where appropriate, within internal circulation systems. Width, geometry, slopes, and construction materials should be suitable for transit service. Transit stops should be included at appropriate intervals.

g. Where possible, streets and internal circulation systems should frame vistas of retail areas, public buildings, parks, open spaces, and natural features, especially Lake Sammamish, the Sammamish River, Bear and Evans Creeks, and forested slopes.

h. Intersections shall be designed to facilitate both pedestrian and vehicular movement. Intersections that are components of the bicycle system shall be designed to facilitate bicycle movements (see Transportation Master Plan, Bicycle System Plan).

i. Minimize impacts on water quality by incorporating low-impact development infrastructure and limiting impervious surface area.

j. Provide shade trees along all streets. Street trees spacing and tree species shall be consistent with other street tree species in the neighborhood and shall not result in significant maintenance issues as determined by the City's Planning and Parks Departments' recommendations. Planting techniques shall be selected to create a unified image for the street, provide an effective canopy, avoid sidewalk damage, and minimize water consumption. Drip irrigation systems and native drought tolerant landscaping are encouraged. Trees should vary along different streets to prevent excessive planting of any one species.

k. Within the Shoreline Jurisdiction, streets and bridges shall be designed to enhance shoreline visual, physical, and cultural access by incorporating special design features, such as viewpoints, gateway design elements, street furniture, decorative lighting, landscaping, public art, or street graphics.

G. Transit.

1. Intent.

a. To encourage transit use through building orientation and site design;

b. To provide safe and continuous pedestrian access to transit facilities;

c. To consider minimizing the distance between buildings and transit stops; and

d. To encourage weather protection for those waiting for transit.

2. Design Criteria.

a. Provide transit stops and improvements where the intensity of use and expected demand supports transit use. Transit stops shall include space for shelters meeting King County standards and ten feet between the curb to the back of sidewalk, unless other site requirements require a larger sidewalk. The area devoted to shelters and wider sidewalks may be included in setbacks and may be counted toward required landscaping.

b. Along high traffic volume streets, a number of transit stop alternatives, such as building “passenger bulbs” or transit stops where sidewalks extend to the traffic sidewalk lane, should be installed. Bulbs allow transit to stop easily, and people are prevented from parking at the stop.

c. Provide direct access to transit stops from buildings via defined, safe pathway systems.

Figure 21.60.020D
Transit Access

Pedestrian access to transit provided across the block

Pedestrian access to transit provided across the block

Figure 21.60.020E
Transit Access

Transit access

d. Locate parking lots to the side and rear of buildings. Avoid making pedestrians walk across expansive parking lots to reach transit stops.

e. Consider a covered and lighted entrance outside the structure or other effective options where residents or patrons may wait for transit out of the weather.

f. Focus the location of buildings on-site to concentrate present and future transit use and to encourage residential use of transit.

g. Consider orienting buildings toward the street and locate them as close as practicable toward existing or proposed transit stops. Minimize walking distances between buildings and transit stops. Building entries should be within 1,000 feet of the transit stop.

h. If the development will have a retail use, locate the storefront close to the transit stop.

i. Security walls and fences should include gates that employees can open from both sides to provide access to and from transit stops.

H. Pedestrian and Bicycle Circulation.

1. Intent.

a. To improve the pedestrian and bicycling environment by making it easier, safer, and more comfortable to walk or ride among residences, to businesses, to the street sidewalk, to transit stops, through parking lots, to adjacent properties, and connections throughout the City;

b. To enhance access to on- and off-site open space areas, shoreline access areas, and pedestrian/bicycle paths.

2. Design Criteria.

a. Provide pedestrian walkways that minimize walking distances from principal building entrances to all businesses, uses, and buildings on the development site; existing or planned sidewalks; and the street right-of-way.

b. Provide pedestrian walkways that connect to adjacent properties, except when adjacent properties are multifamily developments of fewer than three dwelling units, or when the pathway could connect a multifamily development to a manufacturing or industrial use, or a manufacturing or industrial use to another manufacturing or industrial use. Barriers that limit future pedestrian access are prohibited. Gates that limit access to employees are permitted.

Figure 21.60.020F
Pedestrian Linkages

Pedestrian Linkages

c. Design pedestrian walkways to be at least six feet wide and distinguishable from vehicle areas by pavement texture, elevation, or other treatment that achieves the same result. Use of painted striping is not adequate for meeting the intent of this section.

d. Enhance site access and access to adjacent sites by linking paths, driveways, and parking areas to adjoining public or private open space, trail systems, paths, crosswalks, and transit stops, consistent with the following plans and guidance:

i. The Redmond Parks, Arts, Recreation, Culture & Conservation (PARCC) Plan;

ii. The Neighborhood Plans in the Redmond Comprehensive Plan;

iii. The Pedestrian System Plan, Bicycle System Plan, Transportation Facilities Plan, and Unfunded Build-out Transportation Facilities Plan in the Redmond Transportation Master Plan (TMP);

iv. The Downtown Pedestrian Map in the Redmond Zoning Code; and

v. The Shoreline Public Access System Map in the Redmond Shoreline Master Program (SMP).

e. Provide easements for pedestrian access to facilitate the future extension of paths as adjoining properties are improved.

f. Provide for and maintain circulation and connections meeting the access needs of the physically disabled as required by the International Building Code and International Residential Code adopted by the State Building Code Council and the City of Redmond.

g. Encourage pedestrian use and movement by providing walkways. Design efficient pedestrian walkways by:

i. Reducing walkway distances and providing short cuts;

ii. Eliminating pedestrian barriers and obstacles, such as providing steps and ramps across retaining walls and slopes where possible and prohibiting vehicular overhangs from driveways within the right-of-way and sidewalk or within easements granted to the City for pedestrian mobility, to allow for pedestrian movement throughout the site. (Gates shall be provided to breech fences if they impede pedestrian movement to shopping, transit, and other common activities.) Pedestrian access shall be clearly marked through design treatments, such as colored and textured walks, speed table driveway crossings, etc.;

iii. Assuring continuity of walkways;

iv. Providing protection from wind and rain, especially at main building entrances and over public walkways;

Figure 21.60.020G
Weather Protection

Weather protection at building entry extends over the public sidewalk

Weather protection at building entry extends over the public sidewalk

v. Providing adequate lighting in accordance with the lighting standards in the Redmond Zoning Code where nighttime use exists or is encouraged;

vi. Using walkway surfaces which are comfortable to walk on and durable; and

vii. Providing safe and convenient access to bike parking.

h. Existing paths should be recognized and improved to ensure connection to and through sites and access to parks and open space.

i. Pedestrian circulation plans should typically incorporate the following techniques to increase the safety of pedestrians:

i. Avoid sharp “blind” corners, especially on stairways and corridors where potential assailants can predict movement.

ii. Avoid sudden changes in grade that reduce sight lines on pathways.

iii. Design openings in barriers along pathways to allow sight lines into adjacent property.

iv. Consider installing convex security mirrors where sight lines are impeded along pathways.

v. Avoid situations where pedestrians cannot see activity on the far side or where alternative paths are not available. 

vi. Confirm the provision of adequate driveway length to avoid encumbering pedestrian mobility such as caused by vehicular overhangs within the right-of-way and sidewalk and/or easements granted to the City for public pedestrian mobility.

I. Vehicle Entrances and Driveways.

1. Intent.

a. To provide safe, convenient vehicular access to sites without diminishing pedestrian access and visual qualities.

2. Design Criteria.

a. Minimize parking lot entrances, driveways, and other vehicle access routes onto private property from a public right-of-way.

Figure 21.60.020H
Vehicle Entrances

Vehicle Entrances

b. Driveway lanes crossing a public sidewalk shall be no wider than the minimum required per entry or exit lane. The City may impose additional restrictions to parking lot and vehicle access point locations to reduce impacts to public safety, pedestrian movement, on-street vehicle circulation, and visual qualities.

c. Joint driveways between adjacent developments should be provided when the proposal meets the following:

i. Joint access is legally available;

ii. The proposal promotes safety for pedestrians and operators of automobiles minimizing the interaction of vehicles and pedestrians; and

iii. The proposal promotes proper dispersal of traffic mode and behavior to support traffic management objectives.

d. Minimize conflicts between entries and vehicle parking and maneuvering areas.

J. Parking Lot and Structured Parking Location and Design.

1. Intent.

a. To encourage parking design that provides for distribution of parking in a balanced manner across the project site plan, avoiding where possible a concentration of all of the parking in front of the building;

b. To provide for clear internal vehicle circulation patterns and consideration of pedestrian walkways in parking lots;

c. To set standards for paving, lighting, and other design elements;

d. To provide for joint entrances and exits;

e. To reduce the negative impacts of parking and circulation facilities on highly visible public open spaces, such as shorelines and other natural open spaces.

2. Design Criteria.

a. Locate parking where possible behind buildings and away from areas of public visibility and shorelines.

Figure 21.60.020I
Parking Lot Location

Parking Lot Location

b. Integrate parking area design with landscape design in a way that reduces the visual impact of impervious surfaces and provides adequate screening of parking from public view, while allowing sufficient visibility to enhance safety. Parking areas should provide for landscaping next to buildings and alongside walkways.

c. Reduce pavement areas for vehicular use by avoiding the use of parking aisles with parking located only along one side.

d. Convenient, clearly identified pedestrian access shall be provided from the interior of parking areas and street front walkways. See Figure 21.60.020J, below.

e. Site layout for individual parcels should be designed to provide reciprocal vehicular and pedestrian access to and from adjoining lots in order to achieve a unified circulation plan which minimizes curb cuts and provides pedestrian connections between uses.

f. Parking – Structured.

i. Structured parking should be designed to include articulated planes. The scale of parking structures shall be modulated by interruptions of the facades, setbacks, and lowering the first level below the existing grade (where the water table allows) to reduce total height.

ii. Facades of parking structures shall include a landscape treatment in addition to architectural screening from the SR 520 corridor.

iii. Parking structures shall have landscaping around the perimeter which will correspond to that used by the adjacent land uses and activities. Landscaping shall include, but not be limited to, a combination of shade trees, evergreen trees, shrubs, groundcovers, deciduous native and ornamental shrubs, and vines to further screen the structures.

iv. The top floor of parking structures should include landscape screening in areas, such as along the cornice and on the deck, either by trees or a screening trellis treatment if visible from residential zones or SR520.

v. Provide walkways in parking floors which have curbs or other barriers to protect from vehicular intrusion.

vi. For security, pedestrian routes shall be visible and avoid enclosed, hidden areas. Emergency call boxes should be available.

vii. Parking structures along the ground floor shall be enclosed with retail or office uses on the exterior; or where this enclosure is not feasible, the visual impact should be softened with landscaping or screening.

Figure 21.60.020J
Parking Lot Pedestrian Walkway

Parking Lot Pedestrian Walkway

(Ord. 2614; Ord. 2803; Ord. 3083)

Effective on: 7/2/2022