East Link Station Area Planning Gets a Fresh Perspective from AP Environmental Science Students at Sammamish High School


Land Use and Transportation planners at the City of Bellevue worked with teachers of Advanced Placement Environmental Science (APES) at Sammamish High School to engage students in creating an ideal plan for the area around the future light rail station located in the city’s hospital district.

Students were assigned the task of looking at implications for land use, transportation, housing, environment and urban design. In teams of 5 to 6, students took responsibility for researching and becoming the “expert” on one of the five components. They then worked together to integrate their ideas into a plan for the area. Students worked on the project for several weeks with planners checking in about once a week answering questions and providing guidance. Planners then did a final critique when students presented their plans to the entire class. 

In addition to students learning about land use, transportation, urban design, housing, the environment and planning in general, city staff also learned what students were thinking about and how they would approach problems. One of the planners said, “As we told the students, the plans we are preparing are for them and their children and grandchildren, but we often don’t hear from them during the planning process. This was an opportunity for us to learn from the students, and their ideas will help inform the work we do when preparing the plan for that station area.” 

Overall students placed a greater emphasis on non-auto modes of travel. Many of them wanted to create a substantial park around Lake Bellevue to help restore its natural function and create an amenity for the increased population that would be living and working in the area.  They also had an interest in the specific types of commercial uses, making sure they would be the kinds of places their generation would frequent.  One group even explored the need for and sited an elementary school anticipating growth in that age group.

Supporting materials include Project Components, PowerPoint presentations, student presentation, student feedback.

For more information contact: Michael Kattermann at the City of Bellevue at [email protected], Kristin Larson [email protected] or Karissa Stay [email protected] at Sammamish High School  


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