Plus, Transportation technology update
On Monday night, the City Council authorized a $2 million contribution for King County Housing Authority's acquisition of the Bellevue Highland Village Apartments. The vote marks the culmination of a joint effort by the city, state, King County and KCHA to preserve 76 apartments as affordable housing. Thanks to the agreement, spearheaded by KCHA, 85 children living at Highland Village will be able to continue their education in Bellevue schools.
Highland Village gained widespread community attention last summer when the complex's owner announced plans to redevelop the property into new market-rate townhomes. Due to the affordability of the units and high proportion of families with children in the schools, KCHA stepped forward to coordinate a public purchase of the property for $20 million.
Mayor John Stokes in his remarks before the vote noted that the Highland Village preservation marked an "amazing collaborative effort."
Earlier in the meeting, the council joined other local governments in proclaiming May 15-21 "Affordable Housing Week." The city is currently in the process of developing an Affordable Housing Strategy, which is set for council action in early June.
Planning for the city's future transportation system
Also on Monday, the council reviewed progress on updating the city's Intelligent Transportation System master plan, which guides how technology is integrated into the transportation system.
The original plan was written in 2004 and called for several improvements that have since become part of Bellevue's street network. They include traffic monitoring cameras, updating traffic signals citywide to an adaptive system and installing a fiber optic communications network to support the technology. The adaptive system allows signal timing to change, or adapt, constantly based on traffic conditions.
Emerging technologies to be considered in the updated master plan are driverless vehicles, data analytics that can improve safety and efficiency, and connected vehicles that communicate with each other and with the transportation system. The plan will be completed by the end of 2017.
Councilmembers also greeted Steve Marshall, the city's first transportation technology partnership manager, who started work on May 1. The council approved creating the new position in December to develop public-private partnerships in support of new transportation technology.
Marshall will work with a cross-departmental team on different facets of the partnership, such as regional connections, information technology, economic development and traffic engineering.
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