Council Roundup: Downtown bikeway demo gets nod

Council Roundup: Downtown bikeway demo gets nod
Posted on 02/07/2018

During Monday night’s study session, the City Council reviewed plans and voiced strong support for a demonstration bikeway downtown. All six councilmembers in attendance backed the project on 108th Avenue Northeast as a significant step toward making Bellevue streets safer for the growing number of people who want to ride bikes and walk in the city.

The north-south bikeway will be located between Northeast 12th and Main streets. Plans call for the project to open in May, with an evaluation period running through the end of the year. During that time, modifications to the temporary, low-cost installation may be made to make it perform better.

Project features will include bike lanes on both sides of the street, with barriers separating the lanes from vehicle traffic in some locations. Still in the design stage, the budget for the demonstration project is expected to be in the range of $300,000 to $400,000. It will be funded by the 2016 Neighborhood Safety, Connectivity and Congestion Levy.

Public outreach efforts for the bikeway project included an open house, “pop-up” street events, presentations to organizations and an online survey that generated 1,260 generally positive responses.

Developing priority bike corridors in Bellevue has been a staple in the city’s long-range planning efforts, such as the Comprehensive Plan and several pedestrian and bicycle planning documents. Read the agenda memo for more details.

Affordable housing tops needs assessment concerns

Concern about affordable housing among residents has reached an all-time high, with 77 percent of residents surveyed rating it the community’s number one problem, according to the latest Human Services Needs Assessment.

In a report to the council, Parks & Community Services staff noted that one in three Bellevue renters is cost-burdened, spending more than 30 percent of their income on rent. One in six is severely cost-burdened, spending more than half of their earnings on housing.

The needs assessment is updated every two years to document human services needs and critical trends in the community. The city generally does not provide direct services to residents, but funds local nonprofits who do. The 2017-18 assessment will help guide the human services grants that the city will issue as part of its 2019-20 budget.

To update the assessment, the city last year conducted a phone/online survey of over 400 residents, human services provider surveys and a consumer survey, and held 30 community conversations.

While affordable housing has been a persistent concern, the percentage of residents saying it’s a top concern has spiked. The previous high was 69 percent in 2007. Other major challenges identified in the needs assessment were homelessness and access to transportation.

Service providers will apply for city grants in the spring. The Human Services Commission will provide recommendations to the council on which providers to fund in the fall. View the council agenda memo.

Office of Emergency Management’s key role

The Fire Department’s Office of Emergency Management plays a key role for the city – empowering staff, residents and regional partners to prepare for, respond to and recover from disasters and other emergency situations.

Emergency Manager Curry Mayer, accompanied by Interim Fire Chief Todd Dickerboom, briefed the council on how her division engages with community members on issues related to personal emergency preparedness and training opportunities available to the public.

The Office of Emergency Management provides training for staff and people who live and work in Bellevue, leads internal emergency planning with all departments, and supports response efforts during emergencies from the city’s Emergency Operations Center. Mayer focused on Emergency Management’s considerable outreach and public engagement.

Volunteers on Bellevue’s Citizen Corps Council help promote preparedness while area ham radio operators on the Bellevue Communications Support team are poised to support citywide communication efforts if necessary. Hands-on skills training available to the public includes Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) training and a condensed, “CERT Lite” version, which includes a map-your-neighborhood component.

More information is available in the council agenda memo.

Feb. 20 meeting cancelled

During the meeting, the council voted unanimously to cancel the Feb. 20 meeting due to anticipated absences by several councilmembers. The week of Feb. 19 is also the mid-winter break for the Bellevue School District in which there’s no school.

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