Council Roundup: Vision Zero action plan

Council Roundup: Vision Zero action plan
Posted on 09/13/2017

On Monday night, the City Council reviewed progress and next steps for Vision Zero, an approach to traffic safety that seeks to eliminate serious injuries and traffic deaths in Bellevue by 2030.

Last December, the council adopted Vision Zero policies into the city’s comprehensive plan and directed city staff to prepare an action plan that increases safety for all users of the transportation system. Components of the plan, known as the “6 Es,” will include education, encouragement, enforcement, engineering, equity and evaluation.

Work on the action plan officially kicks off Sept. 28, though noteworthy efforts already are underway:

Video Analytics Towards Vision Zero Partnership: The video analytics project aims to use cloud computing and machine learning systems to convert raw footage from traffic cameras into useful data. The data could then be used to help traffic engineers pinpoint potentially dangerous intersections and take proactive measures to prevent crashes.

Recently, the Institute of Transportation Engineers and the Canadian Institute of Transportation Engineers presented their 2017 Transportation Achievement Award for Safety to the Video Analytics project. The work is a collaboration between Bellevue, Microsoft, the University of Washington and more than two dozen other organizations across North America. One new partner is Bellevue-based Unity Technologies, which will help generate “synthetic” images to augment the footage from city traffic cameras.

Eyes on the Road: Following a new “driving under the influence of electronics” state law that went into effect in July, the city’s Neighborhood Traffic Safety Services has launched a new educational effort. NTSS, with help from the Bellevue Police Department, will distribute window decals and other materials geared toward driving responsibly and being attentive to road conditions.

The city’s Transportation Commission will oversee work on the Vision Zero Action Plan.

For more information, the city council agenda material or the Vision Zero web page.

Eastside Pathways funding update

Earlier, councilmembers were briefed on recent work by community partner Eastside Pathways. The organization collaborates with more than 60 groups including the Bellevue and Lake Washington school districts, social service nonprofits, parent groups, businesses, funders, families and youth. Eastside Pathways brings the community together around common strategic goals and evidence-based measurements to maximize opportunities for children in Bellevue.

Eastside Pathways is currently leading a handful of initiatives including a school attendance campaign. Executive Director Stephanie Cherrington highlighted a 28 percent decrease in school tardiness in 2016 due to effective coordination and outreach.

In April, the council approved a funding agreement to give $200,000 annually in 2017 and 2018. A complete breakdown of the data can be found in Eastside Pathways annual “Community Report.”

Amazon HQ2 proposal

Before the meeting’s presentations, Councilmember Kevin Wallace requested that the city work on a formal proposal to attract Amazon’s recently announced second headquarters, dubbed “HQ2.” Other councilmembers agreed that Bellevue’s business environment, ongoing infrastructure improvements and skilled workforce, make it a viable contender. Staff will return with an update on the process in the coming weeks. Responses to Amazon’s RFP are due by Oct. 19.

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