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News Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Council Roundup: Light rail design coming into focus

Also, City Hall parking, council changes, comp plan, EMS levy

Although travelers in Bellevue won't be able to jump on an East Link light rail train to Redmond or Seattle until 2023, the $2.8 billion project is taking shape now.

The City Council on Monday took in presentations by officials with Sound Transit, which will build and operate East Link, and by city staff who provided a monthly briefing on the project. Both reports included renderings and computer graphics that hinted at how the light rail line could eventually look and feel.

Sound Transit officials said they will have reached the 60 percent stage of design work for the Bellevue portion of East Link by the end of the month, and will share the work with Bellevue staff. Following that, the design work will be presented to the public. Other topics Monday included right of way acquisitions, project scheduling and mitigation.

Part of the presentation covered concepts for public art and showed installations along Central Link in Seattle, as well as ideas for public art at stations in Bellevue. Approximately $8.5 million will be available for public art at all 10 East Link stations. Sound Transit has been working closely with the Bellevue Arts Commission and the city's Arts Program, discussing possible themes and art opportunities for the six stations in Bellevue.

Bellevue staff and a landscape architect with Hapa Collaborative, working under a contract with the city, presented several ideas for the redevelopment of the City Hall plaza, which will be impacted by the East Link route. The landscape architect was part of the team that designed the current plaza several years ago.

Also discussed were plans to make it easier for the public to get involved and comment on East Link. Starting in early 2014, Sound Transit and the city's light rail Citizen Advisory Committee will hold joint public meetings.

City Hall parking garage expansion
In a separate action, but one related to East Link, the council approved a contract with SRG Partnership Inc. for up to $573,970 to provide design and engineering services for the expansion of the east parking garage at City Hall.

The 165-stall expansion, along 112th Avenue Northeast, is needed to replace spaces in the current visitors garage and public safety garage off 110th Avenue Northeast. Those spaces will be lost to the light rail project, which will cut off the northwest corner of city hall property, and parking garage, as it turns from northbound 110th Avenue Northeast to eastbound Northeast Sixth Street. SRG was selected over two other firms in a competitive process.

Councilmember Davidson honored
Councilmember and former Mayor Don Davidson, whose term ends December 31, was honored with a commendation and with profuse praise by his fellow councilmembers. Davidson was first elected to the council 30 years ago. He's been elected a total of six times, appointed twice to fill vacancies, served as mayor twice and held office a total of 26 years.

Following a reading of the commendation, councilmembers took turns heaping compliments on "Dr. D," as he is known to many of his dental practice patients and others in the community.

Councilmember Claudia Balducci said Davidson has been a "tremendous part of the history and fabric of this community." Councilmember John Stokes said he brought to the council a "passion for the city." Councilmember Kevin Wallace called him "an amazing mentor." Councilmember John Chelminiak said Bellevue is "a great city because of the work you've done as a member of this council." Deputy Mayor Robertson called Davidson "Mr. Budget Hawk," and Mayor Conrad Lee described him as a "conservative environmentalist."

Davidson responded, "It’s been a real joy to serve with you."

Video of the regular council meeting tribute to Davidson, which follows the swearing-in ceremony, is available on Bellevue TV.

New, returning councilmembers sworn in
Mayor Lee, recently elected to a sixth term on the council, Position 2, and Councilmember Kevin Wallace, elected to a second term, Position 4, were sworn in for fresh four-year terms, which will begin January 1.

Also sworn in was first-time Councilmember Lynne Robinson, who won the Position 6 seat. In a statement following the meeting Robinson said, "I am excited at the prospect of working with the current council. The diversity of our interests, ideas and skills will spark thoughtful discussion as we address the needs of our entire the city."  

Comp plan amendments
The council unanimously approved two map amendments to the city's comprehensive plan. The action was part of an annual amendment process that began in early 2013 and is intended to keep the plan current and relevant. The city's Planning Commission had recommended approval of the two amendments, initiated by their property owners.

One amendment changes the map designation for the Bellevue Apartments, a 1.84-acre site at 13902 NE Eighth Street, from "office" to "multifamily-high," better matching the site's existing use. The other amendment changes the map designation for the Bel-Kirk Office Park, a 7.62-acre site at 11100 NE 33rd Place, from "light industrial" to "office."

Emergency medical services
Thanks to the city's Medic One Basic Life Support Services (BLS) and Advanced Life Support Services (ALS), the city has one of the highest "save" rates in the world.

And the public knows it. In the November election, 82 percent of King County voters approved the King County Emergency Medical Services Levy, which helps to fund Medic One operations.

On Monday, the council authorized agreements with King County to fund the city's Medic One programs from 2014 to 2019. The ALS program will receive $8.28 million, covering the full cost, and the BLS program will receive $2.06 million, partially covering its cost.

Basic services are provided by emergency medical technicians and all Bellevue firefighters are trained as EMTs. Advanced services are provided by firefighter/paramedics; Bellevue has four full-time paramedic units under the King County program.


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P.O. Box 90012
Bellevue, WA 98009
Contact: Lenka Wright, Chief Communications Officer
Phone: 425-452-4090
E-mail: lwright@bellevuewa.gov

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