On July 26, 1990, President George H. W. Bush signed into law the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The act set a clear and comprehensive national mandate to ensure equity and access to employment, public accommodation, transportation and more for individuals with disabilities.
At the City of Bellevue, we see our diversity as our strength and recognize the importance of the disability community in innovation and entrepreneurship, economic impact of consumer spending, and in the unique skills and diverse perspectives those living with disabilities offer the workforce.
As a way to celebrate 30 years of progress in access & inclusion through the ADA, below are key ways (among many others) each department at the City of Bellevue recognizes and supports the disability community in our services and actions, both in line with as well as above and beyond the mandate of the ADA.
City Manager's Office
The City Manager’s Office at the City of Bellevue is a leadership center for the city, where managers implement policies and oversee all city operations in line with Bellevue’s vision and priorities.
A key part of the city vision is to provide inclusive and accessible services to all who live, work and play in Bellevue. The City Manager’s Office also oversees the Diversity Advantage Initiative team, which includes an ADA & Title VI Administrator.
The City Manager’s Office mission is to connect the organization with the City Council and Bellevue's diverse community. We lead the delivery of exceptional public service, with a commitment to equity, inclusion and core values.
From Compliance to Equity and Back Again
Did You Know? The city of Bellevue is committed to moving the conversation of disability beyond complying with ADA requirements to a focus on equity for all. The position of ADA Coordinator is folded into the Diversity Advantage Team.
Captioning for All
Did You Know? The City of Bellevue provides closed captioning options on all content aired on Bellevue Television (BTV) Channel 21 and online, offering access to spoken or audio content for those who are Deaf, hard of hearing or watching the content in a loud space or area where volume can’t be used.
Keep it Powered
Did You Know? There are free power wheelchair charging stations in Bellevue at six locations: City Hall, Crossroads Community Center, Highland Community Center, North and South Bellevue Community Centers and the Northwest Arts Center. The stations were installed through a multi-department partnership.
City Attorney's Office
Our mission is to protect lives and property and to preserve and enhance the quality of life of the public by delivering effective and high-quality advice, litigation, prosecution, and risk management services that further the City's policies and programs.
Prosecutors Promote Access
Did You Know? Prosecutors work with defense attorneys to refer defendants with mental health diagnoses to King County Mental Health Court. Defendants meet with King County social workers to determine if mental health court is the best option.
Language Access is Critical
Did You Know? If and when they are needed, the Prosecutor’s division will provide ASL interpreters for witnesses or victims.
Disability is Diversity
Did You Know? The Bellevue City Attorney’s Office has a Diversity Committee, a Diversity Liaison and members of the Disability Allyship Resource Team who work to highlight discussions and events related to disability.
City Clerk’s Office
Our mission is to facilitate accessible, open and transparent government through communication, information sharing and participation by citizens in municipal government, while providing a necessary link between the legislative and administrative functions of the city.
Did You Know? Council Chambers inside City Hall is fitted with a Hearing Loop device which is also known as an audio induction loop. This special system transmits an audio signal directly into a hearing aid via a magnetic field. The technology greatly reduces background noise, competing sounds, reverberation and other acoustic distortions that reduce clarity so everyone attending events held inside the Council Chambers can enjoy the events without struggling to hear against other competing noises.
Tech Provides Access
Did You Know? In late 2019, the City Clerk’s Office piloted the use of an electronic registration form to be used to sign up for Oral Communications and/or Public Hearing to give comments during our City Council meetings. This eliminates the need to use the traditional pen and paper to register and allows for more accessibility to everyone who would like to provide their comment to Council. Council always accepts written comments submitted to the Council email as well.
Microphones for All
Did You Know? Although the Council Chambers has a podium with a static microphone, a separate, hands-free microphone was added on a lower table to allow better access for anyone participating in public comment, particularly those who use wheelchairs. With help from our facilities team, the Council meetings held in City Hall within Council Chambers will always have this additional microphone available for use during the meeting.
Our mission is to secure Bellevue’s future as a livable, inspiring, vibrant and equitable community by working collaboratively to create excellent physical spaces, build a robust creative economy, and empower our vibrant, diverse neighborhoods.
Tree Tours Add Access
Did You Know? A portable sound system is used for the Bellevue tree tours so everyone can hear the presentation. This allows those with hearing loss the ability to participate without barriers.
All Communities are Welcome
Did You Know? Community Development provides accommodations such as Communications Access Real-time Translation (CART) technology for the Deaf and hard of hearing and large print documents at community meetings for those with low vision.
Did You Know? Community Development provides demographic reports for all departments to help staff across the city plan for and tailor their programs and services to be more inclusive for people with disabilities.
Our mission is to protect the quality of public and private infrastructure, the safety and integrity of the built and natural environment, and the livability of the city while facilitating appropriate and timely development.
Formatting Goes Online
Did You Know? More than 90% of all Development Services public documents have been transferred from pdf format to ADA-compliant html format, available online and easily translatable using online translator tools and readable for screen reader devices used by those with low vision or who are blind.
Digital Advancements Increase Access
Did You Know? Best practices for accessibility have been used in developing workshops and videos for transitioning to 100% paperless permitting, including closed captioning.
Universal Design at City Hall
Did You Know? The City of Bellevue embraces the principles of universal design when planning Permit Center alterations, including making sure desk height is at least 27 inches from the ground.
Finance & Asset Management
Our mission is to work together to build a better, stronger future through management of the city's finances and various physical assets, ensuring effective use of Bellevue's financial and physical resources.
Let’s Meet up
Did You Know? The standard conference room table height at city facilities has been adjusted to be more accessible to all people, including those who use wheelchairs. Table height and knee space clearances have been adjusted in all public conference rooms.
Communication During COVID
Did You Know? The Service First team is outfitted with accessible masks that accommodate Deaf/hard of hearing guests at City Hall through a see-through window in the mask. For those that rely on lip reading and facial expression in conversation, opaque masks make it virtually impossible to communicate.
More than Just Finance
Did You Know? Bellevue’s Finance & Asset Management (FAM) department works hard to ensure City Hall and many other spaces are fully accessible to both staff and community who visit our spaces. From accessible lockers to counter heights, FAM is involved!
Our mission is to assist the public in the protection of life and property by minimizing the impact of fire, medical emergencies, and potential disasters or uncontrolled events.
Our Office of Emergency Management works to empower city employees, the public and regional stakeholders to prepare for, mitigate, prevent, respond to and recover from disasters.
Stay Safe: Shelter in Place
Did You Know? Sheltering in place can keep you safe! Bellevue Fire partnered with the Office of Emergency Management and the City Manager’s Office to create materials for those who may not be able to exit a building in a fire because elevators don’t function and a graphic for staying safe in an earthquake for those with accessibility challenges.
Partnerships Increase Access
Did You Know? Bellevue partnered with the City of Redmond to develop modifications to the CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) curriculum to ensure all volunteers are able to participate regardless of ability.
Firefighters in the Know
Did You Know? All Bellevue Firefighters are trained according to the Travis Alert Act standards, which requires all firefighters to be familiar with and understand how to respond to emergencies that involve those with disabilities, so they can best provide for their needs.
Our mission as a strategic partner is to provide outstanding customer service and stewardship of resources in attracting and retaining a high-performance, diverse, workforce in support of the changing needs of the organization.
Leadership in Employment
Did You Know? A Supported Employment Program was implemented in 2016 to create valuable job opportunities to individuals living with disabilities. The city received the Governor’s Award in 2018 for the program and in 2019 adopted the supported employment classification into a 2019-2022 collective bargaining agreement.
Disability Equity in Employment
Did You Know? A Hiring for Equity Manual was developed in 2016 in Bellevue to incorporate hiring processes that are inclusive and accessible. The city provides reasonable accommodation to applicants throughout the hiring process including application, testing, and interview.
Disability Allyship for Employees
Did You Know? Bellevue has a Disability Allyship Resource Team (DART) comprised of staff from several city departments and created through a partnership between HR and the City Manager’s Office. The mission of DART is to serve as a resource and partner to other departments on topics related to disabilities. The group also brings educational awareness to city staff on disability topics.
Our mission is to deliver diverse digital services to Bellevue residents and internal departments in support of the city’s vision to provide inclusive and accessible services to all who live, work and play in Bellevue.
For the past four years, the city has placed in the top five of the Digital Cities Survey, highlighting our collaborative smart cities efforts, digital communications, increased accessibility efforts and effective regional partnerships.
Find your way, Bellevue
Did You Know? The city uses specialized web tools to select accessible color schemes and the most readable color combinations. These tools are used for several maps including Levy maps to ensure visual accessibility.
Accessibility on the Web
Did You Know? The Geographic Information Systems (GIS) resource pages on the city’s public website comply with the latest ADA standards for accessibility, including tool tips on thumbnails, removing iframes in web content, and the city has even gone above and beyond the federal compliance requirements by adding easy-to-read ‘Cards’ for downloadable maps and interactive web map previews.
Universal Design is All the Rage
Did You Know? The city’s Digital Government team partnered with the Diversity Team to create a Universal Design Guide which provides staff with step-by-step instructions on how to create spaces and materials that are accessible to all people. This helps to ensure all bodies and minds feel seen and welcomed into our physical and virtual spaces.
Parks & Community Services
Our mission is to build a healthy community through an integrated system of exceptional parks, natural areas, recreation, arts and culture, and a broad base of community services.
Recreation for All
Did You Know? Recreation staff are trained on the inclusion model. The City of Bellevue welcomes the opportunity to provide modifications for people with disabilities so that full participation in leisure and recreation programs may be enjoyed by all. The inclusion model looks at recreational needs and interests instead of diagnostic labels or disabilities.
Challenge Course Access Upgrades
Did You Know? The Bellevue Challenge Course has been focusing on making the trails, elements and equipment more accessible, especially for those who use wheelchairs. King County has given the City of Bellevue a grant to purchase a Grit Freedom active wheelchair and improve accessibility to three of the low challenge course elements.
Accessibility at Play
Did You Know? Bellevue’s Parks department collaborates with playground manufacturers to supply the most inclusive and adaptive play equipment for all its playgrounds during the equipment replacement process. It is a priority that new equipment will be fully accessible and to ensure we are providing the latest, most accessible features above and beyond ADA compliance. The city also has a state-of-the-art inclusive and adaptive playground at Downtown Park called Inspiration Playground.
Our mission is to provide a safe place to live, work and visit through quality law enforcement practices delivered by dedicated professionals.
We focus our efforts on reducing crime, reducing the fear of crime, and enhancing the quality of life for all who call Bellevue home by delivering the highest standard of police services to the public through partnering with the community, embracing diversity, building trust and embodying transparency.
Police Training Promotes Inclusion
Did you know? Every year Bellevue Police officers undergo required crisis intervention training online, focusing on de-escalation and assisting individuals in crisis. Topics regularly include issues related to mental health and intellectual/developmental disabilities.
Resources Officers in the Know
Did you know? Bellevue Police School Resource Officers attend an annual conference for 40 hours, which focuses on safety and discussions of diversity considerations and celebrations within schools. Additional focus areas include working with students with various disabilities, mental illness diagnoses and students in crisis.
Police Partners for Access
Did you know? Bellevue Police officers work in partnership with Bellevue C.A.R.E.S. and the King County Mobile Crisis Team on a daily basis. When officers come in contact with people who are in crisis or could benefit from one of these programs, they will make a referral.
Our mission is to provide a safe and efficient transportation system that supports livable neighborhoods and a vital economy in partnership with our diverse community.
Accessible Signaling Spreads
Did You Know? The Transportation Department has installed accessible pedestrian signals at over 80% of Bellevue’s traffic signals and is on track to have them installed at all signals by 2022.
You Ask We Answer
Did You Know? The Transportation Department has an annual funding program to address accessibility concerns from the public. You can click "more details" below to submit comments about accessibility using the MyBellevue app.
Transportation is Here for You!
Did You Know? Transportation staff are available to review routes with anybody who has accessibility concerns. You can submit comments about accessibility on the MyBellevue app or by clicking "more details" below.
Our mission is to deliver high quality, reliable drinking water, wastewater, storm and surface water, and solid waste services in a manner that is environmentally responsible and cost-competitive.
Utilities Promotes Access
Did You Know? Bellevue Utilities uses accessibility standards to ensure public meetings are accessible to all – including providing wheelchair-accessible aisles, microphones and printed materials in large print versions. Public outreach methods for Utilities projects typically involve both in-person and online options, so residents who cannot physically participate in meetings have channels to provide input.
From Outdated to Updated
Did You Know? Utilities delivers exceptional customer service during construction by having inspectors routinely work with residents with disabilities to ensure that construction impacts are minimized for them. This might include making sure they have vehicle access to get to doctor appointments, scheduling and minimizing impacts associated with water main shutdowns and assisting with garbage pick-up.
What a Relief!
Did You Know? The Utility Rate Relief Program provides a 70% discount or rebate on city utility service charges for low-income persons with permanent disabilities. This assistance reduces living expenses thereby allowing persons with disabilities to stay in their homes.
Follow the City of Bellevue on Facebook @bellevuewashington and Twitter @Bellevuewa to learn more about what departments are doing for you and the disability rights movement as a whole. New highlights featured weekly all through the month of July to celebrate the 30th Anniversary of the ADA!