• Council Roundup: COVID-19 response

    Plus, Vision Zero effort moves forward and technology improves service and communication 

    On Monday the City Council received a joint report from Bellevue Police and Fire department leaders on how the city is cooperatively responding to increased instances of the COVID-19 novel coronavirus in our region. 

    Fire officials reiterated that our health department partners at the county, state and federal levels are coordinating together and are best equipped to advise and mitigate the risks posed by COVID-19. The city is working closely with those partners in response efforts and relying on the information released by those agencies to inform and educate the public. 

    The city itself is preparing by equipping emergency personnel with the right personal protective equipment when responding to medical calls involving flu-like symptoms and has changed protocols to better understand whether an emergency call may involve a COVID-19 risk for responders. City departments are also ensuring they have continuity plans in place to continue providing key city services in the event some staff may need to miss work due to illness.

    Police teams are working with peer agencies to create a best practice document outlining how to perform necessary duties while protecting the public and employees. Police and fire also released a video sharing their procedures for responding to calls and assuring people that they will respond when called. 

    The city also continues to update a specific web page with the latest COVID-19 information coming from health agencies.

    Vision Zero effort moves forward

    Also on the council docket Monday was a presentation by the Transportation Commission about the city’s Vision Zero work. In a unanimous vote, the commission recently recommended to the council that a “safe systems” approach and strategy be used to move Bellevue towards its Vision Zero target. 

    Adopted by the council in 2015, Vision Zero is the city’s effort to eliminate traffic deaths and serious injuries on Bellevue streets by 2030. In 2018, there were 1,518 police-reported crashes, with 450 injuries. In 2019, two pedestrians, two bicyclists and one driver were killed in crashes in Bellevue. 

    The safe systems approach includes four components – speeds, people, vehicles and streets – with four supporting elements: data, leadership, partnerships and culture. It broadens the effort to include everyone, acknowledging that creating safe systems is a shared responsibility. 

    Councilmembers directed that a draft resolution on the safe systems approach and strategies be brought back at a future meeting for final approval. More information on the Vision Zero presentation is available with the agenda item materials.

    Also on hand for the council meeting was Olivia Sun, a student at Interlake High School. Sun reported on her experience last year with the Tune In, Not Out campaign against teenage distracted driving. The campaign was a Vision Zero partnership between the City of Bellevue, Bellevue School District and the Washington DECA student organization. 

    Technology improves service and communication

    In 2018 the council adopted a vision priority to improve customer service for residents using key technology. The city’s communications and information technology functions collaboratively deploy tools to achieve this priority and presented their progress over the past year to the council.

    Social media is a key tool for engagement and sharing important information about city services and happenings. Bellevue’s social platforms such as Facebook and Instagram saw double-digit growth in followers in 2019, and NextDoor tripled its reach to residents. Bellevue’s public website also saw a 31 percent jump in unique visits from 2018 to 2019, with a large number of users browsing the site using mobile devices. Top search terms and page hits revealed high user interest in content in multiple languages, jobs, city activities, business licenses and land use topics. 

    The city website also utilizes a variety of mapping tools to share information about development in Bellevue, certain risk assessment applications, and wireless facility and traffic maps, among others. The full discussion is available on video replay from Bellevue Television

    Published on 03/05/2020