Published November 10 2022
Plus, Grand Connection Program gets key investment, city pursues B-SAFE and SS4A grant funding, and proclamations issued for human rights and transgender awareness
On Monday, the City Council heard from more than 30 people and received written comments from more than 100 community members during a public hearing and comment period for the 2023-2024 operating budget and 2023-2029 Capital Investment Program (CIP) plan.
Comments from the public during the hearing covered issues of public safety, environment, workforce, transportation and arts, including:
- Support for apprenticeship programs;
- Various strategies presented for mental health response through the Community Crisis Assistance Team (CCAT);
- Requests for more funding for Vision Zero efforts, arts and environmental stewardship;
- Asks for additional police officer positions in the budget; and
- Comments both in favor or and opposed to an eventual light rail transit police unit.
Councilmembers requested further information to come back during a final budget study session Nov. 14 on several topics related to the public’s comments including Vision Zero, Environmental Stewardship spending, the CCAT program, police recruiting, arts and culture funding and planning for the outcome of the parks levy.
The full public hearing and council discussion is available on replay through Bellevue Television. Tentative adoption of the budget once these topics have been further discussed is currently scheduled for Nov. 21.
Grand Connection Program gets key investment
The council also received good news about an investment from the business community to continue developing the city’s multi-decade plan to connect Meydenbauer Bay through downtown to the Eastrail multipurpose pathway on the east side of I-405 with an activated corridor called the Grand Connection.
The Grand Connection is a complex public-private partnership that involves more than 35 property owners and four government agencies. The work to date is broken into two phases, the first is improvements to parks, sidewalks and private property along the route through downtown as well as activations to promote the Grand Connection as a gathering place and connector. Phase 2 is working to connect the route to Wilburton, pursue additional funding from multiple sources and complete key segments of the route through private redevelopments.
A significant element of the Grand Connection Program is how it will cross the I-405 freeway to reach the Wilburton neighborhood. This is currently envisioned as a near-term pedestrian bridge and a longer-term lid over the freeway. Amazon has donated $2.5 million with the city matching that contribution – included in the proposed 2023-2024 budget – to help begin the design process for the bridge that will be a catalyst for connecting Wilburton to downtown. These investments would fund 30% of the bridge design in 2024, with more work and fundraising to follow.
More information is available in the meeting materials.
City pursues B-SAFE and SS4A grant funding
In other business, the council was updated on the city’s Bellevue Safe Access for Everyone (B-SAFE) Implementation Grant, a joint application between the City of Bellevue and King County.
If successful, the grant would allow Bellevue to rapidly implement the Vision Zero Plan and many transportation safety treatments and tools to support our thriving urban core. The city’s commitment to safety aligns with the Safe Streets and Roads for All (SS4A) priorities, and application components include Eastrail regional trail safety connections, complete street installations and innovative practices and technologies to improve safety for those who walk, roll, drive or take transit.
There are also several public and private sector partners providing either financial or in-kind support to the application. They include Sound Transit, Amazon Web Services, T-Mobile, Qualcomm, Advanced Mobility Analytics Group and Miovision.
Proclamations issued for human rights and transgender awareness
At the top of the meeting Mayor Robinson and the council read two proclamations recognizing Transgender Awareness Week and Transgender Day of Remembrance this month, as well a proclamation focused on the Iranian community.
The proclamations are available in the meeting agenda.