• Council Roundup: Draft temporary encampment code amendment review

    Plus, public hearing on mid-biennium budget, traffic safety briefing 

    In Monday’s extended study session, the City Council discussed recommendations for a land use code amendment related to temporary encampments hosted on the property of religious organizations (LUC 20.30U). The review marked the fifth briefing and discussion since September on the topic. Several options for amending the code in response to public comments were considered. 

    The temporary encampments are currently operated under a combined regulatory framework that includes city land use code and a previously issued Consent Decree. The Consent Decree is set to expire in January 2020. The goal of the code amendment is to operate encampments under one regulatory standard that is updated based on stakeholder input and permitting experience and aligns the code more closely to operations under the Consent Decree.

    The council discussion specifically touched on safety measures and the duration of stay for encampments, required gaps between deployments and the permitting process for hosts. At the Dec. 9 regular session, councilmembers could take final action. 

    More information is available on the city’s temporary encampments web page. The proposed regulations are not related to unlawful public camping, which is prohibited in Bellevue parks and right-of-way areas.

    Mid-biennium budget public hearing

    The public had a chance to weigh in on the recommended adjustments to the city’s adopted 2019-2020 budget as part of the mid-biennium budget review process. 

    Following public input, councilmembers discussed a number of budget items including transportation impact fees and the human services funding levels. A unanimous motion was made to bring back the budget items for final discussion and approval on Dec. 2.

    The public hearing and council discussion can be viewed via BTV.

    Traffic safety

    After four fatal collisions between vehicles and pedestrians or cyclists since August, Bellevue’s Chief of Police and Transportation Director briefed councilmembers on road safety and offered condolences to the families involved in the crashes. 

    Police Chief Steve Mylett stressed that collisions happen in a split second. He said education and personal responsibility are key to the safety of yourself and others:

    Drivers – Slow down, do not drive impaired, and keep your eyes on the road at all times. 

    Pedestrians – Don’t assume drivers can see you, light your body, use extreme caution, and be aware of your surroundings, especially while crossing intersections.

    Cyclists – Cycle defensively, make eye contact with drivers and others around you, and wear appropriate safety gear at all times.  

    In addition, Transportation Director Andrew Singelakis said Bellevue continues to explore methods of making the roads as safe as possible, including using technology to track traffic patterns and risk areas to make strategic improvements. 

    The city has installed 30 lighted crosswalk beacons over the past seven years, with 30 more planned in the next two years. The accelerated pace is made possible due to the 2016 Neighborhood Safety, Connectivity and Congestion Levy. It generates approximately $7.4 million per year for transportation improvements, about half of which is dedicated to bicycle and pedestrian projects. 

    As part of the city’s Vision Zero effort to eliminate serious-injury and fatal crashes in Bellevue by 2030, there are more than 80 actions to improve traffic safety in a plan that will be presented to the city council next year. The public can learn more about the work on the city’s Vision Zero information page.

    Published on 11/26/2019