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Chamber Testifies on Levies & I-405 Tolls; Bellevue Arts Fair Closures

Posted By Chris Johnson, Friday, July 22, 2016

Bellevue Council Steps Closer to Fire Services and Transportation Levies

On July 18, the Council reviewed draft ordinances for fire services and transportation tax levies. In order for these measures to make it to the November ballot, the Council needs to act by July 25.

As currently drafted, the fire services levy would be set at 12.5 cents per $1,000.00 of assessed value – and the transportation levy would be pegged at 15 cents. We’ll report back after the Council takes final action, but you can listen to my testimony during communications – oral and written.

Transportation Commission Hears Comments on I-405 Tolls

As reported in the last Bellevue Blitz, the state Transportation Commission took public testimony regarding proposed permanent changes to Electronic Toll Lane (ETL) Operations on I-405. Keeping people and goods moving on I-405 has been a Chamber priority for more than 15 years, and we are still carrying the message to Olympia.

Hear my testimony before the Commission in favor of permanently eliminating tolls on nights, weekends and federal holidays, and check out the results of the East King Chambers Coalition survey on the toll operations as posted below.

Bellevue Arts Fair Traffic Closures

The 70th annual Arts Fair Weekend is nearly upon us! We expect over 300,000 visitors – rain or shine - to Downtown Bellevue during the weekend of July 29 – 31. Plan your trip to the Fair carefully, avoid planned street closures and consider alternative transportation.

By the way, one street which will be open is 114th NE/SE – behind the Chamber office. After a three month closure, this important arterial is back in full two-way operations from NE 2nd all the way to SE 8th.

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Tags:  levies 

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Policy Committees to Focus on Sound Transit 3

Posted By Chris Johnson, Friday, July 8, 2016

The Sound Transit Board has adopted the ST3 System Plan and voted to place it on the November general election ballot. To prepare for a Chamber Board decision on this proposal, we’ve scheduled two special joint meetings of the Transportation and Public Affairs Committees.

  • Sound Transit staff presentation, plus Q/A – Tuesday, July 12, 7:30 AM at the Chamber office.
  • Committee review and discussion – Thursday, August 11, 12 Noon at the Chamber office.

We’d like these discussions to be representative of the diverse opinions within the Chamber on this matter, so all members are invited to these special meetings.  For background, check out the ST3 System plan project list, as well as ST3 funding background and ST3 plan project phasing information.

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Chamber Comments on Proposed Fire Services and Transportation Levies

Posted By Chris Johnson, Friday, July 8, 2016

Right after the Fourth of July, I provided public comment before the Bellevue Council regarding possible fire services and transportation levies.  Here’s an excerpt from my prepared remarks.

“Now, the Chamber is generally not first in line requesting general property tax increases. And while we have not yet taken a position on whether or not to support a levy package, here are a few principals that will guide us.

 

  • Transportation projects should represent benefits across a wide range of neighborhoods and travel modes, and include both new capital projects and maintenance.
  • In order to justify a property tax levy for transportation, a minimum of one third of levy proceeds or approximately $2 million annually, must be allocated to major capacity or congestion relief projects.
  • Specific examples of major capital projects which will provide neighborhood congestion relief and connectivity include, but are not limited to Bellevue Way SE, 150th Ave. SE/Eastgate Way SE and the intersection of 148th NE/NE 8th.

Our members and their employees alike, live and work in Bellevue, and they need both inter and intra neighborhood congestion relief."

 

To hear my entire remarks and other live testimony, click on Council Agenda Item 4, Communications – Written and Oral.

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Bellevue Potential Levy Survey; Bellevue Way SE Survey; Latest and Greatest on I-405 Tolls

Posted By Chris Johnson, Thursday, July 7, 2016

Update – Bellevue Fire Services and Transportation Levies

The City of Bellevue recently held three Neighborhood Safety Open Houses to solicit feedback on proposed fire services and transportation levies (see previous blog of June 16, 2016). If you missed the meetings, you can still fill out an online survey regarding potential levy priorities, through July 31.

Bellevue Way SE Project Online Open House and Survey

If you missed the Bellevue Way SE Project Community Open House, it is not too late to participate in an online open house and help shape project alternatives.

Fixing this major arterial is one of our top priorities for Bellevue’s Capital Improvement Program, so don’t delaycheck out the online open house and take the survey by July 15 – so do it today.

Latest and Greatest – I-405 Express Toll Lanes

Earlier this year, the WA State Transportation Commission adopted an emergency rule, eliminating tolls on nights, weekends and federal holidays. On July 19, the Commission will consider making these changes permanent and the Chamber will be there testifying in support. Attached is the proposed permanent rule.

In the meantime, get the latest information on toll rate changes and how to register your out of town guests and their vehicles on your Good To Go! account.

 

 

 

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ST Tunnel, Bellevue Way Survey, Potential Ballot Measures

Posted By Chris Johnson, Thursday, June 16, 2016

Work Resumes on Entrance to Sound Transit East Main Tunnel

Anyone who participated in the Spirit of Bellevue Run/Walk last month got a first-hand look at the clearing and grading at 112th SE and Main Street. Now the work continues, including intermittent lane closures, as Sound Transit crews begin utility relocation work, in preparation for sound wall construction later this year.

Bellevue Way SE Project Open House and Online Survey

As Bellevue has grown, traffic has increased along Bellevue Way, creating congestion between I-90 and the “Y” intersection with 112th Ave SE. Visitors to the Bellevue Way SE Community Open House held on June 15 at City Hall, had the chance to view preliminary design options up close and ask questions of City Staff. Learn more about the project and take a survey at the project webpage. This project is a top priority for the Chamber, so complete the survey by July 15, 2016.

Public Comment on Potential Ballot Measures

The Bellevue City Council is considering two potential ballot measures this November, one for fire services and the other for neighborhood traffic safety and connectivity.

The initial discussion has focused on two levies of $0.125 per $1,000.00 of assessed value, each generating $5 million per year over a twenty year period. The Chamber Transportation Committee is taking a look at how the transportation levies could benefit both connectivity and congestion relief, and will make a recommendation soon.

In the meantime, take an online survey or attend one of the following open houses, each from 5 – 7 PM.

  • June 28 -- Bellevue Youth Theatre
  • June 29 -- South Bellevue Community Center, community rooms A & B
  • June 30 -- City Hall, room 1E-108

 

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Bellevue Way SE Design Alternatives Analysis

Posted By Chris Johnson, Monday, June 6, 2016
Updated: Monday, May 16, 2016

June 6 Update: Bellevue Way SE Project community open house is now scheduled for Wednesday, June 15, 5-7 PM at Bellevue City Hall. See attached brochure for more information.

Traffic volumes are building on Bellevue Way SE and the City is exploring design options for an additional southbound lane, between the “Y” intersection with 112th SE and the existing park and ride lot.

While planners are assuming the new lane will be configured for HOV, the decision has not yet been finalized.

Similarly, there is no funding yet identified for construction and the project is not expected to begin until after the opening of the new South Bellevue Station 2023.

Adding capacity to Bellevue Way SE has long been a priority for the Chamber. We can have a major impact on the preferred alternative, help secure funding and support accelerated implementation .

Fill out the attached survey and return via USPS or bring it with you to the community open house.

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Tags:  Bellevue Way SE 

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Chamber Members Can Support International Trade

Posted By Chris Johnson, Monday, June 6, 2016
Updated: Thursday, June 2, 2016

The Trans-Pacific Partnership, a trade agreement signed with eleven Asian nations earlier this year, has been in the news quite a bit lately. Presidential candidates from across the political spectrum have taken markedly different positions on the TPP, with Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders attacking it from different angles.

We often hear that Washington is the most trade-dependent state in the nation, but don’t take my word for it. The Washington Council on International Trade, a 501c(6) organization affiliated with the Greater Seattle Chamber of Commerce, has posted a guest blog from US Secretary of Commerce Penny Prizker, “Creating Washington State Jobs Through Trade.”

If you agree, write your Members of Congress and let them know. To make it easy, WCIT has created an online petition, endorsed by the US Chamber, so don't delay, do it today.

Tags:  Trans-Pacific Partnership  Washington Council on International Trade 

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Construction Alerts – Early June

Posted By Chris Johnson, Monday, June 6, 2016
Updated: Friday, June 3, 2016

East Link Light Rail Construction Update – Prepare for mid-block closures on 110th NE, between NE 4th and NE 6th, beginning June 13 and lasting through early September. The purpose of the closures will be to conduct CLSM work – replacing existing soil with a denser product more appropriate for tunneling. Check out the full construction alert.

If you have left the Chamber office recently, you know that 114th SE is closed from Main Street to SE 6th, with local access only from NE 2nd to Main. Additionally, SE 8th Westbound is down to one lane between 112th SE and 114th SE.

While not construction related, motorists should be aware of upcoming changes to toll rates on SR 520. Beginning July 1, 2016, Good To Go! Pass holders will see a 5% toll rate increases on both weekdays and weekends. If you don’t have a pass, expect an increase of $2 per trip. 

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Bel-Red Plan Focus Group - Your Feedback Needed

Posted By Chris Johnson, Monday, June 6, 2016
Updated: Friday, June 3, 2016

The Bel-Red Plan and zoning code were adopted by the Bellevue City Council back in 2009. Here is your chance to provide feedback to the City as to how the Plan is working – or needs improvement.

Focus groups will occur on June 15, 12 Noon – 1:30 PM; June 16, 6 – 9:30 PM; June 17, 8-9:30 PM. All meetings will be held at City Hall Room 1E—108. Register or get more information here. 

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Chamber Weighs-In on Sound Transit 3

Posted By Chris Johnson, Monday, May 16, 2016

The formal comment period on the ST3 Draft Plan ended on April 29 and the Bellevue Chamber has provided direct feedback. During the month of May, Sound Transit will review all comments, prior to likely adoption of ST3 ballot measure in June.

The Chamber Transportation Committee has been busy scrutinizing the draft plan, with a particular emphasis on those investments proposed for East King County. The comment letter adopted by the Chamber Board reflects Committee input, as well as a survey sent out to Chamber leadership.

As in the past, the Chamber’s top transit priority is to support implementation of Bus Rapid Transit in the I-405 corridor and construction of adequate park and ride capacity to support the system. Similarly, the Chamber sees extension of East Link light rail from Overlake to DT Redmond as a potential “early win” for East King taxpayers.

Please take a look at our current letter, as well as the draft plan map and project list. We'll have a pro-con discussion on the final ST3 plan in July or August. 

 

 

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Tags:  Bus Rapid Transit  East Link Light Rail  I-405  Sound Transit  ST3 

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