Plus, update on Newport Way and other transportation projects
The City Council on Monday appointed Ernesto (Ernie) Simas to fill the Position 5 seat vacated by Vandana Slatter back in January. The vote for the appointment was 5-1, with Councilmember Conrad Lee casting his ballot for finalist Jared Nieuwenhuis. Simas' term will run through certification of the November General Election.
Simas was selected from a total of 43 city residents who had applied for the vacant seat. The council had narrowed the candidate slate to eight finalists prior to Monday night's meeting. Before the final vote, councilmembers made a point to praise the quality candidates and emphasized the difficulty in selecting a finalist.
More information on the appointment can be found in an earlier news release.
News on Newport Way, other transportation projects
During the night's study session, the council reviewed progress on important transportation projects citywide and provided specific guidance on improvements to Newport Way, from Somerset Boulevard to 150th Avenue Southeast.
Residents in the Eastgate area, annexed by Bellevue in 2012, have long advocated for improvements as a way to safely connect people to popular destinations such as the King County Library and South Bellevue Community Center. Possible upgrades to the nearly one-mile long section of road, which carries approximately 7,000 vehicles on an weekday average, include sidewalks, crosswalks, bike lanes, turn lanes, lighting, landscaping and storm drains.
Design options so far have included varying roadway widths and configurations. But, with steep slopes in some places, some options could drive up costs for the project, currently budgeted at $8.1 million. Councilmembers indicated support for the option with a bike lane on the south side of the street and a mixed-use, pedestrian and bicycle (asphalt) path on the north side.
The next step is for staff to continue working on the project's design in order to get a more accurate cost estimate. Staff will then return to the council later this year to seek final funding approval.
In addition to Newport Way, the council heard updates on:
- widening two sections of 120th Avenue Northeast, from Northeast Eighth Street to Northeast 16th Street;
- construction of Spring Boulevard, from the former railroad corridor to 120th Avenue Northeast;
- improvements underway on Northup Way;
- preparations for work on 124th Avenue Northeast, from Spring Boulevard to Ichigo Way; and
- pursuit of a low-interest, $100 million federal loan to help fund several projects in the BelRed area.
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