Bellevue is comprised of many different neighborhoods that are healthy and strong. Our neighborhoods, our schools, and our job base are reasons people move to Bellevue and stay. Protecting the integrity of our neighborhoods is vital to the City's continued success.
Funding City Investments in Neighborhoods
Jennifer was instrumental in securing city funding for many important neighborhood projects, including restoration of the popular Neighborhood Enhancement Program which was cut during the recession; funding for the design and construction of the Newport Way sidewalk project, funding for the long-awaited Phase I of the West Lake Sammamish Parkway project; funding the sidewalk/bicycle lane project on 108th so that children have a safe walk route to Enatai Elementary; funding the final segment of the 145th sidewalk/bicycle project near Bellevue College; funding the "fix" of the 120th and NE 8th intersection to straighten that intersection and make the NE 4th extension and 120th expansion more functional while avoiding traffic diversion into the Wilburton neighborhood and funding for traffic calming programs. Her leadership on these issues is making Bellevue neighborhoods stronger.
She is also helping lay the groundwork for keeping neighborhoods strong and stable into the future by creating a Neighborhoods Element in the newly updated Comprehensive Plan, adopting codes to keep multi-family uses in multi-family zones and increasing public safety services to respond to growth and maintain our safe community.
Concentrating Growth in the Downtown and Bel-Red
Bellevue is required to plan for population growth by identifying the locations where growth can occur. Jennifer will keep growth and added density where it belongs: Downtown and in the Bel-Red corridor. This keeps the added density away from single family neighborhoods thus securing neighborhood stability as the city grows.
Increasing Public Safety & Emergency Services to Protect our Citizens
Bellevue has excellent Fire and Police service. We must keep it that way. Public Safety is one of the most important obligations of local government. Jennifer recognizes this and has been an advocate for maintaining our high level of service for public safety which is why she's been endorsed by the Bellevue Fire Fighters. She successfully worked to restore fire/paramedic cuts made during the recession and added new detectives to keep our growing community safe. She is also helping Bellevue plan for the future by setting money aside for a Downtown Fire Station and funding needed renovations of the public safety training center and our oldest fire stations. The future Downtown Station will not only protect Downtown and Bel-Red, but will also protect the surrounding neighborhoods that are left vulnerable when police and fire resources that would otherwise be dedicated to those neighborhoods are busy servicing Downtown and Bel-Red.
As Bellevue and the region have grown, our transportation needs have become more urgent. It is essential that we keep our people and goods moving. This means improving roads; increasing transit options; increasing pedestrian safety; continuing to add bicycle lanes; and ensuring that the design, mitigation and construction of the new Eastlink light rail line works for both Bellevue and the region.
We must keep moving forward with road improvements to ease congestion and improve access in and around Bellevue. In addition, we need to minimize cut-through traffic in single family neighborhoods for the safety of Bellevue residents. Jennifer has lead on these issues, including supporting the intelligent traffic light system that uses our road capacity more efficiently and reduces travel time for all, extension of NE 4th Street and 120th Avenue which are vital for mobility between the Downtown, Wilburton and Bel-Red, the new Spring Boulevard in Bel-Red, and safety improvements throughout the Eastgate area and improving safety by completion of the West Lake Sammamish Parkway (Phase I) and the Newport Way safety projects.
As Bellevue grows and our job base expands, we must increase transit service in and around the Eastside to provide options for our residents and workers. Having a variety of mobility options is even more important as our population ages. Jennifer wants our oldest residents to have the ability to get where they need to go, efficiently and effectively. Jennifer is working to ensure that Bellevue will get more transit service in the future. Jennifer advocated for maintaining bus services which faced cuts from Metro Transit and supported the newly-adopted Bellevue Transit Master Plan which helps Bellevue advocate for the most effective transit service.
Pedestrian and Bicycle Lanes
Bellevue recently updated its Pedestrian/Bicyclists Plan which is moving towards implementation. Funding these improvements as we move forward are an important part of improving mobility in our region. Some pedestrian or bicycle projects designed and/or funded during Jennifer’s service include completion of the “missing link” on the Mountains to Sound Greenway, adding bike lanes to 145th Place, Newport Way, 116th Street, 108th Avenue and more.
Eastlink light rail is coming to Bellevue and will help shape the face of the City for the next century. This is a 100-year project that must be "built right the first time". This means ensuring that the construction of the Eastlink line contains exception mitigation, great pedestrian connections, and is constructed with the least disturbance feasible. Jennifer has brought both passion and knowledge to this project and she continues to support excellence along the alignment in all parts of Bellevue. Her experience as a member of the Council Light Rail Leadership Group and as the co-chair of the Bellevue Light Rail Best Practices Committee has provided a level of knowledge that has served the citizens well.
Bellevue has evolved into a major employment center in the region. We have more workers in Bellevue than we have residents. This economic growth relies on smart planning policies, predictable regulations, infrastructure that makes Bellevue livable and fair taxes to bring in employers and new jobs. Having the policies in place to strengthen Bellevue's role as an economic leader while retaining and enhancing Bellevue's prosperity is one of Jennifer's top priorities and a major key to keeping Bellevue an integral part of the Puget Sound's world class economy.
Maintaining Responsible Fiscal Policy
Our low tax rates, low debt, and excellent services are some of the many reasons that both people and businesses move into Bellevue and stay. During Jennifer’s tenure, the Council has been very restrained in raising new revenue. During her time on Council, the Council consistently took no property tax increase or took less than authorized by law and it maintains health reserves to ensure that we can provide great services even during "rainy days". Bellevue is a great value – it has debt far below the levels allowed by law and is considered a "great investment" earning the coveted AAA-Bond rating.
Promoting Smart, Economic Growth
By planning for growth and providing incentives for that growth, Bellevue will give employers the desire to locate here and to grow as Bellevue grows. The City recently adopted a Council Vision for the future and an Economic Development Plan to provide the road map on how to grow the City in a positive and successful manner. The planning that has occurred and will continue to evolve for Downtown, Bel-Red and Eastgate/I-90 will create such growth. Jennifer will continue to evaluate and polish our policies and plans to encourage the right growth for Bellevue.
Keeping Bellevue a GREAT Place to do Business
By keeping our taxes low, promoting smart economic growth and working to solve transportation challenges, Jennifer is working to keep Bellevue a great place to do business. This in turn will bring in jobs and the tax revenue we need to keep Bellevue as wonderful for our children and grandchildren as it is today.