Bellevue School District pedestrian safety construction projects nearing completion

The projects are benefitting four schools in the district.

Three construction projects were set to wrap up in Bellevue in conjunction with the first day of school (Sept. 4).

Each project is either entirely or partially funded by the 2016 Neighborhood Safety, Connectivity and Congestion Levy, which aims to improve existing maintenance, safety, sidewalk, bicycle facilities and traffic management programs to both help the city address the accumulation of necessary neighborhood projects and support pedestrian safety.

Each of the projects affects a Bellevue school.

At Sherwood Forest Elementary and Interlake High School, on streets near each school, six new crosswalks and flashing beacons will be added to increase walkability and accessibility. Tyee Middle School will be receiving traffic calming measures and new school flashing beacons, with a new pathway on 138th Avenue Southeast. Various pedestrian safety improvements, which include a new sidewalk on 119th Avenue Northeast, will be added to Newport Heights Elementary.

“Bellevue police remind motorists that when yellow lights are flashing in school speed zones, the speed limit is reduced to 20 mph,” the city said in a press release. “In other school zones, the 20-mph limit is in effect when children are present, so be prepared to slow down and watch out for students.”

Safety and improvements to transportation at Bellevue schools are being tended to in other ways besides construction projects.

In 2017, the Bellevue School District installed a pilot stop paddle camera program to monitor how often drivers ignored or weren’t paying attention to school bus stop signs. The pilot showed that on the two buses participating in the program, there were on average three violations every day.

Following a brief period in late 2018 where violators were given a warning rather than a fine, in January 2019 the paddle program began issuing $419 tickets. This summer, eight additional cameras were installed on buses — a change that will continue into the 2019-2020 school year.

Bellevue SchoolPool, a program that, as described on its website, “encourages families and students to explore sustainable transportation options for their commute to and from the school and alleviate traffic congestion at drop-off and pick-up times and locations,” is entering its fourth year of existence. The program seeks to decrease congestion in school zones and adjacent areas by fostering on-foot transportation and carpooling. It’s a collaboration between several entities: Bellevue School District, the Bellevue Downtown Association’s transportation arm, the city, and King County and Transmanage.

At Odle Middle School, Lake Hills Elementary School, Stevenson Elementary School and Sunset Elementary School, the city has installed photo enforcement cameras active during flashing-light times in each school’s surrounding region.

For more information on the 2016 Neighborhood Safety, Connectivity and Congestion Levy, go to the City of Bellevue’s website (https://bit.ly/2XvI06m).

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