Bellevue has several programs and projects to safely operate and maintain the transportation network. Safety work includes the city's Vision Zero effort, Neighborhood Traffic Safety Services, Neighborhood Sidewalk Program, Crosswalk Program, traffic calming and education. Maintenance work includes annual repaving through the Pavement Preservation Program, filling potholes and other spot repairs to streets and sidewalks, severe weather responses, mowing and vegetation management along city rights of way.
Starting in spring 2021, residents may notice a difference in the way vegetation on city-owned property is maintained. The reason for the reduced maintenance approach is due to budget cuts caused by the economic impact of COVID-19.
In December 2020, the City Council approved a 2021-2022 budget that addressed a projected shortfall of $16 million per year. The budget was balanced using one-time resources such as reserves, modest increases in some taxes and fees and cost containment.
Included in the cost containment is reduced maintenance in parks and along city roadways and sidewalks. This reduced maintenance is anticipated to last through the end of 2022, but could change depending on the economic outlook.
Like other cities across the nation, Bellevue’s revenue stream was hit hard by COVID-19, but through sound fiscal management, the council avoided cuts that impact safety and health. The tradeoff, however, is that residents will likely see changes in the way the city maintains streetscapes and parks. Here are some examples of where residents may notice the impact:
- Grass, shrubs and trees along streets: The city will be mowing and trimming less along streets, islands, and guardrails, and residents will notice grass and other vegetation growing longer than normal.
- Reduced irrigation: Irrigation and maintenance to some landscaped areas along roadways will be reduced. The result will be browned-out turf areas and increased weeds, leaves and other debris.
- Sidewalk maintenance: Maintenance work to edge, trim and clean arterial street sidewalks, normally done annually, will be deferred for at least two years. Residential sidewalks, typically maintained every fifth year, also will be affected. Property owners can help by removing vegetation encroaching on adjacent sidewalks and streets.
- Other street maintenance: Other street maintenance impacts will include reductions in roadway striping, curb painting, sidewalk displacement repairs and temporary street pavement repairs. Pothole repairs will not be affected, and the city’s annual repaving program will see only minor impacts.
Bellevue staff ask for the public’s patience, and its assistance. If someone does see a street maintenance issue they believe impacts public safety – not just aesthetics – please report it at 425-452-7840 or email OMSupport@bellevuewa.gov