Lessons Learned from the Beach

Haystack Rock

I love technology  –  it has made the real estate business easier in so many ways. With smart phones and tablets its easy to stay connected with other brokers, clients, appraisers, lenders, etc. Its been a crazy market over the last 24+ months and often its necessary to respond immediately to offers and counteroffers (as well as the occasional clients who expect 24/7 connectivity).

I’ve just returned from a week in Cannon Beach  – its definitely my happy place. Technology makes it easy to stay connected, even when you travel, but I held to my commitment to only check email and voice mail twice a day. I enjoyed a fabulous week that was work and stress free.

I love living downtown, and its always good to be back home, but after a few days back some of my observations were troubling. At the beach you see a cell phone in nearly everyone’s back pocket, but that’s where the phones stayed. Adults were walking and talking to one another or talking to their children. Everyone says hello when they pass on the sidewalk and stop to pet any dog within reach. In restaurants parents didn’t hand their phones to their children to be entertained  –  they were included in the conversation. Out on the beach dogs are running, kids are fling kites, parents are building sand castles and exploring the tide pools with their kids and making s’mores around beach fires at night. Everyone unplugs at the beach. You walk everywhere in Cannon Beach and I felt very safe, almost carefree, as a pedestrian. There are no traffic lights, just stop signs. Drivers yield to pedestrians and not once did I worry about being hit by a driver talking or texting. (I did notice the fine for cell phone use while driving in Oregon is a lot heftier than in Washington which could explain a lot.)

Its always an adjustment back into everyday life after vacation, but I really enjoyed the break from technology, even if for just a week. At the beach no one was staring at their phone on the sidewalk (or shouting at the phone like walkie talkies), no one bumped into me (or a sign post) because they were texting while walking, and I never had to dodge a distracted driver in the intersection. Technology is amazing but with our increased dependence on it we have become less aware of our surroundings and more focused on the tiny screens we carry in our pockets. My post-vacation commitment is to work on integrating some of the relaxed beach lifestyle into my day-to-day work routine. It may make the transition back to work more  palatable while I trade feeling the sand between my toes for feeling the sidewalk beneath my feet (at least until I can return to the beach).

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New City of Bellevue Website

City of BEllevue logoI visit the City of Bellevue website frequently. Its a great resource for finding out what’s going on in the city. The City recently launched its new website (https://bellevuewa.gov/). Its more interactive, easier to navigate and mobile friendly. The new site makes it easy to search for just about anything you need to know about Bellevue:

  • demographic information
  • events and news releases
  • parks & recreation
  • traffic
  • jobs
  • doing business in Bellevue
  • public safety
  • resident resources
  • city government  – City Council meeting schedules, agendas and information
  • emergency/extreme weather information
  • MyBellevue customer service app for reporting issues and requesting service/repairs

    The website is translated into the five top languages spoken in Bellevue and there’s real time information about emergency and severe weather issues. Take a look at the new site. A few bugs are still being worked out  –  the City would love to have your input.

What’s Going On in Your City

What’s going on in your city?  Take a look at this month’s edition of the City of Bellevue’s Lake to Lake television show highlighting the following:

  • take a tour of the new KidsQuest Children’s Museum
  • update on an important milestone for East Link Light Rail
  • highlights of the city’s supportive employment project
  • the recent  Women in STEM career fair

” target=”_blank”>City of Bellevue’s Lake to Lake television

S. Bellevue Park & Ride Closure

Sound Transit light railThe south Bellevue Park-and-Ride will be closing  for East Link light rail construction. The site will be used to stage equipment and materials for construction of the light rail track, station and a new 1,500 stall parking garage. The Bellevue park & ride could close as early as January 2017 and will remain closed for up to five years, though Sound Transit and the contractor hope to explore opportunities to reopen the park & ride sooner if possible.

To serve commuters during this closure Sound Transit has opened several new park & ride locations and expanded other lots. Bus routes serving the new park-and-ride lots will connect with many of the same routes and destinations as those currently served at the South Bellevue Location.

No doubt this is going to be inconvenient, but the outcome  –  better and faster transit options for our region  –  will be worth the wait. Plan ahead to deal with the long term closures of both the South Bellevue and Overlake park & ride facilities. Sound Transit and King County Metro have partnered to help commuters find transportation options and earn rewards for taxi, Uber and Lyft discounts, Orca cards, transit vouchers and more.

Visit www.soundtransit.org/Rider-Guide/Parking/plan-ahead-2017-park-and-ride-closures for an interactive map showing the new park & ride locations. Learn about eligibility to earn perks and rewards at justonetrip.org (click on the “resources” tab)

 

Bellevue Picked for White House Smart Cities Project

The City of Bellevue is one of several cities selected to work with the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Global City Teams Challenge as a lead city in Smart City design in the US. The White House announced in September that Bellevue had been selected to work with NIST, its collaborators and other community and technology partners to develop a pilot Smart City dashboard, a citywide digital platform that would better connect its systems, departments, employees and residents. The dashboard would allow for making better use of existing data and gathering new data for future planning and provide the city with greater effectiveness and efficiency in operating individual departments and communicating across departments (integrating smart lighting, parking, water and other systems). The Smart City program would eventually be available to all cities allowing them to replicate the online tool for improved service delivery.

Bellevue also received one of our Replicable Smart City Technologies grants from NIST that enables 11 cities and communities to work together on innovative smart city solutions.

As Bellevue continues to grow citywide systems and services must continue to improve to meet the needs and demands of a growing population. Bellevue is committed to becoming a leader in Smart City design and implementation in its effort to enhance the daily lives of its residents, businesses, employees and visitors.

Other lead cities in the White House Smart Cities program include Atlanta, GA, Columbus OH, Kansas City, KS, Kansas City, MO, Newport News, VA and Portland OR. For more information on the Smart Cities project visit the City of Bellevue website at www.ci.bellevue.wa.us.

 

Amazon and Downtown Bellevue

centre-425

Rumors have been circulating for weeks about Amazon’s search for office space in downtown Bellevue. The Puget Sound Business Journal reported today that Amazon is leasing Centre 425, the 16 story office building under construction at NE 4th Street and 106th Avenue NE.

Amazon was started 22 years ago in founder Jeff Bezos’ Bellevue garage. Looks like Amazon will come full circle and return to its roots.

Privacy and Disclosure of Baby Cams

video signBaby cams, or nanny cams, are often used in homes to help parents keep track of their children while they’re in another part of the home, away from the house or even keep an eye on pets while at work. When listing your home for sale, what’s the protocol for disclosing that there is a baby cam or other surveillance device in your home?

There is generally an accepted expectation of privacy when visiting someone’s home, whether it be a friend, relative or while touring a home listed for sale. The best decision, as a seller, is to disclose that there is a surveillance device in the home and that buyers and their brokers could be recorded on a baby cam or other type of device. Privacy laws differ state-to-state, so to avoid any possible legal claims, its best to have a conversation with your listing broker before listing your home for sale about the best way to disclose the presence of any video device so that buyers and brokers entering the home are aware of the possibility they will be recorded.