To The Editor

October 14, 2008

By Contributor

Transportation fee

The bypass was not built, but downtown stores are still paying for it

It has come to light that (a) The empty storefronts on Front Street are due to the very high Issaquah transportation fees like $100,000 and (b) 40 percent of the fee is an item noted as The Southeast Bypass.

It seems strange that after the transportation fee had been paid once for a given building, why is it necessary to pay another transportation fee when the building has changed hands? If it never changed hands, I would hope that the original owner would not be required to pay it again. Oh, yes, remember it is just another hokey City Council operation to get into someone’s pocket.      

Folks, what do you think about the city collecting a transportation fee because of the Southeast Bypass, when (1) it would have reduced traffic on Front Street and (2) it was never constructed! 

Recall one of the anti-bypass comments was if the bypass were built there would be empty storefronts on Front Street. Well, judge for yourself — the bypass was not built and there are empty storefronts on Front Street. Note one of the reasons has been a City Council hokey 40 percent transportation fee associated with the bypass.

Ken Sessler

Issaquah

Southeast Bypass

Six months after no-build vote, there are still no alternate proposals

At a recent Issaquah School Board meeting, our superintendent and director of capital projects reported they had been meeting with city staff to discuss traffic congestion mitigation from Issaquah High School construction and were forced to conclude that Second Avenue Southeast will be the de facto Southeast Bypass for the foreseeable future. Despite six months having passed since the “no build” recommendation, there are still no alternatives being reasonably considered.

According to the latest traffic count surveys, the Front Street and Second Avenue Southeast intersection has the highest peak congestion in the city during morning and evening rush hours, typically serving 22,800 vehicles every weekday. 

Over 91 percent of this traffic flow is regional traffic from Issaquah-Hobart Road, and one-fourth of this traffic is bypassing downtown congestion using Second Avenue Southeast, the surface street providing primary access to Issaquah High School, Issaquah Middle School, Tiger Mountain Community High School, Clark Elementary School, the school district bus garage, the community center and residential areas.

Even the 2009-2014 Six-Year Transportation Improvement Program, as approved by the council May 19, includes nothing to address this worst-case traffic congestion area. Despite conceding the council’s recommendation, the draft Southeast Bypass record of decision from the Federal Highway Administration has a whole section discussing how traffic in this area “is either failing or at the brink of failure.” 

It states, “Given the severe congestion anticipated along Front Street South, drivers will look for alternative routes, such as Second Avenue Southeast, which will result in an increase in neighborhood cut-through traffic.” It also predicts volumes will grow and congestion will build throughout this region.

What does that mean for the safety of our children?

Now that it looks like the Park Pointe development is being taken out of play, I think it’s time to revisit the Southeast Bypass as it was originally envisioned. A simple two-lane arterial that bypasses our school zones would provide regional access to the interstate and dramatically reduce cut-through traffic that threatens pedestrian safety. 

We’ll eventually need to address this problem, and I hope it won’t take a child’s life to make it a priority for the council.

Chad Magendanz

Safe Roads for Issaquah

Salmon Days

Maywood Marching Band was left out  of festival wrap-up article

I read the article about Salmon Days and was disappointed that you did not mention the Maywood Middle School Marching Band. 

These kids in Maywood’s Marching Band, along with their teacher Ms. Sunmark, are just amazing. They are just 12- to 14-year-olds, and are filled with enthusiasm and dedication about what they are doing. I realize you can’t include every group who participated. 

However, you did mention the other schools’ marching bands and yet left out Maywood. These kids were all very thrilled to be there and I was sad to see that they didn’t even get mentioned in your article.  

I always enjoy reading The Issaquah Press and do enjoy the local stories, so thank you for all that you do. I just had to give Maywood their well-deserved recognition. 

Nancy Haberman

Issaquah

Issaquah Highlands

Land swap increases density to allow equivalent of another Bellevue Square

Do the Issaquah Highlands residents know the details of the increased density that they would be accepting in the Park Pointe land swap?

The Issaquah Highlands residents will accept an extra 1.1 million square feet of commercial office space. As a comparison, Bellevue Square is 1.3 million square feet. Wow!

There will be an additional 550 residential units allowed.

Another 39 acres will be clear-cut.

This is a huge change! The deadline for the decision is the end of 2008, so the time to speak is now!

Please, go to your Town Hall meeting Oct. 15 to learn more and ask questions about how this proposal will impact you! Tell your neighbors and friends, too.

The City Council will hold a more complete information and public comment session Oct. 28 in the Council Chambers on Sunset Way. That meeting begins at 6:30 p.m.

You don’t want to be surprised by this proposal.

Connie Marsh

Issaquah

Education

Years after teachers’ strike, it appears district still doesn’t communicate well

Several years ago, there was a teachers’ strike in the district. One of the complaints was that there was a lack of communication between administrators and teachers, administrators and parents, and teachers and parents. One had hoped that this problem had been cleared up. It hasn’t.

Last year, my student was enrolled in a small engines class at Liberty High School. The third quarter was small engines and the fourth quarter was welding. I am assuming that the teacher told the students to wear face protection at all times. My son doesn’t like heat or things on his face.

Several weeks later, my student came home and asked me to look at his eyes. He told me that he had gotten a “flash burn.” He said other students also came out of the class with flash burns.

Being concerned, I called Labor and Industry to file a complaint. I was told they didn’t have jurisdiction. So, I called SPI. SPI told me that this state is a “local control state” — meaning the school board of each district has control of the district. 

So, I notified Liberty staff of my concern. I was told the administrator in charge of that program was on a medical leave of absence and he would investigate upon his return.

Here it is the beginning of a new school year and I still haven’t heard from this administrator. I was just blown away. Evidently, the school or downtown administration doesn’t care about safety issues.

This class isn’t being offered this year. But what about science classes — chemistry, biology, material science — that allow students to use dangerous chemicals for experimentation? Are the teachers making sure the students are being protected? I don’t know.

The district doesn’t like me to ask hard questions. Maybe we need to elect a school board that will make sure our children are safe in their school environment. No one seems to be doing a good job of communication these days.

Claudia Donnelly

Renton

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