No plans to reopen Black Nugget Road

March 2, 2009

By Chantelle Lusebrink

It is a waste of money to have a road that could be enormously beneficial to mail delivery, garbage pickups, school buses and transportation to businesses in the highlands, but instead is maintained by the city and rendered completely useless.” — Kjersten HayterBlack Nugget Road resident

It is a waste of money to have a road that could be enormously beneficial to mail delivery, garbage pickups, school buses and transportation to businesses in the highlands, but instead is maintained by the city and rendered completely useless.” — Kjersten HayterBlack Nugget Road resident

Of the more than 60 people packed into Blakely Hall Feb. 24, only two raised their hands in support of reopening Southeast Black Nugget Road; the rest were there to speak in opposition.

While there were no official plans to open the roadway to traffic again, city officials wanted to get a sense of how residents felt about reopening the blocked-off road.

“I remember multiple Issaquah community meetings where the topic to open Black Nugget was brought up this summer. Compound that with the written request and it was time to get the community together,” said Keith Niven, program manager for the city’s Major Development Review Team.

A Dec. 12 e-mail from Kjersten Hayter, a resident, added to the comments.

“It is a waste of money to have a road that could be enormously beneficial to mail delivery, garbage pickups, school buses and transportation to businesses in the highlands, but instead is maintained by the city and rendered completely useless,” Hayter wrote.

“Opening Black Nugget would negatively impact me because it’s my neighborhood,” resident Chris Hawkins said at the meeting. “But I’d rather travel down there than have to travel through Park Drive, especially with new retail going in there.”

Southeast Black Nugget Road was blocked off as part of an agreement made between King County officials, highlands developer Port Blakely and neighboring residents on the road.

When the highlands began developing, Black Nugget was used as its only entry and exit. Without significant improvements, the road wouldn’t be able to handle the traffic created by the highlands, so when more than 500 homes or units were built, the road was closed with blocks that can be removed in case of emergency. The road has remained closed since.

If reopening the road was something residents would’ve wanted at the meeting, Niven said he could recommend the City Council draft a request to the county to have it opened. Because the roadway is county-owned, the decision ultimately rests with county officials, he said.

But the majority of neighboring residents, many who have lived in the area for decades, disagreed with the reopening.

Residents cited several reasons for keeping it closed, such as safety for children who play at the nearby park, wildlife in the area, increased traffic noise, potential crime and the construction modifications necessary to make the road operational.

Lane Scelzi, owner of Sip Wine Bar and Restaurant, said the businesses on Park Drive that rely on drive-by business would be adversely affected by a second entrance.

Black Nugget Road neighbors also said an agreement shouldn’t be broken to save a few people a couple of minutes off of their commute time.

In light of the overwhelming opposition, Niven said he would recommend the City Council not take any further action.

Reach Reporter Chantelle Lusebrink at 392-6434, ext. 241, or clusebrink@isspress.com. Comment on this story at www.issaquahpress.com.

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Comments

One Response to “No plans to reopen Black Nugget Road”

  1. Kathleen Cragun on March 5th, 2009 10:08 am

    Dear Chantelle,

    In your article about the meeting to discuss reopening Black Nugget Road, I think you missed something. There were not just two people there that were in support of reopening the road, it was just that only two people had the courage to do so!

    The meeting started with the disclaimer that there were any such plans to reopen the road, no doubt to sooth the hostile residents of Cantergrove and Black Nugget Road residents from the start. Thereafter there was testimony after testimony about the negative aspects of reopening the road, followed by cheers. Could these be the same residents that years back were opposed to Issaquah Highlands very existence?

    The real issue for Issaquah Highlands residents is that most feel a great need to have another way in and out of IH. It is an issue that will keep resurfacing. Black Nugget road is not the answer, neither is the woman’s attitude that stood at the meeting and said ” as a realtor, I sold many houses in Issaquah Highlands and the buyers all knew there was one way in and one way out, if you don’t like that I would be happy to come and list your house!”

    The Cantergrove and Black Nugget Road residents were well informed, organized and united.

    We Issaquah Highlands residents need to take that as an example if we ever expect to get another road out of the Highlands.

    New ideas anyone?

    Kathleen Cragun
    Co-writer of blogs, IssaquahUndressed.com and IssaquahHighlandsUndressed.com

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