City wants your comments on Federal Drive plan

April 21, 2009

By Warren Kagarise

City planning officials want comments from residents about a proposal to remove an Issaquah Highlands road and replace the street with two new connectors. Major Development Review Team officials will accept input about the plan to remove Northeast Federal Drive until April 27. The project is under review by city planners.

Developers hope to begin construction on the project this summer.

After Federal Drive is removed, plans call for two new road sections to connect Northeast Franklin Drive to Highlands Drive Northeast and Eddy Way to Northeast Park Drive.

Park Drive would become a two-way street between Highlands Drive and 10th Avenue Northeast. A dedicated right-turn lane for northbound traffic from Highlands Drive onto Park Drive would be added.

MDRT Program Manager Keith Niven said his team is reviewing the permit for the project.

Port Blakely Communities, which developed the highlands, applied to remove the street. After receiving pledges that the shutdown and construction would not cause major traffic disruptions, the City Council said in September that Port Blakely could vacate the street.

Officials attached several conditions to the shutdown.

Increased pedestrian safety and convenience are included in those. The plan to remove Federal Drive was designed to improve pedestrian safety, according to city documents.

Officials also said the project must not cost anything for the city and not have an impact on nearby wetlands. Extensions of Franklin Drive and Eddy Way must be public rights of way, and parallel parking on eastbound Park Drive should not impede traffic.

The existing configuration of Federal Drive was designed to accommodate a Microsoft campus in an area south of Park Drive and a retail area to the north. But the heavy Microsoft presence and increased retail space have yet to materialize.

Before the City Council approved the request to vacate the street, highlands residents and officials raised questions about the Federal Drive plan and its potential impact on traffic. Niven said many drivers became accustomed to using the street as a shortcut. Drivers refer to Federal Drive as “the trigger” because it resembles a gun trigger when viewed on a map. The new streets will be laid out on a traditional grid.

“The trigger kind of gave you the feeling that you had a free ride,” Niven said.

Get involved

Review plans for Northeast Federal Drive at the Major Development Review Team, City Hall Northwest, 1775 12th Ave. N.W. Send comments to the MDRT, City of Issaquah, P.O. Box 1307, Issaquah, WA 98027. E-mail comments to MDRT Program Manager Keith Niven at keithn@ci.issaquah.wa.us. Comments are due April 27.

Reach Reporter Warren Kagarise at 392-6434, ext. 234, or wkagarise@isspress.com. Comment on this story at www.issaquahpress.com.

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