Construction concludes on redo to bike and pedestrian upgrades
November 23, 2010
By Warren Kagarise
The city has opened upgraded bike lanes and a pedestrian trail along Newport Way Northwest — again.
Crews completed the initial upgrade about a year ago and city leaders gathered on a rain-slicked afternoon in October 2009 to open the trail from state Route 900 to Lakemont Boulevard Southeast, the Issaquah city line.
The project ended up before the City Council months later, after drivers attempted to use the upgraded shoulder as another traffic lane.
So, after much debate, the council decided to redo the project. Crews completed the overhaul in early November. The project added bike lanes in both directions, plus a pedestrian path separated by curbs from the north side of the roadway along Newport Way Northwest.
City Public Works Engineering Director Bob Brock said some permanent striping needs to be added, but otherwise, the project is complete. The makeover cost is estimated at $117,000.
The council decided in March to spend up to $120,000 for the project. The decision prompted debate because crews added a trail and a gravel shoulder to the same section of road late last year.
But problems arose before the project had been completed. The city started to receive complaints about drivers using the widened shoulder as another lane — despite a double white line, a rumble strip and “No driving on shoulder” signs.
“I’ve never seen anybody doing stuff on other roads as crazy as they were doing on this particular one,” Brock said.
Councilman Joshua Schaer decried the safety problems the initial project caused at the “wild west end of town,” but led a push against the makeover.
“It’s one of these things where I would have been just as satisfied not spending that extra money and putting it toward something else, especially since we said this project was done,” he said.
Schaer, a resident in a development along Newport Way Northwest, said residents had used the widened shoulder for parking during severe winter weather, after snow and ice made steep driveways unsafe.
“The threat of somebody driving down that is going to be reduced because of the way it’s set up,” he said. “I’m just concerned about the emergency pull over and potential hazard parking needs, because it’s going to pretty rough over there if we get another big snow event.”
Brock said the city did not receive much feedback from residents along the corridor after crews started the project in late August.
“Surprisingly, we heard very little,” he said. “We had sent letters out to everybody along the corridor when the changes were proposed, talked about it at a couple committee meetings and we really didn’t hear any feedback.”
City considers another Newport Way Northwest section
On the Web
Learn more about the proposals to remake Newport Way Northwest from Northwest Maple Street and West Sunset Way at the project website.
Warren Kagarise: 392-6434, ext. 234, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Comment at www.issaquahpress.com.