Report: Issaquah commuters spent less time in traffic last year
November 30, 2010
By Warren Kagarise
Issaquah commuters spent less time on the road to Bellevue and Seattle last year.
The typical morning commute between Issaquah and Seattle shrank to 21 minutes — a decline from 25 minutes in 2007. The morning commute from Seattle to Issaquah also dropped, from 20 to 18 minutes. The trip between Issaquah and Bellevue declined to 15 minutes from 17 minutes during the same period.
The state Department of Transportation said the decreases represent a broader trend. Evergreen State drivers spent less time in traffic last year.
The information is outlined in the annual congestion report produced by the Department of Transportation.
Planners attributed the change to the economic downturn and the completion of major congestion-relief highway projects. The result: fewer delays and shorter travel times on high-demand corridors.
“We’re seeing the benefits of the transportation investments that have been made in our most congested corridors,” Secretary of Transportation Paula Hammond said in a statement. “These strategic investments help keep people and freight moving and our economy growing.”
Issaquah commuters also logged less time behind the wheel during a typical afternoon commute.
The afternoon trip from Seattle to Issaquah declined by a minute to 21 minutes from 2007 to last year. The afternoon haul from Issaquah to Seattle declined, too, from 28 to 25 minutes. The late-day commute between Bellevue and Issaquah contracted from 18 to 14 minutes during the same period.
The state Department of Transportation measured the Issaquah-to-Seattle routes along Interstate 90 and Interstate 5. The travel times for Issaquah to Bellevue include I-90 and Interstate 405.
The reduction in traffic congestion came as Issaquah experienced a rise in population unrelated to annexations. The city added more than 2,000 people between 2007 and last year, but Issaquah commutes along the I-90 corridor improved during the timeframe.
The congestion report also highlighted the construction along state Route 18 near Issaquah.
The state transformed a stretch of the highway from a single lane in each direction to a four-lane divided highway from Maple Valley to the Issaquah-Hobart Road Southeast interchange. The project concluded in 2006.
The upgrades cut travel time and added safety features, such as broader road shoulders, guardrails and a median.
Before the project, the Route 18 section west of Issaquah-Hobart Road Southeast served about 24,000 vehicles each weekday. The number had increased to 28,000 vehicles per weekday in September 2009.
The travel time study showed a 15-to-20-minute reduction in westbound travel time during the peak afternoon commute. The study also showed a six-to-10-minute reduction in eastbound travel time during the peak morning commute.
On the Web
Read the complete traffic report at the state Department of Transportation website.
Warren Kagarise: 392-6434, ext. 234, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Comment at www.issaquahpress.com.