Washington ranks as state friendliest to bicyclists

May 26, 2011

NEW — 10 a.m. May 26, 2011

Washington is the Most Bicycle Friendly State again.

The ranking from the League of American Bicyclists honors a strong commitment to bicycling through policies and programs. The honor marks the fourth consecutive year the Evergreen State has clinched the No. 1 spot.

“Public support is strong for making biking safer and more convenient for children, commuters and recreational users,” state Secretary of Transportation Paula Hammond said in a statement. “WSDOT works closely with regional and local agencies to increase the number of walkers and bikers, while also improving safety to reduce the number of bicycle- and pedestrian- related collisions.”

The league rates states based on bike-friendly legislation, policies and programs, education, places to ride and planning. Washington scored consistently high in all ranking evaluation categories.

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Construction concludes on redo to bike and pedestrian upgrades

November 23, 2010

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. Read more

Plan recommends tall buildings in Central Issaquah

November 2, 2010

City task force re-envisions 915-acre business district

Issaquah in the decades ahead could be punctuated by tall buildings — some as high as 150 feet — and arranged around a greenbelt and pedestrian paths.

The suggestion from the Central Issaquah Plan Advisory Task Force is included in a proposal for the 915-acre area straddling Interstate 90 from the far edge of the city to Northeast Gilman Boulevard. The group has offered a bold plan to transform acre upon acre of strip malls and parking lots into dense neighborhoods bordered by parks and linked by mass transit.

The city rolled out the proposal Oct. 27, after the task force logged almost 1,000 hours across 13 months to prepare the plan. If the city decides to implement the plan, any results could be decades distant.

The plan re-envisions Central Issaquah as a blend of businesses and residences ringed by a “green necklace” of parks and trails. The task force studied redevelopment efforts in nearby cities for inspiration, but members said the result is tailored to Issaquah.

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Help tally Issaquah cyclists and pedestrians

September 19, 2010

NEW — 6 a.m. Sept. 19, 2010

The state Department of Transportation and Cascade Bicycle Club need volunteers to help count Issaquah cyclists and pedestrians in early October.

The information is then used to track progress toward a state goal of increasing bicycling and walking, and reducing the number of vehicle miles driven. The count is planned for Oct. 5-7.

The local count is part of the National Documentation Project, a yearly bicycle and pedestrian count and survey effort sponsored by the Institute of Transportation Engineers Pedestrian and Bicycle Council.

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New club aims to connect bicyclists

September 7, 2010

Paul Winterstein bicycles up 12th Avenue Northwest, by Tibbetts Valley Park, on his commute home from work in Redmond. By Laura Geggel

Almost every day, Paul Winterstein commutes the 12.5 miles from his house on Squak Mountain to his workplace in Redmond.

He began biking to work in 2008, after two of his four children got their drivers’ licenses. Instead of buying another car, he decided to bicycle to work, rain or shine. Bicycling helps keep him fit and be a good role model for his children, he said.

The more he used local roads to bike to work, the more he noticed how road construction affected his safety and route.

With road changes happening frequently, Winterstein decided to start an Issaquah Bicycle Club that would unite the area’s bicyclists, helping give them a voice at Issaquah City Council meetings and a presence in the community.

The group could also organize rides, share bicycling tips and bring people together, giving bicyclists a stronger unified identity, much like hikers who belong to the Issaquah Alps Trails Club.

Kent Peterson, an Issaquah bicyclist who works as a bike technician at the Bicycle Center of Issaquah, said he enjoyed mountain biking and that he looked forward to joining the club.

“There are certain roads that are better riding on than others,” Peterson said. “It’s nice to have a place where you can share that knowledge with other people.” Read more

City is redoing bike lanes on Newport Way Northwest

August 31, 2010

The effort to redo bicycle lanes and a pedestrian path along Newport Way Northwest from state Route 900 to the city line has started.

City engineers do not expect the project to cause significant traffic delays.

The project calls for bike lanes to be added in both directions, plus a separated pedestrian path along the north side of the roadway along Newport Way from state Route 900 to Lakemont Boulevard Southeast, the city line.

Crews started to remove rumble strips last week. City Public Works Engineering Director Bob Brock said the city had yet to receive a final schedule from the contractor, but he said he expects the majority of the work to be completed within a couple of weeks.

In March, the City Council decided to spend $120,000 for the project. The decision prompted debate because crews had added a trail and a gravel shoulder to the same section of road late last year.

But 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.

City launches redo of Newport Way Northwest section

August 28, 2010

NEW — 6 a.m. Aug. 28, 2010

The contentious plan to redo bicycle lanes and a pedestrian path along Newport Way Northwest from state Route 900 to the city line has started.

City engineers do not expect the project to cause significant traffic delays.

The project calls for bike lanes to be added in both directions, plus a separated pedestrian path along the north side of the roadway along Newport Way Northwest from state Route 900 to Lakemont Boulevard Southeast, the city line.

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Workers will close SR 900 ramp, lanes overnight Wednesday

April 28, 2010

NEW — 2 p.m. April 28, 2010

State Department of Transportation crews will close the off-ramp from westbound Interstate 90 to state Route 900 overnight Wednesday.

Workers will close the ramp from 8 p.m. until 5 a.m. Signs will direct drivers to the exit at West Lake Sammamish Parkway Southeast.

Crews will also close up to two lanes in both directions of SR 900 between Newport Way Northwest and Southeast 83rd Street from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. through Friday.

The work will take place as crews near completion of the yearslong effort to widen SR 900 and improve access for bicyclists and pedestrians through the corridor.

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Sunset Way interchange completion to begin construction in late spring

January 12, 2010

The narrow, temporary East Sunset Way approach to Interstate 90 will be completed this year with wider lanes, road shoulders, curbs and a sidewalk. By Greg Farrar

The narrow, temporary East Sunset Way approach to Interstate 90 will be completed this year with wider lanes, road shoulders, curbs and a sidewalk. By Greg Farrar

Expect construction noise and lane closures when state crews begin work to widen the East Sunset Way approach to Interstate 90 in late spring.

State Department of Transportation plans call for construction on the $3.5 million project to start in May and last about six months. Although most work will take place off the roadway, the project will require up to 60 nighttime closures, when a single lane will remain open and flag crews will direct traffic.

Workers will widen the narrow, curved roadway from a single lane in each direction hemmed by concrete barriers to wider lanes bracketed by road shoulders, curbs and a sidewalk.

“When you have two buses or two trucks try to go through here at the same time, it’s impossible. One of them has to wait,” Project Engineer Hung Huynh said.

Crews will also replace a temporary support wall with a permanent support for the widened roadway. The project will also require workers to reconfigure storm water retention ponds adjacent to the site.

Huynh said the DOT plans to advertise the project to contractors next month. Officials tapped into state gas tax revenue to pay for the project. Read more

Volunteers needed for cyclist, pedestrian count starting Tuesday

September 27, 2009

NEW — 6 a.m. Sept. 27, 2009

Volunteers are needed to count cyclists and pedestrians using bike lanes, paths, sidewalks and roads.

State Department of Transportation and Cascade Bicycle Club officials organized the count.

Volunteers are needed Sept. 29 to Oct. 1; two shifts are available each day: 7-9 a.m. and 4-6 p.m. To volunteer, call the bicycle club at 206-957-0689, e-mail organizer@cascadebicycleclub.org or go to the club’s Web site.

Organizers targeted key areas in and around Issaquah to count: Front Street South and Newport Way Southwest; East Sunset Way and Sixth Ave Northeast; Newport Way Northwest and state Route 900; 17th Avenue Northwest and 12th Avenue Northwest; East Lake Sammamish Parkway and Southeast 43rd Avenue; Southeast Issaquah‐Fall City Road and Black Nugget Road.

DOT officials will use information from the count to track progress of a state goal to increase cycling and walking.

“When people have safe and convenient places to walk and bicycle, they are more likely to leave their car at home,” state Transportation Secretary Paula Hammond said in a news release. “This count helps us to measure the demand for and benefits of existing paths and trails, and to identify new needs.”

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