Off the Press

February 8, 2011

Greg Farrar Press photographer

A recent photo assignment for our Issaquah Living magazine coming in next week’s Press has shed some insight into what can only be described as our little local miracle, Issaquah Creek.

We all have seen the creek as it moves past the hatchery, or under the vehicle bridges on Gilman Boulevard, Newport Way or Front Street. We definitely get a good look when it floods. But that leaves more than 99 percent of the creek unseen by most people as it comes down from Tiger Mountain and north through the valley.

I’ve been wading knee-deep in water, pushing through hummocks of blackberry vines, hiking and climbing down hillsides of forest to find the headwaters, trickles, waterfalls, and brooks that give birth to our creek.

There are four main branches — Holder Creek, which starts on the southeast slope of Tiger Mountain; Carey Creek, which begins in Hobart and comes together with Holder Creek at the Bonomi Farm by Highway 18 to create Issaquah Creek; Fifteenmile Creek, which starts on Tiger’s southwest slope and meets Issaquah Creek at Southeast May Valley Road; and the East Fork, which starts at High Point and joins Issaquah Creek west of Darigold.

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City plans to count vehicles using Interstate 90 Undercrossing

January 18, 2011

Mayor Ava Frisinger (right) addresses city staffers at the opening ceremony for the Interstate 90 Undercrossing on Jan. 11. By Greg Farrar

Motorists continue to discover Fourth Avenue Northwest, a shortcut beneath Interstate 90, and the city plans to start counting the number of vehicles using the undercrossing as early as next month.

The undercrossing opened to traffic in mid-December after the city resolved legal challenges and concerns about the potential impact on the environment. Mayor Ava Frisinger, flanked by the crown-and-robe-clad King and Queen of Issaquah, Nathan Perea and Renee Zimmerman, snipped the ribbon on the road during a Jan. 11 ceremony.

Construction on the undercrossing started last May. Read more

City unveils real-time traffic cameras

January 11, 2011

Motorists curious about congestion along Northwest Gilman Boulevard or morning traffic along Front Street South near Issaquah High School can receive real-time information from a system of traffic cameras throughout Issaquah.

The city launched a traffic camera website Dec. 28. The site includes information from cameras at 26 intersections citywide. Read more

Construction prompts city to close northbound Front Street

January 4, 2011

NEW — 10:30 a.m. Jan. 4, 2011

Steer clear of Front Street and East Sunset Way on Tuesday as crews started to replace a traffic signal pole at the bustling downtown Issaquah intersection.

Crews closed northbound Front Street at about 10:30 a.m. The closure is expected to last several hours.

The city has suggested for motorists to use alternate routes, including Newport Way Northwest or Second Avenue Southeast.

The closure stems from a Dec. 22 accident. In the early morning collision, a tractor-trailer destroyed a decorative pole and traffic signal at the intersection. City crews toiled throughout the day in order to install a temporary traffic signal — rented from the state Department of Transportation — at the scene.

The construction Tuesday is a step in the process to add another sturdier, temporary pole. Then, the city waits for a decorative pole to be cast and shipped. The process could take about six months to complete.

Truck topples downtown traffic signal

December 28, 2010

City maintenance workers survey the damage after a tractor-trailer toppled a pole and traffic signal at the corner of Front Street and Sunset Way on Dec. 22. By Tim Pfarr

Motorists and bus riders faced a headache Dec. 22, after a tractor-trailer toppled the traffic signal and pole on the northeastern corner of the Front Street and Sunset Way intersection.

The accident led city officials to close northbound traffic on Front Street and detour drivers to alternate routes. The crash also prompted King County Metro Transit to reroute buses through the affected area for much of the day.

City crews also deployed signs throughout Issaquah to alert drivers to potential problems.

The accident occurred at about 6:30 a.m. Dec. 22. The driver fled the scene and the Issaquah Police Department later arrested the man for fleeing the scene. Read more

Truck topples downtown traffic signal at Front Street

December 22, 2010

Debris left from a fallen light pole litters the corner as police direct traffic away from the intersection of Front Street and Sunset Way. Photo by Tim Pfarr

UPDATED — 10:30 a.m. Dec. 22, 2010

A large truck knocked down the traffic signal and pole on the southeastern corner of the Front Street and Sunset Way intersection at about 6:30 a.m. Wednesday.

Read more

Issaquah on ice: Snowstorm snarls traffic, prompts school closures

November 30, 2010

Ryder Marin, 9, of Issaquah, starts to spill after becoming airborne on the Issaquah Community Center hillside Nov. 23. ‘All the snow comes straight up in my face and I can’t see very well,’ he said. By Tim Pfarr

The nightmare occurred long before Christmas — and before Thanksgiving.

Issaquah and the Puget Sound region slid to a halt during a fall snowstorm Nov. 22. The storm snarled commutes for Issaquah residents and prompted road crews to toil through Thanksgiving to clear streets. The poor conditions interrupted the regional transit system and left riders huddled in bus shelters. The fallout sent shoppers scrambling to stores for emergency supplies and Thanksgiving staples.

The mercury dipped into the teens and 20s — record cold temperatures — in the days after the storm and turned roads icy.

“People were very understanding of the situation,” Issaquah Police Patrol Cmdr. Scott Behrbaum said. “I think a lot of people were just trying to get home Monday night.”

Some motorists abandoned vehicles and turned road shoulders along Highlands Drive Northeast, Newport Way Northwest and Southeast Black Nugget Road into impromptu parking lots. Police impounded more than 30 vehicles in travel lanes as conditions deteriorated Nov. 22.

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Undercrossing opening date changed to December

November 23, 2010

Interstate 90 Undercrossing

The long-planned Interstate 90 Undercrossing — a road link between north and south Issaquah — is due to open in December, about a month later than planners had estimated.

The delay came when the installation of bridge safety railings lasted longer than expected.

City Public Works Engineering Director Bob Brock said the entire connector could open by the week of Dec. 6 if no construction problems arise. The city planned open Southeast 62nd Street and 221st Place Southeast — streets closed during construction — Nov. 24. Read more

City asks for input about truck routes

September 14, 2010

City planners could redraw the routes large trucks use to travel through Issaquah.

Before the city takes action, officials encourage residents to offer feedback on proposals. The city has received feedback from residents concerned about truck noise, air pollution and the number of trucks along East Sunset Way. The soon-to-be-completed East Sunset Way approach to Interstate 90 has also raised concerns about increased truck traffic, after crews finish the upgraded roadway.

The truck route for the street starts at the I-90 interchange, and then progresses along Newport Way Southwest to Front Street South and the southern city line.

The route and state Route 900 remain the only approved north-south routes in Issaquah.

In late spring, state Department of Transportation crews completed the yearslong effort to widen state Route 900. The road can better accommodate larger trucks.

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Plan ahead for Interstate 90 lane closures through Friday

August 31, 2010

NEW — 2 p.m. Aug. 31, 2010

The state Department of Transportation plans close a single lane of Interstate 90 through Issaquah on Wednesday.

Crews plan to repair the guardrail on a section of the interstate just west of the Front Street exit. The lane is scheduled to close from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.

The project is unrelated to the widening of the East Sunset Way approach to the interstate interchange.

Read more

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