King County executive proposes $20 fee to fund roads

October 9, 2012

Unincorporated King County residents could pay a $20 vehicle license fee next year to shore up road maintenance in rural areas.

Dow Constantine

King County Executive Dow Constantine recommended the fee in the proposed 2013 budget. The fee is projected to raise $4.5 million to fund road projects in unincorporated areas, such as Klahanie, May Valley and Preston in the Issaquah area.

The alternative could mean reduced maintenance to correct problems, such as potholes, and a slower response during snow and ice storms.

Still, county leaders need about $50 million to $65 million per year to maintain the 1,500-mile road network in unincorporated King County.

“The fee won’t be enough, not by a long shot. But it’s the only remaining authority left to counties by the Legislature,” Constantine said in a Sept. 24 budget address to the King County Council. “The system for funding local transportation in Washington state is broken. Everybody knows it. We have a 1930s revenue system to fund 21st century transportation needs.”

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King County executive appoints emergency management director

August 29, 2012

NEW — 10 a.m. Aug. 29, 2012

King County Executive Dow Constantine appointed local crisis manager Walt Hubbard to lead the county Office of Emergency Management.

Hubbard served as acting director at the agency for the past several months, since former Director Hillman Mitchell departed for a private sector job. Officials selected Hubbard after a nationwide search, and Constantine announced the appointment Tuesday.

“Walt brings a wealth of experience and strong local relationships that will help us protect residents and businesses in the event of disaster,” he said in a statement.

King County faces risks from earthquakes, floods, terrorism, volcanic eruptions and numerous other threats, both natural and manmade.

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County to make safety improvements near Liberty High School

June 19, 2012

King County road crews plan to make safety improvements near Liberty High School soon.

The county King County Road Services Division received federal grant funding to complete the project east of Renton. Crews plan to restripe the westbound lanes at the intersection of 168th Avenue Southeast and Southeast 128th Avenue Street — north of Liberty.

Get involved

Submit comments about the project by June 29 to Community Relations, King County Department of Transportation by phone at 206-263-9770, by email to community.relations@kingcounty.gov or by mail to 201 S. Jackson St., MS: KSC-TR-0824, Seattle, WA 98104.

Learn more about the project at www.kingcounty.gov/transportation/kcdot/Roads/Construction/ConstructionProjectsOther/HighwaySafetyProgram.aspx.

Plans also call for the existing traffic signal to be changed to provide a left-turn signal. Expect improved pedestrian facilities to result from the project, too.

Officials expect the changes to reduce the number and severity of rear-end collisions involving motorists waiting to turn left from Southeast 128th Avenue Street onto 168th Avenue Southeast.

In the existing arrangement, a curve limits the visibility of vehicles stopped in the inside westbound lane. Advance warning signs and flashers located east of the intersection should help alert westbound motorists of changes and the need to merge to the right.

Construction is expected to begin by September and be completed by the end of the year. Students return to Liberty and other Issaquah School District campuses Sept. 4.

No full road closure is expected as crews complete the work. Expect to see project signs on the approaches to the intersection to alert motorists a few weeks prior to the start of construction.

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King County to make safety improvements near Liberty High School

June 14, 2012

NEW — 8 a.m. June 14, 2012

King County road crews plan to make safety improvements near Liberty High School soon.

The county King County Road Services Division received federal grant funding to complete the project east of Renton. Crews plan to restripe the westbound lanes at the intersection of 168th Avenue Southeast and Southeast 128th Avenue Street — located north of Liberty.

Plans also call for the the existing traffic signal to be changed to provide a left-turn signal. Expect improved pedestrian facilities to result from the project, too.

Officials expect the changes to reduce the number and severity of rear-end collisions involving motorists waiting to turn left from Southeast 128th Avenue Street onto 168th Avenue Southeast.

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King County auctions used vehicles, equipment to public

May 17, 2012

NEW — 10 a.m. May 17, 2012

Old King County Sheriff’s Office patrol cruisers and other used equipment go on the auction block Saturday, as King County hosts a semi-annual auction.

The auction features numerous pickups, vans and cars retired from county service. Bidding starts at 9 a.m. at the Fleet Administration Division of the Kcounty Department of Transportation, 3005 N.E. Fourth St., Renton, near Renton Technical College.

The auction is managed by the Fleet Administration Division.

Previews start Thursday and Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the auction site, and starting at 8 a.m. Saturday.

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County’s proposed road plan calls for limited service on local streets

September 13, 2011

NEW — 8 a.m. Sept. 13, 2011

Some streets in rural and unincorporated areas near Issaquah could receive reduced maintenance and a lower priority for snow removal under a proposal King County leaders unveiled Monday — a plan County Executive Dow Constantine called “triage” for a cash-strapped and deteriorating roads system.

Dow Constantine

Constantine proposed a plan to prioritize road maintenance, snow removal and storm response on a tiered system.

Important arteries — such as Issaquah-Hobart Road Southeast, Preston-Fall City Road Southeast, Southeast Issaquah-Fall City Road and sections of Southeast May Valley Road east of state Route 900 — remain top priorities for maintenance, snow removal and storm cleanup under the proposal.

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Transit prodigy mentors the next generation

May 31, 2011

Thirty years ago, Ted Day was a 10-year-old with an interest in King County’s transit system. By that young age, he had memorized all of the bus routes in the Metro system, and was featured as a transit prodigy in an article in The Seattle Times.

Matthew Neisius (left), an Issaquah High School sophomore, met with Metro Transit Service Planner Ted Day to discuss a future transportation career. Contributed

Fast forward to 2011, and the 39-year-old Day now works for King County Metro Transit as one of the agency’s senior service planners. It is a position that taps into his early passion to “fill in all the big spaces without bus runs.”

The Service Planning group is continually updating Metro’s bus system by adjusting the type and frequency of service throughout the county. It also leads efforts for long-range transit planning and integration of Metro’s service with other transportation agencies like Sound Transit.

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King County auctions used vehicles, including buses, Saturday

May 20, 2011

NEW — 10 a.m. May 20, 2011

Pick up a used bus Saturday as King County auctions surplus vehicles and equipment.

Bidding at the semiannual auction of surplus vehicles and equipment is scheduled to start at 9 a.m.

In addition to buses, the auction features pickups, vans, cars and dump trucks. Or, find bridge timbers and other miscellaneous equipment.

The county Department of Transportation manages the auction at 3005 N.E. Fourth St., Renton, near Renton Technical College. The bidding starts at 9 a.m.

Previews continue through 3 p.m. Friday and start again at 8 a.m. Saturday.

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County sets $5 as maximum fee for vehicle recharging stations

May 19, 2011

NEW — 8 a.m. May 19, 2011

King County Council members set a $5 fee as the cap for motorists plugging in electric and hybrid vehicles for a charge at county recharging stations.

The ordinance adopted by the council Monday establishes a per-use fee, and directs the county Department of Transportation to set a fee up to $5 per use. The proposed maximum fee is based on maintenance costs, vendor costs and electricity.

“The $5 cap fee approved today should give the economic viability of electric cars a real jolt,” Vice Chairwoman Jane Hague said in a release. “‘Green’ vehicles are the future of transportation and providing commuters with a variety of practical options is definitely a good thing.”

Technological advances make electric vehicles — battery and plug-in hybrids — more economically feasible to own.

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Surprising spring snow dusts city in white

April 12, 2011

Snowfall blanketed the Overdale Park neighborhood in Issaquah late April 7. By Larry Lohrman

Sure, spring started last month, but Old Man Winter returned last week.

Snowfall blanketed Issaquah and surrounding areas — especially neighborhoods in the Issaquah Highlands and on Cougar, Squak and Tiger mountains — late April 6 and early April 7. Surprised residents reported about 1 inch of snow accumulation in some places.

“We’re disappointed by the weather every April — and that can actually last into June, our disappointment with the weather,” said Chris Burke, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Seattle.

Roads remained clear for the April 7 morning commute, although the rain-soaked ground resulting from the increased precipitation snarled Issaquah-area traffic.

Crews cleared a fallen tree from Issaquah-Hobart Road Southeast near Issaquah at about 8 a.m., after the large maple clogged traffic and forced motorists to detour.

King County Sheriff’s Office deputies directed traffic. Crews cleared enough of the tree to reopen the road just after 9 a.m. and then remained on the scene to continue the cleanup Read more

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