King County Metro Transit aims to improve Issaquah bus service

January 22, 2013

NEW — 8 a.m. Jan. 22, 2013

King County Metro Transit is gathering public input on proposed schedule and route changes to routes along the Interstate 90 corridor, including Issaquah-bound routes.

The shift is meant to ease crowding and improve travel times on peak commute routes.

The routes under consideration for changes include routes 210, 211, 214, 215 and 218 — routes serving Issaquah. The list also includes Sammamish-to-Seattle Route 216 and Eastgate-to-Seattle Route 212.

Metro Transit identified the routes as among the busiest and most productive commuter routes in the transit network. Buses carry 5,000 to 7,000 Eastside commuters daily along the I-90 corridor to downtown Seattle and serve major transit hubs in the Issaquah Highlands, downtown Issaquah and Eastgate.

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Fred Butler launches campaign for Issaquah mayor

January 17, 2013

NEW — 6 p.m. Jan. 17, 2013

Fred Butler, a City Council stalwart for 13 years and a voice in important debates about the future of Issaquah, entered the race for mayor Thursday.

Fred Butler

Fred Butler

The contest could hinge on the vision for the decades ahead, as city leaders seek to position Issaquah for redevelopment and attract more jobs to the community.

Butler, 72, served on the council at major junctures in recent history, as members debated the defunct Southeast Bypass road link, how to preserve forested Park Pointe on Tiger Mountain, and late last year, a 30-year redevelopment blueprint called the Central Issaquah Plan.

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Editorial

January 1, 2013

2013 goals are imperative for Issaquah

Our news staff and editorial board put their heads together each year to create a list of 2013 goals for the Issaquah area. Some are repeats from former years, but are still waiting to be accomplished.

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City OKs buildings up to 125 feet tall in business district

December 25, 2012

Redevelopment plan calls for more than 7,000 residences

City leaders raised the building height limit to 125 feet in the business district and raised the stakes for redevelopment in the decades ahead.

The roadmap to redevelopment — a document called the Central Issaquah Plan — also creates a framework to add more than 7,000 residences on about 1,000 acres stretched along Interstate 90.

In a series of decisions reached Dec. 17 after years spent re-envisioning the business district, a relieved City Council adopted the Central Issaquah Plan, but delayed action on a key piece until at least April.

“It’s the right plan at the right time,” Councilman Fred Butler said. “It will not happen overnight, but when the time is right, we will be ready.”

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Snow causes few disruptions for Issaquah residents

December 25, 2012

Snow crept into forecasts in recent days, but aside from a dusting in higher-elevation neighborhoods and a delay for Issaquah School District students, winter weather did not cause significant disruptions in the area.

In response to slushy conditions on roads and some snowfall overnight, school district administrators delayed the start of school two hours Dec. 18. The day before, as forecasters issued a winter weather advisory for Western Washington, Issaquah and King County road crews prepared for snow.

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Expect reduced transit service on Christmas

December 23, 2012

NEW — 6 p.m. Dec. 23, 2012

Expect reduced transit service from Christmas Eve until after 2013 arrives, as King County Metro Transit and Sound Transit adjust schedules for the holidays.

Metro Transit operates on holiday and reduced weekday schedules Christmas week and during the New Year’s holidays.

The agency operates on reduced weekday bus service Monday, Christmas Eve, and on a Sunday schedule for Christmas. Then, transit goes to reduced weekday bus service from Wednesday to Friday.

Using a limited schedule over holiday periods from November through January is estimated to save Metro Transit about $1 million each year. The agency typically experiences a drop of about 15 percent in ridership during the holiday week.

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King County Metro Transit urges riders to prepare for snow

December 17, 2012

NEW — 10 p.m. Dec. 17, 2012

Snow is in the forecast overnight and into the morning commute Tuesday, so King County Metro Transit is reminding bus riders to plan ahead for getting around during winter weather — especially since many changes occurred on bus routes earlier in the fall.

Though major snow accumulation is not expected, riders should plan ahead, because minor snow and icy conditions could delay buses. The mass transit agency offers tool to help riders stay informed during inclement conditions. If necessary, Metro Transit can reroute buses around closed roads, add chains to bus tires or switch to snow routes.

Metro Transit riders can receive up-to-date information about route changes at the Transit Alerts website, http://1.usa.gov/5c064v.

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City Council could delay part of Central Issaquah Plan

December 12, 2012

NEW — 10 a.m. Dec. 12, 2012

City leaders recommended Tuesday to delay the implementation of important development rules in a long-term plan to transform the business district from strip malls and parking lots to a dense urban hub.

In the last public meeting for the proposed Central Issaquah Plan before the document reaches the City Council for consideration, a council committee called for more time to refine and review the design and development standards outlined in the 30-year blueprint for redevelopment.

The design and development standards set rules for buildings, community spaces, landscaping, signage and more.

Overall, Council Land & Shore Committee members forwarded to the full council the four pieces of legislation to enact the Central Issaquah Plan. The full council is scheduled to consider the legislation and listen to public input Dec. 17.

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Superintendent recommends six-period schedule for Liberty High School

December 4, 2012

Superintendent Steve Rasmussen recommends Liberty High School switch to a six-period schedule.

During the 1990s, many schools across the nation began using an eight-period block schedule where students take four 90-minute classes each day. And in the fall of 1995, Liberty became one of those schools.

Seventeen years later, that could change. In order to establish a common, districtwide high school schedule, and to give Liberty students more time to study core subjects, the Issaquah School District is considering changing Liberty’s timetable.

Rasmussen made his recommendation to the Issaquah School Board during a work study session Nov. 28. The main reason, he said, is because the current block schedule gives Liberty students 127 hours per class each year, where Issaquah High School has 161 hours and Skyline High School has 165.

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Activity buses offer ride home for students staying late

December 4, 2012

Angelique Cilliers, Simona Snapkauskaite and Joe McLendon (from left) climb aboard an extended day activity bus at Pine Lake Middle School. By Lillian O’Rorke

Monday through Thursday at about 4 p.m., long after class has let out, 10 yellow school buses chug along area roads, helping middle school students with extracurricular activities get home.

“This is a bad time of the day for parents to pick their kids up,” said Don Crook, who drives one of the two late buses at Pine Lake Middle School. “For all the kids that stay after, whether it’s for chess club or track … the activities buses provide them a means to get back to home or at least close to it.”

Extended Day Activity buses, which are better known unofficially as activity buses, operate at all five of the Issaquah School District’s middle schools.

Director of Transportation Jo Porter estimates that about 250 sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders ride the buses. They stay after school, she said, for sports, clubs or just extra study time in the library. And of course, as activities change with the seasons, so do ridership numbers.

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