Editorial — Speed limit decrease is good, but go further

September 16, 2015

NEW — 5:43 p.m. Sept. 16, 2015

We want to applaud our Issaquah City Council members for lowering the speed limit on Newport Way Northwest.

The new speed limit, 30 mph between state Route 900 and the Lakemont interchange, goes into effect Sept. 22.

We also want to congratulate those council members and other city officials who took the time to drive the street, calculating times and speeds, doing their own research rather than relying solely on traffic studies, calculations and recommendations.

But before anyone pats themselves on the backs much, we ask that everyone take a moment to remember the reason for this change — 4 1/2-year-old Haochen Xu, who was hit in the crosswalk at Newport Way Northwest and Northwest Oakcrest Drive on June 26 while walking with his mother. He died from his injuries the next day. Read more

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Hotel project to close a lane of southbound Maple for one year

June 25, 2015

According to the lighted reader board now in place on Northwest Maple Street near 12th Avenue Northwest, the right lane of southbound Maple Street will close June 26.

According to Lucy Sloman, land development manager for the city, the reason is a long-delayed project to place a Marriott Springhill Suites hotel at the corner of Maple and 12th is about to get underway.

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Flashing yellow arrows coming to more streets

June 10, 2015

The city of Issaquah is adding flashing yellow left-turn arrow traffic signals at intersections throughout Issaquah.

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Traffic plan may cost $300 million

December 9, 2014

Package would include 500 percent increase in impact fees

Looking to accommodate expected residential and retail growth without creating gridlock on city streets, Issaquah’s administration has come up with a $300 million transportation plan that could accommodate up to an additional 8,000 car trips on local streets per day.

But to help pay for all the needed road improvements, administration officials have proposed a 500 percent hike in the traffic impact fees developers pay.

For a single-family unit, developers currently pay $1,700, said David Hoffman, North King County manager for the Master Builders Association. If the proposed increases were adopted, that figure jumps to $8,600.

The impact fees would not cover the entire cost of the plan, which includes $250 million for roadwork and an additional $50 million for bike paths and pedestrian accommodations, city consultant Randy Young said in an interview.

Young said the city would need to fund the remainder at a cost of approximately $165 million for roadwork and roughly $26 million for bike and pedestrian pathways.

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Overlake relocates Issaquah specialty clinics

November 20, 2012

Overlake Hospital Medical Center’s Issaquah-based specialty clinics, including cardiology and pulmonology, Anticoagulation Clinic and the Breast Screening Center, have relocated to the Highmark Medical Building along state Route 900 at Northwest Maple Street.

The medical center also moved its Issaquah classroom from the Overlake Center along East Lake Sammamish Parkway Southeast to the Highmark Medical Building. The change offers a larger space for educational courses provided by the hospital and clinics.

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November 6, 2012

Shoppers deserve traffic solutions

There are two messy traffic jams that occur in Issaquah, primarily on busy weekend shopping days. With the arrival of the holiday shopping season, these locations will only get worse. While you may have others in mind, we think you’d agree these two are tops for driver annoyance.

Both spots are in the heart of shopping centers.

No. 1 honors go to the ingress/egress to Lake Sammamish Center near The Home Depot. The traffic signal and Interstate 90 Undercrossing help drivers move in and out of the area, but getting out of the parking lot from the south side is a lesson in frustration. Often the only option is to circle away from the exit and try again from a new angle. The only saving grace is that there are no pedestrians in the midst of this tangle of cars.

The intersection on Northwest Maple Street in the heart of the Issaquah Commons is the second-most hazardous traffic jam in town.

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California bank seeks to buy Cascade Bank

May 10, 2011

California-based Opus Bank announced plans last month to acquire Cascade Bank parent company Cascade Financial for $21.75 million in cash.

Cascade shareholders plan to meet in Everett next month to vote on the buyout. If shareholders and regulators agree to the deal, the transaction should be complete late in the second quarter.

Cascade Bank operates branches in Issaquah along Front Street North and Northwest Maple Street.

“This strategic transaction is an extension of our vision to create a strong super-regional bank in the Western region,” Opus founder, CEO and President Stephen Gordon said in a release.

Combined, the company could include 27 full-service offices, including 22 in the Puget Sound region and five in Southern California. Opus is based in Irvine.

“Opus Bank’s vision of building a high-quality, relationship-based community bank is consistent with Cascade’s own vision and rich legacy,” Cascade CEO and President Carol Nelson said.

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Issaquah ‘green’ medical building is certified gold

May 3, 2011

The “green” HighMark Medical Center has received Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Gold certification.

The building at state Route 900 and Northwest Maple Street is the first medical facility in Issaquah to receive the designation.

“HighMark is very proud of the efforts of all parties involved with this project to achieve this success,” HighMark CEO Michael Kerby said in a release. “LEED Gold was our goal from the start of the project, and while the team was challenged at times, collaboration and diligence ensured we would reach that goal.”

Features include rain gardens and low-energy lighting. Ongoing “green” efforts include eco-friendly janitorial services, pest-control prevention and landscaping practices.

“HighMark Medical Center’s LEED certification demonstrates tremendous ‘green’ building leadership,” Rick Fedrizzi, U.S. Green Building Council president, CEO and founding chairwoman, said in a release. “The urgency of USGBC’s mission has challenged the industry to move faster and reach further than ever before, and HighMark serves as a prime example with just how much we can accomplish.”

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Committee appointed to guide redevelopment

July 6, 2010

The city and developer Rowley Properties called on former city councilmen and community leaders last week to help guide redevelopment on almost 90 acres.

City planners and Rowley representatives announced the creation of the citizens group to offer input on a proposal to redevelop land near state Route 900 and Interstate 90.

The committee appointments represent the latest step in a decadeslong process to reshape Hyla Crossing — about 62 acres arranged in a rough triangle and wedged between the interstate and the base of Cougar Mountain — and Rowley Center — about 26 acres bordered by Northwest Maple Street, 12th Avenue Northwest, Northwest Gilman Boulevard and state Route 900 — into mixed-use, pedestrian-friendly areas.

City Council members agreed in early April to proceed with the proposal. The council agreed to spend up to $750,000 — to be reimbursed by the developer — to complete the framework for a development agreement.

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Track planned Newport Way upgrades at city Web site

February 22, 2010

NEW — 6 a.m. Feb. 23, 2010

City planners unveiled a Web site last week for residents to track proposed improvements to Newport Way Northwest near Issaquah Valley Elementary School.

The site includes information about options for the corridor and diagrams showing options.

Planners hope to upgrade the road from West Sunset Way to Northwest Maple Street to improve safety, traffic flow, storm water management and aesthetics. The city plans to continue design work until next winter, but a construction timeline remains unclear, because city officials have yet to determine how the project would be funded.

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