Route 200 bus expansion is delayed until 2013

March 29, 2011

Route 200 bus riders can enjoy many more free rides following a City Council decision last week.

The council reluctantly agreed to delay the Route 200 expansion — and the plan to collect fares — to the Issaquah Highlands and Talus until February 2013.

“I hope nobody in our community views the delay until February of 2013 as this council not being committed to improving public transport throughout our city,” Councilman Mark Mullet said. “I think we’re firmly committed to that goal.”

In a January letter to the city, Port Blakely Communities — a financial partner in the Route 200 agreement — announced its decision to pull out of the agreement.

The route had been scheduled to extend to the highlands and Talus in September. The city and King County Metro Transit had also planned to start collecting fares then.

Municipal and transit officials could someday establish a route, 928, to offer additional service on Squak Mountain. In order to fund the additional service, Metro Transit needs to charge fares on Route 200 buses.

“I believe that the delay in expanding this bus service hurts Squak Mountain,” Councilman Joshua Schaer said. “It hurts Talus and it hurts the highlands.”

City Council reschedules Route 200 discussion

March 1, 2011

The plan to extend Route 200 from downtown Issaquah and the business district to the Issaquah Highlands and Talus is due to reach the City Council soon.

The free bus route had been scheduled to extend to the highlands and Talus in September. The city and Metro Transit had planned to start collecting fares on Route 200 in the months ahead.

Port Blakely Communities, the highlands developer and a partner in the effort to expand transit service, requested last month for the extension to be delayed until at least 2013.

Council Transportation Committee members agreed last month to push the implementation date to February 2013.

The council had been scheduled to discuss the proposal March 7. Members plan to consider the measure March 21 instead.

Municipal and Port Blakely staffers continue to work on the proposal.

Metro Transit and Issaquah officials could also establish a route, 928, to offer additional service on Squak Mountain.

In order to fund the additional service, the proposal calls for Metro Transit to charge fares on Route 200 buses. In the meantime — due to the delayed extension — rides along the route remain free.

Route 200 bus remains free as extension stalls

February 15, 2011

City delays planned service to Issaquah Highlands, Talus

The long-established plan to expand free bus service to the Issaquah Highlands is on hold, after a financial backer pulled out of the public-private partnership behind Route 200 service.

In the meantime, the city and King County Metro Transit delayed a plan to charge for Route 200 bus service until the route expands in the future.

Route 200 had been scheduled to extend to the highlands and Talus in September 2011. The city and Metro Transit had planned to start collecting fares on Route 200 in the months ahead.

Instead, the line could be extended to the highlands and Talus in February 2013. Under the current arrangement, Route 200 buses circulate through downtown Issaquah and the business district.

“The tradeoff is you don’t get the expanded service,” Councilman Joshua Schaer said. “You’re not paying, but on the other hands, you’re not getting the routes that we said we’d give.”

Council Transportation Committee members discussed Route 200 service Feb. 11. The committee sent the measure to the full council for discussion on March 7.

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Press Editorial

January 4, 2011

2011 goals: Building on success of 2010

Issaquah reached numerous milestones in 2010.

In the steps to preserve Park Pointe on Tiger Mountain, the city inched closer to a lasting environmental legacy. The bevy of road upgrades offered real transportation solutions and quality-of-life improvements for Issaquah residents.

Though many of the main city issues attracted attention in 2010, the ramifications should continue to be felt in 2011.

Here, then, is our list of our goals — some significant and some small — for the year ahead: Read more

City Council adopts lean budget for 2011

December 28, 2010

City Council members adopted the 2011 municipal budget in a unanimous decision Dec. 20.

The council endorsed the lean spending plan after months of deliberations. The budget did not include property tax or rate hikes. 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.

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2011 municipal budget clears City Council hurdle

December 8, 2010

NEW — 8 a.m. Dec. 8, 2010

The trim 2011 city budget inched closer from plan to reality Monday night.

City Council members offered another round of comments about the spending plan, and then — in a unanimous decision — directed city staffers to prepare the formal budget ordinance for adoption. The council is scheduled to adopt the budget Dec. 20.

Discussion centered on the general fund — the $30.4 million budget piece used to fund police and fire services, community development and planning, parks and recreation, and municipal government.

“It’s a $30 million budget for the city of Issaquah, and I think people assume there’s a lot of money flying around,” Councilman Mark Mullet said. “When you’re actually in the meetings, it’s very impressive how everything does get analyzed down to that last decimal point.”

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2011 city budget brings end to free bus rides

December 7, 2010

City highlights transportation upgrades in spending plan

The free ride could end for Route 200 bus riders next year.

City Council members plan to recommend for regular King County Metro Transit fares to be collected on the route.

Every dollar of property tax money is used by numerous local, regional and state agencies to fund services. Issaquah uses the dollars to fund police and fire services, parks and recreation, roads and municipal government. By Dona Mokin

Leaders intend for Route 200 fares to be used to help expand transit routes throughout the city and perhaps to Squak Mountain.

The recommendation and more than a dozen others outline a series of goals and initiatives in the 2011 municipal budget. Transportation — including the Metro Transit proposal and dollars for road upgrades — forms the basis of the plan.

The council is scheduled to adopt the spending plan Dec. 20.

The recession forced city leaders to slash spending and lay off employees late last year. The budget for the year ahead is not as austere as the most recent spending plan.

“The buzzword now is talking about resetting budgets, and I would say that this is a reset budget,” Mayor Ava Frisinger said. “It continues the resetting that was started in 2010.”

The council called for funds to be transferred from long-term road projects to pay for $530,000 in short-term street upgrades — dollars to fill potholes and apply fresh asphalt on trouble spots.

The fund for such street projects had been diminished to about $150,000 as leaders assembled the 2011 budget.

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Press Editorial

December 7, 2010

Budget keeps service, reflects priorities

Last December, as the City Council pieced together a tight budget for 2010, Mayor Ava Frisinger described the spending plan as lean but not mean. The same could be said for the proposed 2011 budget expected to be passed Dec. 20.

The plan for the coming year is a reflection of residents’ priorities and council members’ goals. Though some of the ideas recommended by the council seem destined to wither before winter is over, the overall plan is smart.

The council spent a good deal of time discussing transportation, a critical issue in gridlocked Issaquah. Members’ recommendations to the mayor include a smart and savvy blend of transportation projects that can be completed in the near future.

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Offer opinions on 2011 city budget at Monday council meeting

December 5, 2010

NEW — 6 a.m. Dec. 5, 2010

The free ride could end for Route 200 bus riders next year.

City Council members plan to recommend Monday for regular King County Metro Transit fares to be collected on the route.

The recommendation is part of the 2011 municipal budget. Residents can offer opinions about the budget at the 7:30 p.m. Monday council meeting. Members meet in the Council Chambers at City Hall South, 135 E. Sunset Way.

The meeting includes the final public hearing on the budget. The council is scheduled to adopt the spending plan Dec. 20.

Leaders intend for the Route 200 fares to be used to help expand transit routes throughout the city.

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