Issaquah driver receives Metro’s highest honor

August 3, 2010

Countless miles of pavement behind him, Issaquah resident Marvin White manages to get his passengers to their destinations safely and with a smile.

After 31 years with King County Metro Transit, White, 58, was given the organization’s highest achievement for drivers Aug. 2 — the Operator of the Year award for 2009.

County officials, fellow drivers and friends gathered en-masse at the Eastside Base Operations Campus in Bellevue to celebrate White, saying his dedication, work ethic, skill and enthusiasm for his job more than qualified him for the honor.

“This is a great surprise,” White said. “It is a great honor and I thank everyone here for attending.”

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Route 200 bus could expand to Squak

June 29, 2010

Metro bus service may finally be coming to Squak Mountain.

At a City Council committee meeting May 27, King County Metro Transit proposed a plan to the committee that would expand the Route 200 bus that services downtown Issaquah into two separate routes. One of the routes would service Squak Mountain residents. The routes would be added by late 2011.

Council Transportation Committee Chairman Joshua Schaer said the proposal looks promising.

“It solves multiple problems in one,” he said. “Not only is it a creative solution to solving the concerns of the residents of Squak Mountain, but also the concerns of providing adequate transportation to the newly opening Swedish Hospital and expanding Route 200 to better serve Talus and the Issaquah Highlands. It will essentially be two different routes for the price of one.”

Details about potential bus fare and neighborhood routing will be discussed at upcoming budget meetings.

Schaer said he believes most Squak mountain residents will be pleased with the solution.

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City makes Route 200 bus service a priority

June 1, 2010

Expanded bus service to the Issaquah Highlands and Talus will be a priority when the City Council finalizes the budget for next year.

City leaders last week reaffirmed a plan to expand King County Metro Transit Route 200 to the urban villages.

The city, highlands developer Port Blakely Communities, the Talus Residential Association and the Timber Ridge at Talus retirement community joined to fund the Route 200 service. But budget cuts last year prompted the city to delay the planned expansion until 2011 in order to save money in the short term.

The agreement calls for the city to contribute about $235,000 per year for Route 200 service.

The earlier plan called for the line to expand to the highlands and Talus in September 2010. The council approved the expansion in December 2008.

Until then, buses circulate along Route 200 through downtown Issaquah and on to North Issaquah, where buses stop at the Pickering Place and East Lake Center retail complexes.

Council Transportation Committee members endorsed a measure May 27 to treat the expansion as a high budget priority for 2011. City department chiefs will begin drafting the budget soon, and Mayor Ava Frisinger will present the proposal to the council by mid-October. Then, the council launches into weeks of deliberations to tailor the final budget before approval in late December.

Transportation Committee members also requested for Metro to incorporate the Swedish Medical Center campus under construction in the highlands into Route 200.

The city, Port Blakely and Timber Ridge requested the expansion be delayed until 2011, but Talus residents called for the expansion to proceed.

“As there is a current transportation need within the Talus community that will continue to grow, the association desires service to commence as soon as possible,” Terrie Stedman, Talus Residential Association president, wrote in a May 4 letter to Metro.

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City Council sets parks, transportation among 2011 goals

May 4, 2010

City Council members outlined goals for parks, technology, economic development and transportation to be accomplished next year. The council eschewed broad policy goals and recommended specific projects.

Members culled 62 suggestions into a handful of rough goals. Municipal staffers will then hone the list into a final stack of goals for the council to approve next month.

The council gathered in a Public Works Operations Building conference room May 1 for the daylong discussion to set goals for 2011.

Council President John Traeger encouraged members to offer multiple suggestions.

“There are no bad ideas, and no goal is too big or too small,” he said.

The retreat included initial discussion about the upcoming budget. City department chiefs use the goals set by the council to formulate budgets for the upcoming year.

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Sometimes, the best things are free

February 23, 2010

Riders take advantage of Metro Transit’s bus route 200

King County Metro Transit’s 200 line isn’t perfect, as rider Kelly Boehlke is quick to point out.

“It’s either early or late. It’s rarely on time. Rarely,” she said.

As if to punctuate her point, the bus scheduled to arrive sometime after 12:47 p.m. idled up to Front Street by The Issaquah Press building at 12:44 p.m.

“See,” she said.

But most riders, Boehlke included, love the 200.

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PSAT scores available after Jan. 4

December 29, 2009

Scores for students who participated in the districtwide Pre Scholastic Assessment Tests this fall will be available Jan. 4.

Parents interested in learning what the scores mean for students and additional opportunities available for them having taken the tests can attend a meeting with district officials at 6 p.m. Jan. 6 in the administration building, 565 N.W. Holly St.

Parents can review their child’s answers and find out how to improve their skills in areas like math, reading and writing, and learn about the National Merit Scholarship Program.

District officials can also help parents and students create an educational plan to help students reach their goals.

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Port Blakely asks City Council to delay gas station vote

December 21, 2009

NEW — 9:20 p.m. Dec. 21, 2009

Port Blakely Communities asked the City Council to delay a planned Monday night vote to allow a gas station in the Issaquah Highlands.

The highlands developer asked the council to postpone the vote until Port Blakely addresses commercial development in the hillside community. The council was set to consider a change to the agreement between and the city and Port Blakely to allow a highlands gas station, banned when the agreement was drafted due to concerns about groundwater contamination.

Proponents and Port Blakely executives billed the gas station as a cutting-edge “energy station” with alternative fuels and electric-vehicle charging stations.

“Conversations about the energy station with both the city and the local community have been very productive over the past few months,” Port Blakely President Alan Boeker wrote in a Dec. 21 letter to Mayor Ava Frisinger. “The strong merits of the energy station, however, are often overshadowed by a larger question — the timing on the successful development of a vibrant mixed use town center.”

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City budget: Bus service, maintenance to be delayed

December 15, 2009

Issaquah City Jail will add a corrections officer, but parks and road improvements will be scaled back in the 2010 budget headed to the City Council next week.

The plan reflects difficult decisions as the council sought to balance savings and services amid the recession. City residents will notice changes large — fewer traffic signal upgrades — and small — only two city newsletters will be mailed next year.

Mayor Ava Frisinger proposed a leaner budget for next year for a city with fewer employees and capital projects planned. After several tweaks, the City Council plans to adopt the $99 million budget Dec. 21.

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Press Editorial

January 5, 2009

Plenty of goals for all of Issaquah in ’09

The year 2008 was one of few accomplishments, based on the list of goals we published last year. Yes, the proposed Southeast Bypass was put to rest, a plan for saving Park Pointe property was proposed, school boundary reviews were completed and the city moved closer to having a human services campus. But there is much left undone, and some of the goals are repeated on this year’s list.

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Metro Route 200 expands

December 8, 2008

King County Transportation Department

Metro Route 200 expands

The popular Metro Route 200 bus will provide expanded service to Talus and the Highlands in 2010, thanks to a financial partnership approved by the City Council Dec. 1. Other partners in the agreement are King County Metro, Port Blakely, Timber Ridge and the Talus Residential Association. Issaquah’s share is 16.9 percent of the annual cost of service, which comes to $234,548 each year to be paid by the city.

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