December 27, 2011
King County Metro Transit and Sound Transit leaders encouraged commuters to use mass transit after tolling starts on the state Route 520 bridge Dec. 29.
The state Department of Transportation estimates tolls should cause thousands of motorists to use the Interstate 90 bridges or drive around Lake Washington instead. Officials encourage commuters to consider mass transit to cross the lake.
In the past year, Metro Transit and Sound Transit increased daily bus service in the Route 520 corridor by 20 percent — or about 6,500 seats and more than 130 additional bus trips. Find complete schedules and more information at http://metro.kingcounty.gov and www.soundtransit.org.
Commuters can use Metro Transit’s online “Seat Finder” service at http://kingcounty.gov/metro/seatfinder to find a vanpool.
Many transit service improvements came through a partnership with the state Department of Transportation and U.S. Department of Transportation to better manage congestion on Route 520.
December 22, 2011
NEW — 9:30 p.m. Dec. 22, 2011
Tall buildings could someday punctuate the skyline in the modest business district along state Route 900, after city leaders created a framework Monday to transform acre upon acre blanketed in storage units, low-slung office buildings and automotive service centers into a dense neighborhood for shops and homes.
In a landmark decision, City Council members approved a 30-year agreement between the city and longtime Issaquah developer Rowley Properties to overhaul almost 80 acres in the coming decades. The council agreed to allow buildings up to 150 feet tall and mixed-use development on up to 4.4 million square feet in Hyla Crossing and Rowley Center — parcels along Interstate 90 and state Route 900.
The landowner, in turn, is required to pay for transportation upgrades, affordable housing construction, Tibbetts Creek restoration efforts and storm-water system improvements.
December 20, 2011
King County Metro Transit bus riders should prepare for reduced service during the Christmas and New Year’s holidays.
The transit agency operates on a reduced weekday schedule on several holidays through January — including a full week of reduced service at the end of December.
December 6, 2011
The decision to run a light rail line through downtown Bellevue came after some public urging from Issaquah Mayor Ava Frisinger and other Eastside leaders.
Bellevue City Council members, after a contentious, monthslong debate, approved a pact Nov. 14 between the city and Sound Transit to build the long-envisioned East Link light rail route.
Frisinger and other mayors said inaction on the agreement or a failure to reach a deal could have jeopardized light rail expansion to Issaquah and other cities.
November 29, 2011
Though most City Council seats appeared on the November ballot, voters faced a choice in a lone race — the contest between incumbent Joshua Schaer and challenger TJ Filley. (Schaer claimed a second term in a landslide.)
The other seats up for election did not attract challengers, so incumbents Fred Butler and Stacy Goodman, plus newcomer Paul Winterstein, coasted through campaign season. The next council is due to settle into office in early January.
November 22, 2011
NEW — 6 a.m. Nov. 22, 2011
Thanksgiving means turkey — and reduced bus schedules and closures at public buildings.
King County Metro Transit and Sound Transit buses and trains operate on special holiday hours Thursday for the holiday.
Metro Transit operates on a Sunday schedule for Thanksgiving and on a reduced weekday schedule Friday.
The reduced weekday schedule features more bus service than on weekends, but less service than on regular weekdays.
Sunday schedules apply for all ST Express buses and Link light rail routes on Thanksgiving. Sound Transit offices close Thursday and Friday.
November 8, 2011
NEW — 12:30 p.m. Nov. 8, 2011
Issaquah Mayor Ava Frisinger joined other Eastside mayors to urge the Bellevue City Council to reach a deal for light rail through downtown Bellevue.
Otherwise, if Bellevue and Sound Transit leaders cannot reach a pact, light rail expansion to Issaquah and other cities could be jeopardized.
“Each one of us would like to see light rail come to our city,” the mayors wrote in a letter dated Nov. 3. “The decisions made by Bellevue now will impact when our communities will see the benefit of the regional investment in light rail.”
The letter from Frisinger, Kirkland Mayor Joan McBride, Mercer Island Mayor Jim Pearman and Redmond Mayor John Marchione came days before the Bellevue council votes on a pact to bring light rail to downtown Bellevue.
November 1, 2011
The bill for the pedestrian and bicyclist connector across Interstate 90 is costing Issaquah $450,000 more than city leaders budgeted for the project.
The total budget for the project is about $6.7 million, up from the $6.2 million set aside to complete the bridge across the interstate at state Route 900. The budget increase accommodates engineering expenses, construction cost and construction management cost increases, and legal and permitting fees related to the connector.
The change increases the amount of city dollars used in a project approved in part because the federal government and Sound Transit offered to cover substantial costs.
Construction delays and other issues — such as using off-duty police officers for traffic control near the construction site — caused costs to mount. The city set aside about $314,000 as contingency funds for the project, but the overruns caused the project to exhaust the backup dollars.
October 25, 2011
Local elected officials on the Eastside Transportation Partnership agreed to oppose Initiative 1125, Tim Eyman’s tolling initiative, days before ballots started to reach voters.
I-1125 calls for the Legislature to approve tolls rather than the appointed state Transportation Commission. The initiative also aims to prohibit different toll rates for peak commute times and to require toll revenues to be put toward projects on the road being tolled.
On Oct. 14, less than a month before Election Day, Eastside Transportation Partnership members heard from Bellevue developer and I-1125 supporter Kemper Freeman and I-1125 opponents, former state Secretary of Transportation Doug MacDonald and Deputy King County Executive Fred Jarrett.
Then, members discussed the presentations and voted to oppose the initiative.
The partnership includes elected city and King County officials representing communities east of Lake Washington. The organization is focused on advocacy for regional transportation issues.
Issaquah Mayor Ava Frisinger and Councilman Joshua Schaer serve on the partnership. Issaquah Councilman Fred Butler, a Sound Transit board member, is the partnership’s Sound Transit representative.
Issaquah’s representative on the King County Council, Kathy Lambert, is another member. So, too, is King County Executive Dow Constantine.
October 25, 2011
Local transit agencies and the University of Washington agreed Oct. 12 to keep a popular transit app up and running.
The future of the app, One Bus Away, had been uncertain, because the original developer, a UW graduate student, had moved on to the private sector. The app tells people when a bus is expected to arrive at a stop — in real time.
King County Metro Transit, Sound Transit, Pierce Transit and the university agreed to fund up to $150,000 to further develop and maintain the app for 13 months.
One Bus Away is available on the Internet, for iPhone and Android devices, and as text message alerts.
The app is used by thousands of transit riders to plan trips through the region. The service is used more than 50,000 times per week.