Buses offer free rides for bicyclists during National Bike Month

May 8, 2012

May is National Bike Month, and to mark the occasion, bicyclists loading a bike onto local buses can ride for free.

Bicyclists using King County Metro Transit and Sound Transit ride free from May 14-18.

The offer applies to any Metro Transit bus or ST Express bus operated by Metro Transit, including routes 554, 555 and 556 from Issaquah.

Each bus has three spaces on a bike rack available on a first-come, first-served basis.

If the bus’ bike rack is full, cyclists should be prepared to wait for the next bus or consider leaving the bike parked in a bike rack at a transit facility.

Many Metro Transit and Sound Transit facilities also offer bike lockers.

Buses offer free rides for bicyclists during Bike Month

May 3, 2012

NEW — 2 p.m. May 3, 2012

May is National Bike Month, and to mark the occasion, bicyclists loading a bike onto local buses can ride for free.

Bicyclists using King County Metro Transit and Sound Transit ride free from May 14-19.

The offer applies to any Metro Transit bus or ST Express bus operated by Metro Transit, including routes 554, 555 and 556 from Issaquah.

Each bus has three spaces on a bike rack available on a first come, first served basis.

If the bus’ bike rack is full, cyclists should be prepared to wait for the next bus or consider leaving the bike parked in a bike rack at a transit facility.

Many Metro Transit and Sound Transit facilities also offer bike lockers.

Citizens can comment on long-term plans for business district

April 17, 2012

Citizens can comment soon on a historic proposal to transform more than 900 acres near Interstate 90 and state Route 900 in the decades ahead.

The draft Central Issaquah Plan is meant to guide redevelopment from shopping centers and low-rise office buildings to a taller neighborhood meant for businesses and residences.

The city is in the midst of a key environmental study for the 915-acre business district, or Central Issaquah. The council is poised to decide on the proposal as early as July. In the meantime, the municipal Planning Policy Commission plans a public open house and public hearing on the draft environmental study April 19.

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State orders businesses to stop collecting expired sales tax

April 3, 2012

Consumers should scrutinize bar and restaurant receipts a little more closely, after state officials said some establishments continue to collect a long-expired King County sales tax.

The county used the revenue from the half-percent sales tax to pay for Safeco Field construction, but the tax expired Oct. 1. In the meantime, the tax on food and beverages at bars and restaurants remained in place at many businesses.

“Short of auditing every business, we don’t really know whether they collect it or not, but our sense is that it’s pretty widespread,” state Department of Revenue spokesman Mike Gowrylow said March 30.

King County bars and restaurants should collect the state and local sales tax rate of 8.6 percent to 9.5 percent — not 9.1 percent to 10 percent. Issaquah is inside the Sound Transit taxing district, so consumers pay 9.5 percent. (The regional transit authority collects a 0.9 percent sales tax.)

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Presidents Day means Issaquah closures

February 15, 2012

NEW — 6 p.m. Feb. 15, 2012

Presidents Day means closures and schedule changes Monday.

King County Metro Transit operates on a weekday and no University of Washington schedule for the holiday.

Sound Transit buses operate on a regular weekday schedule for Presidents Day. Sound Transit customers can also sign up to receive Rider Alerts via e-mail or text message for specific services and bus routes.

Metro Transit also offers Transit Alerts to update riders about inclement conditions, road construction and other service changes.

The city, county and state close government offices in observance of the holiday. In addition, the Issaquah Community Center and Julius Boehm Pool close for the day.

State liquor stores also remain open for the holiday.

Snow alters Metro Transit, Sound Transit routes for Wednesday

January 17, 2012

NEW — 7 p.m. Jan. 17, 2012

The snow-laden forecast prompted King County Metro Transit and Sound Transit to roll out altered schedules and routes Wednesday due to winter weather.

Sound Transit is remaining on snow alert throughout the workweek. Service could be affected due to weather and road conditions, so riders should be prepared for service delays or disruptions. Some buses have also been equipped with chains and must travel at slower speeds.

Metro Transit is keeping buses on snow routing until future notice. The agency is also planning on canceling up to 30 bus routes Wednesday morning due to the snowstorm’s predicted severity.

Both agencies asked riders to check the respective websites for rider alerts and status updates.

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Sound Transit honors Councilman Fred Butler

January 3, 2012

Sound Transit board members elected Pierce County Executive Pat McCarthy as chairman and honored the outgoing vice chairman, Issaquah Councilman Fred Butler, in a Dec. 15 decision.

Butler and Lakewood Councilwoman Claudia Thomas served as vice chairpersons during the most recent term.

The board elected Snohomish County Executive Aaron Reardon, the outgoing chairman, and longtime board member Julia Patterson, a King County councilwoman, as vice chairpersons.

Butler, a 12-year councilman, is a respected expert on transit and transportation in the Puget Sound region.

New Year’s holiday means reduced Metro Transit, Sound Transit service

December 29, 2011

NEW — 11 a.m. Dec. 29, 2011

King County Metro Transit and Sound Transit bus riders should prepare for reduced service for the New Year’s holiday.

Metro Transit usually serves 20 percent to 40 percent fewer weekday riders between Christmas and the New Year’s holiday, so the agency is in the midst of a weeklong service reduction.

The reduced weekday schedule and regular fares take effect for Metro Transit through Friday and again on Monday, Jan. 16, Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Expect Sunday schedules and fares on Jan. 1, New Year’s Day, and Jan. 2, New Year’s Day, observed.

For reduced weekday schedules, some commuter and school-oriented routes do not operate, and Metro Transit cancels some trips on other routes.

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In landmark decision, buildings up to 150 feet in business district OK’d

December 27, 2011

Rowley Properties could someday build tall buildings on 78 acres in the business district, as shown in the rendering above. Contributed

Rowley Properties plans to redevelop land in decades ahead

Tall buildings could someday punctuate the skyline in the modest business district along state Route 900, after city leaders created a framework Dec. 19 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.

Leaders said the potential for change in Hyla Crossing and Rowley Center offers a rare opportunity to reshape Issaquah as the city readjusts after a decadelong population boom.

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Transit is option during state Route 520 bridge tolling

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.

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