Gravity — and team spirit — power Rotary racers’ soapbox derby cars

July 17, 2012

Cian O’Farrell, 11, and driver John Morse, 10, ride the gravity car by sponsor Fred Meyer to a checkered flag waved by the Rotary Club of Issaquah’s Fred Nystrom. By Greg Farrar

A day filled with happiness for children was the goal of the 15th annual Issaquah Rotary Challenge Day Race on July 14.

Viewers lined Second Avenue Southeast to watch — standing or sitting on the bleachers halfway down the block.

The event pairs up children with disabilities and volunteer children drivers to race soapbox derby cars. Gravity pulls the cars down the hill. The vehicles reach speeds of 17 mph.

About 50 children with disabilities got to race three times with rotating drivers and cars. Liberty High School cheerleaders greeted the racers at the finish line before cars were towed back to the starting line.

“It’s a great event for kids to experience a fast, free ride down Second Avenue,” Rotary Club member Russell Joe said. “For some of the riders, it’s the first time they’ve been in a car that’s running on its own without mom or dad.”

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City Council, Issaquah School Board gather for joint meeting

April 17, 2012

City Council and Issaquah School Board members face a substantial docket soon, as the elected groups meet for dinner and a discussion about shared issues.

Officials expect to release discussion topics for the meeting in the days ahead, but the casual get-together between the groups at a Chinese restaurant is meant to build ties and discover common issues among the members.

The council and board plan to meet at 5 p.m. April 24 at Mandarin Garden, 90 E. Sunset Way. The meeting is open to the public; no action is expected to be taken.

The groups last met in May 2011. They discussed a proposed Issaquah School District bond, a planned Bellevue College campus in Issaquah and traffic along Second Avenue Southeast — a corridor bordered by Issaquah High School and other campuses.

City activates speed cameras as students return to school

September 7, 2010

The city has reactivated cameras to enforce the speed limit along Second Avenue Southeast, as students returned to Issaquah School District campuses Aug. 31.

Police turned off the cameras for the summer. The cameras operate only from 7 a.m. – 4 p.m. on school days to enforce the 20 mph speed limit.

The photo-enforcement system — installed across from Clark Elementary School near the intersection of Second Avenue Southeast and Southeast Evans Street — uses roadway sensors to alert the cameras to speeding vehicles.

The system includes a pair of cameras to record video of the violation and snap a photo of a speeding vehicle’s rear license plate. Drivers receive the violation in the mail about 14 days after the incident.

The infraction is a noncriminal offense, similar to a parking ticket, and does not become part of a driver’s record.

What to know
Speeders can view photos and video of incidents at www.violationinfo.com. Learn more about the cameras at the city website, www.ci.issaquah.wa.us, or call 837-3170 for more information.

City turns on speed cameras as students return to school

August 31, 2010

NEW — 11 a.m. Aug. 31, 2010

The city has reactivated cameras to enforce speed limits along Second Avenue Southeast as students returned to Issaquah School District campuses Tuesday.

Police turned off the cameras for the summer. The cameras operate only from 7 a.m. – 4 p.m. on school days to enforce the 20 mph speed limit.

The photo-enforcement system — installed across from Clark Elementary School near the intersection of Second Avenue Southeast and Southeast Evans Street — uses roadway sensors to alert the cameras to speeding vehicles.

The system includes a pair of cameras to record video of the violation and snap a photo of a speeding vehicle’s rear license plate. Drivers receive the violation in the mail about 14 days after the incident.

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Dual road projects snarl East Sunset Way

August 17, 2010

Flaggers help drivers navigate the East Sunset Way construction site as state crews widen the temporary, two-lane approach to the Interstate 90 interchange. By Greg Farrar

Drivers must steer through a construction gauntlet along East Sunset Way during the weeks ahead, as separate projects add space to the cramped street.

Construction crews in safety orange and heavy equipment line the road from Interstate 90 to Second Avenue to complete state and Issaquah School District plans.

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Press Editorial

August 17, 2010

Look beyond Issaquah for traffic solutions

Issaquah has waited a long time for definitive transportation improvements. At last, a few are coming.

In the past decade, Issaquah got an Intelligent Transportation System that allowed traffic lights to be synchronized and reader boards to advise drivers of traffic revisions. Two years ago, the great debate over whether to build a southeast connector road from Interstate 90’s Exit 18 at East Sunset Way to Issaquah-Hobart Road Southeast was decided.

This summer, two big changes born of that decision will provide real improvements.

Sunset Way at Second Avenue will be widened to allow for a turn lane. Second Avenue Southeast will also get a right-hand turn lane onto Sunset. The changes should significantly improve traffic flow through the intersection, especially in the afternoon, when schools release students for the day. Read more

Plan for roadwork at several spots

August 10, 2010

Sunset Way widening project removes street parking

Crews have started removing street parking along East Sunset Way as part of a project to relieve traffic congestion.

Issaquah city planners required the Issaquah School District to complete the project as part of the $84 million Issaquah High School renovation. The school sits along Second Avenue Southeast.

Work at Sunset Way and Second Avenue started Aug. 9. The district plans to avoid closures during peak commutes. Expect traffic delays at other times.

Plans call for another lane to be added on westbound Sunset Way to create a left-turn lane — plus a combined through and right-turn lane — at the intersection.

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Crews start removing street parking Monday to reduce congestion

August 8, 2010

NEW — 8 a.m. Aug. 8, 2010

Crews plan to remove street parking along East Sunset Way as part of project to relieve traffic congestion.

Work at East Sunset Way and Second Avenue Southeast starts Monday.

The city required the Issaquah School District to complete the project as part of the ongoing Issaquah High School renovation. The school sits along Second Avenue Southeast.

Plans call for another lane to be added on westbound East Sunset Way to create a left-turn lane — plus a combined through and right-turn lane — at the intersection.

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Leaders get sneak peek at school’s new look

May 11, 2010

Issaquah School Board members and district officials received an advance look at construction at Issaquah High School on May 5.

“This will be an incredible environment for student learning,” Superintendent Steve Rasmussen wrote in an e-mail. “The layout facilitates connections, there is an emphasis on green construction, we have flexible spaces to accommodate different instructional needs, science labs are customized for each course, the performing arts facility is going to be state of the art, and the list goes on and on.

“Not only will this building facilitate learning, it’s a school that everyone will be proud to belong to,” he wrote. “I expect that it will be a focal point for the entire community.”

It’s hard to remember the school’s former configuration; the changes have been that drastic. All that really remains familiar to the eye is the stadium and the part of Building A, facing the student parking lot.

In place of the school’s former gymnasium, the new classroom wings are in plain view. But the construction goes deeper than what you see from Second Avenue.

“What you see from the road is about half of what is going on right now,” said district Capital Projects Director Steve Crawford. “If there was a sporting event that took you to the football field and stadium, you could look back to the courtyard between the classrooms and the gym and get a full extent of what has been going on this year.”

Principal Paula Phelps led the tour that took board members and district officials through new classroom wings, sky bridges, gymnasiums and weight facilities, locker rooms, part of the commons, administrative offices, and library and mechanical systems.

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Cameras cut speeding, but raise drivers’ ire

April 6, 2010

Cameras installed along Southeast Second Avenue to deter speeders have cut the number of violations since the Issaquah Police Department started issuing citations last April.

The city recorded about 110 violations per day in May 2009 — about a month after speeders started to receive $124 fines for exceeding the 20 mph limit. By January 2010, the number of violations had fallen to about 40 per day — a drop of about 64 percent. The city released the data March 31.

Police issued 4,920 citations for violations caught by the cameras. The devices generated about $360,000 for the city.

Officials said the numbers showed the need for the cameras in a school zone packed with everyone from kindergartners to high-school seniors. Detractors said the cameras catch unknowing motorists and overcharge violators.

The city did not complete a formal cost analysis for the photo-enforcement program, although officials said the effort incurs significant expenses related to Issaquah Municipal Court, and the city finance and police departments. Police officers must review and then approve or reject each violation.

The city did not hire additional workers to handle the increased number of infractions. Read more

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