Safety questions surface about I-90 trails link

November 24, 2009

trail-grant-i90-plans-20091A plan to add a bridge over Interstate 90 for bicyclists and pedestrians — a project with a nearly $6 million price tag — drew criticism from City Council members last week.

The project would complete a trail about 1,200 feet long, between the end of the state Route 900 boardwalk at the eastbound I-90 off-ramp on the south side of the interstate, and the Sammamish Trail on the north. But critics said overpasses at other locations would better serve pedestrians, and council members raised safety concerns about the project.

The project would complete a missing link and provide a way for bicyclists and pedestrians to traverse the interstate. The connector would also provide a link for bicyclists and pedestrians to the Issaquah Transit Center, about a half-mile south of the interstate.

The key pieces of the connector would include a separate 12-foot-wide pedestrian bridge crossing the westbound I-90 on-ramps and modifications to the existing state Route 900 overpass to install a 10-foot-wide pedestrian crossing. The northern terminus of the project would be Northwest Sammamish Road, while the southern terminus would be the I-90 eastbound off ramp, where the trail would connect with the boardwalk.

Next up: Council Transportation Committee members will discuss a proposal Dec. 3 to accept $400,000 from Sound Transit toward the project. The full council could consider the agreement Dec. 21. Read more

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City Council OKs new Issaquah Creek flood gauge

November 23, 2009

NEW — 6 a.m. Nov. 23, 2009

City emergency planners will soon have a new tool to monitor rising flood waters: a new Issaquah Creek flood gauge.

Though workers will install the gauge early next year, the device will not be calibrated and ready until the next flood season. City Public Works Operations Director Bret Heath said the city would be able to collect data from the gauging station in the meantime.

Heath, who also serves as the city’s emergency management director, said the existing flood gauge arrangement has “a bit of a blind spot.” Heath said the new gauge should fill the gap.

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City reviews last flood, prepares for future crises

November 3, 2009

David Bramwell (left) shovels sand into a bag held by Bruce Wendt in a sandbagging practice run for CERT volunteers last week. Courtesy of Brenda Bramwell

David Bramwell (left) shovels sand into a bag held by Bruce Wendt in a sandbagging practice run for CERT volunteers last week. Courtesy of Brenda Bramwell

Floodwaters caused about $1 million worth of damage and left behind piles of debris and muck when Issaquah and Tibbetts creeks overflowed in January, but the disaster also readied emergency planners for the next flood.

The next time flood waters rise, volunteers will fan out across flood-prone neighborhoods and city officials will unleash a deluge of information about water levels, road closures and recovery efforts. Many of the procedures were tested during what officials characterized as a successful response to the major flood in mid-January.

But the next flood could occur as early as the next several weeks, and officials said work remains to be done to prepare Issaquah for another natural disaster. On Oct. 27, City Council members received a briefing about the response to the January flood and preparation efforts for the upcoming flood season.

City Emergency Management Coordinator Steve Campbell said readings from a pair of flood gauges did not correlate with the damage caused by floodwaters. A U.S. Geological Survey gauge downstream on Issaquah Creek appeared inaccurate, Campbell said. The gauge indicated about 2,500 cubic feet per second, Campbell said, but flood damage was similar to the 3,500 cubic feet per second estimate from the last major flood to hit Issaquah, in 1996. Read more

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Human services campus, new hatchery dam among city’s goals

June 2, 2009

City officials want to improve traffic flow, city parks and salmon habitat in 2010. The wide-ranging list of 2010 goals directs city staffers to take steps to establish a human services campus, plan Cybil-Madeline Park and complete the first phase of the Interstate 90 Undercrossing. Read more

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City’s anti-pollution grant nears renewal

June 2, 2009

A city program to cut water pollution has prevented industrial chemicals, fryer grease and even the material dentists use to fill cavities from contaminating ground water. Read more

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Federal flood aid center will close Saturday

February 25, 2009

NEW — 1:32 p.m. Feb. 25, 2008

A temporary disaster-relief center at City Hall will close Saturday, as federal agencies wind down their response to the January flooding of Issaquah and Tibbetts creeks. The office, a Disaster Recovery Center, is one of several the agencies opened in Washington cities that were hammered by severe winter weather last month.

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Flood cleanup to be costly, lengthy

February 17, 2009

When Issaquah Creek overflowed its banks six weeks ago, rising waters left the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery with at least $20,000 damage. Water damaged the hatchery foreman’s house and an office used by hatchery volunteers. Four inches of mud coated the hatchery parking lot.

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Flood still causing struggles

January 27, 2009

* Editor’s note: This story contains corrected information.

Owners of Gilman Square shops are asking for you to help keep them from closing and aid them in their recovery.

“Speaking for all of the tenants at Gilman Square, we need to let the entire community know who we are, what we are going through and that we are open for business,” said Patty Green, owner of Sisters Antiques. “We are all cash-flow businesses and without our wonderful customers, we cannot survive.”

The six businesses are Lombardi’s Neighborhood Italian Restaurant, Casual Dining Counterstools and Dinettes, West Coast Armory, Sisters Antiques, Leathers Home Furnishings & Accessories and Graybeard’s Gilman Antique Gallery. All are open except Lombardi’s. Read more

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Flood waters recede, now cleanup time

January 12, 2009

Sisters Jennifer Davies, Julianne Long and Mindy Heintz (from left) retrieve belongings Jan. 8 from the toppled guesthouse at the home of their parents, Jack and Karen Brooks, beside Issaquah Creek in the 23300 block of Southeast May Valley Road. By Greg Farrar

Sisters Jennifer Davies, Julianne Long and Mindy Heintz (from left) retrieve belongings Jan. 8 from the toppled guesthouse at the home of their parents, Jack and Karen Brooks, beside Issaquah Creek in the 23300 block of Southeast May Valley Road. By Greg Farrar

Issaquah and Tibbetts creeks overflowed their banks Jan. 8, leaving residents and business owners to clean up the mud and the muck, but also left some Gilman Boulevard businesses with an uncertain future.

Diane Symms, owner of Lombardi’s restaurant, said it’s unclear whether she will reopen in the Gilman Square shopping complex. Symms said she had fully intended to reopen the flood-damaged restaurant by Jan. 24, and in the past few days, had hired a crew to rip out carpeting, tear out drywall and clear the parking lot of mud and debris.

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Water closes streets, floods businesses and homes

January 8, 2009

UPDATED — 1:20 p.m. Jan. 8, 2009

Tibbetts and Issaquah creeks were cresting at 8 a.m. and water from them will be flowing through Issaquah over the next several hours. The forecast is calling for more rain.

Block your basement drains and evacuate your home if needed. Do not leave animals at home if you evacuate. The Seattle Humane Society has temporary shelter ready to provide safety and care for them. Call 641-0080.

Do not walk, wade or drive in flooded areas. Report storm water issues or request delivery of sand and bags by calling Public Works Operations at 837-3470. The city is accepting calls for sand and bags 24 hours a day during this flooding.

See a map of road closures here.

Sisters Jennifer Davies, Julianne Long and Mindy Heintz (from left) retrieve belongings Jan. 8 from the toppled guesthouse at the home of their parents, Jack and Karen Brooks, beside Issaquah Creek in the 23300 block of Southeast May Valley Road. — By Greg Farrar

Sisters Jennifer Davies, Julianne Long and Mindy Heintz (from left) retrieve belongings Jan. 8 from the toppled guesthouse at the home of their parents, Jack and Karen Brooks, beside Issaquah Creek in the 23300 block of Southeast May Valley Road. — By Greg Farrar

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