July 18, 2012

Speak up for peds, bikes, and buses at Central Issaquah Plan hearing

This Thursday at 6:30pm in the council chambers the Planning Policy Commission will hear public comment on the Central Issaquah Plan.

This is the last public opportunity to comment on the plan before the PPC sends it on to the city council where it will likely be adopted with minimal changes. This is also an opportunity to reinforce the aspects of the plan that you find most important for the PPC to keep in mind as they proceed into the process of defining the development standards which will be used to implement the plan in buildings and pavement.

If you are able, please attend the meeting and voice the issues that are important to you. The latest draft of the plan is linked from the meeting agenda.

Our friends at Forterra have provided some handy talking points if you’re not sure where to start.

Hope to see you there!

June 25, 2012

Transportation movie night: Forterra

Next up in our virtual recap of May’s transportation movie night is Forterra (formerly known as Cascade Land Conservancy). Forterra has been active in community engagement efforts around the Central Issaquah Plan and recently received a grant to continue that work in a more official capacity.

Forterra presented a series of four short films highlighting how bikes can contribute to a more livable accessible community, and some of the obstacles riders face.

How Bikes Make Cities Cool – Portland from Kona Bikes on Vimeo.

3-Way Street from ronconcocacola on Vimeo.

Copenhagen – City of Cyclists from Copenhagenize on Vimeo.

June 4, 2012

Issaquah to create bike-ped master plan

One of the goals adopted by the Issaquah City Council for 2013 is to create a bicycle and pedestrian master plan for the city. Big thanks to councilmember Paul Winterstein for proposing the goal and to the other members of the council who supported its adoption. Props too to Mary Joe de Beck and the crew from the city’s Office of Sustainability for the efforts they’ve already expended to make this a reality (see the PDFs below for some of their work). There have been a lot of people calling for an actionable bike-ped plan and all their efforts at highlighting the need are greatly appreciated too.

Now we’ve all just got to get together and do the hard work of actually writing the thing!

You can read the materials from the council retreat listing all of the proposed goals. Paul’s proposal starts on page 62. I’ve taken the liberty of breaking just that goal out to its own document for faster downloading and easier navigation.

If you’re wondering what a Bike/Ped Master Plan looks like, here are a few examples (with no comment or opinion implied about their quality):

May 22, 2012

Central Issaquah Plan feedback

A couple of weeks ago I attended a meeting instigated by the good folks at Forterra for some of our local bike/ped advocates to talk about the Central Issaquah Plan. Skye Schell from Forterra wrote up our discussion for the planning department and I’m reproducing the resulting letter here.

Dear Trish & Christen,

Thank you for your work on the Central Issaquah Plan, and for your interest in making the Plan a great plan that will allow non-motorized mobility through the area. I recently met with a group of Issaquah residents who care about making Issaquah a safe place for people of all ages – especially children and seniors – to get around without needing a car. The group includes residents who have been dedicated bicycle advocates for many years, as well as young parents new to advocacy who want their children to be able to get around safely.

We came up with a short list of key recommendations for the current drafts of the Central Issaquah Plan (CIP) and Development & Design Standards (DDS), and also for city-wide consideration. We hope that the city-wide recommendations can be passed as part of the CIP process, since they are critical to making the CIP work for cyclists and pedestrians.

City-wide, we recommend that Issaquah:

  • Develop a Bike / Pedestrian (Active Transportation) Master Plan for the whole city. The Master Plan will be the blueprint of infrastructure and facilities to connect all of Issaquah. We expect that most improvements will come to Central Issaquah, and also want the Plan to include connections from Central Issaquah to the rest of the city. Getting those connections right is potentially the most important (and challenging) aspect of active transportation planning. This plan can also guide grant applications and other funding sources.
  • Apply for Bicycle Friendly Community certification, using the Bicycle Friendly Blueprint. This program will guide Issaquah through bike improvements in many important dimensions, including Engineering, Education, Encouragement, Enforcement, and Evaluation and Planning. These dimensions are a crucial complement to the infrastructure that we are otherwise recommending.
  • Create an Active Transportation Board made up of committed residents and supported by a staff person. The board will be responsible for evaluating whether infrastructure development and other policy and programs in the Central Issaquah area – and other parts of Issaquah – improves the non-motorized transportation system.

In the Central Issaquah Plan:

  • Prioritize improvements on key corridors – “spine” or “trunk” routes like Gilman, Newport, and 12th. This prioritization would be part of the Master Plan, but should also be included in the Central Issaquah Plan.
  • Make all new [I-90] crossings bike + pedestrian crossings, not just pedestrian crossings (see C&M Goal D7). The crossings should be designed for cyclists as well as pedestrians so that there are not breaks in a seamless network of routes
  • Include more types of currently-used proven bike facilities in the “Street Classifications.” The Street Classifications currently all feature the same basic design of standard bike lanes. Cities around the country have developed new facilities to increase safety and convenience. Many of these are included in the NACTO Urban Bikeways Design Guide. We recommend using a suite of buffered bike lanes, cycle tracks, bike boxes at intersections, and median refuges in the various street types (Pedestrian Priority, Core, Avenue, Boulevard, Parkway). Each type of facility has different advantages, and we look forward to working with your planners and engineers to recommend specific options for various streets. We suggest the city incorporate language into the CIP and DDS that calls for use of these modern facilities.
  • Also, potentially include street furniture in addition to the street trees in the DDS. Benches and other creative furniture will create a more vibrant atmosphere for pedestrians, and also subconsciously motivate car drivers to go at slower and safer speeds.
  • Separate uses on multi-use trails to prevent conflict between cyclists and pedestrians when possible – whether with actually separate trails or just clear paint and signage on the trails.

Thanks again for your consideration, and please feel free to contact me or the other members of our group to learn more about these recommendations and to share your current ideas. We would be interested in meeting soon to discuss the Plan in more detail.


Skye Schell & Jeff Aken

David Baty
Karen Behm
Tony Cowan
John Johnson
Jeff Youngstrom

Issaquah residents

April 19, 2012

Paving time

Signs have gone up at all the entrances to the East Lake Sammamish Trail in Issaquah alerting users to the imminent lengthy closure of the trail for paving. Here are photos of the sign and its map with a transcription below.

Trail closure noticeTrail closure map

Click for bigger versions (and click again on Flickr for bigger still).

The sign reads:

Construction of the East Lake Sammamish Master Plan Trail Project will require the closure of the southernmost 2.2 miles of the trail corridor in Issaquah for up to twelve months beginning in spring 2012. The section of the Issaquah-Preston Trail between the ELST and East Lake Sammamish Parkway will be closed as well.

We appreciate your patience as we work toward building a better trail!

Information about the East Lake Sammamish Master Plan Trail Project, including project updates, can be accessed at www.kingcounty.gov/eastlakesammamishtrail or by calling Gina Auld, Capital Project Manager, at 206-263-7281.

Master Plan Trail Features

  • Paved trail surface, soft-surface shoulders and vegetated buffer
  • Traffic control measures (signage and crossing treatments) where the trail crosses private driveways or roadways
  • Stormwater management system to control runoff from the trail
  • Retaining walls to support slopes and reduce embankment areas
  • Crosswalks at public access points
  • Litter receptacles, doggy litter bag boxes, and trail etiquette signs
  • Bollards at trail crossings to prevent unauthorized vehicles from driving onto the trail

Project funding provided by the 2008-2013 voter-approved Proposition 2, Parks Expansion Levy. Thank you for your support!

Don’t expect too much from the project site. They haven’t updated it since January when the project went out to bid.

Start thinking about alternate routes if you’re currently a regular user of this trail. This is the best I-90 crossing we have even as gravel so its loss will be keenly felt during construction. Hopefully the weather and Murphy will cooperate and they’ll finish in record time!

October 2, 2009

Bike/ped counts

I haven’t heard from many people about this week’s bike/ped counts, but here are the numbers I have. I’ll update this post if I get more.

Where, When, Weather Mode Northbound Southbound Eastbound Westbound Total
Newport Way SW and Front St S,
9/29 7am-9am,
50F partly cloudy
Bike 3 0 2 2 7
Ped 14 0 60 14 88
E Sunset Way and 6th Ave NE,
10/1 7am-9am,
52F partly cloudy
Bike 0 0 1 1 2
Ped 2 2 6 3 13
Newport Way SW and Front St S,
10/1 4pm-6pm,
50F partly cloudy
Ped 9 11 7 9 36
Other 2 0 2 0 4
Newport Way and SR-900,
10/1 4pm-6pm,
58F raining
Bike 1 1 6 3 11
Ped 0 0 3 4 7
Where, When, Weather Mode Northbound Southbound Eastbound Westbound Total

September 14, 2009

PARK(ing) Day

This Friday, September 19 is PARK(ing) Day. This is the day when communities around the world take back a bit of their town that has been set aside for cars and turn it into a park.

That’s right, GAIT has partnered with our friends at artEAST to turn a parking space across Front Street from UP Front Gallery into a park for one day. The plan is to have (simulated) grass, (real) plants, (real) artists making (real) art, and a (real) bike rack.

There is more info about the event at the Issaquah PARK(ing) Day group page.

If you plan to stop by and enjoy the park, you can RSVP for the event.

If you can hang out at the park for an hour or two on Friday, keep an eye on things, and explain the concept to curious passers-by, fire me an email with your availability and I’ll coordinate. The park will be open from 5am to 9pm.

Tell your friends, and I hope to see you at the park!

August 7, 2009

Bicycle Alliance’s Traffic Signal Bill Gets Implemented

During the last legislative session in Olympia, the Bicycle Alliance of Washington worked hard to get legislation to address the issue of vehicle detection systems not turning lights green for bicycles and motorcycles. They succeeded with Senate Bill 5482 (Section 10).

Now it is time to let jurisdictions know when those two wheels are not enough to turn the light green. While the detectors may not get fixed right away, they can prioritize locations based on the information you provide. Here is how to do it:

For Issaquah city streets, contact the Public Works Operations department using the information or form on the city’s contact form.

For the city of Sammamish, it looks like the best way is to submit a Citizen Action Request. (You can do that for Issaquah too, but they don’t have an online method of submission. They have a form you can print out and mail.)

For signals in unincorporated King County, contact the county using this form.

For state highways, contact the Washington State Department of Transportation, identifying the specific location.

What the bill says basically is that signal detectors must detect bikes and that if the detector isn’t marked then the detection zone should be assumed to be in the center of the travel lane just behind the stop line. If there is a signal on your route which doesn’t detect bikes and you don’t feel safe crossing against the signal, please use the methods above to notify the city or state of the failing intersection.

August 6, 2009

Bicycle Issaquah!

thumbnail of Issaquah Bike MapKaren Behm has been working on a bike map for Issaquah for over a year now, and Tuesday afternoon the first edition came back from the printer! You can pick up your copy at the Visitor Center, Bicycle Center, or Veloce Velo. Or flag me down around town, I’ve got a stack in the trunk on my bike.

If you’d like to peer at it on your computer, you can download it right here as two big PDF files. One of 2MB for the map itself and another of a whopping 6.6MB for the back side with the notes, some ride directions, and other useful info.

But get a paper copy, it’s fabulous! And give Karen an attagirl next time you see her.

Big thanks to the City for funding this first printing out of the hotel room tax revenue. And big thanks to Councilman Fred Butler for cluing us in to that funding option.

UPDATE: The printed maps are all gone for the moment. Email us if you want one and we’ll put you on the list for when we get another print run funded or if we find some hiding in a corner somewhere.

Early August

Tuesday 8/4 is (was, but I’m leaving this here for historical purposes) the National Night Out which is a community engagement event sponsored in Issaquah by the police department. There will be many community groups outside our police station providing information and entertainment. I’ll be out there talking about GAIT. The event runs from 5pm to 7pm. Be sure to stop by, and then head over to the community center for this week’s Concert on the Green with “Magic Bus”, a 1960′s-style rock band. Come out in your tie dye! :-)

Thursday is the next Council Transportation Committee (CTC) meeting. Agenda includes actions on ITS enhancements funding, improvements at SE 56th and 221st Place SE (by FedEx), and vacation of a portion of Mall Street. There will be an informational update on the planned roundabout at SE 43rd on East Lake Sammamish Parkway. That’s at 5pm in the Pickering room at City Hall NW.

Wednesday was Bike to Market day for the Sammamish Farmers’ Market up by Sammamish city hall. Their market runs from 4pm-8pm. Check in to get a small reward for riding your bike, then snag some veggies and baked goods and enjoy music by Kris Orlowski and his band.