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The Issaquah Press
Issaquah, Washington
August 26, 2009     The Issaquah Press
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August 26, 2009

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THE ISSAQUAH PRESS WEDNESDAY~ AUGUST 26, 2009 * A3 A ommemlal truck and trailer was stuck on Southeast 56th Street at about leave the area until the truck and trailer were cleared about four hours later. By Chantelle Lusebr ak Issaquah Press reporter A stuck double-axle truck and trailer caused delays Aug. 17 for residents living near Southeast 54th Street, an old thoroughfare connecting Northwest Newport Way and the Lakemont area. Commercial trucks aren't allowed on the roadway. Residents Del and Deloris Luse, who live on Southeast 56th Street, said the driver of the truck tried to make it up the hill, but the trailer fell into a ditch going around one of the hairpin turns. When she heard the commotion on the roadway, Deloris Luse said she went to see what was wrong. "I heard the truck driver and another guy yelling at each other in panic-stricken voices," she said. "So, I called the police. I did- n't want anyone to get hurt." Issaquah Public Works employ- ees were called to put up a tem- porary barricade on the roadway BY CHANTELLE LUSEBRINK Tumlng fTom Northwest Newport Way onto Southeast 54th Sl~eet is one of two signs indicating commercial tracks are not allowed on the roadway. He said the morning of Aug. 17, the couple wasn't able to leave their home for about four hours, from 8:30 a.m. to about 12:30 p.m., while another truck came to help the stranded driver. There are two no truck signs -- about two feet in width and height -- on the road that tell drivers near Cougar Mountain Zoo, said they need to use the designated Joe Phillips, with Issaquah Police truck route of Lakemont Department records. Boulevard, Public Works The location of the truck, how: Engineering Director Bob Brock ever, was just outside Issaquah city limits, so King County Sheriff's Office deputies, not Issaquah police, responded to the call, Phillips said. "It happens occasionally," Del Luse said. "There are several that go up the hill, who realize after a turn or two they can't make it, so they have to back down and we have to wait for them. Sometimes, they block the road so we can't leave or we have to drive around. "It is very inconvenient." said. One sign is at the top of the hill, as you approach city limits from the Lakemont area on 189th Avenue Southeast; another is at the bottom of the hill as you turn from Northwest Newport Way onto Southeast 54th Street. "I just don't think they read the small sign," Del Luse said. "I think the city should put larger ones up." "Is the sign too small? Maybe," Brock said. "I could see how a BY DEL AND DELORIS LUSE 8:30 a.m. Aug. 17. Residents couldn't driver might miss it if they weren't paying attention. We may have to look into it more."' In this case, the driver did not get a citation from sheriff's deputies, as it is up to the discre- tion of the officer, said John Urquhart, public information offi- cer for the sheriff's office. "It's like missing a speed limit sign," Brock said. When the police officer pulls you over for doing 30 instead of 25, ignorance is not an excuse. But it is up to the officer." During the past three years, only two reports of trucks getting stuck and obstructing traffic have been made to Issaquah police. Both occurred this year; the Aug. 17 incident and another July 31, Phillips said. The only other calls police received for the roadway in the past three years was one about a reckless driver in May and anoth- er to check the area for anything dangerous in 2008, Phillips said. However, other incidents could have gone undocumented, if resi- dents or the truck drivers didn't report them. Urquhart said potentially driv- ers are unaware of the restriction when they come from the area enforced by the county. However, if residents are seeing a problem in that area and city officials would like to do something about it, then having city and county officials communicate could help resolve it. Chantelle Lusebrink: 392-6434, ext. 241, or clusebrink@isspress.com. Comment at www.issaqtmhpress.com. PROM PAGE A1 the concept for The High Streets retail development. "It takes time to build a commu- nity like this and we're not sacrific- ing quality for speed," he said. Keith Niven, program manager for the city Major Development local retailers described by Port Blakely as a "mixed-use market- place" spread out across the open- air shopping center. Boeker said the trend in retail is "to include a nice variety of goods at a variety of price points." He said The High Streets would be 50 percent to 70 percent national retailers with the remaining space occupied by regional and local businesses. Efforts to bring additional retail- ers to the highlands have been Review Team, said some of the slow moving and a deal to bring necessary permits for construction grocer Central Market to the high- of the theater and parking garage lands fell apart this spring. Boeker were ready, and others would be said Port Blakely remained corn- ready soon. Construction on the theater is scheduled to begin next spring. Plans call for the 64,000-square- foot venue to be called Regal Cinemas Issaquah Highlands Stadium 14. The theater will be accompanied by a three-story parking structure with spaces for 550 cars. Crews mitted to its vision for The High Streets and its tenants. Plus, he added, the slow materialization of retail offerings hurts the compa- ny's business plan. "No one's more disappointed than the company," he said. Boeker said he expects commer- cial development to pick up "as support to change the agreement to allow it," Boeker said. When the initial development agreement between the city and Port Blakely was drafted, officials worried about contaminants from a gas station seeping into the Lower Issaquah Valley Aquifer -- a source of drinking water. Officials have said advances in technology and increased knowledge about the geology beneath the highlands have rendered those concerns moot. Boeker has said the gas station would offer alternative fuels and match existing highlands architec- tural styles. Port Blakely has also been buoyed by activity surrounding construction of a planned Swedish Medical Center hospital campus. Excavation work began last week on the hospital site at the south- western corner of Highlands Drive Nbrtheast and Ninth Avenue Northeast. The first phase of the hospital soon as the retailers are healthier project, which includes a medical would also break ground on the and consumer spending is higher, office building and an outpatient grocery store in 2010; the store He pointed to bright spots center, is scheduled to open in would open the following year. throughout the highlands, inchd, summer 2011, A second phase-- The theater and retail offerings ing healthy numbers for home with 80 hospital beds -- is sched- would be built as part of The High transactions and openings for uled to open in the first quarter of Streets development at Park Drive restaurants. and High Street, and 10th Avenue Since mid-June, Zeeks Pizza and and Highlands Drive. Mexican eatery Agave Cocina & Niven said the grocery store Tequilas have moved into spaces announcement could be a turning occupied by defunct restaurants. point for retail development in the Meanwhile, City Council mem- highlands, bers will consider changing the "Everybody we're talking todevelopment agreement between wants to have land-use permits by Port Blakely and the city to allow the end of the year," Niven said. construction of a gas station in the The High Streets will be a mix of highlands. national chains and regional and "We felt like there was political 2012. The second phase will even- tually expand to 175 beds. Boeker said construction at the hospital site boosted business at nearby highlands restaurants. He recalled long lines of construction workers at the Subway restaurant when he stopped for lunch last week. "People underestimate how much activity there is here today," he said. July 20 vote and send the pact to the city River & Streams Board and Council Land Use Committee for additional scrutiny. FROM PAGE A1 The price tag for the undercross- ing to link Northwest Gilman Boulevard to Southeast 56th Street Planners said they hope theis about $13 million. roadway will alleviate traffic con- City Public Works Engineering gestion at the existing Front Street Director Bob Brock said the council North and state Route 900 inter- delay did not alter the schedule for changes. The undercrossing would link Northwest Gilman Boulevard to Southeast 56th Street via a two- lane roadway built from the traffic signal at the post office. Crews plan to connect the road into the rail corridor behind Gilman Station. The roadway would con- tinue beneath the existing 1-90 overpass. Planners estimate the under- advertising undercrossing bids to contractors. Brock said he hopes to advertise the project within the next two months. Officials said they hope to open the road by the end of 2010. Councilman Fred Butler lauded postal service officials for working with city staffers to forge the agreement. He said the under- crossing would be a key trans- portation link. Greater Issaquah Chamber of Commerce CEO Matt Bott said the infrastructure improvement could help burnish the city's image. "We believe that approval of this project sends a very clear message to businesses and families consid- ering relocating to Issaquah," he said. Chamber leaders rallied mem- bers to voice support for the nndercrossing by e-mailing council members and speaking at the Aug. 17 meeting. Business owner Bob Power talked about the Issaquah Medical Building he has planned for the former Zetec Inc. property, a par- cel between westbound 1-90 and Pickering Trail. The undercrossing will be built just east of the site. Construction of the medical building is contingent on construc- crossing will help remove about "This is one of our highest [pri- tion of the undercrossing. 2,000 to 4,000 cars from ority] transportation projects not "I think it's a real unique oppor- Northwest Gilman Boulevard and under construction at this time," tunity to have a new and ,exciting 3,000 to 6,O00 vehicles from Front he said. "It is an important next medical building in Issaquah : Street North. Gilman Boulevard step. It movesthe project forward." well as another h asS for fl e handles 29,000 cars per day; Front Council members voted unani-city," Power said. Street handles 49,000, according to city figures. The road would be built within city an easement along the east the former railroad right of way. side of the undercrossing for future North of 1-90, the road would form street expansion. a T-shaped intersection at The pact waives requirements Southeast 62nd Street, and then for environmental or development continue north along 221st Place studies if the site were developed. Southeast to Southeast 56th Under the agreement, no trans- Street. portation improvements would be Issues related to the wetlands required if the postal service devel- prompted the council to postpone a ops the property. mously for the agreement. Under it, the postal service will give the Salmon Days Festival organizer Robin Kelley told council members gridlock often slows her cross- town trips. She endorsed the undercrossing plan. "I was raised in Issaquah, so I've seen a lot of change and a lot of development, Kelley ,said. 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