Sammamish City Council approves six-year transportation plan

The Sammamish City Council unanimously adopted its six-year transportation improvement plan on June 27.

The plan, a state-required itemized list to be updated annually, details five concurrency projects, seven general transportation projects and eight other programs, such as the city’s Intelligent Transportation System. In total, the list includes about $87.5 million in capital improvement projects looking ahead from 2018 to 2023.

The council needed to adopt the planning document before July 1.

“The [transportation improvement plan] by itself does not authorize projects to move forward nor does it provide funding for any of the listed projects; for that to occur individual projects must be funded through the City’s normal biennial budget process,” according to city documents.

The plan is in line with the city’s adopted 2017-2018 budget.

Last year’s six-year transportation improvement plan included $94.8 million in projects.

Several projects were removed from the list this year, including improvements to 212th Way, known as “Snake Hill Road,” because the project is expected to be completed this year.

This year’s transportation improvement plan also contained a “to be funded” section, which included two general transportation projects: Issaquah-Pine Lake Road from Klahanie Boulevard to Southeast 32nd Street and Issaquah-Fall City Road from Klahanie Drive Southeast to Issaquah-Beaver Lake Road.

Both projects call for the widening of the road to a three-lane configuration with bike lanes, curbs, gutters and sidewalks. The Issaquah-Pine Lake Road project calls for a roundabout.

About 60 percent of the Issaquah-Pine Lake Road project, which has been on the plan since 2006, will be paid for by development, Public Works Director Steve Leniszewski said.

“A lot of that Issaquah-Pine Lake Road section is going to be built by the developer who can build it cheaper than the city, quite frankly,” Mayor Don Gerend said. “By letting the developer do it, we’re really saving money.”

Councilmember Kathy Huckabay, in discussing the amount of time some projects have been on the transportation improvement plan, said a lot of that had to do with the city’s policy that “growth pays for growth.”

“We have a policy of growth pays for growth so we don’t build ahead of the growth,” Huckabay said. “That was a policy decision. It’s a little late to go back on that now and start building ahead of time.”

Councilmember Tom Hornish focused on the concurrency projects.

“Just because we put it on the list, it now meets concurrency?” Hornish asked Leniszewski.

Leniszewski said yes, as it’s reasonably expected that that project will be worked on.

“I’m not sure hope is a plan,” Hornish countered.

Leniszewski went on to say that as the city works on its transportation master plan and approves the transportation portion of the comprehensive plan later this month, that that will help the city assign a hierarchical prioritized list of projects.

“So we didn’t adjust hardly anything this year because we’re programming a complete overhaul, in a sense, coming out of the [transportation master plan].”

The city will discuss concurrency in more depth at the July 10 City Council meeting.

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