Council learns about new transit plan

The Issaquah City Council spent the better part of an hour Monday listening to an update on Sound Transit’s new long-term plan following the failure of Prop. 1 last fall.

The Issaquah City Council spent the better part of an hour Monday listening to an update on Sound Transit’s new long-term plan following the failure of Prop. 1 last fall.

The new plan however offers very few traffic improvements for the city of Issaquah.

Greg Walker from Sound Transit spoke to the council regarding a new 12-year plan, ST2, which will eventually come to the ballot for Washington state voters to decide on.

The new plan, cut down to 12 years from the 20 years covered by Prop. 1, has a lower cost and quicker results, something many voters said would cause them to be more likely to approve, according to studies by Sound Transit.

“The 20-year-plan is still the base,” Walker said.

The plan includes Sounder and ST Express service expansion, incremental light rail extensions and more access stations. The new plan would cost about $11.4 billion, and would include either a .4 percent tax increase or .5 percent tax hike. The Sound Transit Board is still debating which tax increase to go with.

Although the plan does include funding for the planning of light rail expansion into Issaquah, Council President Maureen McCarry said she felt that this wasn’t enough.

McCarry said that she felt that there was not enough money or transportation being sent east, and that money that had one point been directed this way was now going toward the 520 bridge. Sound Transit will spend the next two months reviewing and seeking public opinion on the proposed plan through open houses.

No open houses are planned for Issaquah, although one is planned for Bellevue on June 5.

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In other council news:

*The council held three public hearings during their meeting. The second amendment to the Mallard Bay Development Agreement, the Round-A-Bout Lid # 24

Formation and the Six-Year Transportation Improvement Program were all approved.

*The council voted to direct city staff to prepare amendments to the Tree Preservation Code. This is not a final decision on the new code, but rather a step toward putting the potential amendments into city code. Then, the amendments will go back to the council and the community.

Currently no action is being taken on single family homes until more community input has been gathered. Final determination on this matter will not

occur until late summer or fall.

*An ordinance authorizing the the use of automated traffic safety cameras was sent back to committee.

*The newest council committee, the Council Sustainability Committee, was given an official description. The committee will “deliberate and make recommendations of legislative matters relating to creating and maintaining an economically, socially and environmentally self-sustaining community.” The committee’s work will touch on subjects as diverse as natural resource conservation, restoration and quality, climate change and peak oil, affordable housing and sustainable building practices, economic vitality and human services. The committee provides oversight of the city’s sustainability work program through the Resource Conservation Office and other City departments. It interfaces with Transportation, Utilities, Services and Land Use Committees, as well as the mayor’s sustainability task force, on related issues.