The initial project was slated to include Gilman Boulevard from State Route 900 to the Issaquah Creek, but this has been extended to Front Street North. Photo courtesy of city of Issaquah

The initial project was slated to include Gilman Boulevard from State Route 900 to the Issaquah Creek, but this has been extended to Front Street North. Photo courtesy of city of Issaquah

Issaquah City Council allocates $175,000 to Gilman corridor

The Issaquah City Council voted unanimously at the March 6 meeting to allocate $175,000 from the Street Improvement Fund to creating a plan for improving the Gilman Boulevard corridor.

The project will establish consistent development standards and safety improvements along Gilman over two phases. The $175,000 will cover Phase 1, which will last through October.

“This 2017 phase will be primarily focused on getting the facts,” said Kurt Seemann, the city’s transportation manager. He added that there would be “a large community input component.”

Phase 2 will run from November 2017 through September 2018 and will include the development of a 30 percent preliminary roadway design and a streetscape plan. The request for the funding of this phase will occur in the 2018 budget process.

At the Feb. 22 City Council Infrastructure Committee meeting, Seemann explained to the committee that there are several reasons that the corridor needs to be improved.

“We don’t really have a standard for the corridor, the right-of-way varies, we know that there’s … redevelopment likely to happen, there are incomplete bike lanes … and there’s a high number of conflicts … that create some unsafe conditions,” he stated.

Seemann said that the corridor plan will address driveway locations, access points, turn lanes, medians, signals, roundabouts and U-turns. Additionally, the city will develop a new roadway design that will show locations of bike and travel lanes, sidewalks, medians and landscaping.

“The real issue here is, how do we ensure that we keep all that’s good about Gilman and maintain the positive character of that corridor while planning for and accommodating the future?” Seemann said at the council meeting. “And more specifically, how do we ensure that that corridor, from a transportation standpoint, supports all modes of travel both for businesses and an increasing number of residents, including non-motorized, pedestrians, bicyclists, transit, as well as vehicles?”

Initially, the project was only slated to address Northwest Gilman Boulevard from State Route 900 to the bridge over Issaquah Creek.

“That for us didn’t follow the logic because it’s really a corridor and we should look at the whole piece,” Councilmember and Infrastructure Committee Chair Bill Ramos explained.

After discussions between Public Works engineering and the committee, city officials decided they should look at the entire Northwest Gilman corridor, from SR 900 to Front Street North. This raised the cost of the first phase from $50,000 to $175,000.

“It really will give us a good hold on the future, what we need, with all that data gathered. When redevelopment in that area happens, we’ll know what we want as a city,” Ramos said. “And then we’ll have all those answers and we won’t have to be wondering piecemeal when someone develops something here, someone develops something there.”

“We know that as growth continues and as properties redevelop along there, that the future of Gilman will be different from the present Gilman that we know,” Seemann said.

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