Issaquah council OKs transportation agreement, Newport Way NW improvements

Also: Council approves grant that will support inmates who are released from Issaquah City Jail.

The Issaquah City Council’s general meeting on Oct. 2 saw the approval of four agenda bills that dealt with transportation, street and trail infrastructure, landslide mitigation, support for released inmates and reimbursement for court interpreter expenses.

Commute Trip Reduction Agreement

The city council reauthorized the Commute Trip Reduction (CTR) agreement with the Washington State Department of Transportation. This approval will also update the grant funding from $14,134 to $56,100 bi-annually.

The CTR plan was derived from the Washington Clean Air Act. The objective was to reduce air pollution, traffic congestion and fuel consumption by requiring local governments and major employers to develop and implement CTR plans.

Instead of single-occupancy vehicles, for example, this plan encourages commuters to use sustainable modes of transportation such as buses, carpools, vanpools, bicycles and walking.

Automotive traffic in Washington’s metropolitan areas is the major source of emissions of air contaminants — causing significant harm to public health, trees, plants, structures and materials, and degrades the quality of the environment, according to the Washington State Legislature. The increase in single-occupancy vehicles also produces traffic congestion and increases the purchase of gasoline and reliance on imported petroleum, according to the act.

Allocated state funds will go to support the management of CTR plans and programs, which include engagement and training of employee transportation coordinators; bi-annual mandatory employee CTR surveys and business program reports; promotion of transit alternatives — including Metro Flex; city employee ORCA Card Program; and oversee or support non-drive alone promotional events.

According to the agenda bill, the CTR agreement and funding will continue until June 30, 2025, and reauthorized every other year.

Newport Way SR 900 to SE 54th Street design contract

The city council approved authorization to execute the design contract for phase 1 of the Newport Way Northwest improvements. The project covers SE 54th Street to State Route 900 for $900,019.60.

Phase 1 of the improvement project will include an 820-foot corridor segment between State Route 900 and 1800 Newport Way NW.

The design contract also includes scope to advance the entire design project; the total budgeted design fund is $1,009,034.

According to the agenda bill, the remainder of the budget will pay city permitting fees and miscellaneous expenses.

The project objective as a whole will include a 10-foot travel lane in each direction; 5-foot bike lanes in each direction; 8-foot landscaped central median or 12-foot left-turn pocket where required; 5-foot landscape buffers on both sides of the roadway; 6-foot sidewalk on the southwest side of Newport Way Northwest; 12-foot mixed use trail facility for the Green Necklace and Mountains to Sound Greenway on the northeast side of Newport Way Northwest; and a roundabout intersection control where feasible.

The project has been on hold since April 22, 2021, due to an update in corridor design, which needed to determine right-of-way needs. The city is prepared to obtain a Surface Transportation Program grant for right-of-way needs by June 2024. According to the agenda bill, phase 1 construction is projected to start by June 2026.

King County Grant for Jail Inmate Supplies

The city council approved a one-time funding of $2,500 from King County for Go Bags and related grant agreements.

Previously, the city has worked with the Issaquah Food and Clothing Bank to put together Go Bags for post-release inmates with a three-day supply of food, personal hygiene products, socks and other recommended items in a waterproof backpack, according to the agenda bill.

Although the Issaquah Food and Clothing Bank has expressed interest in continuing the program, the current increased demand for services means the food bank can no longer support this program financially.

This grant will support inmates who are released from Issaquah City Jail. The city learned from social workers working at the city jail that inmates who were released and waiting for their scheduled bed for treatment — which took one to three days — were likely to re-offend because they did not have the means to support themselves. This has led to a cycle of being rebooked into the city jail.

Most offenses included shoplifting food, according to the agenda bill.

The grant fund of $2,500 will create an estimated 100 Go Bags for released inmates.

Newport Way Landslide Repair Utility Relocation

The city council authorized the completion of the Newport Way Landslide Repair Utility Relocation Project.

This project began in 2022, starting with the relocation of overhead utilities. Conduits and trenches were installed and constructed to relocate utilities underground.

This construction was done prior to the Newport Way Landslide Repair project, which will construct a retaining wall to mitigate the 2020 and 2022 landslides.

The contract cost was $269,108.73 and was completed within budget according to the agenda bill.

Now authorized, the next step will be constructing the retaining wall in 2024 under a separate contract as part of the Newport Way Landslide Repair project.

Washington State Administrative Office of the Courts Interpreter Reimbursement Program

The city council approved an authorization of agreement with the Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) to fund a maximum of $14,045 to reimburse court interpreter and language access service costs and increase the 2023 to 2024 interpreter budget.

The funding will cover existing interpreter-related expenses and make future language access easier.

Funding will go to items such as translation of forms, equipment to help enable remote interpreting and to secure credentialed interpreters at all hearings.

“The purpose of the Interpreter Reimbursement Program is to improve language access in the courts. It provides an opportunity for courts to receive reimbursement for interpreters and language access-related expenses and helps to ensure that people who are limited in English proficiency, or deaf, or hard of hearing, can access and meaningfully participate in the judicial process,” according to the bill agenda.