Trader Joe’s/Maple Street intersection to get more expensive roundabout

A $360,000 roundabout will be going into the intersection of Maple Street Northwest and the Target and Trader Joe’s driveways, despite the Issaquah City Council’s decision at the Feb. 8 meeting to install a $130,000 rubber curb mini-roundabout at the intersection.

The council opted at the April 17 meeting to go with an upgraded roundabout.

The originally-approved roundabout would have included a rubber mountable curb placed on top of the current roadway and filled in with asphalt, as well as rubber curb pedestrian islands, ADA-compliant ramps on Maple Street and rectangular rapid-flashing beacons.

A majority of council members had been in support of the mini-roundabout instead of a more permanent $530,000 option. However, they had expressed a desire for some kind of beautification, such as flowers or art in the center of the roundabout.

The new-and-improved roundabout would still include a standard Washington state Department of Transportation mountable curb, but it would now be filled in with concrete, not asphalt. The pedestrian refuge islands would also be concrete.

Transportation Manager Kurt Seemann said that the roundabout was “an enhanced, beautified mini-roundabout” that “we feel recognizes the council’s comments and honors what you asked us to do.” He added that the center would be “certainly something more aesthetic than just an asphalt center.”

“It’s a standard roundabout that we’re recommending here … We have 60-foot buses that need to use that street so we need something that’s working well, and this is reasonable,” Councilmember Bill Ramos said.

Being located in a center of commerce, the roundabout construction is on a bit of a schedule; Seemann said that the design needs to be completed soon for the intersection to be complete in time for the streets to be filled with shoppers during the busy Christmas shopping season.

“We can have this designed and built and completed this year, assuming we have council direction tonight,” he said.

“I think this configuration is a major improvement over the original, small, what I would have considered a temporary design, looked like,” Deputy Council President Mary Lou Pauly stated.

Council President Stacy Goodman did not agree. She said that she had gone back and watched the Feb. 8 council meeting on YouTube, and said that the new roundabout design did not fit with what the council members had been requesting.

At the time, four of the six council members present had supported a lower-cost roundabout with some sort of beautification to be added in. Goodman herself had stated at that meeting that the council “could figure out ways to make it pretty” without spending “an extra few hundred thousand dollars.”

“What it seems to me that we got is a better roundabout with what I considered the beautification part ignored, and that’s not within the spirit of what I was suggesting,” Goodman said on April 17. “I do want a roundabout there, I’m fine with the one we had before, I don’t think we need to spend any more money on it.”

The agenda bill passed by a vote of 4-1, with Goodman voting nay.

Council members Tola Marts and Eileen Barber were not present for the vote.