New Issaquah Transit Center parking garage opens Tuesday

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The new Issaquah Transit Center parking garage will open the morning of July 29 for commuters, more than doubling the parking at the facility. The 819-stall garage replaces a surface parking lot that previously served Issaquah commuters, and is the final element of this Sound Transit project that greatly expands the capacity and functionality of the popular transit center.

A dedication ceremony for the new garage at the intersection of State Route 900 and Newport Way N.W. will be held at 2 p.m. Aug. 6. The public is invited to join Issaquah City officials, Sound Transit Boardmembers and other guests in celebrating the completion of the project.

“With so many more people using transit to beat high gas prices, we expect this facility to be very popular with area commuters,” said Fred Butler, Sound Transit Boardmember and Issaquah Deputy Council President.

The completed garage is adjacent to six new bus bays and shelters, which together have significantly expanded the capacity of the popular park-and-ride. Three ST Express bus routes serve the transit center, as well as seven King County Metro routes.

“The city is very proud to partner with Sound Transit on this much-needed project,” Issaquah Mayor Ava Frisinger said. “This new center now makes it even easier for our citizens to incorporate salmon-friendly commuting options – such as taking the bus – into their daily lives, enabling them to truly help protect the environment.”

The City of Issaquah, which contributed $1 million to the $29.5 million project, has plans for a new Eastside Fire and Rescue fire station on the north side of the site. The Issaquah Police Department will also be able to monitor the transit center, thanks to new security equipment.

“This important project represents a new approach to funding transit projects in our region, which our community really needs. With the dramatic rise in fuel prices, we must all look for ways to drive less and conserve our natural resources,” said State Rep. Jay Rodne. “I applaud Sound Transit and the City of Issaquah for partnering in an innovative way to provide residents of east King County with more transit options beyond the single car commute.”

The completed Sound Transit project at the transit center joins a larger set of transportation projects recently completed in the central Issaquah area, including the Washington State Department of Transportation’s work on State Route 900 and the Sunset Interchange, to which Sound Transit contributed a combined $16 million to improve transit speed, access, and reliability in the area. Other work includes wetland mitigation in nearby Lake Sammamish State Park, which is scheduled to wrap up later this fall and will help improve the health and habitat of Tibbetts Creek.

The Sound Transit Board is currently considering a future ballot measure to continue expanding the regional transit system. The Board will discuss the merits of a 15-year plan on July 24 and decide whether to move forward with a package this year. The package’s capital projects would cost $13.3 billion in year-of-expenditure dollars that include inflation estimates, or $9.1 billion in 2007 dollars. Funding would come from a 0.5 percent increase of the local sales tax, or 5 cents on a $10 purchase. This new option heeds the call for further light rail extensions while delivering a series of significant Sounder commuter rail and ST Express regional bus service expansions between 2009 and 2023.

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