Regional Transportation Summit examines major road issues

transpsummit3Our roads in King County are interconnected. From a 10-minute increase in the time it can take to drive the Issaquah-Hobart Road, to what one mayor described as the “Covington crawl,” traffic congestion inside the cities of East and South King County is getting worse — and it doesn’t stop at the city line.

transpsummit2That was the message heard as two dozen city and regional leaders gathered in Issaquah to discuss major transportation issues and next steps for building regional partnerships and funding solutions. More than 100 observers also attended the Regional Transportation Summit, convened November 22 by Issaquah Mayor Fred Butler at the Hilton Garden Inn, who opened the meeting by characterizing the broken system of roads funding as “a crisis.”

transpsummit1From King County, Executive Dow Constantine and Councilmembers Kathy Lambert, Reagan Dunn, and Claudia Balducci joined the discussion. “We are all interconnected. We are all in this together,” said Executive Constantine. He cited the findings of the recent Bridges and Roads Task Force which called for a high-impact revenue solution that benefits both cities and the County.

Metro Transit General Manager Rob Gannon said the long-range vision for transit contained in Metro Connects can provide alternatives to congestion by expanding the bus system with safe and reliable improvements on key regional corridors, and increasing spaces at park-and-ride lots.

For the County, next steps for action include meetings in January, called for by Executive Constantine, between King County Road Services and what he called the “road and street experts” in each city, to begin the work of regional collaboration and partnership and identify shared priorities.