The Downtown Streetscape project seeks to create “a consistent and well-designed streetscape that focuses on enhancing the aesthetics of downtown and creating inviting places that serve locals, engage the public, and facilitate interactions among community members,” as noted in the Downtown Streetscape Concept Plan.
City Council adopted the Downtown Streetscape Concept Plan in 2019. The City implemented the first phase of the plan by increasing sidewalk widths as well as adding street furniture and amenities to Front Street between Sunset and Alder.
Future phases will be implemented as funding becomes available through grants or City budget allocations.
In 2022, the City invested in two components of the Downtown Streetscape Concept Plan:
- Alder Festival Street partial improvements
- Pilot Parklets
During the planning process, the community expressed strong support for making Alder Street into a festival street. A festival street is a public street that has been designated for recurring temporary closure to vehicular traffic for the purpose of pedestrian-oriented special events. Having an outdoor gathering space in the heart of downtown Issaquah will be an asset for nurturing community connections, and additional pedestrian traffic generated by the festival street will benefit local businesses.
The City will install catenary (festival) lighting and create a mural pathway to connect Front Street to Depot Park in summer 2022.
- Finalization of lighting installation will occur in August
- Light pole installed
- Sidewalk was removed and new concrete poured
- Mid to Late August
- Catenary lighting will be installed
- Beauty bark will fill in the full length of the south side of the street
In response to community support of additional outdoor seating in Downtown during the pandemic, the City pursued the parklets as a pilot as suggested in the plan. A parklet is a fun opportunity to transform a parking stall into a small private or public space, which could be temporary, seasonal, or permanent.
The parklets were installed on Front St. throughout the Summer of 2022 until the pilot ended at the end of Sept.
The City solicited applications from Downtown businesses on Front and Sunset to select two locations based on the following criteria points:
- Number of weekday and weekend operating hours (28 points)
- Support of property owner and surrounding businesses (20 points)
- Number of jobs retained or added (10 points)
- Lack of, or limited other outdoor seating (10 points)
- Woman or person-of-color owned business (5 points)
- COVID impact on revenues – 2019 vs 2020 (10 points – used as a tie-breaker)
The City contracted with Downtown Issaquah Association (DIA) to coordinate and manage the parklets in partnership with the two selected businesses – Krawbar and Japan Ginger.