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How did we get here?

There are many factors that contribute to Issaquah's traffic:

  • Local neighbors — Many neighboring communities travel through Issaquah to reach I-90 or other regional destinations. For example, backups on Issaquah Hobart Road are a regional issue.
  • Location/topography — Our beautiful mountains and lake also make it challenging to build efficient transportation networks. We also have man-made challenges, like a freeway dividing our town.
  • Past community decisions — Two alternatives have been proposed for another north-south route through Issaquah — a route across Tiger Mountain and another through Olde Town, via Third Avenue. Both proposals divided our community, and it was ultimately decided not to proceed with either.
  • Region's desirability — The Pacific Northwest is an attractive place to live. And more growth is coming. That's why we’re working to keep our community desirable by planning for transportation improvements in many areas.

What's the City doing to address traffic?

Issaquah is tackling traffic in a variety of ways:
  • Doubling traffic fees to ensure developers are paying their fair share.
  • Working with our neighbors like Sammamish and King County on congestion that starts beyond our borders.
  • Advocating for more bus service, park and rides and, someday, light rail to Issaquah.
  • Making it easier to get around by foot or bike.
  • Using mostly grant and outside funds, we're investing more than $50 million in road improvements in North Issaquah.

Although a majority of Issaquah voters supported the City's November 2016 traffic improvement bond measure, it did not reach the required 60 percent yes threshold required for approval. As a next step, we will continue working on solutions to address local and regional congestion.

Why not build a bypass for Front Street?

Starting in 1995, the City of Issaquah included a new bypass road — from the East Sunset I-90 Interchange to Issaquah-Hobart Road — in its long-range plan.

The project was heavily-debated among the community. Opponents cited several concerns — such as negative environmental impacts — and questioned the road’s effectiveness. Supporters said it would address pass-through traffic, especially along Front Street.

After Issaquah studied the bypass for more than a decade, the City Council voted not to proceed on March 3, 2008. 

Why not stop new development?

Even if all development stopped tomorrow, our community would still face transportation challenges.

Meanwhile, like our neighboring cities, Issaquah is an urban area, and the state requires us to plan ahead, as another million people will live in the central Puget Sound region by 2040.

In Issaquah, we're preparing for the future by protecting the things we value most — our existing neighborhoods, like Front Street, and our forested mountainsides.

That's why, in the next 15 years, most of the growth will be focused in the valley floor near I-90, as Central Issaquah's population and workforce double.

To ensure we're ready for new development, we more than doubled the amount developers pay in traffic fees to ensure they’re paying their fair share.

Why is the City considering roundabouts?

Roundabouts are one of many tools traffic engineers use in developing well-functioning roads.

They promote a continuous, circular flow of traffic. And roundabouts actually move traffic through an intersection more quickly, and with less congestion on nearby streets.

Most importantly, roundabouts make intersections safer and more efficient for drivers, pedestrians and cyclists. Studies have shown that roundabouts reduce collisions by 37 percent, and fatality collisions by 90 percent.