City’s new concurrency plan doesn’t measure congestion, overall travel time

By Miki Mullor

Deputy Editor

A new traffic concurrency plan for Sammamish appears unlikely to meet the Sammamish City Council target date to lift the building moratorium in July, despite six months of staff and consultant work and expenditures of about $375,000. (Read more.)

Concurrency is a state law requirement to “​prohibit​ ​development​ ​approval​ ​if​ ​the development​ ​causes​ ​the​ ​level​ ​of​ ​service​ ​on​ ​a​ ​locally​ ​owned​ ​transportation​ ​facility​ ​to​ ​decline​ ​below the​ ​standards​ ​adopted”, unless “​transportation​ ​improvements​ ​or​ ​strategies​ ​to​ ​accommodate​ ​the​ ​impacts​ ​of​ ​development​ ​are made​ ​concurrent​ ​with​ ​the​ ​development “. The law allows development to proceed if “a financial commitment is in place to complete​ ​the​ ​improvements​ ​or​ ​strategies​ ​within​ ​six​ ​years​.”  (see RCW 36.70A.070, and a clean indented version)

Accordingly, cities are required to set a level of service standard for their roads, measure traffic and forecast future impact of development on traffic.  

In response to residents’ frustration over traffic congestion in Sammamish, City Council has enacted a moratorium and directed staff to revise the city’s concurrency system to focus on drivers’ experience.  Continue reading “City’s new concurrency plan doesn’t measure congestion, overall travel time”

Sammamish Transportation Plan balloons to $165m; Klahanie project now $45m

The new Six-Year Transportation Improvement Plan approved by the Sammamish City Council Tuesday boosts projects costs to $165.36m.

This figure includes the cost of the projects that start within the six-year TIP period but continue beyond into a date not specified.

Costs for the Issaquah-Fall City Road widening along the greater Klahanie area goes to $44.8m from an estimated $23m in the months leading up to the annexation vote to Sammamish in April 2014.

Last March, only three months ago, the cost was pegged at $36m.

Continue reading “Sammamish Transportation Plan balloons to $165m; Klahanie project now $45m”

Sammamish needs to open up with transparency on TIP; there’s a “now you see it, now you don’t” show happening

Illustration via Google images.

Sammamish officials have a serious transparency and credibility problem.

The side-by-side comparison of the 2014 and 2016 Six Year Transportation Improvement Plans (TIPs) shows what appears to be creative “book keeping” to present a financial picture that is rosy when it’s really not. Sammamish Comment also reviewed prior TIPs to compare projects and projected costs.

Sammamish Comment spent this week dissecting the TIPs for the Readers. The issues are these:

Continue reading “Sammamish needs to open up with transparency on TIP; there’s a “now you see it, now you don’t” show happening”

City shifts $23m from City Roads to Klahanie project–but had vowed not to affect legacy Sammamish

When Sammamish officials in the summer of 2014 lopped around $19m off its 2015 Six Year Transportation Improvement Plan from four long-standing road projects, they had already pledged to improve and widen Issaquah-Fall City Road along the entire length of the east side of the Klahanie Potential Annexation Area if voters there agreed to annex to Sammamish.

Klahanie PAA voters rejected a plan the previous January to annex to Issaquah. Sammamish, which campaigned against the Issaquah vote, promised to take on the road project if a subsequent vote to annex to Sammamish was held and approved. King County at one time placed a price tag of $32m on the project. Sammamish officials studied the plan and concluded King County had double-counted some of the work in a two-phase plan and estimated the cost was closer to $23m.

For several consecutive TIPs, costs for four key projects within Sammamish remained constant. Facing the Klahanie project, the 2015 TIP cut$19m from these projects. Another $3.6m was further reduced from the 2015 TIP for the 2016 TIP, approved last month.

The analysis that revealed City officials shifted $22.5m from road projects to fund the $23m Issaquah-Fall City road widening to fulfill a commitment for the Klahanie area annexation appears to go back on a pledge to Sammamish residents that they wouldn’t be impacted by the annexation.

It also appears to be an effort to mask early statements by City officials that Sammamish would have to issue $23m in bond debt to pay for the Issaquah-Fall City/Klahanie road widening project.

Continue reading “City shifts $23m from City Roads to Klahanie project–but had vowed not to affect legacy Sammamish”

City may discuss Transportation TIP funding–after the election

The Sammamish City Council may discuss the controversial Six Year Transportation Improvement Plan (TIP), but not until after the November election, Sammamish Comment has learned.

City Manager Ben Yacizi wrote Council Member Nancy Whitten on Aug. 5 that a budget review meeting in November, which will “authorize the funding of various TIP projects” “might be a good meeting to further discuss this topic.”

Whitten had written Yacizi supporting Council Member Ramiro Valderrama’s concern that the August City Newsletter and its articles about the TIP were political in nature.

Sammamish Comment detailed the politicalization of the Newsletter in an August 12 post. The Newsletter had a front page article defending the funding of the TIP, along with a Mayor’s Message doing the same thing.

“I join in Councilmember Valderrama’s request that we have further council discussion about these road projects…and how we might pay for them and the potential bonding before such an article goes into our newsletter,” Whitten wrote, noting that “inconsistency with prior statements made about bonding are very convenient timewise during an election year.”

Continue reading “City may discuss Transportation TIP funding–after the election”

Sammamish transportation fund will be nearly depleted by 2020, forecast shows

The Sammamish transportation fund will be nearly depleted by 2020, a forecast shown the City Council July 7 indicates.

In a staff presentation outlining the six year Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) planning document, a requirement under state law, focus was on the projected budget through 2019. During this period, Staff emphasized the prospect of obtaining grants, revenue from the Klahanie annexation and other fees that will support a variety of road projects.

But little discussion occurred on the declining fund balance projections beginning in 2017 and the dramatic drop offs thereafter to virtually no balance in 2020 or 2021.

Continue reading “Sammamish transportation fund will be nearly depleted by 2020, forecast shows”