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Parking problems create danger near Poo Poo Point

By Gabe Cohen
A lack of parking has created a dangerous situation at the base of the trail to Poo Poo Point near Issaquah.


A lack of parking has created a dangerous situation at the base of the trail to Poo Poo Point near Issaquah.

Tiger Mountain and Poo Poo Point are warm weather destinations for hikers and paragliders. On a warm, sunny day, cars flock to the area, and fill the lot, which fits around 50 cars.

Excess parking spreads down Issaquah-Hobart Road and onto side streets.

The King County Sheriff's Office says they've been dealing with illegal, dangerous parking in this area for years. The problem is, parkers cover the already slim road shoulder, which causes families heading to the trail to walk on the edge of the road. Deputies fear it could cause an ugly crash.

In the past few years, they banned parking on the west side and parts of the east side of Issaquah Hobart Road. They even put up No Parking signs, but they say it hasn't deterred people. Instead, they say parkers just accept the $20 ticket. It is labeled a "tow away zone" though they rarely call a truck because it could become a hazard as well.

"The solution isn't tickets," King County Sgt. Cindi West said. "The solution is finding a place for these people to park."

The King County Department of Transportation says right now they are not planning any long term parking fix. But they are discussing ways to make this road safer. Next week, they plan to put in curbing along the east side of the road where people continue to illegally park.

Some neighbors say the dangers have spilled over onto their side streets.

Larry Frank, who lives a couple blocks away off of 238th Way S, put up "No Parking" signs of his own, though they're not enforceable. He says pulling onto the main road is dangerous on a busy day, when cars cover the corners.

"Unfortunately it seems like an issue that is going to take a crisis to solve," Frank said.

Other neighbors credit the county with progress over the past few years.

Marc Chirico owns Seattle Paragliding and led the charge to build the trail. He says traffic has been a problem for years, and the county has made progress with their parking lot and signage.

He says the issue is much of the land is protected, and the lot can't simply be extended, because paragliders need the space for a landing zone. He believes the county might have to purchase a piece of land and build a lot if they want more parking close to the trailhead.

"Well clearly we need more parking," Chirico said. "More is coming. It's just a question of where does the county put its efforts to manage so much."

Several King County departments were unsure who would ultimately have to handle this issue, and some believe it is an issue that will go all the way to the Council.

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