Other items: Sound Transit seeks public comment and Northshore schools may keep shorter year.

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Sound Transit and the state Department of Transportation are beginning design work to add two lanes for buses and car pools on Interstate 90 between Interstate 5 and Interstate 405.

The project will add the lanes by narrowing the freeway’s shoulders and existing lanes. The reversible express lanes in the center of I-90 will remain, though plans call for them to become transit lanes that could accommodate rail or express buses.

Work on the first phase, a segment of a westbound diamond lane from Bellevue Way to 80th Avenue Southeast on Mercer Island, is scheduled to begin in summer 2006.

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Sound Transit seeks public comment

Sound Transit is beginning a series of meetings for public comment on a study of options for expanding the region’s mass-transit system between now and 2030.

On the Eastside, meetings are set for 5 to 8 p.m. Wednesday at the Bellevue First Congregational Church, 700 108th Ave. N.E., and 5 to 8 p.m. Jan. 26 in Issaquah at the King County Libraries Service Center, 960 Newport Way N.W.

Options include rail extensions or other mass-transit projects from Seattle to the Eastside, North Seattle to Everett, SeaTac to Tacoma and along the Interstate 405 corridor.

To see a draft of the study, go to www.soundtransit.org/projects/longrange/finalseis.asp


Northshore schools may keep shorter year

The Northshore School Board is considering whether to continue having a 175-day school year for another three years.

The school district has been operating on the shortened school year — the state-mandated school year is 180 days — since 2002. The district says student achievement has improved since then because of better continuity of instruction and fewer partial school days.

The state Board of Education must grant permission to continue the shorter calendar. The Northshore School Board will discuss the proposed extension at its Jan. 25 and Feb. 8 meetings.