A new trail in Bellevue may only be a third of a mile, but folks are pretty excited about it. The Factoria Trail connects the Mountains to Sound I-90 Trail to the Factoria shopping area just east of I-405.
Here’s an enthusiastic video from the City of Bellevue:
Gene from Biking Bis went to check the new trail out. Here’s his review:
On the north side, the bike path’s connection with the I-90 trail is well marked with way-finding signs. A kiosk at the nearby corner with Factoria Boulevard will display maps about biking and walking in the area.
Bicyclists (or pedestrians) from the south side of Bellevue can pick up the trail from 124th Avenue SE, which has bike lanes part of the way, and connect to the I-90 bike trail without hassling with all the traffic on Factoria Boulevard.
The total cost of the project was $1.4 million, which includes a gathering spot with benches at Factoria Boulevard, the kiosk, signs and some other improvements.
Franz Loewenherz, senior transportation planner for the city, said they were able to bundle a $354,000 federal grant and $605,000 state grant to help pay for the trail.
It’s great to see the City of Bellevue getting excited about a new trail project. Bellevue has a lot of asphalt to work with, and it could be a real leader in livable cities innovation for cities outside the main region center. But they have to get serious and put some real money and space on the line to make that happen.
Downtown Bellevue could install separated bike lanes through its downtown, for example. Not only would that make headlines around the country and lead to a huge increase in healthy bicycle travel and commuting, but it would be pretty embarrassing to Seattle if Bellevue did it first…
UPDATE: Here’s a map of the new trail (the solid green line going south from the I-90 Trail):
While it would be pretty embarrassing if B’vue did it first, B’vue definitely needs to do something. I usually take the bus from Redmond to Seattle, then ride my bike home to w. Seattle, there are a few days a month that I make the entire commute from Redmond and riding through B’vue is the worst and most dangerous part of the ride.
I ride nearly daily from the Lake Hills area in Bellevue to Seattle and it’s not that bad.
If you are headed to Redmond I’d ride up the hill on SE 36th street, turn left on 150th Ave SE, immediate right on SE 37th (you can go straight here, and ride through the Albertson’s parking lot if you’d rather) go under the freeway, turn left on SE Eastgate, right on 161st SE, then right on SE 24th, follow that to right on 167th SE, which becomes 168th SE, then right on Lake Hills Blvd, which becomes 165th NE, then right on NE 4th, left on 167th NE, right on NE 5th Pl, left on NE 5th st, right on 172nd NE, left on 172 pl NE, go straight across NE 8th through the parking lot, and back up the hill about 20ft to NE 10th, left on 176th NE, which becomes 177th NE, then become NE 21st, the left on 179th, go right on Ne 24th for 50 ft, then left on 180th, then take West Lake Samamahish parkway to Merrymoore park trail.
It’s a lot of wiggling, but you cross the ridge coming down from Bellevue to Lake Smamamish at an angle so it’s not a bad climb going home. And it’s all neighborhood roads once you are on 161st.
Personally I’ve been interviewing for a position at Microsoft’s online services team in Bellevue, and the biggest thing blocking my desire to switch is the lack of bike infrastructure in Bellevue. I don’t like the idea of having to give up biking to take an interesting job.
Google, on the other hand, has their new Bothell offices right on the Sammamish River Trail.
Real competitive disadvantage for their businesses for at least a few of their potential employees.
Is the team in Downtown Bellevue? You can ride North on 108th from the I-90 trail. I see commuters heading into downtown on that road all the time.
Is the team in Redmond at Overlake? You can get there from the I-90 trail at Factoria following the instructions I wrote out above. I see commuters headed there every morning as well.
Key to navigating in Bellevue via bicycle is google maps, look for residental roads, turn on terrain to see where the steep hills are, the flip back to street view to check out the actual roads.
The worst ride in Bellevue is from Crossroads to Downtown. There is no good direct route. You can sort of swing South or North and do it, but you shouldn’t have to. And if you have a bike which can handle dirt trails, there are a few short cuts, but with hills.
I’ll agree with Gary and also say that I’m one of those regular commuters on 108th. Traffic is generally slow and most drivers are ok. Even heading into downtown Bellevue isn’t too bad. I don’t really run into issues on my commute until I get out to NE 12th and try to get across 405 – that’s where I get honked at and feel pressure to not be on the road.
If you’re coming from I90, 108th shouldn’t add too much gray hair to your head, provided you are reasonably confident sharing the road with cars. Still, it’s hard to argue with a job site that is right off the Sammamish River Trail…
Is there a map of the new trail? I’m a little confused about where it starts and ends.
Gene at Biking Bis has a good map: http://www.bikingbis.com/blog/_archives/2011/12/16/4960167.html
At 0:46 you can see that the city installed the post with the cross walk button right where you enter the trail from SE 36th going West. It’s a hazard because you need to have some speed up to cross the intersection, then slow down to weave around people who think they are going to get a free right on red, then up the curb cut, dodge left/right around the pole.
Totally poor positioning.
The City couldn’t find any law-abiding riders for their intro video? Riding the wrong side of the solid center line? All four going left of center around a trail-center bollard?
Is that the riding behavior they want to encourage on the trail?
Or are they so stuck in the bikes=toys mindset that they didn’t even notice what the riders were doing wrong?
OMG! Bicycles aren’t toys? Who would have guessed? I mean like they probably want a bike rack at the Mall? That’s ok, but they should be sure to put it where they won’t scratch the paint on my beamer.
Remember this is a town that only 5 years ago (or so) discovered that people could walk outside to shop like at Crate & Barrel. Which had to fight to have a sidewalk facing door.
Without seeing the approach from the cyclists’ viewpoint I’m not so quick to judge them. Maybe there was some obstruction or perceived danger in the right lane… like a camera crew.
Right or wrong, it’s pretty typical for cyclists riding two-abreast to cross the center-line on bike paths. If traffic isn’t too heavy it’s really not a problem — two such groups can easily pass by eachother in opposite directions. In heavy traffic or in passing situations, yeah, probably best to ride single-file.
Traffic? On this trail?
Looking at google maps I see maybe 50 houses in the neighborhood off 124th Ave SE.
The good thing is that 124th Ave SE goes behind Newport Hills High School so that kids who live off of Lake Washington Blvd have another route to get to school via a not busy street.
Also occasionally I see runners who are probably training for Track or Cross Country from the High School, they’ll probably use it as well.
So while it wasn’t a high priority on my list, it will probably get used. And each brick in the trail makes the whole trail that much more useful.
There are a bunch of apartments near 124th that will eventually be able to take advantage of bike lanes and this trail. Unfortunately, the funding mess has delayed a project to add bike lanes to 124th between this trail and SE 41st.
As far as bike projects go in Bellevue, this is yet another spot improvement that is welcome and will improve things but it’s hardly a panacea.
Bellevue has good long-range plans – if only they can get the money to build it all…