E Lake Sammamish Trail will be paved through Issaquah

Issaquah's bike facilities today. Image from the King County online bike map (click to view)

King County is about to pave a 2.2-mile gravel section of the East Sammamish Lake Trail through Issaquah, connecting other paved trails in the process. The project will also start the process of paving the section of trail connecting Issaquah and Redmond. Someday, there could be a paved trail connecting with the Sammamish River Trail and, therefore, the Burke-Gilman Trail.

King County is confident that construction mitigation (which has already begun) will be much less troublesome than last year’s Burke-Gilman Trail work in Lake Forest Park because the parallel roadway, E Lake Sammamish Parkway, has bike lines.

From King County Parks:

Upgrades are coming to King County’s East Lake Sammamish Trail (ELST) through Issaquah, including removing the existing gravel trail and constructing a 12-foot-wide asphalt trail with gravel shoulders, installing concrete sidewalk connections, retaining walls, fencing and signage, plus wetland mitigation planting and landscaping.

A 2.2-mile-long stretch of the trail from Northwest Gilman Boulevard to Southeast 43rd Way will be closed to all users during construction, which could take up to one year. The closure is expected to begin May 14.

The extensive scope of work in the trail’s narrow corridor requires complete closure of the trail. Trail users are advised to find alternate routes around the closed portion.

Nearby East Lake Sammamish Parkway features both bike lanes and sidewalks for ELST users who want to travel along the eastern shoreline of the lake and around the closed stretch of trail. Those who simply want to get out on a trail are encouraged to visit other portions of King County’s 175-mile regional trails system during construction.

The upgrades will make the trail accessible to a wider range of users, including bicyclists with narrow tires, inline skaters and others. Upgraded intersection and street crossing treatments will also be installed.

The estimated cost of completing the Issaquah segment is $2.74 million, with funding provided by the 2008-2013 voter-approved King County Open Space and Trails Levy, the federal Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Program, and the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program.

Map of the section to be paved:


View Issaquah, WA in a larger map

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10 Responses to E Lake Sammamish Trail will be paved through Issaquah

  1. Gary says:

    Yeah! About time. Once this trail is paved to Merrymore Park it’s going to be one really nice bikeway!

    • Todd says:

      I’m in total agreement w/ this. The section they did in Redmond is really nice and the section they are talking about completing in Issaquah will at least give us bookends to what someday will be a fantastic ride. I ride it now (hard gravel) but always visualize how nice this will be once completely paved from end to end.

  2. Todd says:

    I might add too that this section of trail has the loosest gravel on the route. It also will connect the existing Issaquah to Preston trail which is paved. Yay!

    • Todd says:

      Well, paved through the heights… the section between this and Preston hopefully will be a future discussion. :)

  3. Jonathan says:

    Nice… I just rode this trail a couple of weeks ago and was thinking how nice it would be when it’s asphalt. Now if only they could make a safer connection through horrible south Bellevue.

  4. Gary says:

    I keep wishing that the city of Seattle and the County can connect on the old rail bed, the trail from Rattlesnake lake to Landsburg dam. The right of way exists. AFAIK the issue is that the water dept doesn’t want anyone on the land in the watershed, which is the land between these two points. I’d be ok if they fenced for us, the way they fenced us out of the are around Lake Youngs. And I promise not to p in the bushes on the way!

    • Morgan Wick says:

      Given the point of the ownership of the watershed, I suspect fencing it off wouldn’t be enough. And would it serve anything more than a recreational purpose?

      • Gary says:

        It would connect North Bend to Maple Valley and possibly Covington to Auburn.

        And yeah I’d doubt there is a huge bicycle commuter demand to ride that distance. But I used to take my kids on long rides in the summer from Renton to Landsburg Dam, and we could have easily made it to Rattlesnake Lake and back in a day.

        It’s kind of like a freeway, if you put one in, the riders will follow.

  5. Morgan Wick says:

    I walked along this stretch of trail a week or so ago to check it out before it closed.

    The bike lanes on Lake Sammamish Parkway are spottier than this implies. The busiest stretch south of SE 56th St has bike lanes, though not all the way to the Preston Trail (which hits it right at the I-90 ramps), but I don’t think there’s anything from there to at least 43rd Way, other than maybe some wide shoulders.

    • Morgan Wick says:

      Also, not quite on-topic, but noticing the map reminds me that apparently the current plan to complete the I-90 trail involves a trail on Newport Way from the I-90 bike/ped overpass to Issaquah. Ignoring that this would cross I-90 twice and orphan a section of the current Eastgate-Lake Sammamish trail (albeit a stretch with some nasty switchbacks), I’ve walked that trail and the overpass empties out to the east, forcing long-distance bikers to make a nasty U-turn. To me, it would have seemed the obvious solution would be a trail alongside the Issaquah stretch of W Lake Sammamish Parkway (the stretch that’s more like S Lake Sammamish Parkway), which already has some pretty wide shoulders and next to nothing between it and the freeway, connecting to Issaquah’s Sammamish Trail.

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