Newly-paved section of the East Lake Sammamish Trail is now open

IMG_2236ELST_FAQ's031114webmapThe newest paved section of the E Lake Sammamish Trail has opened, and it’s far more than just a trail.

King County recently opened a 2.6-mile segment of the rail-trail stretching south from the segment already paved in Redmond. A very bikeable gravel trail finishes the connection into Issaquah, where the pavement starts again. The county plans to finish the rest of the trail in two segments.

This trail isn’t just about the trail, it’s also about increasing access to public spaces along Lake Sammamish. And on a Wednesday tour of the trail, those spaces were hopping. In effect, the paving project turned a gravel trail into a true linear park.

IMG_2240IMG_2239There are also significant safety improvements at driveways and street crossings. In fact, our other regional trails can learn a lot from the way these crossings are handled (I’m looking at you, Burke-Gilman Trail through UW, near U Village and in Kenmore).

Stop signs point to the streets and driveways, not the trail. This gives clear priority to people walking and biking without confusing anyone about who goes and who waits. Just like at any other crosswalk, people driving must stop and yield.

IMG_2250So enjoy the trail while it’s all open, because there’s still a lot of construction ahead. Once complete, it will connect the 520 and Sammamish River/Burke-Gilman Trails to Issaquah and the Mountains to Sound Trail.

About Tom Fucoloro

Founder and Editor of Seattle Bike Blog.
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15 Responses to Newly-paved section of the East Lake Sammamish Trail is now open

  1. Joseph says:

    Love the bit about the stop signs. They really have done a superb job with this trail. So looking forward to having all of it done, and hoping it happens sometime this decade.

  2. Shelly Bowman says:

    Sammamish residents the last segment of trail has permits with conditions that they e trail be narrowed below national standards. Please contact your mayor and Council members to say you want a full width trail! Without your voice the affluent lake home owners will narrow the trail.

  3. Shelly Bowman says:

    Sammamish residents must call Mayor and Council not to narrow trail below national standards. Selfish lake front home owners want a narrow trail to themselves.

  4. Chuck Ayers says:

    Thank you Ron Sims, Dwight Peltz, Larry Phillips, Friends of the East Lake Sam Trail and others for breaking ground on this and making it a reality!

  5. kptrease says:

    Yes! Finally someone removes the ambiguity of a crosswalk plus stop signs. This is great progress. Hopefully SDOT and UW are paying attention.

  6. asdf2 says:

    Now, if they could just extend the trail underneath 520 to connect with the trail system around Redmond Town Center…under the current scheme, you’re dumped onto a 4-foot sidewalk right up against speeding traffic on the SR-202/520 underpass.

    The underpass is actually already wide enough for the trail. All that’s missing is some pavement and add a couple of traffic signals to cross the entrance/exit ramps. Or spend a little bit more money and tunnel the trail underneath the ramps, similar to the Burke-Gilman trail at 68th St. in Kenmore.

    Of course, all this would have been a lot cheaper had they done it 10 years ago when the construction equipment was already out there widening the highway.

  7. Ben p says:

    The way they completely close sections of trail for months at a time shows they think the number of commuters negligible. The gravel was better than some of the roots on the Burk. I think the new nicer, I just wish cycling was thought of as transport that happens to be enjoyable rather than recreation that happens to need a lot of trail. Maybe then all the closures would be half the width of the trail, allowing commuters to keep going.

  8. Harrison Davignon says:

    This is great because the paved trial allows a variety of users to enjoy trails, such as roller bladers, unicycles, road bikers and if some trials ramian gravel, so we can focus our budget on things such bike racks at hiking trial heads and campsites plus urban places like at more stores and make cities and towns safer for riding, rather than paving all the trials. Glaval trails in addition have a more natural feel and reduce runoff.

  9. Josh says:

    I realize parks people love to make facilities blend into the background, but the access control bollards on the sides of the trail don’t meet AASHTO, WSDOT, or MUTCD safety standards.

    The centerline bollards look great — brightly painted, reflectorized, with proper hazard striping before and around the bollard.

    The edge bollards are not painted day-bright colors, and have little plastic reflectors that will break in no time. They’re right up to the edge of the pavement, so they should have at least a foot of shy distance, and should probably have a diagonal white hazard stripe before the bollard in the direction of travel.

    The striping is important to preventing following-rider crashes, where the bollard itself is hidden from view by the first rider in a group, who swerves to avoid it too late for the next rider in line to see and avoid the hazard.

    This may sound nitpicky, but FHWA documents that even properly installed bollards pose a serious collision risk on trails, causing serious, sometimes fatal or permanently-disabling injuries.

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  11. Andrew Squirrel says:

    Hallelujah! Someone finally figured out the proper way to control low traffic intersections that cross over major regional trails. The stop signs on the BGT are so insulting, makes me want to put a stop sign smack in the middle of I-5.

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