The 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.
There 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.
So 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.