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Cascade: Support the E Lake Sammamish Trail tonight

From a King County mailer
From a King County mailer

King County’s plans for a complete and glorious E Lake Sammamish Trail made it past a major legal hurdle this spring, and now the plans are moving forward.

The trail has been a long time coming, drawing big public support as well as some wealthy opponents and the City of Sammamish. The trail is a major link in the regional biking and walking network, but it is also a fantastic linear park.

The northernmost section of the trail was completed in 2015, showcasing the potential for the rest of the route. It will be a wonderful addition to the City of Sammamish, but the city’s Council needs to hear that support from the public.

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It’s time to stop fighting and work with the county to create what could be the city’s premiere public asset. A lot of community input has already been considered in the design, which even went tree-by-tree to maintain what can safely be maintained. This is what compromise looks like. Now it’s time to move forward.

So if you can, Cascade is calling on trail supporters to voice their support before the meeting today (Tuesday). More details:

Completing the trail to national standards through the City of Sammamish sections will enable people of all ages and abilities to use the trail as a transportation and recreation amenity — whether on foot, by bike, with a stroller or use of wheelchair. 

Trail development has been slowed for years by lawsuits, costing time and public money. We at Cascade Bicycle Club are committed to seeing the project through: a trail built to national standards in its entirety is necessary for access to this public amenity by users of all ages and abilities. To end delays to the trail the City of Sammamish needs to hear from Sammamish residents and trail users. 

How Can You Help? 
Come to the October 18 City of Sammamish Council meeting and speak up during the public comment section at the beginning of the meeting. Each member of the public has 3 minutes to speak.  Thank the City Council for their time and tell City Council why completing the trail matters to you. 

When and Where? 
Tuesday October 18, 6:30 pm
Sammamish City Council Meeting
Council Chambers, Sammamish City Hall
801 228th Ave SE
Sammamish, WA 98075

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10 responses to “Cascade: Support the E Lake Sammamish Trail tonight”

  1. Ott Toomet

    Is there any hope to connect it over Bear Creek/520 to Redmond and over Gilman Boulevard to Issaquah? That would make a mostly contiguous trail from Seattle to Issaquah to Preston…

    1. yes, it connects through Marymoor Park to the Sammamish River Trail. Don’t know about the other end.

      1. That’s fine if you’re actually trying to ride from Seattle to Issaquah by way of Bothell, but those sorts of “contiguous trail” boasts would ring truer if our trail network actually provided the sort of ubiquitous access they suggest. For more typical intra-eastside trips it would be really nice if the East Lake Sammamish Trail continued straight on into the Redmond Central Connector. That is certainly not part of this East Lake Sammamish Trail plan. King County considers the north end of the trail “complete” at its current unceremonious dead-end.

        <tired rant>Getting across freeway ramps is never easy, but I bet Redmond could have done something reasonable for a fraction of what they spent over-planning and over-programming the Redmond Central Connector.</tired rant>

      2. Tom

        I’m a member of the Redmond Parks and Trails Commission. We know that the “missing link” between the Redmond Central Connector and the East Lake Sammamish Trail must be completed and that the current “ride around” is not acceptable in anything but the short term.

        The Redmond Central Connector was not planned to extend beyond its present southern terminus because it is complicated and expensive to cross SR520. Also, the City is expecting light rail in this area with the passage of ST3.

        I don’t know what “programming” the Connector has to do with the missing link. That’s operating expense, not capital expense.

        This project is a high priority for us (but it is currently not funded). We are working with Sound Transit and other agencies to plan a crossing of SR520 as Link light rail is extended to downtown Redmond.

      3. I’m talking about the capital side of “programming”, all the fancy-pants stuff set out in the very long planning documents for the central part of the trail.

        I’m questioning Redmond’s priorities here. The initial section of the trail through central Redmond gets you a few blocks closer to some destinations than existing trails. That’s fine, it should certainly get built! Maybe even with a little fancy placemaking because of its particular location. But because the Bear Creek Trail already runs nearly parallel, and the local streets nearby are laid out in a reasonable way, it’s clearly less important than the connections immediately to either side: across 520 to the East Lake Sammamish Trail, and across the Sammamish River towards Willows Road.

        Important to what, exactly? Connectivity in the bike network. I grew up in a suburb next to a bike trail, and I know first-hand how important that is. All over our region the bike network lacks critical connections for exactly the same reason as here: we build the easy stuff first and delay at any sign of difficulty. Well, sometimes the parts that are expensive and hard to build are easy to ride around some other way. Sometimes it’s not so easy to ride around some other way. Maybe we should build those parts first.

        I’m sure you’ve heard the saying, that if you want to know an organization’s priorities, don’t ask its leaders, look at its budget. “High priority but not funded” is an oxymoron!

      4. asdf2

        The SR-202 underpass is already wide enough for the East Lake Sammamish Trail to pass through. The only reason it doesn’t is the crossing of the ramps. About 10 years ago, WSDOT re-did the interchange and widened the freeway. That would have been the perfect time to complete the trail connection – it’s always much cheaper when the heavy construction equipment is already out there.

        In the meantime, a traffic signal to allow the trail to cross the on/off-ramps could be an intermediate solution – the cars are already queued up for a red light a few hundred feet ahead, so if they stop just a little bit earlier to allow trail users to cross, it won’t make traffic any worse. Or, WSDOT could dig a cut-and-cover tunnel for the trail underneath the ramps. They’ve dug similar-sized tunnels in a single weekend a few years ago, adding fish culverts underneath SR-520 near Medina.

  2. Tom

    The Central Connector is a multi-use trail and a linear park. It will eventually connect to the ERC and the ELST. It was designed with lots of community input, including cyclists. No community project ever satisfies everyone in my experience.

    The 520 crossing is a high priority but is not funded because it is not planned. No oxymoron. If you want to understand how difficult this stuff is, come to a few Commission or City Council meetings.

    Or you could just spout off on a blog to someone who is actually trying to make this happen.

    1. It’s not funded because it’s not planned. It’s not planned because overall bike network connectivity is not prioritized above… whatever else. Network connectivity has a special value that can’t be replaced. You can’t hide behind “community input” or defining facilities as “linear parks” when connectivity breaks down. I go to public meetings all the time and comment on the same stuff: connected network, good sight-lines, clear/consistent signs and markings, lighting that actually helps people see at night. I’d never have to go to a public meeting to remind the DOT (at any level) that these things are important in the road network.

      Redmond is not alone in conceiving trails as standalone projects instead of putting connectivity first. Seattle’s approach to connecting some major routes to downtown (especially the I-90 Trail) has been similarly frustrating — instead of looking at the whole route, identifying the most confusing and dangerous parts, and at least getting the ball rolling on fixes, it defines one segment at a time, each cut just short of the really hard parts. About the only way we get the really bad parts addressed is by making lots of noise about them, often online. If that’s the system, if we don’t get baseline necessities like connected routes without “spouting off” online, well… you can’t very well complain when that’s what we do.

  3. Ott Toomet

    Yea, I am also looking at tinkering with BK trail around UW and thinking that trails are improved where it is easy, and not where it is needed.

    A bit off-topic but getting around 520 is not too bad (either on streets or through Marymoor.) A substantially larger obstacle is connecting the end of Preston-Snoqualmie trail to Snoqualmie falls. There are no easy ways around either.

  4. Jean White

    Building the connection between the East Lake Sammamish Trail and the Redmond Central Connector is getting closer to reality, as part of building Sound Transit’s East Link extension along Marymoor Park and on to downtown Redmond. Sound Transit, King County, and the City of Redmond are now in the midst of preliminary engineering work that will move the design of the extension to 30 percent design by the first quarter of 2018, with a 2024 target date for opening the extension for light rail use. The design will affect how, when, and how well we achieve the connection between the ELST and RCC. All three agencies know this is a critical trail connection and will enhance the safety and connectivity of the trail corridor stretching from Seattle to Issaquah! Designing and building the trail connection will be driven by the availability of new funding.

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