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With newly-opened section, the Lake to Sound Trail is tantalizingly close to reaching the regional trail network

Map of the Lake to Sound Trail including planned future connections.Imagine a new trail connecting Tukwila and Seatac to Renton. This trail would tie together the Green River Trail, Interurban Trail, Cedar River Trail and Eastrail, all while accessing rapid transit service. And someday, it could even reach the airport, Des Moines and Puget Sound.

Well, that trail is one step closer to reality. King County opened another couple miles of the Lake to Sound Trail between Tukwila and Renton. The new section doesn’t look like much on a map, but it included some difficult and important rail and river crossings as well as a connection to the Green River Trail.

Work is set to begin next year on a stretch between Seatac and Des Moines, but there is no current timeline for the major gaps between the new trail and the Cedar River or the Green River Trail to Seatac Airport. You can see on the map just how important this rare east-west link is to reaching much of south King County. Closing these gaps must be a major priority for future parks and trails funding.

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More details from King County:

King County Executive Dow Constantine today joined partners to open a new segment of King County Parks’ Lake to Sound Trail, an emerging 16-mile paved path that will extend from Lake Washington to Puget Sound, connecting to four other regional trails and high-capacity transit.

Because voters renewed the Parks Levy in August, King County Parks will be able to complete the uninterrupted trail that will connect five South King County cities and Sound Transit’s Tukwila International Boulevard Station. The new segment also connects to King County Metro’s RapidRide A Line and the Sounder Tukwila Station.

“We are strengthening regional trail connections between South King County communities, making it convenient to walk, run, or bike to high-capacity transit,” said Executive Constantine. “By connecting trails to transit, King County is making it easier than ever to explore the best places our dynamic region has to offer without having to sit in traffic or pay for parking.”

The completed Lake to Sound Trail will connect five cities – Renton, Tukwila, Burien, SeaTac, and Des Moines – and four regional trails: Eastrail, Cedar River Trail, Interurban Trail, and Green River Trail.

Once Lake to Sound Trail and Eastrail are complete, the regional system will connect all the way from Des Moines’ shoreline to King County’s Marymoor Park in Redmond. It also will connect to four of the 10 Sound Transit Link light rail stations that are part of the East Link extension.

The new segment connects the City of Tukwila’s Fort Dent Park to the City of Renton’s Black Riparian Forest via a railroad underpass and a new bridge across the Black River. The $5.8 million project was funded by the voter-approved King County Parks Levy.

It adheres to King County Parks’ regional trail standards with a 12-foot-wide trail, 2-foot-wide surface shoulders, and 1-foot-wide clear zone on each side. It also includes a trail bridge over the Black River, a pedestrian-activated traffic signal at the interaction with Monster Road, native landscaping, and interpretive and wayfinding signs.

Construction of the next segment of the Lake to Sound Trail – connecting Burien and SeaTac to Des Moines – is scheduled to start in 2021.

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9 responses to “With newly-opened section, the Lake to Sound Trail is tantalizingly close to reaching the regional trail network”

  1. Jessica

    cool! How long is the whole thing? Would be fun to do as a group outing!

  2. Colin

    I ride a big stretch of this every day, and am really excited to see this open, but the “TBD” sections are dangerous, and there seems to be no realistic plans to complete them soon.

    The stretch underneath I5 in Tukwila is harrowing at best and even the existing bike lane along 154th (which this maps suggests is complete) is fairly useless without the I5 connection. Not to mention that it is hardly AAA, with lots of bike lanes disappearing at freeway on/off ramps. They have a long way to go to make this useful and unfortunately seem to be starting with the low-hanging fruit, so not yet creating safe, functional connections between communities.

  3. Andrew Squirrel

    Connecting the existing sections is going to be extremely difficult task, i’m look forward to hearing the upcoming plans. This is an area I ride through often since I work down in the Green River valley and sometimes take the light rail to the Tukwila Light Rail Station from Seattle.

    New section near Black Riparian Forest looks and rides great, last weekend I brought a group ride past it during our journey from Seattle to Tacoma and back.

    1. NickS

      Hi Andrew, as a resident of SE Seattle, I’d love to hear about the route you took for your group ride from Seattle to the section near Black River Riparian Forest. I’ve explored that area a little bit by car, there’s great blackberry picking in the late summer there. :) At the moment, I don’t know of a great / safe way to get there by bike from Rainier Beach.

      1. Dan Kingsbury

        There’s a bike lane along Rainier Ave S. I used to bike-commute to Renton from Seward Pk, and would parallel Rainier in Renton one block to the west, then take SW 7th west to the Black River area.

      2. Amanda K

        I bike to work nearby. If you enjoy hills, you can go up Renton Ave to 51st/Beacon Ave S. Then head downhill on 129th street to Beacon Coal Mine Road (sketchy, no shoulder) running alongside MLK and you’ll pop out right by the trail entrance. Intersection at MLK and 129th is busy.

        Hm, you’re right, this isn’t really a great or safe way but it hasn’t killed me yet.

  4. Oh yeah! No more running across the tracks at the Family Fun Center or going through that sketchy, sometimes flooded, underpass at Starfire!

  5. Wow, they labeled the stretch of the Cedar River Trail from Lake Washington out to Houser “Existing Trail”. As in an existing part of the Lake to Sound Trail, supposedly part of our regional bike network. I can accept that part of the Cedar River Trail for being what it is — a narrow but scenic riverside walking path — but a regional trail? Nah.

    At least it’s not as bad as their past practice of labeling the sidewalk of Grady Way and Southcenter Blvd this way…

  6. Breadbaker

    The county’s mapmaking skills are terrible. It took me re-reading this entry while staring at a map of the trail around where the Interurban crosses the Green River at I-405 to figure out where this new segment is.

    For the reference of those who don’t understand what “Black River Riparian Forest” means, if you’re familiar with the north end of the Interurban in Tukwila, you’ll know there’s a bridge that’s between Fort Dent Park and the section of the trail that goes along Interurban Avenue near the old casinos. That bridge is over the Black River. Just south of that bridge is where the new section (completely unsigned though the brackets for the signage are there) begins. From there, it’s pretty easy.

    Note that the signal at Monster Rd. SW (the only road you’ll be crossing) is, like some other bike lights in the south part of the County, ridiculously long to give you an actual walk signal.

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