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Packer: Rainier Valley Greenway may soon connect to I-90 Trail

Photo of the end of the road. A grassy hill with a well-trodden path lies beyond the street.
Where the greenway ends. 28th Ave S just north of S Massachusetts Street.

The Rainier Valley Neighborhood Greenway may finally connect to the I-90/Mountains to Sound Trail after years of delay and inter-agency disagreement.

In early 2021, Ryan Packer reported that WSDOT had refused to work with SDOT on completing the connection from the greenway route to the trail. So the greenway route on 28th Ave S has ended about a block short of the trail for years, greatly diminishing its usability. People who want to make the connection have to either navigate to a skinny sidewalk via S Massachusetts St, ride on the roadway on MLK or ride across a grassy hill through the freeway lid park. None of these options are great.

But things may be changing, tough the agreements between SDOT and WSDOT are still tentative. Once again Packer has the full story for the Urbanist:

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The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) has announced that they’ve reached a preliminary agreement with the Washington Department of Transportation (WSDOT) over a trail lease that will allow Seattle to finally complete the missing northern segment of the Rainier Valley Neighborhood Greenway running between Mount Baker and Rainier Beach.

The announcement was made last week at the monthly Seattle Bicycle Advisory Board meeting by SDOT greenways program manager Summer Jawson, with Jawson telling the board that there has been “a lot of movement” on the connection recently and that the department is anticipating starting construction in 2023. In a follow up, SDOT confirmed the news but did note that there are some boxes that need to be checked before it can truly move forward.

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3 responses to “Packer: Rainier Valley Greenway may soon connect to I-90 Trail”

  1. Rainier Valley Commuter

    I often bomb down 29th Ave S when heading north and connect there by the playground at Sam Smith Park. Then take the grass hill when returning south. I hope this connection is completed with the expediency given to the Green Lake partnership, which proved collaborations between SDOT and WSDOT are possible.

    1. Steve Campbell

      I take the path through Sam Smith Park via 29th as well.

      I’ve never understood why SDOT would have to pay WSDOT to lease the land under the greenway connection while the playground path a block away is apparently exempt from this requirement. Maybe WSDOT is going around and demanding that kids pay some $$$ to get to the playground?

  2. Don Brubeck

    Good to hear. It’s a little too late to ask for this to have the “expediency” of the recent Green Lake path construction on Aurora. The RV Greenway connection to the I-90 trail using the grassy hill was identified as the preferred route over seven years ago, in 2015, during policy rides by Rainier Valley Greenways, Seattle Bicycle Advisory Board, SDOT bike program staff, and others. “Starting construction in 2023” makes it eight years minimum to pave a path of a couple hundred yards.

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