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Renton starts work on short section of Rainier Avenue trail + Seattle should prepare a connection

Project map marking Rainier Ave from south 3rd street to northwest 3rd place.There’s a very interesting piece buried deep within a major roadway rebuild project on Rainier Avenue in Renton: 1,000 feet of trail on the east side of the street that will someday be part of the Lake Washington Loop connecting Airport Way to Seattle.

The City of Renton is staring construction work on a massive $34.5 million rebuild of Rainier Ave that will add a center median, business access transit lanes and new sidewalks to the busy and dangerous street while also repaving the roadway. But the part that caught my eye (thanks for the tip Bob Svercl!) is the one block of trail included between Airport Way and the north end of the project boundary at NW 3rd Place. It is not even noted on the Rainier Ave Phase 4 project map, but it is mentioned in the description: “A pedestrian and bike path will also be built on the east side of Rainier Ave N, between Airport Way and NW 3rd Pl.”

This trail will be on the east side of the street and connect to the recently-completed trail along Airport Way and is part of the city’s plan to fill in a major gap in the regional Lake Washington Loop bike route.

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Unfortunately, it’s going to be a while before the full trail connection is complete. The rest of the planned trail extending north to the city’s border is included in Renton’s Rainier Ave Phase 5 project, which is still in development. Their forecasts according to their six-year transportation improvement program plan are for construction through 2026, but a lot could change before then.

The good news is that this timeline gives Seattle and Skyway plenty of time to plan and build their own bike connections to the Renton project. The paint-only bikes lanes on the stretch of Rainier Ave between Renton and Rainier Beach could definitely use an upgrade.

Here’s Renton’s proposed bike network map from their 2019 Trails and Bicycle Master Plan (PDF):

Bike plan map of Renton showing a complete Lake Washington Loop among other improvements.

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4 responses to “Renton starts work on short section of Rainier Avenue trail + Seattle should prepare a connection”

  1. Nick vdH

    Will be nice once this is upgraded to the Renton city limits – until then, I’ll continue to use W Perimeter Rd.

    One correction – Renton borders Skyway (unincorporated King County), not Seattle.

    1. Tom Fucoloro

      Ah! Oops. I fixed it. Thanks.

  2. James Groom

    Thanks for the info. It’s about time. I always cringe hanging a left onto the Renton Airport area goin southbound from Rainier Ave.

  3. DaveR

    So will need King County to be on board for any Skyway improvements.

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