Yet another win for the East Lake Sammamish Trail ... And final push begins!
The East Lake Sammamish Trail is an active transportation trail that is both a regional connector and a local amenity. Completing the final 3 1/2 miles through the Sammamish segment will increase access by people who walk, bike and use wheelchairs.
With the latest legal dispute between King County and the City of Sammamish resolved, construction of the East Lake Sammamish Trail (ELST) can recommence. The southern-most section through Sammamish (known as “South Segment A”) will be constructed to nationally accepted trail standards over the next year, and will leave just a 3 1/2 mile segment remaining to be completed.
Once complete, the ELST will connect the Eastside cities of Redmond and Issaquah via Sammamish, and will complete the missing link in a 44-mile regional trail from Seattle — and the shores of Puget Sound — to Snoqualmie and the foothills of the Cascade Mountains. The trail is both a regional amenity and a neighborhood connector for people on bikes and on foot. Plus, with the passage of Sound Transit 3 this November, the trail will enable people in all three ELST communities to connect more easily to the future Link Light Rail stations located at Marymoor Park and Issaquah, close to the ELST’s northern and southern termini. This short video captures why the ELST matters to us:
Your help was critical
The trail has been two decades in the making. It’s thanks to the efforts of people like you, that we are this close to completing the trail. Every call you've made, every letter written and council testimony you’ve given, have articulated that the value of the trail by the public at large. Our collective voice have outweighed the oversized voices of trailside property owners who have resisted the trail since its genesis.
Construction will begin mid-December for one of the two incomplete trail segments. The newly constructed trail will provide greater accessibility and safety for all users through a 12-foot-wide paved path for people on bikes, with strollers, and on foot; with two-foot soft surface shoulders on each side for people who run and walk; and enhanced intersections, clear sight lines, improved drainage and improved wildlife habitat.
But we're still not done!
The final segment of the ELST (“South Segment B”) is yet to be completed, and might pose the largest challenge to date. Last month, King County crews were out on the interim trail marking the future alignment of the remaining segment, and the city of Sammamish is currently reviewing King County construction permit applications. Meanwhile, encroachment by trailside property owners into the roughly 100-foot right-of-way narrows the trail significantly in this segment and continues to be a source of contention, generating energy around halting the trail.
King County will work individually with private property owners to address encroachment issues, and we at Cascade remain focussed on our long-term goal of completing the East Lake Sammamish Trail so that the public can use and enjoy it. As we work towards this goal, one thing is clear: your voices in support of the trail are needed now more than ever. Together we can complete the ELST by voicing to city and county decision-makers what the trail means to us, to our neighbors and our broader community. Throughout 2017, we’ll be calling on you for help.
In the meantime, get involved in the ELST by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org.