This August, Vote to Ungap the Map of Regional Trails
It’s official! Voters will see the King County Parks Levy on the August 6 ballot this year, a milestone funding package that will create a connected regional trail network across King County. Let’s thank King County Council for developing a strong trails package and sending it to the voters.
Trails can ease our commutes, connect neighborhoods to nature, and improve our health. But to realize those benefits in King County, it’s essential to fully connect the regional trail network. By strategically building on the 175 miles of regional trails already in play, we can ungap the map to connect communities by trail, county-wide.
The 2020-2025 King County Parks, Trails, and Open Space Replacement Levy—on the ballot as County Proposition 1—includes robust funding for regional trails, and complements local, state, and federal dollars already invested in trails. There’s a lot in this levy (like funding for land conservation, the Woodland Park Zoo, and the Seattle Aquarium), but its benefit to trails is unambiguous and momentous:
Building new trails
Targeted investments will help new trails advance from planning to implementation. Should the levy pass at the ballot, we’ll see game-changing connectivity for the Eastrail, linking five cities on the eastside and mobilizing people biking, walking, and rolling like never before. This levy gets us most of the way towards connecting 42-miles on the Eastrail.
Filling gaps in the network
Short, high-value connections between existing trails amplify the network effect and allow more people to access the system. The levy makes a connection between the East Lake Sammamish Trail into Redmond, in addition to developing the Interurban Trail South, Lake to Sound Trail, and the Green River Trail Extension.
Investing in communities
Investing in communities and community organizations so that trails work for all people. The levy also grows grant programs including targeted equity grants, investing in often-overlooked human infrastructure to allow people to meaningfully engage with parks, trails, and open spaces in King County.
From high blood pressure to traffic congestion, trails are the solution to a long list of problems. A regional trail network offers the county what is arguably the most cost-effective way to get every kid active outdoors, improve safety for everyone, provide transportation options that will aid in reducing congestion, improve health outcomes for county residents, and to attract employees (and employers) who are looking for more bikeable and walkable cities to live, work and play.
That’s a pretty impressive value proposition.
We can connect the trail network by renewing the parks levy, thank to this smart funding proposal that puts us on the path to success.