A fun time on a new trail

The penultimate section of the East Lake Sammamish Trail reopened yesterday to the delight of 70+ bikers, walkers, scooters and other supporters. The trail opening festivities included decorating the plaza trellis with wishes for future use, hot beverages for attendees, and a Cascade Bicycle Club sponsored tune-up station.

This 1.2-mile-long segment runs from Southeast 43rd Way and Southeast 33rd Street, and includes a 12-foot-wide asphalt surface with 2-foot-wide shoulders to accommodate expected high traffic in the coming years.

The completed trail is safer than the interim trail, thanks to the new smooth asphalt surface, improved sightlines, enhanced intersections, and improved drainage. Just 3.6 miles of interim trail awaits redevelopment to complete the full 11-mile-long trail. The remaining section is currently under design and is awaiting approval of permitting from the City of Sammamish to begin construction.

The entire length of the East Lake Sammamish Trail is now open to the public, including the new segment, and the undeveloped interim trail to the north.


5 thoughts on “A fun time on a new trail

  1. The new trail is great although it appears part of the shoulder is unfinished when compared to the other side. For example, the shoulder on the east side of the trail starting at the SE 33rd St location and extending at least 1/2 mile towards the SE 43rd Way location is much “looser” than the opposite shoulder. As a runner there’s a noticeable difference in the nature of the rocks that make-up the shoulders along this stretch. It’s visually noticeable as well as one side is more gray with smaller, compact rocks while the other side is more multi-color with larger, looser rocks. Is this an oversight? It’s much more difficult to run along this shoulder in comparison to the opposite side.

    1. You are correct, part of the shoulders along the trail are infiltration trenches. These trenches are one of the methods used to manage water from accumulating on the trail by allowing the water to “infiltrate” into the trenches and ground. These infiltration trenches use a different rock and do not compact in the same way as the other shoulder rock does. They also reduce the volume of runoff into adjacent waterways, remove many pollutants, especially suspended solids, and provide stream baseflow and groundwater recharge.

  2. A twelve-foot wide trail is much safer than a 6 foot wide trail. The rule of the trail is that users should stay on their side, just like when driving a car on a two-lane highway. By doubling the width of the trail and adding two-foot gravel shoulders, King County has made the trail safer for walkers, runners, cyclists, roller bladers, tricycles, children being pulled in wagons, and families walking with small children. Trail users now has 6 feet (8 counting the shoulder) of space just for them. They previously had 3 feet. The smooth asphalt surface enables wheels to roll smoothly, even if it’s an elderly person with a “walker.” It is much easier for a child to ride a tricycle on a smooth asphalt surface vs a loose gravel one. Trail users can also go back home clean without mud and debris on their clothing or equipment when the surface is paved. Everyone needs to be responsible on the trail. Again, the primary rule is to stay on your side and follow the convention of “staying on the right side.” Personally, I’m filled with pride about this trail. It shows the commitment of those in authority to provide a way for people to stay fit and enjoy nature.

  3. This is now a dangerous trail for walkers, runners and families walking together on the trail THANKS TO the NEW smooth Asphalt.

    What were you thinking? Pleasing the asphalt companies?

    1. Thanks for sending along your message. There are more than 300 miles of regional trails throughout King County, and King County Parks owns and maintains about half of that system. This network is used to make millions of annual trips by walkers, bicyclists, skaters, joggers, and others. The professional design guidance that we use emphasizes consistent design and user safety. The professional planning and engineering guidelines that our agency follows outlines the approach we take to the path. Asphalt paving is recommended to ensure the bicycles, skaters, and other wheeled users can use the trail, along with walkers, joggers, and others. The design also includes gravel shoulders for joggers and others who like to walk on an unpaved path. Pavement also extends the life of these trails.

      The East Lake Sammamish Trail is part of that regional trail system, and is considered a shared use path for many users, including pedestrians, joggers, bicyclists, skaters and others. We pave regional trails to make them more accessible to more people and to enhance safety overall. Another important aspect of trail safety is public education, and King County’s new trail safety campaign promotes a “share the trail” message with users to help ensure trails remain safe and accessible for all.

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