Well, the “imagineers” at the City of Shoreline are at it again! It came to our attention this last week that a proposal for a 9 Million Dollar Paved Trail to be sited along the Light Rail Line for biking/pedestrians has mysteriously surfaced from out of nowhere, in no time at all. That right people, a NINE MILLION DOLLAR, 3 mile, narrow strip of asphalt!
Now, we’re all for biking and walking, and this seems like nice idea at first glance, but when you start to think about the logistics, topography, isolated location, and whether this is going to be of high-use for the pricetag, the concerns begin to stack up. Based on the city’s past performance with how the rezones were pushed through, we have valid reasons to be rightfully concerned and push back now, before this turns into another overpriced, out-of-control, runaway train. (Pun fully intended!) and “jobs program” for consultants.
Duplication of Efforts
We’re going to have bikes lanes on 5th Avenue. Funds and resources should be focused on making these safe and separated bike lanes. 5th Avenue provides better, shorter, more direct connectivity between the 145th station, “Downtown Ridgecrest”, Paramount Park, the Library, and the 185th St Station. A short trail between the 185th station and 195th ped-bridge may be useful. Having two routes, running parallel, basically a couple blocks away from each other, seems like duplication of efforts and extremely wasteful, especially for the high price tag. Keep in mind we already have a North/South route with the Interurban Trail near Aurora, as well as Burke Gilman to the East next to Lake Washington. There is no safe separated connectivity between these trails and the stations. Better bike access coming from Burke Gilman would encourage more people from Lake Forest Park, Kenmore, Brier, Juanita, Bothell to commute to the stations via bike.
Trails to No Where / Dire Need for East/West Bike and Ped Connections
If the idea for this trail is to eventually go all the way to Everett along the rail line, it’s going to run into some major obstacles when crossing into Mountlake and the State Highway interchange, and going to duplicate efforts and be running parallel to the Interurban where the rail crosses over to the West side of I-5. At Echo Lake Park and at Meridian we have huge gaps in safe, seperated bike connections on the interurban and 195th pathway… basically dead ends. If the idea for the Trail to Nowhere is to connect to the trail at Jackson Park, well, the South End of that trail is… another dead end.
Why would anyone take a steep, indirect, out of the way route to walk/bike to the station when they could take 5th Ave?
Isolated Location/Public Safety/Exposure to I-5 Pollution
We suspect that not too many people want to bike, run, walk, or otherwise exercise next to the exhaust, noise, and pollution rising up from I-5. It’s a public health hazard. Then you have the possibility that this trail will be very isolated as the distance increases from the stations. One only needs to look at our existing combination of transit center plus less isolated trail where Aurora Village meets the Interurban… needles, trash, etc. If our community can’t even address one problematic area, why create another? Could this set the stage for having our very own “Shoreline Jungle” along I-5, “Under the Rails”. It’s going to be a huge public safety burden for our law enforcement to patrol as there is little accessibility by road to this proposed trail. Who’s going to pay for that burden? Sound Transit?… nope… we are. Also, after dark, if you had to make your way by bike or ped alone, would you prefer to do so along an un-isolated, well-lit, main thoroughfare such as 5th, with lots of foot traffic, businesses, and people milling about where you could run a few errands along the way?
Possible Addidtional Upzoning, Property Acquisitions and Loss of (even more) Tree Canopy
Will this be an excuse to “grab more land”, upzone more of neighborhoods, and clear away more of our already threatened tree canopy? Upzoning along the rail between the two stations was suggested last year by a Planning Commissioner, so this possibility has been on our watch list.
Worst Case Scenario Suspicions
Is this going to be used a sorry excuse for park space in the subareas as required by the Growth Management Act? A park space with two uses/activities… walking or biking on a paved trail with no actual greenspace or opportunities for tree replacement for the massive clear cutting to take place to make way for the rail line? Will this be bait and switch by Sound Transit to weasel their way out of having to replace and pay for the sound barrier, build the much needed ped bridge near 147th and I-5 bridge?
Where Did this Trail to Nowhere Proposal Come From?
And who approved the $275,000 price tag to not only pay for the study out of the city coffers, but for it to go forward in the first place? As far as we can tell, this proposal surfaced in October 2016 and slipped into the budget before the public was properly notified. Are they having a public meeting now purely to give the facade that public input was involved when decisions appear to have been without public input: The city appears to be at is at again with their “illusion of choice”… there is no choice for “no trail”, focus on the 147th st ped /bike bridge, and completing cycle route gaps elsewhere in Shoreline, so we have useful and functional connections. “We don’t know” is not an acceptable response to any of these questions from policy/decision makers. We have no business spending up to $300K of public funds on a “study” if these questions can’t be definitively and honestly answered beforehand.
Slides from the Presentation to City Council (12/16/16)
SEE YOU TOMORROW NIGHT AT CITY HALL!!!!
Shoreline Preservation Society https://preserveshoreline.wordpress.com/
City of Shoreline’s Announcement for the Public Meeting:
Trail Along the Rail Feasibility Study
Open House – Public Meeting
“Trail Along the Rail”
Wednesday, March 15
6:00 PM – 8:00 PM
Shoreline City Hall, 17500 Midvale Ave N
Your feedback is requested to help develop a preferred trail alignment plan for a possible multi-use trail running roughly parallel to the light rail alignment through Shoreline.
Development of light rail through Shoreline presents us with a unique and rare opportunity. The City is looking at the possibility of building a multi-use trail running roughly parallel to the light rail alignment through Shoreline. Located on the east side of I-5, the trail would run from N 145th Street to NE 195th Street. It would enhance pedestrian and cyclist access to the planned 145th Street and 185th Street Light Rail Stations, as well as connect to the NE 195th Street pedestrian bridge over I-5. In addition, the trail could connect to local streets, parks, open spaces, and schools within the neighborhoods adjacent to the light rail alignment.
Similar to the Interurban Trail, the “Trail Along the Rail” could serve as Shoreline’s segment of a potential regional multi-use trail that could ultimately connect cities along the Lynnwood Link alignment from Seattle all the way to Everett.
As the first step to testing out this vision, the City will conduct a feasibility study of a trail along the planned light rail alignment. We need your feedback to develop the preferred trail alignment plan. Please come to the public meeting on Wednesday, March 15 and provide your input.
If you have any questions, contact Senior Transportation Planner Nora Daley-Peng at (206) 801-2483 or firstname.lastname@example.org