King County unveils plan for Lake-to-Sound Trail
December 10, 2008 · Updated 5:14 PM
Four major trails. Five cities. Seventeen miles. These are the components of the proposed hiking and biking trail unveiled by Metropolitan King County Council Chair Julia Patterson, County Executive Ron Sims and various city officials Tuesday morning at the Renton Public Library.
The 17-mile Lake-to-Sound Trail would stretch west from Renton to Puget Sound in Des Moines. It would wind through Tukwila, SeaTac, Burien and Des Moines, connecting the Cedar River Trail, the Green River Trail, the Westside Trail and the Des Moines Creek Trail. The trail would also run to the Tukwila Link light rail station and just north of Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.
King County has pledged $3.75 million from the 2007 voter-approved parks expansion levy over the next five years to acquire land to build the trail. Of that levy money, $705,000 is in the 2009 King County Budget.
Patterson called the proposed trail the South King County twin of the 18-mile Burke Gilman trail, which stretches south from Bothell to Seattle's Shilshole Bay.
Patterson, also on the King County Board of Health, said the proposed trail will provide a new exercise opportunity for area residents, a provision she called "extremely important."
Residents in the area of the proposed trail have the county's highest level of health disparities, Patterson said. That means they have a high level of chronic disease, among other ailments. Patterson said South King County residents are also nearly twice as likely to be overweight as North King County residents. A high percentage of these people don't have access to health care, so providing exercise venues is crucial, Patterson added.
In addition to providing a place to exercise, the proposed trail would help reduce car traffic in the region, which Patterson said is expected to grow by 1.8 million residents by 2040.
Renton City Council member Randy Corman calls the Lake-to-Sound Trail "really exciting" and a "tremendous transportation improvement for the area."
The trail is the highest priority project on the long list of trails to be developed and improved as part of the Renton Trails and Bicycle Master Plan. That plan will go before the council for adoption in early 2009.
In Renton, the Lake-to-Sound Trail would connect the Cedar River Trail on the city's east side to the Green River Trail on the west side.
Corman said the trail would also give bikers and walkers an opportunity to get to some of Renton's hard-to-reach sites like the Black River Riparian Forest just off Oakesdale Avenue Southwest.
"...The new trail in and of itself would be a delight," Corman said.
King County is in the feasibility planning stage of the Lake-to-Sound Trail, said Monica Clarke, capital program supervisor for King County Parks and Recreation Division. She said that means county officials are working to determine the exact route of the trail as well as any alternative options in case of "fatal flaws."
Patterson said county officials are also looking into federal and state grants to help fund the trail.