Why is the city spending more than $12 million building a hiking trail (the Redmond Central Connector) alongside Willows Road?
Why is it costing so much? Signs in downtown Redmond indicate a cost of $10.6 million to redo much of the one-way conversion in Redmond. How a hiking trail can for hikers and cyclists being built on top of a railway track cost more than the conversion, which is improving 6-8 lanes of traffic, is beyond me.
More importantly, why are we building a state-of-the-art trail alongside a busy road? Wouldn’t the taxpayers of Redmond be better served by a state-of-the-art outdoor trail alongside the publicly owned Sammamish River Trail park?
Every year or so in the Seattle area a cyclist is killed and several are injured when cars and cyclists collide. A cyclist was killed in Redmond in 2015 and several were injured in 2016. The Sammamish River trail from Marymoor Park to Bothell has 10 miles of trail where there is no interaction with cars.
The trail that is being built along Willows has numerous interactions and intersections with cars: 90th (ARCO, 148th); 95th (Black Raven, Hi-Fi brewing; Arena Sports, which is very busy after school and on weekends); 100th (two at Overlake Church and two at Willows golf course); 116th (soccer fields) and entrances serving the businesses in the commercial area. Some of these are very busy on weekends. In many places, cars parked at lights will block the trail.
Over the past five years, there has been a large number of residences built within a short distance to the existing Sammamish River Trail. The congestion on the trail is very noticeable and dangerous. Yet there have been no improvements to the trail to handle the large increase in use.
Conversations with the King County and Redmond park departments asking why there are no plans to improve the capacity of Sammamish River Trail produce the answer: Willows Road Trail is being built. Think about that. Our parks departments are spending more than $12 million of our tax dollars building a trail along a busy road with multiple intersections with cars and neglecting any improvements to the Sammamish River Trail. How does this make sense?
Imagine it’s a sunny summer Sunday afternoon and you want to enjoy the outdoors in Redmond with your friends and family. Do you want to walk or cycle along a 10-mile car-free trail along the river with all the wonderful wildlife, peacefulness and fresh air? Of course not, you want to walk or cycle along a busy road, breathe all the fumes, stop at red lights and watch out for cars so you don’t end up in the hospital.
It’s time to tell the City of Redmond and King County Parks Department that this doesn’t make sense. I ask you to call, email, write them and tell them so. If we all get together, we can have an amazing experience along the Sammamish River Trail. We just have to spread the word.
Mayor: John Marchione, firstname.lastname@example.org
Redmond Parks: Carolyn Hope, CJHope@redmond.gov
King County Parks: Robert Foxworthy, Robert.Forworthy@kingcounty.gov