You hear a lot about the “missing link” on the Burke Gilman Trail, but there’s also a “missing link” in the Mountains to Sound Greenway trail as it passes through the Eastgate and Factoria sections of Bellevue.
The city of Bellevue is presenting its latest conceptual design plans to close that link with a 3.6-mile bicycle and pedestrian trail on the south side of Interstate 90 on Wednesday.
The city staff is inviting feedback on its planned route. You can see the general layout of the proposed bike trail, proposed cross sections and other designs from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Wednesday (Sept. 26) at Saint Andrew’s Lutheran Church, 2650 148th Ave. SE. See the Bellevue announcement.
The Mountains to Sound Greenway is the mostly forested corridor preserved along I-90 between Ellensburg and Seattle. The 1.5 million acre area is criss-crossed by biking and hiking trails, including a system of trails that reaches for 100 miles most of the way to Puget Sound.
The nearly 4-mile stretch that is the subject of the Bellevue plan addresses some particularly nasty spots.
The route stretches from Factoria Boulevard to Lakemont Boulevard. This is the busiest bike-commuting route between Seattle and Bellevue as it extends from the bike path on the I-90 bridge.
Worst and foremost among the problems is the intersection at Factoria Boulevard where the I-90 trail (aka Mountains to Sound Trail) dumps onto congested streets. Motorists making right turns at the base of the freeway off-ramp here tend to be blind to bicyclists attempting to cross Factoria Boulevard to continue east onto Southeast 36th Street. (Cyclist in photo had the right-of-way to cross toward the left.)
That’s not just me saying it. That’s the overwhelming conclusion of a group of bicyclists who rode the stretch as part of Bellevue’s Outreach Bike Ride for the study.
The city convened the bike ride in July 2011 to get feed back on some proposals to install a bicycling route through that corridor.
The consensus among the 40-some bicyclists and respondents to an online survey was a route along the south side of I-90. You can see the full report at Eastgate/I-90 Land Use and Transportation Project: Outreach Bike Ride Summary Report.
If you ride your bike through this section, you will want to see what the city has planned and give staff your ideas. I certainly plan to stop in on Wednesday.
The project manager is Chris Masek, 425-452-4619 or Cmasek@bellevuewa.gov. Updates about the Mountains to Sound Greenway Study are available at www.bellevuewa.gov/mts-greenway-trail.htm.