The official reopening of a 1.2-mile section of West Lake Sammamish Parkway in Bellevue is scheduled for Friday, but the path alongside the road was open to bicyclists on Thursday.
The work comprises a 8- to 10-foot-wide multi-use path for bicyclists and pedestrians on the west side of the roadway and a 4-foot shoulder on the right side. The path is separated from traffic variously by landscaped buffers, a curb, or nothing more than a double fog line.
This is an improvement over the previous configuration for bicyclists, which featured a pot-holed shoulder on the west side of the road and absolutely nothing on the east side.
This is just the first phase of road improvements that Bellevue will make on West Lake Sammamish Boulevard as funds become available. The 3 or 4 miles north of Southeast 34th Avenue to the Redmond city limits remain with the rough shoulder on the west side and no shoulder at all on the east side.
The road could become the preferred route to Redmond for bicyclists from south Bellevue and Eastgate whenever the other sections are completed. The West Lake Sammamish Parkway was identified as a primary north-south bicycle corridor in Bellevue’s 2009 Bike-Ped Report.
For more information about bicycling improvements underway in Bellevue, check out the Bicycle – Pedestrian Plan website.
The road improvement plans for West Lake Sammamish Parkway created a controversy in 2005 as bicycle advocates pushed for northbound and southbound bicycle lanes, an alternative that was rejected by the City Council.
The current configuration doesn’t have bike lanes. The 4-foot shoulder on the east (lake) side of the roadway is narrower than the 5-foot bike lane width called for in national highway standards.
The opening of the 1-mile section enables bicyclists to ride the Lake Sammamish loop ride that uses the East Lake Sammamish bike rail-trail, the bike path through Marymoor Park and West Lake Sammamish Parkway. I would still recommend riding it in counter-clockwise direction.