Despite agreeing to numerous requested design changes to its redevelopment of a portion of the East Lake Sammamish Trail, King County must appeal a City of Sammamish permit because many of the city's conditions would result in a trail that was unsafe for users.
Citing safety concerns, King County Parks has appealed a shoreline substantial development permit from the City of Sammamish for redevelopment of a portion of the East Lake Sammamish Trail (ELST) within the city limits.
About one year ago, King County applied for a city shoreline permit to redevelop this 1.3-mile stretch of the ELST. Since that time, Sammamish and its residents have requested numerous design and plan modifications that King County has incorporated into the current trail redevelopment plan for the stretch of trail, known as “South Sammamish Segment A,” which runs from Southeast 43rd Way to Southeast 33rd Street.
On July 7, Sammamish issued a shoreline substantial development permit for the South Sammamish Segment A, but included numerous conditions in the permit, which King County is appealing.
“Simply put, many of the 19 conditions in the city’s permit preclude us from building a safe trail with good sightlines and enough width to meet regional trail standards,” said Christie True, director of the King County Department of Natural Resources and Parks. “The public has had access to recently completed portions of the trail, and it has been proven to be very popular. These conditions would result in a lesser trail for the residents of Sammamish and King County.”
“In the spirit of working cooperatively with Sammamish to redevelop this important public amenity, King County has agreed to numerous additional requirements and made other modifications to the trail design,” True said. “We look forward to the redevelopment project moving forward in a timely manner – for the benefit of Sammamish, and for all King County residents.”
According to Sammamish’s development code, King County Parks is required to build a trail to national guidelines as outlined by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO).
However, several of the conditions included in Sammamish’s shoreline substantial development permit for South Sammamish Segment A would result in a trail that did not meet those required AASHTO guidelines, including suitable width, sufficient sightlines, soft-surface shoulders, and other important safety factors.
The ELST follows a historic railroad route along the eastern shore of Lake Sammamish within the cities of Redmond, Sammamish and Issaquah. Part of the “Locks to Lakes Corridor,” the trail follows an off-road corridor along the lake and through lakeside communities.
King County purchased the 11-mile-long East Lake Sammamish rail banked corridor in 1998. An interim soft-surface trail was completed and opened to the public in 2006, and redevelopment into a master planned regional trail has been ongoing since then.
All of the construction, including any tree removal, regrading, paving, landscaping and other work, has occurred within the King County right of way. No work has occurred on private property.
Once the ELST is fully developed, it will be part of a 44-mile-long regional trail corridor from Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood to Issaquah. More information is available at www.kingcounty.gov/eastlakesammamishtrail.
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