Friends of Marymoor Park
May 23rd, 2007 Meeting Summary
Public Meeting on Marymoor Park Connector Trail
Greg Helland, President of the Friends of Marymoor Park, welcomed attendees to the King County Public Meeting on the connector trail. There were perhaps 30 people in attendance at 7:00, and 10-15 more showed up after the start of the meeting.
Margaret Anthony, from King County Parks, began the meeting, discussing the trail which will link the East Lake Sammamish Trail and the Sammamish River Trial across Marymoor Park. She introduced K.K. Soi, project manager for this project, who in turn introduced Norah Gaynor (Marymoor Park Recreational Coordinator), Glenn Takagi (Landscape Architect), Robert Foxworthy (Regional Trails Coordinator), and Jenny Bailey (with Parametrix).
Jenny clarified that this was not an official Public Hearing. As such, they are primarily interested in written comments. The Connector Trail will officially be an extension of the Sammamish River Trail.
The trail will be built to the standards of “regional trails”. A typical cross-section of the trail might consist of a 12 foot paved surface, providing two-way travel, with a 2 foot soft shoulder on one side and a 5 foot soft shoulder on the other side, which might accommodate equestrian uses (this section might have reduced width in some areas). These are bracketed by 5 foot safety zones on each side of the trail. So the total corridor width would be in the neighborhood of 29 feet.
Considerations in deciding between the proposed routes will include safety at road crossings, environmental issues such as avoiding wetlands, whether a route would interfere with existing park usages, and construction costs.
Glenn presented the two proposed routes, The Central Route and the South Route. See the April FOMP minutes for descriptions and maps.
The process was described as follows: After gathering input, a preferred route will be chosen. This route would then be taken to the permitting offices to make sure that the route could be permitted.
Based on previous comments, it seems apparent that there are more conflicts with existing uses, and more conflict with traffic, on the South Route.
The first question raised from the audience was about how many trees would come down with each route? K.K. replied that it would depend upon sight distance requirements. Planning has not advanced to a point where a relative determination could be made.
Sunny Walter, from East Lake Washington Audubon, came forward to indicate that the South Route would coincide with the proposed birding trail on the section running along the Community Gardens. She requested that if the South Route is selected, that there be coordination with ELWAS. She also expressed that a narrowed corridor, with only 2 foot soft shoulders, would not be wide enough for the bird loop trail.
Chris Burke, a bicyclist, asked why the Central Route would not follow the existing trail (the “Par Course Trail”) through the western section of the park. Jenny answered that it is actually easier to handle the four discrete crossings of driveways with the proposed alignment. The Par Course route runs along/through parking lots themselves. Also, she added that the Par Course route winds a lot, and would need to be realigned to be suitable.
Al Watson questioned having the equestrian trail as part of the trail, instead of separate trails for bicycles and horses. This triggered a flood of comments. There was a large equestrian contingent in the audience. They expressed outrage that Marymoor was closed to horses about 2 years ago, without public input. They asked for a horse connection from the Bridleview Trial to the Sammamish River Trail. They are concerned about safety, and they complained most consistently about high-speed bicycles being the problem, but that horses are being excluded when they were the first users and are not the problem.
Barbara Dickson asked whether the existing Par Course trail would be removed upon completion of the Connector Trail. Parks staff replied that, no, the Par Course trail would probably not be affected.
Michael Hobbs suggested that a soft-surface trail might follow the South Route while the paved trail followed the Central Route.
Jack MacKinnon, from the Marymoor Community Gardeners Association, presented a printed sheet with 12 reasons why the trail should not infringe upon the Pea Patch. (Glenn estimated that the trail would cut 5-10 feet from the north edge of the Pea Patch). In order to accommodate this loss of real estate, the Community Garden would have to shift south into the Dog Area, at great expense.
Suzanne Kagan defended bicyclists, who bore the brunt of many comments complaining about high-speed bicyclists conflicting with other trail users. Another bicyclist, whose name I didn’t catch, expressed support for the connector trail as a commuter route. He also expressed concerns about combining bicycle and equestrian use on the bridge section over the wetland at the east edge of the park.
Questions were raised about the costs and schedule. The Project Team has funding to cover design and permitting. Construction money will probably be available in 2009.
A question was raised about the purpose of the trail, and the answer was that it was intended to be many things: part of the regional trail system, a missing-link connector between trails, a commuter route, and a trail for park visitors.
One of the gardeners said while the Southern Route might cross fewer wetlands, she felt that the quality of the wetlands on the Southern Route is higher than the Central Route. She was also concerned that the trail would disrupt wildlife in “Snag Row” – the Wildlife Protection Corridor.
Sunny Walter expressed concern that the trail might be incompatible with bird watching along their birding loop, as birders pausing to watch a bird would be faced with speeding bicycles in the same corridor.
Herb Bone, from the model airplane club, MAR/C, expressed pleasure to see that since last month’s FOMP meeting, the eastern trail section had been routed around the model airplane’s safety zone. But he asked again whether the trail couldn’t be routed to the north of the Maintenance Facility. Glenn’s response was that such an alignment would have sharper turns and would cross one more driveway. For these reasons, he wasn’t enthusiastic about that routing.
Barbara Dickson questioned how this trail would interface with the other regional trails, specifically the SR-520 trail, and a possible trail through downtown Redmond which would connect the East Lake Sammamish Trail to the Bear Creek Trail, and thence to the Sammamish River Trail. This brought a comment from someone with the Redmond Bicycle/Pedestrian Committee, suggesting a trail routing along 65th Street from the East Lake Sammamish Trail, past the Technical College, and linking in to the Central Route at about the mid-line of the park. This proposal drew a chorus of support. Robert Foxworthy pointed out that there are many driveways and a couple of road crossings along 65th St.
Another comment was made in support of a separate soft-surface trail on the South Route. That drew a retort from Judy Trockel (S.O.D.A.), expressing concern about conflict between horses and dogs.
K.K. Soi made a statement that a separate equestrian trail would probably not be something they could accommodate as part of the Connector Trail project. If equestrian usage can be accommodated as part of the Connector Trail, that would be a positive thing. However, if the Connector Trail cannot successfully accommodate horses, a separate Equestrian Trail would have to be done as a separate project.
Barbara Dickson asked about what would happen to the trail during concerts. Would the trail be closed? Would people be policed to keep them moving along? Norah responded that there might have to be trail detours to accommodate concerts and other special events.
Ernie Grillo, a bicyclist, complained about the thousands of people who use Marymoor Way as a car commuter route. He also stated that he will continue to use Marymoor Way as a bicycle commuter route, even when the Connector Trail is completed. His opinion was that high speed bicycle commuters will chose the fastest route, and that would be Marymoor Way. And Marymoor Way would be better if there weren’t cars using it as a thoroughfare (currently legal with a parking pass or daily parking permit).
Michelle Raymond, president of the Community Gardeners Association cautioned that the Garden Association would be due reparations for disturbances and displacements of the garden, and this would increase costs for the Southern Route.
Judy Trockel, from SODA, expressed her strong condemnation of the Southern Route, and support for the Central Route. There were a lot of echoes of support for that position from around the room.
Next meeting, June 27, 2007.
These notes were made by Greg
Helland, and they do not constitute an official record of the
meeting. They may have inaccuracies and omissions. If anyone has any
complaints about the content of these notes, they should direct them to Michael
Hobbs at firstname.lastname@example.org, and he will endeavor to
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