Cyclists, walkers can visit Beacon Hill and beyond with new trail
November 2, 2011 · Updated 12:36 PM
For cyclists eager to gain access to points beyond the I-90 bridge, a new link to Beacon Hill, SoDo and beyond has arrived.
It’s been decades in the making.
Neighbors, bicyclists, pedestrians and advocates for public safety have long awaited a critical regional trail link in downtown Seattle to safely cross Interstate 5. The new trail will begin at the western end of the Mountains-to-Sound Trail on Interstate 90 at the north end of Beacon Hill, travel through Dr. José Rizal Park, and end at South Holgate Street, with access to the Seattle waterfront just south of Safeco Field. The new trail will be open this fall.
"This is a real opportunity that shows how citizens and government can come together to make a difference in our region. It significantly opens a major forest to restoration and public use," said Craig Thompson, a long time forest and orchard steward for Dr. José Rizal Park.
The Seattle Department of Transportation and Washington State Department of Transportation jointly designed this trail to cross I-5 at South Holgate Street and provide access to the wide sidewalk trail near the sports stadiums.
“This will allow commuters and people attending soccer, football or baseball games to arrive on foot or by bike, safely,” Thompson adds. “Bringing people through the south part of downtown will be good for local businesses on Beacon Hill, too.”
Dr. José Rizal Park was the site of the first Mountains to Sound Greenway tree planting event in 1993, following the rededication of the park by the Filipino-American community. The park is named for Dr. José Rizal, a Filipino national hero. But the park suffered for years from illegal activity including drug use, gang activity and homeless camps, as well as overgrown invasive weeds. The park was part of an area known as “The Jungle.” The Beacon Alliance of Neighbors has worked to help clean up garbage, do regular maintenance, and maintain an off-leash dog park to encourage more public use. A community garden is in the works, too, according to Thompson. Greenway volunteers will return this fall for an invasive weed removal and to plant trees. “With its magnificent view of downtown Seattle and the Olympics, Dr. José Rizal Park will become a jewel for Beacon Hill and Seattle,” says Thompson. “Connected, safe, off-road transportation options such as this new trail are key to our future.”
Trail construction was funded by $1.8 million from the Pro Parks Levy passed in 2000, combined with $810,000 in federal grants.
The new trail will connect to a signed bicycle route and will have signs as part of the regional trail system. Extensive lighting, fencing and landscaping will help keep the park and trail accessible and safe for public use.
Reprinted by permission, Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust. Go to mtsgreenway.org for more information.