City council approves 30% design of Bike Skills Area

Mercer Island City Council took a major step regarding the Bike Skills Area (BSA) at its March 7 regular hybrid meeting by unanimously approving 30% design and giving a stamp of authorization to complete the plan and commence construction in the late spring of this year.

On Feb. 2, the Parks and Recreation Commission voted 3-2 (with two commissioners absent) in favor of sending the 30% final conceptual design to city council to examine and potentially approve on March 7.

Following three city council motions that were passed — all 7-0 — on the BSA at Deane’s Children’s Park, the initial design segment was completed on the facility. According to Mayor Salim Nice, “City staff aims to finish the design and complete the project’s construction by late summer or fall.”

Motions passed were to include the northeast entrance along with the west entrance to access the BSA; authorize staff to proceed with the design of the BSA subject to the motion previously made with the intent of meeting the fall construction schedule; and amend the main motion to conclude with, “including design and construction of appropriate trail features to promote safety of all trail users in Island Crest and Deane’s Children’s parks.”

Added Public Works Director Jason Kintner: “Our design team is working on our next steps, including meeting with key stakeholder groups to further design elements such as trail safety, signage, surfacing and bike features.”

City staff also plans to continue engaging the public in shaping some elements of the final design. Thus far, a multitude of community members have participated in a pair of surveys and two public meetings on the draft design and in focus groups.

The March 7 meeting featured more than a dozen residents whose comments ranged from concerns about trail safety in the adjacent open spaces to excitement about the facility. Nice said the overwhelming majority of the commenters supported the BSA, for which city council appropriated $75,000 from the Capital Improvement Fund in July 2022 to begin the 30% design. The project has an estimated total budget of $302,500.

American Ramp Company’s design features table-top jumps, an elevated tunnel, wooden berm turn, beginner and intermediate jump lines, a zig-zag short, rollable sender, 45-degree roller corner and more. A previous Reporter article noted that they proposed to create a wider shared access trail for users to experience a smoother flow when entering the park.

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