Tag Archives: mountains-to-sound trail

Opinion: Mountains-to-Sound Trail doesn’t end well

Amazing views greet cyclists on the Mountains-to-Sound Trail. Photo by Willie Weir.
by Willie Weir

(This article is cross-posted, with permission, from the blog Yellow Tent Adventures. — Ed.)

Recently ribbons were cut and speeches were made at the opening of the new segment of the Mountains-to-Sound Trail. Any additional trail miles that provide needed access for bikes and pedestrians is cause for celebration. Except that the Mountains-to-Sound Trail now officially ends at a blind corner of a very steep hill.

Holgate, which rises to and descends from Beacon Hill, is legendary on this side of the city. It is the type of road that even some seasoned cyclists choose to avoid. If you are descending it from the top of Beacon Hill, you can easily hit 40mph without a single pedal stroke. You just take the lane and fly. The road crosses I-5, and at this point as a cyclist, you need to be hyper-aware as you dump out onto the left lane of traffic. Cars turning from Airport Way S. are speeding to make the light at 6th Ave. S. Many motorists like to make a left hand turn across your path as they exit the Office Depot. And the road surface is a photo op for the “repave our streets” campaign.

On the way up Holgate you are in a narrow lane with a high curb on your right as you climb over I-5. The thought that a car clipping you could send you catapulting onto the freeway is enough to have many cyclists choose to ride on the left hand sidewalk and then cross over at the blind corner as the sidewalk ends. Sounds fun, doesn’t it?

Can you imagine parents riding their bikes along with their two young kids tackling any or all of this? It sounds rather nightmarish.

And yet it is a possibility. The Mountains-to-Sound Trail is a separated recreational path. The type of trail that is desirable for riders and walkers who aren’t comfortable in traffic. The recently opened extension expands the trail from 12th Ave. S. to Holgate. The path is a delight and offers beautiful vistas of downtown Seattle. I had a hard time wiping the grin off my face the first time I rode it.

The end of the Mountains to Sound Trail at the blind corner of Holgate and Beacon Ave. S. Photo by Willie Weir.
My grin faded at Holgate. The sign simply reads, “End. Mt. to Sound Trail” That’s it. No more information.

What is the family with their two kids going to do? They’ll look at the option of crossing the road at the blind intersection and climbing the steep hill to their left. But what’s up there? They don’t know, because they are visiting from Spokane or Missoula and they don’t know that at the top is the business district of Beacon Hill with a light rail station, bus connections, stores, restaurants, a library, and a huge park. No, to them it’s just a big scary hill to destinations unknown.

Then they’ll look down the hill and think, “The Sound is that way.” They’ll opt to walk their bikes down the sidewalk because the hill is steep and their kids are scared. This is good. Because that sidewalk ends in a flight of stairs. To their credit, SDOT has posted a sign regarding this about 200 feet before impact.

The sidewalk down Holgate quickly becomes a stairway, dangerous for bikes. Photo by Willie Weir.
Now our visiting family is stuck. Because to continue forward means having to lift their bikes onto a narrow road with speeding traffic and “take the lane, kids.” Beyond this dangerous move there is no signage letting them know that they are three blocks away from the bike path that runs parallel to light rail.

But I’m guessing at this point our family will opt to turn around and push their bikes back up the sidewalk. The kids will be crying and Mom and Dad will think, “This is unsafe and crazy.” They will finally reach the trail and backtrack from whence they came.

What the family doesn’t know is that the Mountains-to-Sound Trail will eventually be completed. There will be a switchback trail that crosses under the freeway and connects to the bike trail and light rail station at Royal Brougham. But construction of that section isn’t even scheduled yet… so it’s years away.

In the meantime, information needs to be posted that gives everyone an option. Experienced city traffic cyclists can take a right at Holgate and shoot into the Sodo District or take a cautious left and climb to the Beacon Hill business district. Others can backtrack and follow the bike route signs to downtown, or be routed that way to begin with.

The dangerous conditions at the blind curve where Holgate becomes Beacon Ave. S. need to be addressed. This is now more important than ever! This is one of the few accessible routes up to Beacon Hill and it should be made safe for everyone.

The Mountain-to-Sound Trail extension is great! It will be better when it is finished (South Seattle’s missing link?). But until then, we need signage that explains the current conditions, and improvements that give everyone safe options. Without them, the ride doesn’t end well.

A grand opening and a final closing among this weekend’s events

This weekend Beacon Hill will celebrate holiday festivals, live music and food, a grand opening of a neighborhood amenity, and a closing of a neighborhood institution.

The community centers on the Hill are both holding events for kids tonight, October 28, from 6 to 8 p.m. Van Asselt Community Center (2820 S. Myrtle St.) is hosting a free Halloween Carnival for kids aged 12 and under. Games and goodies are promised for the carnival guests.

Jefferson Community Center (3801 Beacon Ave. S.) is also hosting a Fall Festival and Haunted House for kids 11 and under (the haunted house is for older kids, per parents’ judgment). There will be games for 25 cents each or 5/$1, and the haunted house admission is $1.

For both festivals, kids should dress in their best costumes, and bring a bag to collect treats and prizes.

Tomorrow, October 29, the Mountains to Sound Trail Grand Opening celebration starts at 2:30 p.m. at 900 Sturgus Ave. S. Mayor Mike McGinn and other dignitaries will be there to mark the opening of the trail, and tours of the area’s improvements will be given.

Afterwards, head down Beacon Avenue to the first Beacon Boogie, a celebration of food, art, and music. See five bands at five different venues for the grand total of five dollars (free for kids 12 and under), as well as enjoying great food and art from Beacon restaurants, artists, and galleries. See the event schedule here.

On Sunday, October 30, a more somber celebration will mark the closing of Beacon Lutheran Church (1720 S. Forest St.) after 70 years serving the community. The final worship service is at 10 a.m., and at about noon, the church and community will gather for a potluck dinner and remembrance program. All are invited to either or both parts of the event.

The church community gathered in the unfinished sanctuary of the new Beacon Lutheran Church in Spring, 1949. Photo courtesy of Beacon Lutheran Church via John Graham.

Mountains to Sound Trail grand opening celebration Saturday

The end is here! …of the Mountains to Sound Trail project, that is. The portion of the trail on Beacon Hill is completed, and the community is invited to come out and celebrate the grand opening and ribbon cutting this Saturday, October 29 at 2:30 p.m., at the trail’s northeast point, 900 Sturgus Ave. S. (That’s just adjacent to Daejeon Park.)

Mayor Mike McGinn, Deputy Mayor Darryl Smith, Mountains to Sound Greenway Executive Director Cynthia Welti, and others will participate in the celebration. There will be a tour offered for all to learn about the new improvements around the trail.

The trail is part of the Mountains to Sound Greenway, 1.5 million acres of green space and trails extending from Ellensburg in Central Washington to Seattle.

Construction of this portion of the trail began in June 2011. Find out more about the project on the project website.

Dog park, trail, greenbelt on NBHC meeting agenda

The North Beacon Hill Council meeting, usually the first Thursday of the month, was delayed until this week because of the library’s closure. This month’s meeting will be held on Thursday, September 8, at 7 p.m. at the Beacon Hill Library meeting room. As always, NBHC meetings are open to all interested neighbors. The Beacon Hill Library is located at 2821 Beacon Ave. S.

As mentioned previously on the Beacon Hill Blog, a major topic of discussion at this month’s meeting will be proposed changes to the Jose Rizal Park off-leash area. However, the city is also looking for community feedback and ideas for the Duwamish Greenbelt Area and the Mountains to Sound Trail.

Here is this month’s agenda:

  • 7:00 Welcomes and introductions
  • 7:05 Deputy Mayor Darryl Smith, and other city officials, will ask for community input and ideas for the Duwamish Greenbelt Area, which includes the newly finished Mountain to Sound Trail, and the off leash area at Jose Rizal Park
  • 7:25 Community input and Q&A
  • 7:55 Community concerns and announcements
  • 8:30 Closure followed by Executive Board Meeting

“Jungle,” Alcohol Impact Area on NBHC agenda

Here is the agenda for this month’s North Beacon Hill Council meeting, scheduled for Thursday, June 2 at 7 p.m. in the Beacon Hill Library community meeting room.

  • 7:00 Introductions, agenda
  • 7:10 Deputy Mayor Darryl Smith will update us on City plans for the greenbelt commonly called “the Jungle” and the Mountain to Sound Trail. Volunteers are needed to make this idea come to fruition.
  • 7:25 Question and Answer time: Discussion of City plans, and the displacement of homeless camps. Where will the long-term camp residents go? The increase in homeless street inebriates is causing a problem on N. Beacon—what is being done? Establishment of an alcohol impact area (AIA) on N. Beacon.
  • 8:00 Community announcements and concerns
    • Executive Board vote on officers
    • Nominations for Board Members
    • Other community concerns, including the formation of an Alcohol Impact Advisory committee
  • 8:30 Closure followed by Executive Board Meeting

The Beacon Hill Library is located at 2821 Beacon Ave. S. All are welcome at the meeting.

Beacon Bits: Street food, dangerous planting strips, and the Swinery… again

This guy is darned happy with his food from Marination Mobile. Photo by Daryn Nakhuda.
This guy is darned happy with his food from Marination Mobile. Photo by Daryn Nakhuda.
Lots of Bits today, so here goes…

David Gackenbach reminded us of something we haven’t mentioned on the blog, but have via Twitter: Marination Mobile brings their truck o’ deliciousness to North Beacon Hill (near Amazon and Jose Rizal Park) most every Thursday around lunchtime. Check their web schedule, or follow them (curb_cuisine) on Twitter.

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Keyunda Wilson at Van Asselt Elementary writes to invite everyone to a Community Play Day at the new Van Asselt site (the former African-American Academy, 8311 Beacon Avenue South) on Thursday, September 24 from 3:30-5:30 pm. The event will feature active playground games, face painting, and environmental education. Everyone is invited to participate.

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Among King County’s new liquor license applications, we notice this one:

Notification Date: 9/18/2009
Business Name: JAVA LOVE CAFE’
Business Location: 2414 BEACON AVE S, SEATTLE, WA 98144-5035
Liquor License Type: SPIRITS/BR/WN REST LOUNGE +
License Number: 085750

Continue reading Beacon Bits: Street food, dangerous planting strips, and the Swinery… again