No bus. No car. The difficulty of traveling around the Bonney Lake Plateau was the topic of the last column and at the Community Summit held in March. While the immediate concern for youth was getting up and down Elhi Hill for a YMCA teen night starting in July at Faith Community Church, the bigger problem was youth who don’t drive getting from point A to B around the city and Plateau.
Another option: non-motorized transportation. Yes, it would be possible to walk, jog, run, and ride your bike, scooter, skate board if there were trails and sidewalks.
Safe sidewalks are an extreme priority for youth. This is a problem routinely mentioned at youth forums at Bonney Lake High School.
At the March 19 Bonney Lake City Council meeting, there was discussion to move completion of the sidewalk along state Route 410 from the Angeline Bridge to 192nd Avenue East to the top of the project list and bump another project to next year to allow the city to complete this project at a higher priority. You see, the $92,276 to design the sidewalk is not in the 2013 budget approved by council just four months ago.
But, the council has the authority to prioritize projects. They have decided this item should rise to the top. They will make these same types of decisions if they are commissioners of a Metropolitan Park District for trails, discussed later in this article.
What does this segment of sidewalk mean? There will be a continuous sidewalk along SR 410 from Veteran’s Memorial Drive to the west to 234th at the eastern city limits. There is also a bike lane, if you so choose, on parts of the SR 410.
But what about from the north to south city limits? A solution for that is also coming soon. Mayor Neil Johnson has announced there will be a groundbreaking of the first segment of the Fennel Creek Trail “Safe Routes” link.
This $800,000 Fennel Creek trail link project is funded in large measure with a WSDOT “Safe Routes” grant as part of an alternative safe walking and bicycling route for students to get to Victor Falls Elementary, Mountain View Middle School, and Bonney Lake High School. The project was recently put out to bid, and should be completed by this fall.
The city signed a grant agreement with WSDOT on Sept. 11, 2007 that provided $1,482,000 in grant revenue for one linear mile of trail, a bridge over Fennel Creek, 0.9 linear miles of sidewalks and storm water detention along 192nd Ave. The grant included educational and enforcement components and required matching funds from the city.
This trail has been in the works for quite some time. A questionnaire circulated by the city in 1997 identified that citizens wanted a trail to walk, jog and bike on. It was adopted into the parks plan in 1998. Construction of a trail was resurrected again in about 2004. An Ad Hoc committee of met eleven times over the course of the study and helped develop the plan, which you can read on the city website. Just click on Special Election: Metro Park District link and it will take you to the Fennel Creek Trail Plan.
According to National Recreation and Park Association standards, we currently have a 9 mile trail deficit. The Fennel Creek Trail upon completion will be 5.2 miles, from Victor Falls to Allan Yorke Park. If you utilize the sidewalks along West Tapps Highway, you can walk to Emerald Hills Elementary at the northern city limits.
What does this trail mean? It will intersect in the area of the Angeline Bridge, were this missing link of sidewalk is needed. Imagine being able to come from north, south, east or west to the Midtown shopping district. Unlike the sidewalk along SR 410, the trail will meander along Fennel Creek. Two very different non-motorized transportation corridors will intersect.
Parks and trails make a city livable. This means it is something people look for, like commutes, schools and shopping options close to home. A trail can be a destination. Just ask businesses along the Foothills Rails-To-Trail. A trail is a place where families can bring their kids on bikes, trikes and push strollers, then shop and have a meal. Our youth can use these trails and sidewalks to go to movies, shop, meet friends for a meal and get to and from jobs. And the obvious, it is a passive way to get exercise for all ages. And, this trail will also protect and enhance habitat and provide an opportunity to educate the public on the ecosystem of the Fennel Creek.
So, I encourage you to contact your council members and ask them to vote yes to approve the design contract to build that final link of sidewalk before the April 9 council meeting. If you support trails in Bonney Lake, I will see you at the groundbreaking of the first segment of the Fennel Creek Trail on April 13 at the Willow Brook Storm Pond, 11110 185th Ave E. at 10 a.m.