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Residents' proximity to regional trails & other important measures


2017 Rating Green
2016 Rating Yellow Performance Key

About these measures: Regional trails in King County are important public amenities providing opportunities for active recreation and regional mobility. The Regional Trails System is 300 miles of paved and unpaved greenways. The King County Parks Division has developed and/or maintains the majority of these facilities. Four measures are tracked to report on progress toward further improving the King County Regional Trail System:

  1. Access and proximity to population
  2. Closing existing gaps in the network
  3. Redevelopment/upgrading of older existing trails, and
  4. Ensuring safe trails and bridges.

1. Access and proximity to population

2017 Target 70 percent of county residents living within 1.5 miles of the Regional Trail System.

2017 Result Approximately 83 percent of county residents live within 1.5 miles of the Regional Trails System.

2018 Target 84 percent of county residents living within 1.5 miles of the Regional Trail System.

The Access and Proximity to Population metric has changed for 2017 Actual and 2018 Target. The methods by which these facilities are measured by King County has been updated to better capture the full extent of the trails network in addition to significant growth in the regional trails throughout King County.

New regional trail segments include the newly constructed Lake to Sound Trail in SeaTac and the SR-520 Trail in Medina.

2. Closing existing gaps in the network

Eastside Rail Corridor

2017 Target: Preliminary design of Wilburton segment will be complete; final design of 108th Street Bridge will be complete; rails will be removed south of Kirkland; and the Jane Hague Interim Soft-Surface Trail will be constructed from Kirkland to Northup Way in Bellevue.

2017 Result: Wilburton segment design is underway and negotiations are initiated to finalize the trail easement through the Sound Transit owned mile. Preliminary design for the connection between the ERC and SR 520 Trail (Northup Way) is complete. Plans for rail removal and interim trail along 5 miles of the ERC are complete.

2018 Target: Five miles of ERC interim trail, including Jane Hague Way and four miles in Renton, King County, and Bellevue will be open to the public; Preliminary design of Wilburton Segment and NE 8th crossing will be complete. In partnership with WSDOT, the construction of the Wilburton Gap and 2.5 miles of ERC trail will be under contract.

Lake to Sound Trail

2017 Target: Segment B will be completed winter/spring 2017. Segment A will be under construction. Segment C preliminary design will be complete and final design underway.

2017 Result: Segment B opened to the public in February 2017. Segment A is in final design. Segment C is in preliminary design phase.

2018 Target: Segment A will begin construction in summer 2018. Segment C will complete final design in 2018.

Green-to-Cedar Rivers Trail

2017 Target: Inventory and preliminary design will be underway.

2017 Result: Community meetings and stakeholder outreach occurred throughout 2017. King County's design team developed two options that meet regional trail standards and reflect the community input about the importance of a soft surface trail.

2018 Target: Complete preliminary design on South Segment. Apply for permits and refine design on North Segment as permit comments dictate.

Regional Trails Mobility Connections

2017 Target: Final design and construction of the Tukwila Mobility Connections will be implemented by the City of Tukwila. A refined Kent Mobility Connection concept will be completed, based on new city requirements. Additional mobility connections will be explored with other cities.

2017 Result: Tukwila Mobility Connection became two inter-related projects: west and east of Green River Trail. The King County Parks-supported West connection agreement is completed and the project is under construction. A King County Metro Transit grant was awarded for the East connection which was transferred to Tukwila. A consultant scope of services has been developed. Planning initiated for the Downtown Redmond Light rail Extension (DRLE) mobility connections with Sound Transit and Redmond. Connections concepts were presented to Bothell, and evolved with Kent.

2018 Target: The Tukwila west connection will be completed. The grant-supported Tukwila east connection will be in design by the city. The Redmond DRLE connections will be in design by Sound Transit. Discussions to continue with Kent and Bothell to refine possible future connections.

3. Redevelopment and upgrading of older existing trails

East Lake Sammamish Trail

2017 Target: South Sammamish A construction will be complete. Final design of South Sammamish B will be completed and permitted.

2017 Result: South Sammamish A construction is complete, and the trail is open for use. South Sammamish B is currently in design and permitting.

2018 Target: Design and permitting of South Sammamish B will continue through 2018, with construction of the next segment anticipated to begin in 2019.

4. Ensuring safe trails and bridges

2017 Target: Approximately 20 bridges will be inspected as part of the annual inspection program. Stringer and cap replacements on up to 3 bridges in the Regional Trail System will be completed. A rehabilitation study and preliminary design will be completed on the Sammamish River Trail #3 bridge. Preliminary design will begin on the Remlinger Farm Rd. Bridge replacement.

2017 Result: Cedar River Trail bridge #12 had an emergency repair after a tree fell on the bridge during an ice storm. We did not do any additional repairs or replacements in 2017.

2018 Target: In 2018 the Remlinger Farm Rd Bridge (2178-29) will be replaced. In addition, the Ripley Lane and May Creek bridges along the Eastside Rail Corridor will be rehabilitated. Final Design will be completed on the Coal Creek Trestles.

Influencing Factors: Regional trail facilities are similar to roadways — lengthy paved or compacted gravel thoroughfares running in linear open space corridors. Like roads, their development process includes planning, design, permitting, and construction. This process can take years and since many trails are located within or near sensitive habitats where development requires more unique structures, additional permits, and extensive environmental mitigation, as necessary.

Often, the missing links in the system require expensive elements such as bridges over roads or waterways, or navigation around sensitive areas such as wetlands. Additionally, in urban areas, existing build-out presents substantial challenges to creating new trail corridors do to the lack of readily available land.

Strategy Going Forward: The Division continues to improve the regional trail system by addressing system distribution, gaps, redevelopment, new connections, and bridge resiliency. Redevelopment and upgrading trail segments enhances the network by adding capacity and improving safety. The 2014-2019 Parks, Open Space, and Trails Replacement Levy provides funding for a regional trails six-year capital improvement program which will progress the County towards objectives laid out in the King County Strategic Plan. Parks will be ramping up its efforts in government/community outreach as well as branding to better position regional trail activities in the future.


Map showing proximity of residents to the regional trail network
Proximity of residents to the regional trail network
2006 Findings
Download the PDF version.

Three important changes are being made to the Regional Trails System performance measures in the transition from '08 to '09. Most importantly, additional measures are being added to allow for a more accurate indication of overall performance.

Additionally, the existing measure of residents' access and proximity to regional trails is being tightened from 1.5 miles to 1.0 mile. Finally, all known regional trails were analyzed this year including some trail segments that were not considered previously because there were gaps in the system. The result was the inclusion of a larger set of trails in urban areas that did not get counted earlier.

As a result of these changes, the performance measures will change for 2009, while the previous measures for 2008 are considered more complete than in previous years. The 2007 measure for regional trails proximity was 69% of residents living within 1.5 miles of a regional trail. The 2008 target was set at 70%.

Using the more complete set of trails in urban areas provides a much higher result, however. Approximately 81.6% of residents are found to live within 1.5 miles of a regional trail under these circumstances. While the performance target was easily exceeded, it was recognized that this was more a result of the manner in which trails were analyzed rather than growth of the RTS.

In reality, the proximity measure was found to change in small increments year to year due to the nature of linear corridors and the difficulties and limitations of developing these facilities in urban areas. While system expansion continues, the new 2008-2009 performance measures provide a more detailed look at progress overall.

When proximity buffer is tightened to 1.0 mile and the more complete 2009 set of trails is used, 61.8% of residents live within 1 mile of a regional trail segment.

Additional Notes:

  • The new method for calculating the one mile distance modifies the area covered by removing areas across intervening water bodies, unless that area can be reached from the trail in less than one mile by using a nearby bridge.
  • The Regional Trails set is those trails shown as Primary and Secondary Regional Trails on the 2008 "Regional Trails in King County" map, with the addition of the Westside and South 156th St trails in SeaTac, which were not shown on that map.
  • No On-Street Connectors for Regional Trails were used in the calculation, but it would have made no difference in the final result.
  • Population data source is Census 2000 block data. Total County Population (Census 2000) is 1737034 persons.
  • 907861 persons (52.265 percent) are in blocks completely within the modified 1 mile distance.
  • 263431 persons (15.166 percent) are in blocks partially within the modified 1 mile distance
  • 143473 persons (8.259 percent) in these partial blocks were considered to be inside the distance. This number was calculated using the percentage of the area for each split block that fell within the distance to assign the percentage of persons within each block considered to be within the distance.