Saturday bike ride examines connectivity gaps along Interurban Trail

A group of about 40 bicyclists of all ages gathered in Mountlake Terrace Community Senior Center parking lot Saturday morning for a short ride aimed at exploring connection gaps and safety issues facing those who pedal the Interurban Trail system stretching from the King/Snohomish County line to Lynnwood.

The ride was sponsored by two organizations: Leafline, which is focused on improving trail networks in King, Kitsap, Pierce and Snohomish counties, and the Snohomish County Transportation Coalition.

The Interurban Trail generally follows the right-of-way of the old Interurban Railway that traveled from Seattle to Everett from 1910-1939. In South Snohomish County, it runs through the cities of Edmonds, Mountlake Terrace and Lynnwood on its way to Everett. (See map here.)

Saturday’s event focused on the trail section that starts where Shoreline meets Edmonds at the intersection of Highway 104 and Meridian Avenue/76th Avenue West, through Mountlake Terrace and into Lynnwood, ending at 52nd Avenue West.

The map of Saturday’s ride.

“We know that trails are important for public health and individual well-being, part of thriving local economies and a great way to get around especially when they connect with ferries, buses and light rail,” said Claire Martini, Leafline project manager, before the group departed from the parking lot near Ballinger Park.

A co-organizer of the ride was Edmonds City Councilmember Luke Distelhorst, an avid bicyclist who noted in particular the importance of ensuring that leaders take a collaborative approach to connecting communities in Snohomish County via the Interurban Trail. With Sound Transit’s Lynnwood Link light rail extension opening in 2024, which will include stations in both Mountlake Terrace and Lynnwood, connections between trails and the new light rail stations are key, he said.

Mountlake Terrace City Councilmember Steve Woodard also made the ride, as did City of Edmonds Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services Director Angie Feser. Edmonds City Councilmember Vivian Olson was on hand to learn more during the pre-ride presentation.

Tom Tiegen, director of the Snohomish County Parks, Recreation and Tourism. Tiegen talked about the trail system’s relationship to economic development, asking during pre-ride remarks, “How many of you have ever stopped at a brew pub on the trail system?” When most hands in the crowd shot up, Tiegen said, “There we go.”

Peter Hallson of the Edmonds Bicycle Advocacy Group spoke briefly about the group’s efforts during the past several years to bring Basics of Bicycling curriculum to Edmonds School District students in grades 3-8, and the importance of introducing youngsters to bicycle safety at an early age.

A map of the Interurban Trail (in green) with transit connections, courtesy Community Transit.

One of the notable gaps in the existing trail is the less-than-a-mile stretch of 76th Avenue West that connects the Edmonds Interurban Trail segment with the Shoreline segment at the busy Highway 104 intersection with 76th Avenue West/Meridian. “Currently, trail users have to navigate a high-speed, high-volume roadway without separated or protected routes, including a highway intersection,” Martini said. “This area also highlights the coordination and partnership needed to make trail connections happen—just to connect the trail across this one intersection, we’d need coordination between jurisdictions including City of Edmonds, City of Shoreline, Snohomish County, King County, and WSDOT.”

— Story and photos by Teresa Wippel

 

6 Replies to “Saturday bike ride examines connectivity gaps along Interurban Trail”

  1. Wonderful effort to highlight much needed work on making our Trails compete and safe.
    Crossing 104 is terrifying!

    Dedicated bike paths make a huge difference in terms of safety and the attractiveness of our communities.

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  2. This shows what a foolish and short-sighted use of the current planned Sound Transit’s bike path money. Completing the trails would be a much more intelligent use. Also why are these people riding their bikes and wearing masks. I guess they need to feel good about something but there’s no science that says that is even remotely necessary.

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    1. It was a request of the bike ride organizers that participants wear masks because there was a large group riding closely together.

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      1. Thanks for the response. Unless they were riding less than 6 feet apart which in itself is dangerous there is no scientific reason for masking here other than making the organizers feel good about themselves. I don’t want to get in a Covid argument here but there is no scientific evidence with biking this makes any difference. I do hope they enjoyed their outing.

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  3. Being that the bicycle is becoming an increasingly important means of transportation, this group is to be applauded for making it safer and more enjoyable.

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  4. I find this Interurban trail to be very dangerous and otherwise completely unappealing. Lots of traffic and exhaust to constantly handle. It’s limited to just commuter’s trail. If you’re looking for a good escape on the bike, spend a few extra minutes and head out to the Centennial. Glad to hear improvements could happen though.

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