On January 28, 2015, a public meeting was held to gather input regarding the new Arboretum Multi-Use Loop Trail. Representatives from the Seattle Park Dept. and the Dept. of Transportation (SDOT) and WSDOT hosted the meeting. The plans for the trail are now complete and construction contracts will be put out for bids this spring. Constuction will begin later this year,
Much of the discussion was about the location of the south end of the trail and how to make it safe for pedesttrians and bikers. The park dept. does not want to disturb the trees and landscape features at the entrance to the Arboretun at the intersection of Lake Washington Blvd. and Madison St. So the trail will start on 31st Avenue East, at a new Arboretum entrance, about 1 block north of Madison, near the rear of the stone cottage on Lake WA. Blvd.
Thirty-first Avenue East is a narrow 2-lane street at this location. The staff wanted to hear from residents on 31st and nearby streets what the impact would be if 31st was changed to a one-lane, one-way only, northbound street. The other lane of the street would become a bike lane. Unfortunately, only one resident from this area was in attandance. He felt this change would be a mild annoyance, but something residents could accommodate. It was less disruptive to the neighborhood street traffic than some other plans SDOT was considering.
The President of the Madison Park Community Council, Maurice Cooper, was at the meeting. He asked the staff to attend the next neighborhood meeting of the MPCC to discuss this traffic issue with additional residents. The staff agreed to do this so that more input would be gathered about this potentional change for 31st Ave E.
The staff reviewed several features of the Loop Trail for those who were not familar with the plan:
1. Arboretum Creek will be day lighted.
2. The trail will allow dry access to wetlands that are usually off limits most of the year.
3. Paving material will be appropriate for walkers, strollers and slower-paced bicyclists.
4. The trail will connect with the 520 Bridge-Montlake area trails when the funding for the final phase of the bridge project is allocated and built. Until that time, the trail will cover a loop, east of Lake Washingon Blvd. from 31st Ave. East to the Graham Visitors’ Center.