Tuesday, November 8, 2011

No longer the “jungle” – now a new community trail and greenbelt

View of Seattle's skyline from the trail

By guest blogger Vickie Sheehan

For Seattlelites, thinking about the “jungle” might bring to mind homelessness, drugs, violence and crime. Until recently, a stretch of urban forest along I-5 and I-90 on Beacon Hill dubbed “the jungle” was a community eyesore begging for a transformation.

Hopefully that negative image can be replaced with a positive one now that a multi-use trail and park has been carved out of the hillside known as the East Duwamish Greenbelt.

Mountains to Sound trail map
The new section of the Mountains to Sound trail is nearly a mile of paved, level surface great for walking, biking and running. Bring your dog(s) as there is also an off-leash park adjacent to the trail. Huge street lights line the path from beginning to end for night use and safety.

Connections between Beacon Hill and downtown Seattle and the International District are available via 12th Avenue South, and to the SODO district, sports stadiums, and the waterfront via South Holgate Street.

Even if you’re not from Beacon Hill, this new trail deserves a visit. It is a great place to take a stroll with some of the most breathtaking views of Seattle. It parallels I-5 and eastbound I-90 so you can get a 180-degree view of the Seattle skyline, downtown, the stadiums and even the waterfront. On a clear day (and even not so clear days) it is just amazing! Judging by the photo above, you could even create your own postcard!

What is extraordinary is the incredible transformation of this area. Check out these amazing before-and-after photos:

The "jungle"
More of the "jungle"
The finished trail
New pavement for walkers and cyclists
More photos available at our Flickr page.
The Mountains to Sound Trail is part of the larger Mountains to Sound Greenway effort that has helped create 100 miles of trail along I-90 from Central Washington to Seattle, focusing on preserving open spaces and wildlife habitat.
We worked with the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) to build the trail beginning in June. The trail is built on mostly state right-of-way. and was completed at the end of October.
On Saturday, Oct. 29, we hosted a ribbon-cutting event in partnership with SDOT, the Mayor’s office, Seattle Parks & Recreation, and various community groups that supported the project. A large number of folks from the community attended the ribbon cutting event, which showed the immense support for this project. It was a beautiful sunny day and really showcased the transformation of this area and the potential for expanded use. Lots of people hit the trail for the first time including Mayor McGinn and Deputy Mayor Smith, as well as a couple of officers from the Seattle Police Department Bike Patrol.
We are proud to be a part of this project as it will make a difference in an area that needed a major boost. The Mountains to Sound trail will hopefully provide the breakthrough needed to help this area become a community asset.