Bicycle Pedestrian Trail
by Jim Flynn on Feb 17, 2015
The Renton City Council adopted the Benson Hill Community Plan October 14th, 2013. The extensive, exhaustive project was prepared by, and for, the entire Benson Hill Community. The seventy-five page document listed strategies and tactics to help improve livability and economic development in the City of Renton, Benson Hill Community. The plan was left unfunded and allowed to die on the vine. Community networks continue to deteriorate. There is a viable solution.
The plan was made by City of Renton contractor, MAKERS Architecture and Urban Design, worked with the Benson Hill Community over a two-year period. It called for making 116 Ave SE the crown jewel of the Benson Hill communities. The most affluent area of Renton includes the area known as South of Petrovitsky. The Benson Hill communities have fared poorly in terms of capital improvements in SE Renton. Livability continues to decline while our neighbors in the Highlands have seen $17.4 Million over three years spent on trail improvements, community centers and beautification. Go figure.
The plan to make 116th Ave., SE, the Crown Jewel of the county, was actually very simple.We can build the first piece, a Bike-Pedestrian trail at low or no cost. The main point for improving livability was to make a bike and pedestrian trail for the entire length of the road from a point near Phillip Arnold Park and ending at the city limit on SE 192nd St. The Avenue iswider than normal, according to plan engineers. It will adapt easily to a bike trail. The plan also pointed out that young families between twenty-five and forty-five predominate in the community. There are two school zones in the area between Philip Arnold Park and the South city limit at SE. 192nd St. with lower speed limits. The planpointed out that there were many informal trails in that area. By adapting the plan wecan start to develop a Crown Jewel by creating the Pedestrian-Bike trail on 116th SE.
There are numerous informal trails, recreation areas, schools, and power-line trails in the Benson Hill area. Improving trail networks became an important plank in the plan. Those connections are a reality, but very informal. We need to make those connections better and safer. The City of Renton should make an interlocal agreement with the City of Kent to continue the Pedestrian-Bike trail one mile south to a terminus at the Washington Department Fish and Wildlife facility.
F&W assures me that taxpayers can still use the lake access and boat launch area. An easement across the drivewayis always open for daytime use. Citizens can continue to make use of the lake and boat launch area. An easement over the driveway offers a definite availablity for day time use. The situation was caused through a screw up by King County. Or did the county just recklessly screw We the People yet are not held accountable. It is a topic for yet another narrative.
Just cross the driveway and enter an unusually beautiful yet remote lake in the middle of an urban environment. Hundreds of acres of Park Space is available. What a wonderland refuge from city encumbrances for the children of the Benson Hill Communities. Go there during daylight hours. Follow 116th Ave SE to the end of 116th Ave SE and see for yourself. It is OK to cross that private driveway to access the F&W facility. It still belongs to We the People
Bike riders frequently have take a break there to absorb the healthy attractiveness of the lake. Around the water you will notice herons, eagles, rabbits, racoons,many species of fish.
Here is the final part recommended by the plan. We can do it free. The Benson Hill Community Plan recommended more park space yet never identified specific resources. Entering Panther Lake through the state facility lets hundreds of acres of existing recreational space become opento the public again. Since our connection is through the State, entirely in the 11th Legislative District. There is no need to involve Kent or Renton financially.
Think of the fun that you and your family can have in the area. The Parks Department people at Kent City Hall would love to get the lake on theKent Park Inventory but not likely in my lifetime. I am old. We must keep the WA F&W site open. It is the only access point available to the public. This is the only boat launch area for non-motorized boats. The state has an easement over the property mentioned previously. Feel free to drive, walk, or bike. Parking is available for several boats and trailers with room to maneuver. The state has Discover Pass signs posted at the entrance.
We must keep the WDF&W site wide open. This is the only entry way open to the general public. This is actually the only boat launch spot for non-motorized watercraft. The state possessed an easement across the property. Go ahead and take a trip across the easement. Auto parking is offered for a number of boats and trailers with space to move. The state has Discover Pass sigens placed at the access.
The plan recommended 116th Ave SE, the Crown Jewel,be used as a spine with branches going to the various recreation areas, schools, informal trails and power line trails. One branch could be SE 192nd St, the Kent-Renton border East of the Benson. Less than a mile downhill is King County Soos Creek Trail. The trail, in unincorporated King County, opens the Benson Hill trail network beyond my wildest imagination.
This is how I feel we can start to make 116th Ave SE the Crown Jewel of Benson Hill using recommendations from the Plan: We open 35 acres of park space to the Benson Hill area of Renton and Kent via Panther Lake. The entire Benson Hill Community will benefit from improved livability in the area. We could even schedule appropriate events around the trail a few times during summer months. Look around. Panther Lake is in the middle of the most diverse community imaginable. We need additional recreational space. Let us do some of the things recommended in the Benson Hill Community Plan without adding a financial burden to the cities of Kent and Renton.
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