GOALS

Goals for the trail plan have been developed in a series of public meetings. The primary goals that emerged from the project are the following:

  • Create trails in this patch of forest for the enjoyment, recreation, and education of all people in the surrounding neighborhoods.

  • Create a pedestrian connection linking the Lockmore neighborhood on Beacon Hill to the Edmunds Light Rail station and Columbia City.
Important secondary goals are to prioritize use of the space by children and students, make people of all the diverse cultural groups that live in the neighborhood feel welcome, and to take measures to ensure the safety of park users and neighbors. The community expressed a preference for concentrating signage and other man-made elements near the park entries while keeping the interior a forest with a trail (rather than a more developed park), with the exception of an informal gathering area and a tool shed for use by classes and volunteers who are restoring and maintaining the park.
Prominent in the initial discussions with the community was the desire to create linkages between various trails, parks and other resources within the larger neighborhood, such as Chief Sealth Trail, the Jefferson Golf Course Trail, the rest of Cheasty Greenbelt, and bike and pedestrian connections through Genessee Park to Lake Washington. While these ideas are outside of the scope of this project, we hope that improvements at CGMV will inspire initiatives to address them.

Existing Conditions

 

The project area includes the approximately 10-acre parcel owned by the Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) plus undeveloped rights-ofway owned by the Department of Transportation (SDOT) and Mountain View Drive.

A steep 15’ – 20’ high bank defines the edge of the park parcel along Columbian Way and most of Mountain View Drive. There are only a few places where there are breaks in the slope suitable for pedestrian access into the site. Above the steep bank, the north half of the site is relatively flat (up to 10%) while the southern half is very steep, with slopes up to 65%. Elevations range from 185 at the northeast corner to 330 in the Angeline Street right-of-way. A fairly gentle ridge divides the steep south slope, extending from near the end of 27th Avenue S. to the center of the site.

The park parcel is second growth forest. Big-leaf Maples are the predominant canopy tree; although a number of young (up to 15-20 year old) Western Red Cedars dot the forest. Native Hazelnuts predominate on the “Hazelnut Plateau,” situated on the flatter northern part of the site. Until recently, the entire forest was heavily cloaked with ivy and blackberry vines. Over the past several years, volunteers have cleared a majority of these vines from the forest, revealing a surprising diversity of healthy native understory. The most common shrubs include low-growing Oregon Grape, Sword Ferns and Indian Plum. A miniature “forest” of Snowberries is concentrated at the center of the site. Pacific Waterleaf is common groundcover on the site. Among the diversity of plants on site is Vanilla Leaf, uncommon in Seattle Parks.

Alaska Place Right-of-Way and Mountain View Drive

The undeveloped Alaska Place right-of-way connects Alaska Place with Mountain View Drive, near the forest entrance of the park parcel and represents an important pedestrian access and link. It is about 30 feet wide and 70 feet long, with several steep sections, one of which is an extremely steep 70% mown grass slope. Loose chunks of concrete paving have been installed as steps up the side of the steepest area. Pedestrians attempting to walk from the Lockmore neighborhood to the Light Rail Station, Rainier Vista, or Columbia City often walk on Mountain View Drive and cut through the Alaska right-of-way, as it is the most direct and passable route available. They take this route even though Alaska Place right-of-way is steep and slippery, and Mountain View Drive has no sidewalks, limited sightlines, and is dark under the overhanging trees, despite the presence of street lights.

Angeline Street Right-of-Way

The Angeline Street right-of-way borders the south edge of the site. Angeline Street borders the park between 26th and 27th Avenues S., and the right-of-way itself accounts for approximately the first 15 feet of the apparent park site. The neighbor at this corner of the park has built a number of encroachments on SDOT and park land and has maintained a neat landscape edge along Angeline Street in an effort to curb the illegal yard waste dumping that occurs there. A guardrail at the end of 27th Avenue S. helps to minimize the footprint of the dumping. This area appears to be a desirable entrance to the park; however, it is currently impassable due to blackberries, yard waste, and confusing visual cues about ownership. An undeveloped portion of the Angeline Street right-of-way borders the park between 27th and 28th Avenues S. A deep mound of yard waste has accumulated on the right-of-way at the end of 28th Avenue S., where pick-up trucks can back up to the steep slope and dump their loads. The 28th Avenue S. dead end also appears to be a desireable entrance to the park; however, it is currently impassable due to the large yard waste pile and vegetation. Pedestrians entering at this point must cross the 60 foot right-of-way before entering park land.

 

28th Avenue South Right-of-Way

The 28th Avenue S. right-of-way is only 30 feet wide along the westernmost edge of the site and is not vital for the alignment of future trails or entries, except at its intersection with the Angeline Street right-of-way.

Pedestrian Connectivity

One of the top goals to emerge from the public process is to create a pedestrian connection between the Lockmore neighborhood on Beacon Hill and the Edmunds Light Rail station and Columbia City. Because of the greenbelt and the arrangement of long blocks and discontinuous streets, pedestrians from Lockmore who want to walk to Rainier Valley must travel significant distances in the opposite direction of their destination. With the attractions of Columbia City, the Boys and Girls Club at Rainier Vista, the Rainier Community Center, and especially with the opening of the Edmunds Light Rail station, Lockmore residents are frustrated at their lack of safe, convenient, and direct pedestrian access. Seattle’s Pedestrian Master Plan shows considerable attention to the connection between Columbia City and the Light Rail station, but no consideration whatsoever to Beacon Hill, even though it is within the same distance radius as Columbia City.

The adjacent map examines where residents of Lockmore live and potential routes for them to reach the intersection of Martin Luther King Way and Columbian Way, which is their gateway to the Light Rail station, Columbia City, and Rainier Valley.

Route A is currently in use by many residents. It involves walking through the neighborhood to Edmunds Street, walking down Edmunds to Mountain View Drive, then walking in the street on Mountain View until they get to Alaska Place. At this point, most can see the Light Rail Station directly down Alaska Place, so they cut through the undeveloped right-of-way. When it is too muddy and slippery, people walk an extra block to Columbian Way, which then angles them back to their destination. Sidewalks or a roadside trail would make this a much safer pedestrian experience. This route is preferred by residents who live on the downhill slope of Lockmore.

Route B begins at the dead end of 28th Avenue S. and continues as a trail through the greenspace. This route is preferred by neighbors living near the top of the slope between the flat top and the sides of Beacon Hill, between 27th and 29th Avenue South.

Route C begins at the intersection of S. Angeline Street and 26th Avenue South. It is the preferred route for people living in the northeastern quadrant of Lockmore. Most residents of Lockmore would benefit from any of the three routes being built. Building all three would be the most desirable outcome. Crucial to all routes is a connection through the undeveloped Alaska Place right-of-way to the existing sidewalk on Alaska Place.