I don’t have a lot of routing options on my way to work. My only real choice, actually, is of which semi-truck-infested gauntlet I choose to run in order to bridge the 3 miles from my house to the Green River Trail: E. Marginal Way or Airport Way.
As of last week, however, I’ve got a new choice once I get south of the Starfire Complex. Previously, I would jump onto the Interurban Trail, then get off at 180th and ride the sidewalk* the last mile or so to work. Now, however, I can continue along the newly reopened Green River Trail.
The GRT has been piled high with sandbags south of the Starfire Complex since 2009. Since I never had need (or desire) to bike that far south before my current job, I’ve never ridden that part of the trail.
So I never knew what I was missing.
Last week I tweeted some photos of sandbag removal along the trail (which were picked up by Cascade’s blog), and this morning I left early and took my camera to explore my new route.
It doesn’t necessarily cut any distance off my commute, especially since it’s so curvy whereas the Interurban Trail is a straight sprint, but it definitely makes for a more enjoyable ride.
For one, I can now avoid a couple sketchy intersections and blind crossings that I always hated on the Interurban. For another, it’s way more scenic.
I worry a bit about how dark the trail might be in the winter, especially underneath all the bridges, but if it’s too sketchy I can always take the Interurban Trail instead. Because I have options now, people!
There are a couple sections that are still in need of some TLC, but overall it’s smooth sailing.
I can’t speak personally to how clear the rest of the trail is, since I get off at 180th, but this article at the Kent Reporter leads me to believe that quite a bit has been cleared off. I spotted cranes last week clearing off the part of the trail that goes along the south side of 180th, however, when I got to 180th this morning I came across this:
It’s obvious they’re still clearing out some of the links, but according to this July 10 press release the county plans to have them all removed by the end of September.
Once that last little link underneath the bridge at 180th is fully operational, I should be able to take the trail all the way to about a quarter mile from work. That’ll save me almost a mile of sidewalk riding and sketchy intersections—and just in time for winter, when visibility plummets and suddenly 90% of cars fail to yield to me when I’m in the crosswalk.
Now if only they’d put a separated bike path along E. Marginal Way! (Or at least put bike lanes in the Tukwila section.) Then my commute would be a dream.
* Yes, I also hate cyclists on the sidewalk. But you’d be insane to attempt to share the road with idiot South Center drivers, and there is absolutely no cycling infrastructure in the area, except for the GRT and Interurban Trails.