Hiking Boots on the Bus

Written for, and originally posted on, the Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust’s blog. Re-posted by Seattle Transit Blog. Re-posted on the Seattle Parks and Recreation news portal Parkways.”

Everyone knows The Mountains to Sound Greenway has some of the best hiking trails in this MercerSlougharea. A rainy day hike to Granite Lakes a couple of weekends ago was no exception. With abundant hiking in the nearby Alpine Lakes Wilderness (the closest wilderness area to any major metropolitan area in the country!), it can be easy to overlook the wonderful trails in our neighborhood parks. Even the smallest urban trails can be places to get away from the hustle and bustle of daily life for reflection! Some of them, like the Mercer Slough Heritage Trail, can give us a peek into our history. Others, such as Seward Park’s interior trails, are wooded enough that we can immerse ourselves in nature, forgetting the city is nearby.

How can those who choose not to, or can’t afford to, own a car get to these urban oases? Walking and biking are excellent options depending on your physical ability level and your proximity to the park. As far as transit is concerned, at least in the City of Seattle (we were asked by SDOT –see The Process* below for more information), trails are very well served by transit.

In Seattle there are 47 trails within a ½ mile of transit, 40 within a ¼ mile, and 34 that are adjacent! For more information see table 1. For suggestions including hikes outside of Seattle accessible by bus see Seattle Metro Bus Hiking. Happy hiking! Continue reading


Cities, Vision Statements, and Alice in Wonderland

Written for, and originally posted on, the Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust’s blog: http://mtsgreenway.org/blog/cities-vision-statements-and-alice-in-wonderland

This blog post is #4 in a series entitled Cities Matter and City Matters.

A nugget of wisdom from Alice in Wonderland:

“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”
“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” said the Cat.
“I don’t much care where–” said Alice.
“Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,” said the Cat.

Luckily for people in the Greenway, cities know which way they want to go. Cities often have vision statements thatexplain how they want to see their city change, or not change, in the coming years. These statements are non-binding, and their importance as a guide can vary. Nevertheless, a vision statement can say a great deal about what a city, and its people, aspires to.* Continue reading

Ellensburg: Greenway champion of biking and walking

Written for, and originally posted on the Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust’s blog: http://mtsgreenway.org/blog/you-did-it. Re-posted by Seattle Bike Blog.

Photo Courtesy of the Downtown Ellensburg Association

Did that headline come as a surprise to you? The findings certainly surprised me.

Seattle consistently earns accolades nationally for walking and biking such asWalkscore’s 6th most walkable large city, Walkscore’s 7thmost bikable, and Bicycle Magazine’s 10th. However, at least in terms of U.S. Census commuting to work statistics, Ellensburg beats walking pants and cycling shorts off Seattle:

  • The top three communities for walking to work are Ellensburg (17%), Roslyn (12%), and Cle Elum (11%). Way to go Kittitas!
  • The top three cities for biking to work are Ellensburg (7%), Seattle (3%), and Redmond (1%).

This only tells part of the story however, as commuting to work only makes up a small part of our daily travel. People who walk and bike to do errands, go the park, visit neighbors, etc are not counted in these commuting statistics. Continue reading

Celebrating Urban Forestry in the Greenway

Written for, and originally posted on, the Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust’s blog: http://mtsgreenway.org/blog/celebrating-urban-forestry-in-the-greenway

This blog post is #3 in a series entitled Cities Matter and City Matters.

What comes to mind when you think about a forest?  I am willing to wager most people think of awild forest somewhere like the Alpine Lakes Wilderness. Did you know that foresters consider urban forests to also be important? In fact the United States Forest Service has an entire urban forestry program.

Where is an urban forest? Urban forests are composed of all the trees in a city. Foresters measure this urban forest by using remote sensing techniques (think of a satellite built by the Lorax) to determine the area that is covered by the leaves or needles of a tree, or the tree canopy cover. For instance, Seattle had about a 23% canopy cover in 2007.

Why are urban forests important? Urban forests are important for wildlife (notably birds), and they are great for people. Urban forests help absorb CO2, filter air particulates, prevent urban flooding, reduce noise, keep buildings and people cool in the summer and warm in the winter, increase property values, calm traffic, and create a pleasant and beautiful city that we can all enjoy.

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Who Knew? City Fun Facts

Written for, and originally posted on, the Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust’s blog: http://mtsgreenway.org/blog/who-knew-city-fun-facts

This blog post is #2 in a series entitled Cities Matter and City Matters.

Who Knew?

Every city in the Greenway is different, and each has a compelling story as well as fun trivia. Cities in the Greenway range in size from Beaux Arts with 299 residents to Seattle with 608,660. Seattle and Ellensburg were the two earliest cities to incorporate in 1869 and 1883 respectively. Sammamish is the youngest city in the Greenway having incorporated only in 1999. Here is a list of fun facts about each of the 28 cities and towns in the Greenway:

  • Beaux Arts was created as a colony of an arts society.
  • Bellevue has over 50 public sculptures.
  • Bothell is home to one of the most ambitious projects in the Greenway to direct major public and private investment into a renovated downtown district called the Bothell Landing.
  • Carnation was once home to the most productive milk cows in the world, and continues to this day to have strong agricultural roots.
  • Cle Elum’s mayor is a small business owner who produces some of the best cured meats in the Greenway.
  • Clyde Hill’s early residents were strawberry farmers who are now celebrated in the annual Strawberry Festival.

Continue reading

Cities Matter!

Written for, and originally posted on, the Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust’s blog: http://mtsgreenway.org/blog/cities-matter

This blog post is #1 in a series entitled Cities Matter and City Matters.

While many people think of the Greenway as being about trails, parks, and open space, it is also a place where cities matter! Cities are essential to the Greenway Trust’s work of creating a high quality of life for people in this region.

The vast majority of people in the Greenway live, work, and play in cities (over 94% of people in King County live in urban growth areas). Cities and towns can be viewed on a grand scale as important centers of civic life, generators of culture, and engines of growth. They are also human scaled communities where our kids go to school, we run into neighbors in local coffee shops, we commute to work, we take a walk in a park, and we explore vibrant neighborhood centers. Cities are the engines of economic growth in the region now that the natural resource industry is playing an increasingly smaller role relative to other industries. In addition to being where most people make a living, cities are also where people create a life for themselves. It is of the utmost importance to the livability of our region that Greenway Cities are healthy, fun, vibrant, affordable, equitable, sustainable, culturally rich, safe, diverse, prosperous, and beautiful! Currently the Greenway’s main focus in cities is in improving parks and helping to create citywide and regional trails for walkers and bikers.

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It’s a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

Written for, and originally posted on, the Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust’s blog: http://mtsgreenway.org/blog/it2019s-a-beautiful-day-in-the-neighborhood

If you read the Seattle Times article on the 13th of February, you may have already heard about a new citizen led movement to create family-friendly streets where everyone feels comfortable biking, walking, and playing. For me, this movement is personal. When I bike around Seattle or other communities by myself, I feel confident and safe on the vast majority of streets. However, growing up here in Seattle no one in my family biked. Even today, with Seattle’s extensive bike lanes and sharrows network, my dad drives his bike to the Burke Gilman Trail for fun after work, my mom drives her bike to Green Lake to get exercise, and my sister was too intimated by traffic to bike the single mile to her summer job.

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