Aubrey Davis Park Master Plan

boy on scooter near playground

The Park on the Lid, the Mountains to Sound Trail, the Boat Launch and the Greta Hackett Outdoor Sculpture Gallery are all part of Aubrey Davis Park. The City of Mercer Island is leading a master planning process through the fall of 2019 and we need your input! Please help shape the future of this essential community park by participating in the discussion below!

The Park on the Lid, the Mountains to Sound Trail, the Boat Launch and the Greta Hackett Outdoor Sculpture Gallery are all part of Aubrey Davis Park. The City of Mercer Island is leading a master planning process through the fall of 2019 and we need your input! Please help shape the future of this essential community park by participating in the discussion below!

Please post your comment below; all comments will be considered as part of the public record and reviewed by staff. Be a good neighbor and keep your comments civil - please refer to our moderation policy for more details.  If you have a question, please submit it through the Ask A Question tool for a staff response.

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Please be sure that resurfacing of the 4 tennis courts in Aubrey Davis Park are included in the funded improvements. The cracks in the courts are HUGE and unsafe. The courts are not useable for serious tennis matches now. Thank you!

tomw1415 10 days ago

Thanks for attending the Farmers Market on 6/2 where I learned about the great ideas being considered for Aubrey Davis Park. I LOVED the idea of building a rock climbing course. This could be expanded into an outdoor adult playground, which doesn't exist on Mercer Island apart from the small circuit at Mercerdale Park. A purpose built space could do so much to encourage outdoor exercise and mobility throughout life! Ideas: 1) purpose built parkour playground 2) Covered outdoor space (open air) for tai chi and general movement practice 3) flattened lawn areas for outdoor fitness classes 4) water bottle filling and restrooms. There are many residents on the island in the fitness and movement world, as well as other local connections, who can help design and provide input. Happy to help coordinate. I echo others that maintaining the walking trail is of utmost importance - one of the reasons Greenlake is so successful is the 2.8 mile flat paved path.

heatherring74 15 days ago

I just completed your survey. It was very difficult to understand and reply.

Jilly 17 days ago

It's clear that there has been a lot of thought put into this (thank you!). In general, the redesign options are gorgeous. I took the survey yesterday but afterwards I had more time to think about it and when I step back, I really appreciate the trail enhancements but think the proposed play structures and features are almost too gorgeous if that makes sense (they look like art; I'd be freaking out about kids playing on them).

What we could really use instead are more year-round or multi-season ball fields, better parking, and restrooms. I've had kids in sports and been a parent assistant and it's almost impossible to get to the fields on the lid, drop-off/pick-up and/or park, and if you have to take a kid to a bathroom or to find water that can be a real trial in itself! Rather than having lots of sculptural play areas for young kids, let's have a very active field environment where we can host tournaments and ensure adequate playing space for all of our girls and boys teams (soccer, lacrosse, etc.). Let's make sure we don't lose the lacrosse wall, because it's the only one since IMS was redesigned. We need more active features/options for older kids/tweens/teens. Please provide some seating with coverage to watch play; not just for grilling or looking at the views. There is also room for some younger kid structured play areas, but multi-season fields will accommodate people for a much longer span of time. Thanks for your consideration.

ljantos about 1 month ago

I am a daily user of the Aubrey Davis Park on the Lid and have been since the park’s inception in 1990. My biggest concern in this park redesign is the safety of all trail users within the park. It is critically important to separate higher speed users of the trail such as conventional bicyclists and the growing number of e-bike users from slower walkers, children and dog walkers. It concerns me that a small number of vocal bicycle enthusiasts are attempting to make the case that the bike route should go through the park and off of all roads, when the speeds that these bicycles travel at is much more compatible with vehicle speeds than that of walkers. My husband is an avid cyclist but he has always felt that, for his own safety, he is better off on the roads than being at risk of entangling with ambling park users.

I attended the ADMP Open House on April 23 and was rather dismayed to find that all the options proposed to re-route and separate the bicycle path through the Lid Park involved complicated and expensive removal of vegetation, re-grading and retaining walls, and one of the plans (the “south option”) eventually dumps the cyclists back onto the walking path (and apparently ultimately through the sculpture garden?)

There is a much simpler and cheaper alternative plan to achieve the same end. It would involve making only a short segment of separated trail for cyclists from the I-90 bridge where it crosses West Mercer Way, up to the area across from the tennis courts where 66th St SE joins with SE 22nd St. At that point cyclists would be routed onto a new designated bike path along the south side of SE 22nd St, which would then turn the corner onto the 72nd St overpass. Once across the overpass the cyclists would make a right turn onto the short path connecting 72nd St to the playfields, on the north side of the existing bathrooms, and then down the hill on the existing I-90 trail. From there the route would have to be worked out, but keeping the bicycles on the north side of I-90 makes the most sense, especially with all the congestion to come with the development of the Tully’s property and parking structures on the south side of I-90.

This plan would get the bicyclists out of the bottleneck and limited sightline problem that currently exists on the curving downhill trail from the tennis courts to the softball fields, and would only involve a short segment on road shared with cars. The 72nd St overpass is not a busy thoroughfare for cars and could easily accommodate a bicycle route. Please give serious consideration to this proposal.

Walking fiend about 2 months ago

I have walked dogs and grandchildren on the LID Park since it opened on a nearly daily basis. In fact I may have a record for miles walked and bicycled on it's paths.
Shortly after the park opened after dinner one evening, my husband and I and our son's dog entered the park from 72nd street. We were admiring the new plantings near the restrooms and the dog wandered into the path near us. (He was leashed) Before we could react, the dog was hit broadside by a bicycle. The woman riding the bike went over her handlebars and landed on the path. Fortunately the dog, who was a bull mastiff, was unhurt as was the woman, except for severe road burn. She was however very angry and called the police threatening to sue us. The police arrived and tried to calm her and picked up her bike, which was a very expensive model. It had a fancy speed meter which they noted had stopped at 42 mph. They explained that she might want to consider that she was going too fast for existing conditions.
In the nearly 30 years that I have enjoyed the LID park and it's trails, I can say that the single most dangerous spot is in front of the restroom near 72nd. I have witnessed hundreds of near misses of cyclists going too fast nearly hitting pedestrians and dogs. Cyclists come down a steep hill with a blind turn and run into folks who are stopped around the restroom. This path is always filled with dogs getting a drink of water or walkers or cyclists getting a drink or using the restroom. In addition, folks enter the park from 72nd and merge. There are 2 baseball fields nearby which are often filled with users who are young and run to use the restroom facilities and have to cross the path. It is a very congested area and folks and dogs are often not watching for fast moving bicycles.
I think there is a very simple and low cost solution to this problem. Simply reroute the bikes over 72nd and have them reenter the Park behind the restroom and continue down the hill. 72nd is not particularly busy at this point, and the bikes would be slowed because they would not be coming down a steep, blind hill. It would separate fast moving bikes from the congested path near the restroom.
Please consider this easy solution to a big problem.

Jilly about 2 months ago

The bike trails through Aubrey Davis Park are part of the Regional Trail system and are one of two main E-W connections for bike commuters and recreational cyclists. These trails are a key piece of the county's multimodal transportation system. If it is to be safe for everyone and handle the increasing demands on it, the facilities need to be expanded. Ideally bikes and pedestrians would be separated, but failing that the trails need to be widened to accomodate all users safely.

Bikes and pedestrian speeds are inherently different. Few would argue that cars must go three miles an hour on our neighborhood streets because that's how fast pedestrians walk. The heart of the issue is that our infrastructure was built for a transportation system that is rapidly changing, and we need to bring the infrastructure into conformance with the new demands being placed on it.

Jstan 3 months ago

Where does the data indicate bicyclists outnumber pedestrians 5 to 1on the trail? What part of the trail are you talking about? Your own comment states you avoid the trail because there are too many conflicts with pedestrians and dogs. The data actually show very little bicycle use, especially commuter bicyclists, probably due to conflicts with all the pedestrians.

The issue at the Focus Group meetings was that if the trail is going to be safe for everyone including kids, pedestrians and dogs, then bicycle speeds have to be limited to much closer to pedestrian speeds, because pedestrians can go only so fast -- around 3 mph -- and generally don't pay attention to traffic approaching at high speeds from the rear, especially dogs and kids.

There isn't space for separate trails, one for bikes and one for pedestrians, and history shows pedestrians don't follow markings on trials, and have no legal obligation to move out of the way on a mixed use trail for bikes coming at high speeds from the rear.

Although I disagree with the outside consultant's recommendation for an 18' wide trail that would include 2' wide gravel shoulders on each side, the consultant does recognize a mixed use trail, of any size, will have to have speed limiting measures to make sure bike speeds are closer to pedestrian speeds. Conflicts are the responsibility of the bicyclist, not the pedestrian. For the park itself traffic circles/round abouts are the best solution, and for the trail east of the TC maybe speed bumps or gates.

The only way to have a "safe default for everyone" is to make sure the speeds of bicyclists and pedestrians are similar, especially on declines like through the lid park.

Daniel Thompson 3 months ago

The survey data indicates that cyclists currently exceed pedestrians by a factor of over 5, yet the trail is clearly not designed to mix cyclists and other users. In fact, I currently avoid the trail because I don't feel safe cycling on it. Too many conflicts with walkers and dogs.
As a regional trail, it should meet trail design standards and be consistent with the rest of the trail stretching from Judkins to Sammamish. I am comfortable using North Mercer Way, but I feel that the trail should be a safe default for everyone.

SEM 3 months ago

I just took the worst and most biased survey in my life. It is incredibly long, vague and confusing.

The pictures are tiny and cannot be read or blown up. The questions are totally biased. For example every choice on the trail portion includes a 14' wide path with 4' worth of shoulders when WSDOT clearly stated (I reprinted WSDOT's email below in a comment) that WSDOT which owns the property requires 10' wide paths IF there is heavy trail usage, which the actual trail data shows is very light usage, mostly pedestrians. Even the trail through the lid park shows a 14' wide trail and 4' in shoulders. Whenever the survey used the term "opportunity area" I cringed, because what I am thinking about is grass and trees and what the outside consultant is thinking about is concrete and special interests. Can't a park remain a park, without "opportunity areas".

This is exactly what I predicted and what happened during the focus group meetings. The design of the trail east of the TC was already prepared on a blow up before the first focus group meeting. The city's parks dept. and their outside regional consultant had already decided the plan for the park during the scoping process, just like with the light rail station, with the same great results.

The facilitator collects comments and then claimed to the city council that all the comments supported her regional view of developing the park, when every person I heard at the 4 focus group meetings I attended stated they came to make sure the park STAYS THE SAME.

This is the mystery of this project and our council. No council member (and I have confirmed this with more than one council member) has ever sent an email to the council with a complaint about ADP or a desire to change it. I mean no one. The city has reserved zero dollars for the proposed projects and development in its capital fund and just learned the sales proceeds from the sale of the linear park next to Freshy's can't be applied to the ADMP and all go to WSDOT. The two things that are absolutely critical for the park -- a new irrigation system and soil remediation -- to keep the mature trees from dying are not even mentioned in the survey. It is just such an irresponsible exercise in my mind.

The council just voted to rezone two precious linear parks in our TC to five story mixed use development: the parcel next to Freshy's and the parcel next to Tully's. Hasn't the council done enough harm and destroyed enough parkland at least for a while, until we can get a new council that values parks. If I am not mistaken doesn't the council have $28 million in cuts to the general fund to make. Leave our parks alone.

Daniel Thompson 4 months ago

I agree with Bart Dawson's comments below, and think he raises an issue that has not been discussed in the four focus group meetings I have attended to date. I am very concerned at the amount of concrete that apparently is being planned for the 77th St. light rail station. During the focus group meeting I asked Asst. City Manager Kirstin Taylor about the future design for the 77th St. station and was disappointed at her lack of involvement or interest in the design. Basically it was whatever ST wants to do.

80th presents the same issue, especially with changes planned to the linear park along the Tully's project on Sunset Highway this vegetation will be even more critical. We have a very bleak TC with very little open or green space between Mercerdale Park and I-90. Bart Dawson's comment re: solid walls to screen out I-90 and the platform below and more vegetation along the station entrances is a very good idea, but the opposite of ST's approach which favors acres of concrete for minimal maintenance. 80th will serve as the gateway to our TC from the park and ride and NMW and already is very loud from freeway noise. The vegetation is critical to keep the walk pleasant.

I am not a fan of the station design that a council subcommittee of Debbie Bertlin, Tana Senn and Jane Meyer Braum oversaw with very little citizen input. When the "60%" design was released to the public it was really a 95% design, and the rest of the council despite misgivings on the design did very little to amend the design. These are light station entrances on 77th and 80th to a below grade, open air platform sandwiched between I-90 that should have been minimized in scale and height with vegetation, but instead are "celebrated" with tall roofs and bizarre orange funnels.

From what I have heard ST is interested again in moving the bus intercept from NMW and 77th to 80th although the city refuses to release any details or keep the citizens in the loop, while at the same time refusing to negotiate with ST over anything. That would be a huge mistake. 80th and 77th will be critical for north/south traffic -- cars, bicycles and pedestrians -- from NMW to the town center, and 80th needs to retain its width and size, and vegetation, to provide a safe and pleasant gateway from NMW to our TC and future Tully's project.

Daniel Thompson 4 months ago

Statement concerning the 80th Avenue SE Bridge over I-90

I expect that Sound Transit, WSDOT, and the City of Mercer Island will work together to preserve as much of the existing wide bridge for practical, aesthetic, and legal reasons. In fact I believe that the three governmental agencies, by existing governmental agreements, have already committed themselves to preserving the wide 80th Avenue SE bridge.

The rationale for retaining shrubs and trees on the 80th Avenue SE Bridge starts with the “1971 Mercer Island I-90 Design Report.” The report states on page 48:

"The greatest concern of Mercer Island residents is that the new corridor not be a divisive force that will further separate the existing residential areas north of U.S. 10. In order to re-establish the relationship to the north end of the Island, wide bridges are recommended at the streets which cross the corridor. These bridges will include landscaping and pedestrian walkways so that persons crossing the corridor, whether in an automobile or as a pedestrian, will barely be aware of the traffic passing beneath. The continuity of the ground plane over the highway will form a strong physical and visual connection."

The 1976 Memorandum Agreement committed the signatories to implementing the 1971 Design Report by stating that:

"4. The parties further agree … that the modified design of the [I-90] facility will preserve and incorporate all of the provisions for community amenities and for reducing adverse environmental impacts as contained in limited access plans adopted by the State Highway Commission for (a) the segment from the West Shore of Mercer Island to the East Channel Bridge …."

The signatories of the 1976 Agreement have respected the 1976 Agreement. The I-90 facility we see today implements all of wide bridges and landscaping contained in the 1971 Design Report.
In the 2004 Amendment to the 1976 Agreement Sound Transit committed itself to fulfilling Metro’s responsibilities concerning high capacity transit on I-90, thereby also committing itself to the 1976 Agreement.

Within the constraint of providing pedestrian access to the light rail station, the City, Sound Transit, and WSDOT should honor their 1976 agreement, and the intent of the I-90 Design Report, and preserve the 80th Avenue SE bridge to “include landscaping and pedestrian walkways so that persons crossing the corridor, whether in an automobile or as a pedestrian, will barely be aware of the traffic passing beneath.”

Just retaining or placing shrubs and trees on the bridge is not sufficient. Ongoing maintenance will be needed to ensure the landscaping survives. Since plants and trees on the concrete bridge are in shallow soils, different from their natural environments, they need water and periodic replacement when they get too large. Today, many trees have been cut down and not replaced. Does the City or WSDOT follow a maintenance agreement that honors the 1976 agreement, and that preserves the landscaping?

For the record, I believe that the existing plans for modifying the 77th Avenue SE Bridge allow excessive visual transparency down to I-90 and to the light rail tracks and trains. The planned Bridge modifications will not comply with the intent of the 1971 I-90 Design Report. However, if the walls at the edge of the bridge were solid, and not transparent, the bridge would meet the intent of the 1971 I-90 design. Not a big change, but in keeping with the 1976 agreement

Bart Dawson

Bart Dawson 4 months ago

My husband and I walk the trail regularly. Our wish list includes: 1-portable potty opportunities, 2-safety measures need to be put in place where there are street crossings (near Covenant Shores and near Shorewood Apts) 3-separate lanes for bikes and pedestrians - the bicycle riders are having a grand time going as fast as possible, passing one another and scaring pedestrians.

LetsTalk 5 months ago

I ask the planners not to take away any open park space, including the sculpture garden path, for any uses such as buildings or parking. Every part of the park is valuable and scarce.

Sandra Schilling 5 months ago

Liabilty and Design Of Path Through Lid Park/ADMP

Mon 1/14/2019, 11:46 AM
You;;; Paul West; ''+8 others

Dear Council, Tuesday night you are scheduled to receive an update on the Aubrey Davis Master Plan. I attended all four focus group meetings, as did some of the citizens copied on this email. Throughout the meetings an important issue was the path that runs from the western exit from I-90 to the East Channel Bridge. Many of the comments are on Let's Talk and I suggest you read those comments before tomorrow night's meeting.

I have emailed you before about this subject. The path in effect has five different sections. This email concerns the section that runs through the lid park.

No doubt you have heard about the serious bicycle accident on the lid park path on the descent towards West Mercer Way. The bicyclist, a doctor I am told, suffered serious head injuries when a dog approached him. This injury is hardly a surprise and was predicted during the focus group meetings.

The critical issues re: this part of the path are:

1 It does not enjoy recreational use immunity.

2 It has several sections that have steep declines encouraging high bike speeds.

3 It has no speed signage and no traffic calming measures despite years of collisions or near collisions.

4 It is a narrow mixed use path serving pedestrians, recreational bicyclists and serious bicyclists in both directions.

5 It has several areas in which kids, dogs and adults must cross the path (at the bottom of the descents) to reach play fields, play grounds and the park, often from shrubbery.

The city's outside consultant's approach was to widen the path which the citizens objected to simply based on aesthetics. The city's consultant insists on using an unpublished King Co. regulation requiring 14' wide paths with two foot shoulders whereas WSDOT requires only 10' wide paths.

But the issue is it is impossible to have a safe mixed use path with steep descents in both directions and high speed bicycles. I live next to the park on the eastern descent towards the TC and I have been writing the city about speeds on the path for nearly 10 years. My concern is the city has been more focused on pleasing Island bicycle groups than addressing the speeds and safety on the path.

The focus group recognized the only way to make this path safe for everyone is to control speeds to the lowest common denominator, which is pedestrian speeds. A wider path only encourages higher speeds, and there is not the space to create separate dedicated paths, and kids and dogs don't recognized dedicated paths.

To do this will require three steps.

1 Much better signage on speeds on the path through the park, and alternative bike paths along WMW and NMW.

2 Traffic calming in the form of round abouts, with one at the bottom of the descent next to the ballfield and across from the parking lot, one at the playground on the western part of the path next to WMW (where the most recent accident occurred), and one that snakes behind the bathroom to slow speeds before beginning the steep descent towards the TC.

3 A better alternative bike path for serious bicyclists along WMW and NMW.

The best way to mitigate liability is to promote and enhance safety. Right now this path is not safe for any of the user groups, and the city has not done a very good job addressing the known hazards. You can't mix kids, dogs, pedestrians and high speed bicycles on a steep path and not expect serious injuries. We can begin with signage, but unless the city and WSDOT eliminate the speed differential between bicyclists and pedestrians this will never be a safe path to ride or walk along, and this is something I have been writing to the city and council about for 10 years, including four focus group meetings.

Thank you.

Daniel Thompson

Daniel Thompson 5 months ago

Some comments about improving the I-90 Trail.

1) Who uses the trail? As a volunteer in multiple WSDOT annual bike counts at the intersection of ICW and 26th Street next to the West bound I-90 exit, those counts show that the I-90 Trail is well used by commuters on foot, scooters, and bicycles. Commuters on bicycles and scooters outnumber pedestrians.

2) Trees. The King County Sewer project is going to take out the trees along NMW during construction, so designing an attractive foliage/tree replacement should not be a problem.

3) North Mercer Way. The cost and engineering challenges of establishing bikes lanes on NMW will be prohibitive. While some serious cyclists may use NMW, many commuters, families and those fearful of riding in traffic will not.

4) Sharing the trail. The 520 bridge adheres to the 14' width and is shared comfortably by all forms of active transportation: pedestrians, bicycles, and scooters. A wider, well-lit trail would improve safety for all who use it.

5) Future growth. The $200M+ expansion of bicycle facilities underway in both the Eastside and in Seattle along with the planned expansion of employment and housing in the Bellevue Spring District, will greatly increase the traffic on this trail. We need to plan for it.

The Aubrey Davis Park Master Plan is a unique opportunity to correct existing problems, and more importantly, to plan for the future at a time when multiple groups can share in the cost of improvements. The plan should aim to safely accommodate changing transportation options and future increases in traffic, not keep the status quo.

Jstan 6 months ago

Let’s add more places in the park that encourage people to gather for reasons beyond sports. Being sheltered from the rain while gathering is helpful, though not required.

Being able to hear each other can be tough with larger groups, so pay attention to acoustics. It would be neat if there were a place in the park known regionally for its unique "unplugged" acoustics. That could attract small singing groups and instrumental ensembles to practice and perform here.

The park is long and narrow, so it’s normal that people will be walking, jogging, and biking through it. I’d like to see a piece of art that reacts to and encourages the moving viewer – for example, something that exposes differently angled surfaces to viewers in different locations, so people see dramatically evolving views of the same artwork as they move past it.

Some parts of the park are high enough to have good views. We could put a piece of art there that complements the view and might encourage people to take pictures that include both the view and the artwork. Sharing of the photos would help improve the “brand” of the park and its art.

With the Island’s big focus on children, the park should have art that encourages kids to climb and play on it.

Jonathan Shakes 7 months ago

One concern I have is the six year Capital Improvement Program shows implementation costs for the ADMP of $1.516 million unfunded, with only $325,000 to be funded by the city, and the rest to be funded by "other" (although $305,000 for regional trail connections is shown as funded by the city and I assume separate from King Co.'s replacement of the trail east of the TC as part of the sewer upgrade project, although I don't which part of the trail the city's $305,00 applies to).

During the focus group meetings we have been asked to assume cost is not an object. I understand the city is hoping WSDOT agrees the funding for implementation is part of WSDOT's obligations under the Turn Back agreements that divide responsibility for capital projects and maintenance between the city and WSDOT, or WSDOT agrees to use the sales proceeds from the city's property next to Freshy's for the city's share of costs, but I am not sure the sale of the property next to Freshy's will happen or WSDOT will agree to fund the costs of implementation.

I think these focus group meetings need to take into account just how much money will really be available for implementation, and if we need to prioritize projects now is the time to do it. Replacing the irrigation system and soil remediation to stop the trees from dying are critical and must have priority over any kind of capital improvements. The total projected implementation costs -- $1.516 million -- would not cover the cost of artificial turf or lights -- which the focus group has unanimously rejected -- or many of the other wish lists for capital improvements like another bathroom. Another concern is any regional grants usually come with requirements that the park be developed to serve those regional interests, which almost always favor active over passive use.

I also live right next to ADP and understand Cristopher Lee's concerns in his comments below. Maybe the tennis courts should be left there; I just wanted to let readers know some ideas that were thrown around, when budgets and costs were unlimited according to the facilitator. The amphitheater would be grass with maybe wood benches not unlike the outdoor theater at Luther Burbank Park, and would replace the impervious surfaces and chain link fence for the tennis courts, although it would reduce recreation.

What Christopher, the focus group attendees, and I agree on 100% is that the green spaces, trees and natural feel of the park be maintained. The two focus group meetings that concerned us related to 1. the trail; and 2. active recreation, because each of these proposals increase impervious surfaces and development in the lid park or along the corridor, and for both uses the city and its outside consultants appeared to have preordained ideas that were designed to benefit the region through development of the park more than the citizens and users of ADP.

The next focus group meeting is on Nov. 8 and involves passive recreation, which in many ways is the obverse of active recreation if active recreation involves increased impervious surfaces. I hope at the next focus group meeting we can have a frank discussion on just how much money there will be for implementation of the ADMP so we can begin to prioritize. The good news is the citizens and focus group members don't think much needs to be done to this lovely and natural park and corridor except the irrigation system and soil remediation to preserve its green qualities, although I am not sure the city's outside consultants agree with that view.

Daniel Thompson 8 months ago

I read the recent notes from the community engagement discussion with great interest. I live next to Aubrey Davis Park and frequent it on almost a daily basis. As a resident and homeowner, I am entirely supportive of preserving the green spaces, sports fields, and walkability. I strongly oppose the idea of an outside amphitheater replacing the tennis courts. This would be completely in conflict with preserving the green spaces and the park's focus on green space and sports activities. It would increase parking traffic in the surrounding neighborhood streets as their is just enough parking for sports activities right now. I would also argue that these are the best tennis courts on the island. Rather than get rid of them, just advertise them better. I actually believe that these tennis courts are just as highly used as any other set of courts on the island (a study could be conducted to prove that they are less frequented if that is the argument for getting rid of them). These courts are definitely more used than the one at Roanoke Park down the road and other public courts on the island.

Christoph Lee 8 months ago

Last night's focus group meeting on active recreation was very productive, and I think a lot of citizen skepticism over the decision on trail width east of the TC was addressed.

Re: trail width east of the TC, as noted in WSDOT's email reprinted in my comment posted below, their guidelines provide for a 12' trail width if the trail is heavily used. Right now we are still waiting for WSDOT's usage data, which has to be analyzed for user and time. However, King Co. is going to a 14' width for "regional" trails as a standard. It is up to MI's council the trail width it adopts. One possible compromise is to use grass shoulders instead of gravel shoulders to reduce the amount of new impervious surfaces (plus it was pointed out a gravel path next to a bike path doesn't make a lot of sense as gravel will get onto the trail), and to consider a 12' wide trail. One issue with a 14' wide trail that is multi-purpose is speed calming measures would probably be necessary, which serious bicyclists don't want. The serious bicyclist at the meeting again reiterated he prefers to ride on the roads for a number of reasons, including speed, congestion and debris on the trail. Still a lot of unknowns about this decision.

Re: the lid park itself the group was pretty much unanimous their first priority was maintaining the grass fields and natural feel of the park. Although MI could probably use another turf sport field it was pointed out it makes sense to put turf fields next to other turf fields in locations with lots of parking, like the south side of Island Park or next to the turf field at the middle school. One person suggested half lights along the park trail, most likely the western trail to the TC, for walking at night. Pretty much everyone opposed lights for sporting events as it would destroy the character of the park and impact the neighborhood. So although the discussion was about active recreation, nearly everyone present was more concerned with keeping the grass fields and natural feel of the park.

The trail through the park itself was a major issue, especially width and speeds. Several citiznes wanted to ban all bikes through the lid park. I believe that since it will be impossible to truly segregate pedestrians and bicyclists on the trail through the park, especially with kids and dogs, and trail conflicts are one of the biggest citizen concerns in the public comments, traffic calming and limited speeds is the answer if bikes are not banned. I still think signage, strategically placed roundabouts, and a better bike lane on WMW for serious bicyclists is the best approach, and would not require increasing the width of the trail through the park. Juliet Vong indicated she and the trail consultant were playing around with some ideas but she had no specifics, which of course raised a lot of concerns with the focus group members. If the focus group is worked up over trail width east of the TC, they are super worked up over trail width through the park itself, and made sure they wanted to be part of that decision this time.

Also discussed were the two boat ramps/parks, one under I-90 and the other under the East Channel Bridge. No one could really come up with any ideas or uses for these boat ramps other than boat ramps (plus the ski bus and recycling even at the eastern boat ramp). The park area under the I-90 bridge just isn't very inviting for swimming or hanging out, and there are so many better alternatives on MI, no one had any ideas for active recreation at this site..

Two very interesting ideas did come out of the focus group meeting:

1. Replacing the tennis courts with a grass amphitheater. I have always thought the tennis courts were underutilized, in part because the site is exposed to wind and there are so many better courts on the Island, and incongruous in the park with the high chain link fence. However it is also the best view on the Island. A grass amphitheater with seats and a stage not unlike the stage at Luther Burbank would allow fantastic views to the west, a perfect location between Seattle and our TC, is next to a picnic area, and could become a regional destination for events. I think this could be the outdoor theater MICA needs but doesn't have room for at the Tully' site. It would be a wonderful location for outdoor sculpture. It would also revert impervious surfaces into non-impervious surfaces, a big issue during the focus meetings. Thanks to Mark Coen for this idea.

2 A hidden gem is the park area over ICW and I-90, referred to as the mini lid park. However this park area has no name, no signage, and no trail to get to it easily from the TC. Many don't even know it exists. The Tully's project has created a lot of concern about the loss of linear park/green space in the TC. I think if the city were to name this park, put in an easy to find trail from the south side of I-90, and some signage, this new area/park could serve to offset the concern about the loss of the linear park due to the Tully's project. It would also relieve some of the pressure on Mercerdale Park and other TC green/park areas for those with dogs. I think the amphitheater would be completed well before MICA becomes operational and replace the Church for YTN performances.

I thought Paul West and Juliet Vong did a good job last night. I was glad to see many citizens attend who attended from the first focus group meeting on the trail since all of these issues and uses tend to merge in the master plan, and it helps to have attended prior meetings. Juliet Vong -- the outside landscape consultant on the park -- stayed late to talk with a group of citizens who were concerned about the decision and process over the width of the trail east of the TC and that meeting helped outline the process, and that no decisions are cast in stone, and the best solution to a proposal you don't like is to propose a better proposal, or compromise.

Next meeting is on passive recreation, which based on prior meetings will again bring up trails and active recreation since the primary concern among focus group meetings is not changing the character of the park, or increasing its impervious surfaces, and in some ways passive recreation is the antithesis of active recreation if the grass and trees and natural setting are affected.

Daniel Thompson 8 months ago