Julie Happy, Division Communication Manager of Business and Developer Services, No Phone Number Available
Tuesday, November 26, 2013 at 8 a.m.
Input is still coming in on the proposed Ben Burr Trail improvements that would connect it to the Centennial Trail and the downtown bicycle corridor. The Ben Burr Trail was designated in the Comprehensive Plan (PDF 32.7MB, Page 41) as one of three major shared use transportation pathways for pedestrians and bicyclists. Also designated are Fish Lake Trail and the Centennial Trail which have both been completed. The Ben Burr Trail is currently being designed for construction in 2014.
The Ben Burr Trail starts at Liberty Park near the I-90 Hamilton St. Bridge interchange and extends approximately 1 mile to the southeast to the south side of Underhill Park on an old rail road grade.
Crushed rock (gravel).
The trail is generally 8’-10’ with some areas narrower due to topography or overgrown shrubs.
Because it connects to no other trails, it is not widely used. The current users are mostly pedestrians.
The Ben Burr Trail is identified on the Bike Master Plan and in the Comprehensive Plan along with the other two paved regional trails (Centennial and Fish Lake Trails). A number of years ago the East Central Neighborhood together with the City Planning and City Capital Programs departments explored ways to improve the Ben Burr Trail making connections on the east end, to the west and north to complete the non-motorized system. City Capital Programs applied for and received federal transportation grant funds. These grant funds are for designing and constructing a multimodal paved trail (i.e., a trail suitable for a variety of non-motorized uses including pedestrians and bicycles) making connections to the rest of the non-motorized system, including the Centennial Trail.
This trail is part of a regional system that needs to support all users and meet ADA requirements. Funding for this project is inclusive of the total project. Partial completion and only using part of the funding is not allowed.
The Centennial Trail and Fish Lake Trail has been in use for many years safely serving both pedestrians and bicycles. The upgraded Ben Burr Trail will be the same width as the Centennial and Fish Lake but is expected to serve far fewer people so potential for pedestrian/bicycle conflict will be lower than exists on the Centennial Trail.
Paving the trail is intended to enable all users’ access to the trail. A paved surface allows physically challenged individuals the ability to enjoy the trail that until now has been only accessible for individuals who are not limited by a gravel surface. As an urban regional trail all users should be able to benefit from its use.
In addition, there are actually numerous nature trails, some less developed than others, on the south side of Spokane including those in Lincoln Park, Manito Park, High Drive Park, Thorton Murphy Park, Polly Judd Park, Cliff Park and others.
The Ben Burr Trail is not a designated nature trail with natural wildlife that is protected. It is a trail in a City setting that is an overgrown old undeveloped interurban rail line from the early 1900’s.
In order to make the trail safe enough for pedestrians and bikes to share the path for multi use, and to be ADA compliant, the funding program guidelines require a minimum 10’ and ideally 12’ trail width with 2’ gravel shoulders. To achieve this width, rock/tree removal, fences and retaining walls will be required along significant portions of the existing trail.
Additional access points are being added.
The connection of Ben Burr Trail to Centennial Trail is proposed as follows: from Liberty Park, the trail is on Perry St. beneath I-90, crossing 2nd Ave. then becomes a separated trail north of 2nd Ave. on the east side of the Hamilton St. bridge embankment, passing under Sprague Ave. and the railroad in existing underpasses. The trail will then connect to the striped bike lanes on the proposed Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd (construction scheduled 2014) which then routes the user to the west and to the existing Centennial Trail spur located behind the Shade Towers near west end of the Spokane Falls Blvd. bridge over the Spokane River.
Funding is non-transferable. A new grant would need to be applied for without a guarantee of it being funded.