Keep the walkways build the parking

March 27, 2014

By Staff

Samammish has a number of parks projects on the drawing board, but two are of special sigfinigance, Big Rock and Sammamish Landing parks.

The City Council will soon review a proposed master plan for Big Rock Park. Parks commissioners and department staffers spent a tremendous amount of time developing ideas for a park that could easily become a crown jewel in the city’s parks system. The plan covers development on the bulk of Mary Pigott’s 51-acre donation. The park was supposed to be passive use (no sports fields) but that doesn’t mean it has to be boring.

People working on it developed a number of trails, gathering places and other interesting attractions. One was a system of elevated walkways among the trees in one part of the park. The idea is inspired.

Yes, the $500,000 price tag is steep, but impact is well worth it. It’s a feature that is hard to find anywhere else in the region and would let residents get a perspective on nature they couldn’t find elsewhere.

The council in the past had been lukewarm about the proposal, and there is a bit of legitimate sticker-shock. But that doesn’t mean they should remove it from the master plan. Leaving it in leaves the city’s options open. Some future council might want to install the walkways, and cutting it out of the plan would tie their hands, and make the process time consuming.

The other issue is a proposed parking lot at Sammamish Landing. The council has approved design of the lot. When the time comes, they should approve construction of it as well. Sammamish is a car-dependent city, and is likely to remain one. Building a public amenity without a parking lot, means building a public amenity the public can’t use. If it isn’t built, those who dare will continue to park along the road and play ‘Frogger’ through the traffic to reach the park.

Going to the beach shouldn’t be that difficult or dangerous.

Yes, these projects will cost a bit of money, but first-class cities know they must spend money sometimes so their residents can have a better quality of life.

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