Leafline Trails Coalition’s vision for over 900 miles of trails would improve connections across King, Kitsap, Pierce and Snohomish Counties. (Leafline Trails Coalition)

Leafline Trails Coalition’s vision for over 900 miles of trails would improve connections across King, Kitsap, Pierce and Snohomish Counties. (Leafline Trails Coalition)

Group envisions robust links for Centennial Trail

Leafline Trail Coalition’s map has over 900 miles through King, Kitsap, Pierce and Snohomish counties.

Imagine rolling or strolling along a paved path separate from vehicle traffic between Arlington and Woodinville.

Or from Duvall to Monroe.

Or Everett and Monroe.

Those connections are in the 900 miles in Leafline Trail Coalition’s network vision presented June 1. The non-profit group focuses on paved trails in King, Kitsap, Pierce and Snohomish counties.

Trails mean work for the people who build them and can attract employers and tourism as quality-of-life improvements, Snohomish County Executive Dave Somers said.

“This is going to be a major enhancement and sort of a one-stop shop for everybody,” Somers said.

The vision included existing and planned trails, and had to be feasible within 20 years. Other criteria included being wide, off-street and multi-use paths that linked with regional transit, entertainment, recreation and retail locations, said Hailey Brey, a transportation planner with engineering firm Parametrix.

Over half of the map’s trails are built. Money and staff time present the biggest hurdles to designing and building the rest, Snohomish County park planner Sharon Swan said.

Some of it could get funding from the Legislature’s Move Ahead Washington transportation package. The 16-year plan marked $1.29 billion for active transportation spending. Over $313 million was intended for bike and pedestrian safety projects, such as $2.5 million for a Centennial Trail link to 16th Street NE in Lake Stevens. Another $278 million will be available through bike and pedestrian grants.

In Snohomish County, Leafline’s vision builds off of the existing main trails: Centennial, Interurban and Whitehorse.

Centennial Trail links Arlington to Snohomish, about 30 miles. But it stops in downtown Snohomish, and east and west connections lack the separated path that makes Centennial Trail popular.

Snohomish County bought property for the 12-mile extension to the King County line in 2016. The initial schedule had construction at the earliest starting this year on the trail on former railroad right-of-way.

Eventually it will connect to King County’s Eastrail that connects Bellevue, Kirkland, Renton and Woodinville.

Leafline’s vision includes a trail west toward Everett next to Lowell-Snohomish River Road. From there, the trail would meet Everett’s Lowell Riverfront Trail and eventually to the city’s Mill Town Trail that loops from its eastern riverfront to the western marinas.

East from downtown Snohomish, the trail would parallel the rail tracks to Monroe. Long has the city sought that kind of connection, as well as one south to Duvall. It’s part of Snohomish County’s Comprehensive Plan, too.

Interurban Trail has long been in place between Everett and Mountlake Terrace. But some segments are missing, and some have been neglected. Leafline’s vision includes gaps in and near Lynnwood crossing 164th Street SW and from Maple Road over Interstate 5.

Snohomish County is figuring out what to do with the western section of Whitehorse Trail, a 27-mile compacted gravel path from Arlington to Darrington. It has had closures caused by landslides and washouts from the Stillaguamish River, including on the link with the Centennial Trail.

Some of the other pieces for the region’s trail network include Snohomish County’s North Creek Trail between Bothell and Mill Creek. The first and most southern phase near Bothell is almost ready, and two future phases are in development.

Another major stretch is the Powerline Trail, 8 miles between Lake Stevens and Marysville. Some Lake Stevens residents have decried the city’s use of eminent domain to acquire about 21,000 square feet of property. Once built, it would be west of Highway 9 and link from 20th Street SE to the Centennial Trail north of the Getchell Trailhead.

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