Missing link still missing
Supporters of bicycle trails in the South Sound are proud to talk about how they’ve managed to fill in the missing links of the Chehalis Western Trail over the last couple of years, completing the trail which runs from Yelm to Puget Sound.
They’ve built a bicycle bridge over Interstate Five and they’ve built a bicycle bridge over Martin Way.
But, they’ve been relatively quiet about the fact that one missing link still remains.
There’s no bridge over Pacific Avenue. From 14th Street to Martin Way, the Chehalis Western Trail remains unfinished.
For more than three years, Thurston County has been working on completing the missing link. Its engineering and design crew have come up with a tentative plan for “Bridging the Gap”, as they call it. The problem rests with the property owners and the design of the trail.
Three property owners control the 2000 feet of property needed to complete the trail. Capital Development Company, Paul DeTray and Johnny Lewis, all own property the county needs if it is to finish the trail.
Capital Development and Johnny Lewis have been cooperating in the effort. Paul DeTray is more reticence. His property will be damaged more by the trail than the other property owners.
The plans call for a 26-foot bridge over Pacific Avenue, with an on and off ramp. The trail will be on a 20-foot berm over most of the property.
It is those two plans which have DeTray concerned.
The berm will hide his property from street traffic, and the on and off ramps will take significant portions of his property, which he feels he needs.
He also contends that an on and off ramp aren’t needed on Pacific Avenue. There’s no bicycle traffic on Pacific Avenue and there’s an on and off ramp a half mile away on Martin Way.
The county currently has $3.2 million, in hand, to acquire property and build the trail. It’s had some of the money for several years and is under pressure to get the trail construction underway.
There appears to be an stalemate.
It’s in the county’s best interest to review its trail plans and see if it can’t be modified to take less of DeTray’s property. There’s no evidence that an on and off ramp are needed on Pacific Avenue. The county should work with DeTray to find a solution.
Maybe then the missing link might finally be finished.