Chief Sealth Trail
Updated: November 29, 2007
Chief Sealth Trail Grand opening!
On May 12, 2007 , the City of Seattle celebrated the grand opening of the Chief Sealth Trail. The dedication ceremony was held in the NewHolly neighborhood. The NewHolly Neighborhood Campus joined Mayor Nickels, City officials, community members, businesses and project staff in celebrating the opening of the trail for public use.
The grand opening event included speeches from representatives of the Seattle Department of Transportation, Seattle City Light, Seattle Parks and recreation, local bicycle clubs, Sound Transit and the Washington State Department of Transportation.
At the ribbon cutting ceremony students from the Beacon Hill Elementary Unicycle Club performed and four children’s bicycles - complete with helmets - were raffled off. Healthy snacks for all topped off the effort to promote healthy living and exercise.
The Chief Sealth Trail is a new multi-purpose trail in Southeast Seattle. It is the city’s newest addition to the regional trail system. The Chief Sealth Trail provides new connections to the future Mountains-to-Sound Greenway trail extension on Beacon Hill and Sound Transit light rail stations along Martin Luther King Jr. Way. The new trail is one of five regional trails that cross the city, connecting to schools, businesses, and residents while promoting a healthy and active lifestyle. Future trail extensions (not yet funded) include a connection to downtown Seattle and to the City limits in the south.
Chief Sealth Trail is the newest addition to the Regional Trail System
For years, SDOT has heard requests for this trail from southeast Seattle neighborhoods as part of the planning for the City's non-motorized transportation and neighborhood plans, and light rail on MLK. In early 2004, RCI/Herzog offered to build the trail as a method of recycling excavated soils and concrete from the Link Light Rail project along MLK. The City welcomed this innovative construction approach as it resulted in a major savings of taxpayer dollars and it provides the City with a new trail within a reduced timeframe—at least two years earlier than was originally envisioned. Over the summer of 2004, SDOT worked hard to design and acquire all required permits for the trail and with Sound Transit, completed the environmental analysis. In May 2007, RCI/Herzog and SDOT completed the trail along the Seattle City Light right of way.
Chief Sealth Trail Earns Three Awards
The public-private collaboration received awards for implementing sustainable principles and regional visions.
Using the Chief Sealth Trail Safely
The Chief Sealth Trail is a non-motorized multi-use trail for walkers, bikers, rollerbladers, and joggers. To ensure the safety of all trail users please keep the following rules in mind:
All users of trails
Frequently Asked Questions
What makes the Chief Sealth Trail unique?
What’s new with Seattle’s Bicycle Master Plan?
In June 2006, SDOT’s Bicycle Program kicked off the planning process for the recently released Seattle’s Bicycle Master Plan. The plan’s primary objectives are to increase bicycle use and to enhance bicycle safety. The planning process included analyzing opportunities to improve on-road bicycling conditions, expanding the urban trails network, developing a wayfinding system, establishing facility design guidelines, and creating a trail maintenance and funding plan. For more information on Seattle’s Bicycle Master Plan visit: www.seattle.gov/transportation/bikemaster.htm
How will the Chief Sealth Trail be maintained?
The City of Seattle will mow the grass along the trail similar to how the city maintained the area before the trail construction. To minimize long-term maintenance, construction crews seeded the area along the trail to maintain stability and control erosion. Drainage swales (shallow ditches) were added that maintain the flow within the existing drainage patterns that connect to the city stormwater system.
What about access to Seattle City Light’s utility corridor?
The construction of the trail has increased access along the entire corridor for maintenance and operation of Seattle City Light's towers and transmission lines. Construction was designed to include placement of crushed rock pads at the base of the towers to allow access for City Light’s heavy maintenance vehicles. This is especially important in the event of a major power outage or other emergency.
How does the trail look?
Great! The appearance of the trail varies in different neighborhoods along the 3.6 mile right-of-way. In general, the pathway curves between gently sloped and seeded hills and mounds. The asphalt paved trail is 10 feet wide, with a two foot gravel shoulder on each side. The completed trail includes pedestrian and bicycle signage and markings to clarify the multi-use trail purpose. No motorized vehicles (except City maintenance ones) are permitted within the corridor.
Since the trail is within the City Light corridor, there is limited flexibility in landscaping or other beautification options. Seattle City Light must maintain easy access to their power facilities for maintenance, repairs, and emergency access. This, combined with ease of landscape maintenance objectives, prevents planting large or medium sized vegetation. The new portions of the trail were seeded with low-growing grass and groundcover.
For further information about this or other Seattle trails, please contact the SDOT Walk and Bike team at (206) 684-7583 or firstname.lastname@example.org.