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Delivering a first-rate transportation system for Seattle Scott Kubly, Director

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Shared Use Trails

Shared use trails are typically off-road paths that are separated from adjacent traffic, except where they cross roadways. The Burke-Gilman Trail and Chief Sealth Trail are examples of shared use trails in Seattle. These trails serve pedestrians and may include facilities for bicycling, skate-boarding, roller-blading, and/or equestrian use. They can be constructed with hard or soft-surfaced materials, and may need to meet accessibility requirements depending on location and type of connection.

Shared use trails, can provide connections between destinations for transportation purposes. They are also used for physical activity and recreation, which are important to both physical and mental health. By providing a separate path of travel for pedestrians, cyclists, and other non-motorized transportation modes, shared use trails help to reduce conflicts between motorists and pedestrians while expanding the number and types of facilities that are accessible to pedestrians.

Shared use trails are often located adjacent to waterways, along former rail corridors, or within greenways and may provide vistas to increase pedestrian enjoyment while enhancing connections between urban residents and the natural environment. Shared use trails typically offer longer, uninterrupted stretches of path that are perceived as more family-friendly than the typical urban streetscape.

Soft surface trails (e.g., gravel or earthen paths) are popular among runners and walkers because they reduce the impact these activities have on the body. Since these trails are typically separate from motor vehicle traffic, they also may reduce pedestrian exposure to airborne exhaust and other pollutants.

Burke Gilman Trail

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