Wastewater Treatment Division reaches out for input on accessibility options at a popular trailhead

by Monica Van der Vieren, Communications Specialist, Department of Parks and Natural Resources

What is the first King County agency that comes to mind when you think about accessible recreation? You probably didn’t say the Wastewater Treatment Division (WTD). But WTD’s Coal Creek Sewer Upgrade Project team is focused on that important topic right now and looking for input from the community.  

WTD’s pipes thread their way throughout the region, moving wastewater from city systems to treatment plants. Pipes run through parks, under trails, roads, and streets, across tidelands and wetlands. Pipes and other facilities need to be regularly upgraded to add capacity for growth, and over time, they just wear out and need to be replaced.

The north section of the Coal Creek Trunk Sewer needs an upgrade and a refresh. The pipe has served Newcastle and part of Bellevue for about 50 years. That section is almost full. The County also has an opportunity to move much of an active sewer pipe away from a fish bearing stream.

To build the new pipe, King County’s contractor will close the Red Cedar Trailhead for up to three years. Trailhead restoration will be based on the City’s 2015 design.

WTD’s Community Services (CS) team looks for both impacts and opportunities on capital projects. At Coal Creek, the CS team recognized that the affected trailhead area would need to be brought up to current accessibility standards. The team came up with ideas for improving accessibility of signage, seating, surface, and content to help people of all abilities plan and enjoy a trip to this area.

This summer, the Coal Creek team is running those ideas by the community they are trying to serve. The team created different opportunities for people to give feedback and share their ideas. Interested people can join a remote meeting on July 14. An online open house and survey will launch on July 7 and run for a month.

Image from video created by Rooted in Rights for the Coal Creek Sewer Upgrade Project.

How does the City of Bellevue feel about an effort focused on a park they own and manage?

The team is working closely with great partners at the City of Bellevue who really care about improving accessibility. Parks interpretive rangers, operations supervisors, and the City’s ADA Coordinator are supportive of the team’s ideas for onsite and online accessibility options. The City appreciates that King County will run these ideas by the community.

While the Coal Creek project area is small, people living with disabilities think big about accessible recreation. The team may get ideas and input bigger than the project. All input will be shared with the City of Bellevue and King County Parks for future planning efforts.

Visit the project Web page if you are interested in joining this meeting. All are welcome!

And take five minutes to meet a few people living with disabilities and thriving on access to nature and the outdoors by watching this video. You will see how improving recreational access helps meet King County’s values as a welcoming community where every person can thrive.