Cheasty Bike Park Moving Forward

SeattleMet’s Erica C. Barnett is reporting that the Cheasty Bike Park (click for more details) received the go-ahead vote on Tuesday:

Opponents of a proposal to build a series of trails for mountain bikes in Beacon Hill and Columbia City’s Cheasty Greenspace lost the first round in their battle yesterday, when the city cou8475634_origncil’s neighborhoods committee voted to move forward a bunch of neighborhood matching fund proposals that included $100,000 in city dollars for the mountain-bike plan. (The vote was 1-0-1—ties move legislation forward—with Sally Bagshaw in favor, and Harrell abstaining.)

Some neighbors of the park, which spans 43 acres in Southeast Seattle, oppose the 10-acre trail project (of which about 2 acres would consist of actual trail space) because, they argue, it would result in loss of wildlife habitat and urban tree cover; it will compromise the safety of park users (including cyclists); it will increase parking pressure in the area; and because, in the words of the group Save Cheasty Greenspace, “Passive use park lands should not be converted to active use park lands.”

Additionally, opponents argue that the council is moving forward with funding for the plan (which has a total price tag of $750,000) before proponents have raised their own half-million-dollar contribution and presented a formal plan to the council. “And by that point it is unlikely that there is any turning back,” an email from the Seattle Neighborhood Coalition put it earlier this month.“I’ve seen some videos of these mountain bikes—these kids are doing these twists and all this stuff. I asked the question on this project … [what about] safety concerns and insurance concerns?”—Council Member Bruce Harrell

(Parks director Christopher Williams said today, “We recognize that some of the input and concerns that the community has need to be reflected in the design and the proposal going forward. It’s our hope that we can still get there.”)

Proponents, meanwhile, argue that a series of bike and pedestrian paths will provide “enjoyment, recreation, and education” to residents of the surrounding neighborhoods, and will create a new pedestrian connection between Beacon Hill and Columbia City.

Click here for the whole article.

3 thoughts on “Cheasty Bike Park Moving Forward

  1. Gouda says:

    It saddens me that the proponents of this project say that it’s about equity when they have little to no representation from the low-income community about the project. Attend their meetings — one demographic. Definitely not representational.

    Like the southern portion — where many neighbors didn’t want the trails — a gentrifying group is pushing their agenda.

    I can think of MANY other ways to engage the youth of our community with $750,000. Maybe I’d start by listening to what they want instead of telling them that some urban trails will be the way to give them equity.

    • Jay Gairson says:

      At the City Council meeting on Monday there were over 40 neighborhood supporters for the project, including recent immigrants, low-income residents of the neighborhood, and youth from Refugee Women’s Alliance (ReWA). Watch the Seattle Channel video from 23 minutes on to hear some of their comments: FCGMV has actively reached out to all residents living in New Rainier Vista, near Cheasty Boulevard, and in the surrounding communities, including low-income families, to discuss this project. The response has been overwhelmingly positive and excited about the change happening in their neighborhood greenspace. When asked what they want, the answer is access to nature and more positive, outdoor activities for their children to participate in.

      According to the Outdoor Foundation’s Outdoor Recreation Participation Topline Report for 2014, bicycling, including mountain biking, is the second most popular youth (6-24) outdoor activity and the third most popular for adults (25+). This project is a way to provide equity and extend the reach of this positive and increasingly popular recreational activity to more people, including those that are low-income.

      Finally, FCGMV has just completed a five week program with ReWA’s summer student program. This program was a wonderful transformative time in the woods with these neighbors who were learning about native plants, the roles of trees in urban health, and why having access to nature is critical to human health and community well-being.

  2. Susan says:

    Just this morning I was in these woods with a group of almost 30 youth from a nearby high school. I didn’t ask anyone for their multicultural credentials, but they certainly looked like a diverse bunch and didn’t appear to be particularly wealthy.

    More importantly, most of them had never been in the woods before! Studies are clear that time spent in forests improves physical, mental, and behavioral health, so obviously improving access to this, our local forest, is the right thing to do. Moreover, it happens to be the popular thing to do, too. In the last 4 months alone, more than 600 people have put in almost 2000 hours of volunteer labor, so clearly there’s a huge level of engagement in our diverse community for developing this access.

    There are about 8 landowners, who don’t want to lose their personal backyard privacy barrier, and they’re spreading fear and misinformation. I feel for them. It’s nice to have 40 acres of private forest in your backyard.

    But it’s time to share.

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