Discovery Trail’s missing Sequim section topic of forum

By Joe Smillie
Peninsula Daily News

SEQUIM –– Completion of the Olympic Discovery Trail through Sequim will be the topic of a public forum next week.

Now, the trail is incomplete in Sequim, ending at the Water Reuse Park on the east and picking up on Sequim Avenue before heading west along West Hendrickson Road toward Railroad Bridge Park.

City Engineer David Garlington said completion of the trail through the Oak Trail neighborhood east of downtown has long been a topic of discussion.

Residents previously objected to construction of a trail down Fir Street several years ago, Garlington said, which led to a city resolution that designated Spruce Street as the city’s preferred connection route.

But Chuck Preble, vice president of the Peninsula Trails Coalition, said users have connected down Fir Street regardless.

“The trail goes down Fir now,” Preble said.

Preble said many users lose the trail when they get into Sequim.

“We have people that get completely lost in Sequim because there’s no signage,” he said.

Though neighbors previously objected to use of the street, Preble said it is marked as such on several maps and on the coalition’s website.

Unlike past proposals, there are no plans for construction of a trail segment through the neighborhood now, Garlington said.

Instead, the plan under discussion is for signage to mark the trail down Fir Street, with wider handicap-accessible sidewalks and special marking on the street for bicycle traffic, known as “sharrows.”

Much of the Olympic Discovery Trail — which eventually will extend from Port Townsend to LaPush — follows the route of the former Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul railroad that ran between Port Townsend and Port Angeles.

The railroad sold off the line and its rights of way in the 1980s, when cheap diesel led logging firms to transport timber via truck instead of rail.

Much of the right of way of the old railroad was banked under the state’s rails-to-trails program, but the part that ran through Sequim was done away with when the U.S. Highway 101 bypass was constructed in 1999.

It ran south of what is now the highway before heading north past the granary toward what is now Railroad Bridge Park.

The bridge is the former railroad trestle over the Dungeness River.

The July 11 forum will begin at 6 p.m. in the Sequim Transit Center, 190 W. Cedar St.

For more information, contact Troy Saghafi with the city’s Public Works Department at 360-582-2479 or email at tsaghafi@sequimwa.gov.

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Sequim-Dungeness Valley Editor Joe Smillie can be reached at 360-681-2390, ext. 5052, or at jsmillie@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: July 02. 2013 6:27PM
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