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Checking in with the community: accessibility ideas for the Upper West/Red Cedar Trailhead

By June 28, 2021June 14th, 2023No Comments

We have all made that mistake.

It is so common that it is a plot line in movies and the subject of remorseful social media posts. We meant well. We assumed that someone we cared about would want us to do something for them.  We were sure our gift or action would be appreciated, but we completely missed the mark. Awkward moments and hard feelings followed.

King County’s Coal Creek Sewer Upgrade Project team wants to make sure we don’t skip a step with a community we are trying to serve. The County’s team has some ideas to improve accessibility at a popular urban trailhead in Bellevue.

In summer 2021, the team will check in with people who care about accessible recreation. The team is looking for community feedback on our ideas for accessibility at the Upper West/Red Cedar Trailhead in Bellevue’s Coal Creek Natural Area.

This image shows a blue decorative sign that has a City of Bellevue log on top and location: Coal Creek Natural Area. There are activity icons for hiking, parking, viewing, and dog walking. The address reads: Red Cedar Trailhead, 5433 Coal Creek Parkway SE.

The Coal Creek project team is designing an upgrade for a sewer pipe that travels through the Coal Creek Natural Area. This upgrade provides additional wastewater capacity for a growing region and gives King County an opportunity to move much of the active pipe away from a cherished, fish-bearing creek.

A round, concrete maintenance hole structure sits along the bank of a stream in the background. Clear water runs over rocks in the stream in front of the structure.

The County’s contractor will close the Red Cedar trailhead for up to three years to build this project. The contractor will remove landscape materials, vegetation, signage, and the trail surface. After construction, crews will restore the trailhead using the City of Bellevue’s design plans for the current trailhead.

As King County’s project team began design, we identified ways to meet current standards for accessibility when the trailhead reopens. We see onsite and online opportunities to make the restored work area more accessible and engaging for people of all abilities.

Outreach to run our ideas by the community

Of course, the team’s most important step is to check in with the people we are trying to serve. Are our ideas useful and valuable? Did we miss something? What else do we need to know?

This summer, people can connect with the Coal Creek project team in different ways to see what we are thinking and to give us feedback and suggestions.

  • We will host a remote meeting from 5:30-7:00 p.m. on Wednesday, July 14. The team will give a brief project overview and describe accessibility improvements we have identified. An hour is set aside for audience questions, suggestions, and feedback.

This meeting will feature live captioning and an ASL interpreter. Recordings will be posted following the meeting. Materials will be posted online and shared with attendees in advance of the meeting.

To attend this meeting, register at this link.

  • An online open house and survey. This online content will launch on July 7 and remain available until August 7, 2021.
  • Briefings for interested community groups and organizations. Invite us to give a presentation and discuss the project with your group!
  • One-on-one conversations about the project. Contact Monica Van der Vieren at or 206-477-5502.
  • Visit the project web page. Learn about the Coal Creek Sewer Upgrade Project and sign up for updates at this link.

We know that people have strong interest in accessible recreation in our region. While King County’s project has a small footprint in one location, you may have input and ideas about accessible recreation that are larger and wider-ranging than this project.

WTD’s team is looking for input on the Coal Creek project, but we will capture all thoughts, concerns, and even dreams for a more accessible future in our outdoor spaces. We will share what you tell us with our City of Bellevue partners and our King County Parks team. Your thoughts, concerns, and input about accessible recreation can help inform future plans as well as the work we do today.

Watch and listen to people living with disabilities describe how recreation helps them to stay healthy and thrive. You will see why access to the outdoors is an important part of King County’s True North and values, creating welcoming places where every person can thrive.

This video is part of a series created for the Coal Creek Sewer Upgrade project to raise awareness about benefits of outdoor recreation and civic engagement to people living with disabilities.