Twenty or thirty years ago when I first started riding my trusty Reg Harris model Lambert bike on the newly designated Burke-Gilman Trail, the route was in pieces. There was a bit of trail here and there. Every few miles, I'd have to ride surface streets and pick up the trail at the beginning of its next section. Even then, much of the trail was dirt.
The Burke-Gilman Trail / Sammamish River Trail follows an old railroad bed from way out on Eliot Bay to Marymoor Park in Redmond. The paving is old and broken up by giant tree roots in lots of places. Last June, a two-mile section was closed and refurbished. It just opened a week or so ago and I got to ride on the new pavement last Sunday. And, man, is it deluxe.
For one thing, it's a lot wider. There's a soft running path at the edge of the now-so-smooth pavement, new signage, and they've opened up some streams and rebuilt a bridge or two.
Riding on the new Burke gives you a sense of how thing ought to be. If we had Burke-quality trails linking more of our region together, you wouldn't need a car at all. And with gas nudging $5 a gallon, how cool would that be?