Valley residents will see some big improvements to the community bike park located at Torguson Park next to North Bend Elementary School.
At an open house held at Si View Park Nov. 9, Si View Metro Parks staff presented plans for the park and talked to citizens about their feedback on the preliminary designs.
In collaboration with the city of North Bend, Si View Metropolitan Parks District is working on a project that will update the biking area. Travis Stombaugh, executive director of Si View Metro Parks, said the project will also be making some access and usage improvements as well.
“We are redesigning a bike park in Torguson park and what we wanted is not only to make improvements to the bike park functionally, but also aesthetically,” he said. “Also to make frontage improvements to Torguson park from that entrance.”
The project, now about six months into development, is being designed by the Watershed Company and the Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance. Stombaugh said the total cost of the project is estimated at around $225,000. Si View Metro Parks received a $75,000 grant from King County which will go towards the project, as well.
“We just got the grant about a month ago,” Stombaugh said. Combined with funds from Si View and the city of North Bend, “it will equal about $225,000. We are hoping it will come under budget and we have no reason to think it will be over.”
Amber Mikluscak, senior landscape architect with the Watershed Company, said the idea behind the new bike park was to create an all-ages, all-abilities track, with features for more advanced riders coexisting in a park where novices could learn.
“The features would be flexible so advanced riders could chose to ride them in a way that could make it challenging for them, but that nobody would find themselves on a facility that they would feel was too dangerous to navigate,” she said. “You could navigate the whole thing at a lower speed with tires on the ground and pedal, you could challenge yourself aerobically and do it as traditional pump style. The idea would be that it provides a novel experience that can grow with the rider and that it is at the rider’s discretion.”
The park is also planned to have a separate biking area for young children who are still learning how to ride. It will be a smaller facility that parents would be able to walk around and help teach their children how to ride a bike. The separation of biking areas helps to create a safer environment for young children without getting in the way of the advanced riders, Mikluscak said.
The Watershed Company started with environmental work, while the Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance worked on track design. Mikluscak said the project needed to be designed with the park’s environmental complexity in mind.
“Part of the reason we got involved in this project is we have a relationship with the area in terms of environmental work, a desire to work on parks that have this environmental complexity and a lot of us have a personal passion for biking,” she said. “There are state regulations, city regulations, that call for protection of that feature and the water quality function it serves. We chose to go after this project because we thought it sounded like an interesting problem and we would love to help city and the Metro Parks District.”
Mikluscak said that the company will restore a wetland and wetland buffer, in the project. They will also remove the current track from the area and plant native plant species in its place.
Because the bike park is located in the floodplain, designers must work within the regulations and avoiding increasing the burden of flooding on the area around the park.
The final design of the park will be altered based on the feedback they receive from area residents.
“That helps keep the process cost effective for the city and it helps us to allow most of the project funds to be used for construction rather than in sort of redoing the design over and over again,” Mikulscak said. “It’s a hands on meeting. We are very active in terms of taking questions, asking people to critique the drawing that’s there, so we make the best use of this time in getting the public engaged but then also getting their feedback.”