Hikers causing a parking hazard for Mount Si Road residents
It’s no surprise the Mount Si area is a popular hiking destination, but for North Bend residents, safety has become an issue.
According to Wendy Spear, a lifelong resident of 55 years who lives on Mount Si Road, the hikers who park their cars on the narrow thoroughfare cause dangerous driving conditions by parking on the roadway, straddling ditches and blocking driveways and intersections.
One of her recent encounters involved a group of eight hikers who were walking down the middle of the road on a blind corner, Spear said in an email.
“I thought to myself as I was slowing down, ‘If a car is coming, they will be hit,’ and sure enough, a car came at that time and swerved into my lane,” she wrote.
To avoid the collision, Spear was forced off the road and into a ditch, while the other driver continued. She was able to get out of the ditch on her own, she said.
She let the hikers know that walking that way was dangerous, and they agreed to walk in a single-file line to the trailhead.
The state Department of Natural Resources is in the process of siting a new location to design a new trailhead that will provide access to the Mount Teneriffe Trail. The new trail will include access to a summit viewpoint and access to Teneriffe Falls.
King County Road Services is also looking for solutions, one of which is the proposed Teneriffe trail parking lot to help with overflow.
The county is also conducting studies to determine whether or not the area warrants “no parking” signs, but will not have the results until early May.
Until then, they urge residents to report unsafe parking to the King County Sheriff’s Office.
But to Spear those solutions may not be enough.
She’s urging the King County Council to consider other solutions, including opening up parking at Tanner Landing Park, placing “no parking anytime” signs and ticketing hikers that park illegally, or offering a shuttle service.
Several other residents have come forward in an online discussion, where many noted that there has been an influx of hikers this year and described the inherent dangers of the blind curve on Mount Si Road near Southeast 130th Street.
In September, a North Bend man crossed the center line in his car and collided with a school bus, resulting in serious injuries including multiple broken bones.
“It’s just a matter of time before someone is seriously hurt,” Spear said.