Back to Parks & Rec Page

Parks & Recreation
Interurban Trail and Jovita Crossroads Trailhead Park

Parks and open space provide each of us the opportunity to escape from the stresses of everyday life into
a free environment that promotes personal well being, family growth, and social opportunities. 
We are fortunate to have a wide range of parks in the City and nearby.  Visit and enjoy your local parks and trails!

Parks & Recreation Advisory Board:
The Parks and Recreation Advisory Board invites you to attend their meetings, which are held the 1st Thursday of every month at City Hall at 6:00 pm.  Agendas are posted to the web on the Meetings and Events page.  If you wish to email the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board or have questions about Edgewood Parks, send your message by clicking here.  There are openings on the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board periodically.  If you are interested in applying for a position, contact City Hall for more information.

Interurban Trail and Jovita Crossroads Trailhead Park - 21  114th Avenue East
(near the intersection of Jovita Boulevard and 114th Avenue East)

Interurban Trail & Jovita Crossroads Trailhead Park - Where We are, We've been,  and Where We're Headed

The Present

The Interurban Trail
The Interurban Trail runs through and is being developed by many cities between Tacoma and Everett.  Many segments have been completed, but there is plenty of abandoned rail bed to be converted to trail.  Eventually, people will be able to walk from Tacoma to Everett using the same route that was utilized by the Puget Sound Electric Railway Seattle to Tacoma Interurban.

The purchase of the property and the construction of the project was made possible by grant funding from the Pierce County Conservation Futures, Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office (RCO), a Federal Transportation funding program, volunteer efforts and contributions from the City of Edgewood.   (Right - Trail Entrance at 114th Avenue East)

                                                                                                                                                                                           

The .83-mile asphalt trail segment that begins at 114th Avenue East and continues to the west to the Edgewood/Milton city limits (near Military Road) began in September 2011 and was completed in early 2012. A ribbon cutting ceremony was held on July 19, 2012 to commemorate the addition to Edgewood's recreational facilities. 

The pattern in the concrete pavement at the entrance of the at the Trailhead depicts the tracks with the third "hot rail" (left) that powered the original Interurban cars. The grade of the trail is virtually flat, so it makes for an easy walk or run.  The 12-foot Wide non-motorized Trail has two benches and a picnic shelter and a lookout to the area that served as a rock quarry from which the material to construct the original rail bed was taken in the early 1900s along with interpretive signage that provides some history about the quarry. (Left - Ribbon Cutting)

 

 

Prior to the trail construction it was discovered that the secluded right-of-way had become a convenient dumping ground.  Even an abandoned car was found in a wetland area near what would become the Jovita Crossroads Trailhead Park.

Approximately 800 old tires had been deposited over the years along the entire length of the trail.  Due to volunteer efforts by the Foothills Trail Coalition, these tires were collected, many having to be pulled out of overgrown vegetation and debris that had accumulated over the years, and hauled off. The volunteers took the tires to a company that recycles the material from the tires. (Right - Volunteer group along with a small number of the tires removed)
 

This hearty group of volunteers saved the project a considerable amount of grant dollars, but more importantly displayed the true spirit of community and set a fine example for others to follow.

See more clean up effort photos here!

Jovita Crossroads Trailhead Park
Construction on the Jovita Crossroads Trailhead Park was completed in June 2012.  The Trailhead Park is located near the intersection of 114th Avenue East and Jovita Boulevard.  The Park features restroom facilities, a drinking fountain (which serves both humans and their pets), two picnic shelters, an interpretive display depicting the history of the Interurban Railway and a parking lot.

The City continues to pursue grant funding as it becomes available.

The Past

                
Jovita Station near 114th & Jovita            Interurban Electric Rail Car               1918 Photo of 114th at Jovita             Rail Car at Jovita Canyon Tunnel

A brief history of the Interurban Railway
The Seattle-Tacoma Interurban was the first, high-speed electric railway built to operate in the Puget Sound region by Puget Power
and Light. Service began on September 25, 1902, on a track that ran from Tacoma through Fife, up East Hylebos Creek at Milton,
over the "hogback" in Edgewood, down the North bank of Jovita Creek and through a carved tunnel under Stewart's Point, all the way
into downtown Seattle, and later up to Everett.

The beginning of the demise of the Inter-urban railway began with fare wars which broke out between the Interurban and passenger boats shuttling between Seattle and Tacoma.  Then finally, the completion of the first paved road, Highway 99, between Seattle and Tacoma spelled the end of the Interurban, which made its last run on December 30, 1928. 

More historical information can be found in the Interurban Trail Historic Report, which was accepted by the City Council in October 2005.

Project Background
The joint Milton-Edgewood Ad Hoc Trail Committee worked diligently toward the purchase and development of the section of Interurban that runs through these two cities. Milton has a walkable trail completed that extends three miles.

The City of Edgewood hired consultant Jay Rood to begin work on a master plan for the Trail.  Many public open house meetings were held between 1998 and 1999 to receive input from the community about what they would and would not like to see as part of this trail.  Trails groups, such as the Foothills Trail Coalition, walkers, cyclists, neighbors and even an avid rollerblader provided comments about what they liked about other trails and what Edgewood could incorporate into this new addition to the community.  Ideas from these meetings were taken into consideration during the master planning process. The City Council accepted the Edgewood Interurban Trail Master Plan on November 22, 2005. (Right - Trail entrance at 114th before construction)


 

In addition to the Master Plan document, the Council commissioned Jay Rood to develop a historical record of the Interurban and how it relates to Edgewood.  This document came to be entitled A Community History of Edgewood:  The Interurban Railway - 1902 to 1928.  Edgewood's portion of the Trail will stretch almost two miles upon completion and eventually join the Pacific's segment  to the east at West Valley Highway, and will join Milton's Trail segment to the west at the City limits near Military Road.  Edgewood's  section, will is an         important and critical "missing link" in the regional trail.  Pierce County Conservation
Futures grant funds were used to purchase the
entire length of trail from the east to west
city
boundary lines.  Puget Sound Energy will maintain access to the right-of-way for
maintenance on their power equipment along the trail. 
(Left - Undeveloped abandoned rail bed)

The Future

The next segment of the Trail in Edgewood will continue from 114th Avenue East following Jovita Creek to the valley floor at West Valley Highway, making the connection to the City of Pacific's segment of the Trail.  The construction of this section of Trail will be significantly more difficult to accomplish due to steep slopes, slides, eroded and washed out rail bed, trestles and a tunnel that was imploded in the 1980s.  Since at this time this section is impassable and the dense trees make it impossible to view the area from an aerial, many unknown challenges remain.

The City will continue to see grant funding for the continuation of the project, which may cost upwards to $11 million.  It is the most difficult segment in the regional Trail and was the last segment to be completed when the original Puget Sound Electric Seattle to Tacoma Interurban Railway was constructed.  If you are interested in becoming involved in this project or would like more information, contact City Hall by calling 253.952.3299, or via e-mail at: cityhall@cityofedgewood.org

You can also attend the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board meetings, which are  held on the second  Thursday of each month at 6:00 pm at City Hall, to share and learn about information about the Trail, funding or other parks-related items. Check the Meetings and Events Calendar for meeting agendas.