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City Council Puts Brakes on Trolley Idea

Local leaders had contemplated building a streetcar between downtown Redmond and Woodinville's wine district.

Redmond's City Council decided earlier this week not to further pursue the idea of building a trolley between the city's central area and Woodinville's wine district.

Brad Tong of Seattle-based consulting firm Shiels Obletz Johnsen presented the results of a $44,000 trolley feasibility study at Tuesday's city council study session. The trolley would run over existing tracks from the former Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad corridor and tie in with the Redmond Central Connector project.

The system would primarily target tourists who travel between Redmond and Woodinville, Tong said. He told council members that initial capital costs would likely range from $2- to $5-million and that funding could come from a variety of sources, including federal grants and public-private partnerships.

The study found that revenue projections from rider fares would be between $30,000 and $100,000 annually, Tong said. The poor condition of the existing track would prevent the street car from exceeding speeds of 10 mph, he said.

Council members said they like the idea of some day having a trolley in that area but do not believe the current demand for such a service warrants the economic expense. Some council members also raised the concern of walkability between individual wineries and other businesses in Woodinville.

"I think it's not time for something like this," Councilwoman Kimberly Allen said. "The Woodinville winery district, charming though it is, is not yet charming enough. It's not built out, it's not Napa — it's in a warehouse district, primarily."

Ideally, council members said, a private entity will one day decide to fund the project. Until then, council members said they want to preserve the existing tracks as much as possible and move forward with the other aspects of the Central Connector project.

"There's going to be a need sooner or later to do something up and down that corridor," Councilman Pat Vache said. "We want to preserve that corridor for whatever eventually becomes important to us."

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