The King County Council voted unanimously in December to purchase a 15.6-mile portion of the Eastside Rail Corridor from the Port of Seattle for $15.8 million.
Last week, talk of what to do with it took place in Woodinville at Chateau Ste. Michelle, according to a post on Crosscut.com.
At the meeting, the Eastside TRailway Alliance specifically questioned Kirkland's plans to turn 5.7 miles of corridor into a trail. They want to keep the track in tact, although Kirkland is moving forward with a plan to take it out to build a trail similar to the Sammamish River Trail.
One central idea the group proposes is a train from Woodinville to Snohomish, which Snohomish Mayor Karen Guzak is promoting. (See her post here.)
The Eastside Rail Corridor runs from Snohomish to Renton along former Burlington Northern Santa Fe tracks through the cities of Woodinville, Kirkland and Bellevue. Also included in the December purchase agreement is a seven-mile spur between Woodinville and Redmond.
The King County Council envisions the Eastside Rail Corridor serving as a recreational trail for cyclists and pedestrians that would connect with other regional trails, such as the Sammamish River Trail in Redmond and Woodinville and the I-90 Trail in Bellevue. Light rail is also planned for a large segment of the corridor.
“This corridor is poised to become an important transportation link among Eastside suburbs,” council member Kathy Lambert of Redmond stated in a news release at the time of the purchase proposal.
Meanwhile, preliminary work has begun on the Redmond Central Connector, a linear park that will run through downtown Redmond on the former rail line. The project will include a paved path for bicyclists and pedestrians as well as interactive art pieces.
The first phase, a one-mile segment between the Bear Creek Trail and Sammamish River Trail that's projected to cost $3.9 million, is expected to wrap up construction sometime this year.
Do you think the railway should be converted to a trail system or should it remain for future train use with perhaps a trail alongside? Tell us in comments.
Kirkland Council OKs Historic Rail Purchase
Sound Transit Secures Easements for Future East Link Rail Access
City Officials Unveil Final Plans for Redmond Central Connector