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Petition supports using rail bed for Eastside Rail Corridor bike trail

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Except for an occasional bird-watcher or coyote on the tracks, things outwardly might seem quiet on the Eastside Rail Corridor that runs north from Renton.

Coyote on old BNSF railroad right-of-way

Coyote on old BNSF railroad right-of-way

Things are happening behind the scenes, however.

Advocates are pushing a petition that supports the “on rail-bed” option in the Eastside Regional Trail draft master plan that covers 16.7 miles of the trail through King County.

Meanwhile, the Snohomish County Council has agreed to buy a 12-mile section of railroad right-of-way from the Port of Seattle for $3.5 million.

What this means is that a connection between regional bike trails in King and Snohomish counties continues to take shape.

Petition

The deadline for signing the petition is Wednesday. It’s supported by the Cascade Bicycle Club among others. Here’s the link.

It addresses the options in the draft master plan for 16.7 miles of the Eastside Rail Corridor owned by King County.

The city of Kirkland ripped up the tracks and installed a crushed gravel trail on about 5 miles of the old BNSF railway. It opened in 2015.

Families using Cross Kirkland Corridor

Families using Cross Kirkland Corridor

The remainder of the right-of-way looks the same way it did when King County acquired it in 2012.

Multi-use trail

The petition supports the county’s efforts to create a multi-use bike and hiking trail through Renton, Bellevue, Kirkland, Woodinville and Redmond.

Further, it urges the county to move quickly to install an interim trail. States the petition:

“This is also an opportunity to ask the County to support the “on-rail bed” alternatives where possible. This means a trail would be built in the same general area as the previous location of the rails. This is a cost effective alternative to building a trail off of the rail bed.”

Wilburton Bridge: 100 feet high and 1,000 feet long

Wilburton Bridge: 100 feet high and 1,000 feet long

This Eastside Rail Corridor is going to be a complicated process. Sound Transit is using the section through downtown Bellevue for a light rail line and train station. There are tracks that need to be removed, soaring trestles that need to be made safe for bicycle and pedestrian traffic (see Wilburton Trestle above), and bridges over Interstate 405 and street crossings in Bellevue that need to be built.

As soon as we can get this going ahead, the sooner we’ll have a viable bicycle transportation corridor on the Eastside.

If you support moving ahead with an interim trail on the old railroad bed, then by all means sign the petition.

Snohomish County

Heritage sign on the Centennial Trail in Snohomish County

Heritage sign on the Centennial Trail in Snohomish County

A couple of weeks ago, the Snohomish County Council approved purchase of the Eastside Railway Corridor that would connect Woodinville and the town of Snohomish.

The Centennial Trail rolls for some 15 miles from the city of Snohomish to Arlington and north to the Skagit County line.

The former BNSF tracks still carry freight trains. The county plans to build a recreational trail alongside the tracks.

That won’t be easy in some locations, and the county expects spending another $10 million on the plan in the next 10 years.




Permanent link to this article: http://www.bikingbis.com/2016/03/29/petition-supports-using-rail-bed-for-eastside-rail-corridor-bike-trail/

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