Open house for trails and transit on Eastside Rail Corridor is March 30

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Rail-to-trail enthusiasts might enjoy an open house and tour on the Eastside Rail Corridor coming up in Renton on March 30.

King County government officials want to call attention to the acquisition of nearly 20 miles of the abandoned BNSF right-of-way, part of the corridor that runs between Renton and the King County line. Redmond, Kirkland and Sound Transit own other parts of the old railroad corridor.

The open house is scheduled from 12 to 2 p.m.  1:30 to 3:30 p.m. (time changed) on Saturday, March 30, at the Seahawks Headquarters and Training Facility at 12 Seahawks Way, Renton. To get there, take Exit 7 off I-405, head south on Lake Washington Boulevard North and take the first right onto Seahawks Way. (It’s right on the Lake Washington Bike Route.)

County officials will make remarks at the gathering and offer tours of the section of the rail corridor on a hi-rail vehicle.

The Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway announced its intention to abandon the corridor in 2003. Recreational trail interests and transit backers both have had their eyes on this prize ever since. The county is eyeing the corridor for public transportation and a regional trail.

A group called the Eastside Rail Corridor Regional Advisory Council began meeting this year to study ways that the different owners of the railway can use it for trails and transit.

Some of those owners are already making progress.

Kirkland has bought about 5 1/2 miles of rail corridor that connects a Highway 520 park and ride with the area of the Google campus. The city plans to build an interim trail of crushed rock on the Cross Kirkland Connector by Spring 2014; longer range plans call for putting mass transit in the corridor as well.

Redmond also bought four miles of the Redmond Spur that is within its city limits. It plans to use that for its Central Connector trail.

King County acquired 15.6 miles of rail corridor under fee ownership and another 3.9 miles under easement ownership. County officials mention its dual use as a bicycling trail as well as a transit system.



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