Meeting-Goers in Woodinville Weigh Rails Versus Trails

A meeting last week at Chateau Ste. Michelle involved those against turning rails into trails.

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.


Related coverage:

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


kent wallace January 31, 2013 at 05:12 PM
Although I would like to see more rails to trails, this trail should be left for light rail transit. We are so far behind any other city in the nation as far as light rail goes, this would be a good starting point for us Kent Wallace
Bob Martinek January 31, 2013 at 05:28 PM
It is ludicrous to give up a right of way for transportation in a heavily populated region. For those worried about climate change, transportation, traffic; the rail would be THE most cost effective method of transporting large populations. No eminent domain issues to pay for, fuel burn is minimized and roads relieved of substantial traffic. One could envision tying this into the network connecting to (but Redmond already messed it up) Renton, Issaquah, Redmond, Kirkland, Woodinville, Snohomish. Bicycles could be accomodated on the train as well. We can learn transportation lessons from Europe where one can get along nicely without a car! Try that here, fat chance one can get around without a car.
Karen Rood January 31, 2013 at 06:27 PM
It would be so convenient to take the train from Woodinville to Snohomish to further the tourist trade and shopping at the antique stores and small shops. Have you ever tried to find parking in tiny downtown Shohomish on a summer week-end? There is none! By the time you find parking blocks from the old part of town it makes for a long exhausting hike.
Greg Johnston February 01, 2013 at 04:11 PM
Bob, Kirkland's plan also calls for light rail or some other mass transit as well as a trail, it is not giving up the right of way for transportation at all. Also, what Kirkland does doesn't necessarily preclude a tourist train between Woodinville and Snohomish.
Pfred February 01, 2013 at 04:51 PM
Despite what people may say if you go out and look at the existing track, particularly south of Woodinville, a train couldn't operate on them safely at a high enough speed to make it a good transportation corridor. This is a spectacular corridor through the eastside and way more people will get the opportunity to use it for transportation AND recreation if it is a trail, especially in the near term. In the future rail could be added that could link the communities together in a meaningful way.


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