The Cross Kirkland Corridor is here to stay!

As interim trail construction wraps up along the Cross Kirkland Corridor this month, the city of Kirkland and Eastside bicyclists are relieved to know that the 5.75-mile multi-use trail is no longer under threat of being converted back to a railway.

Just before the year’s end, the Federal Surface Transportation Board – a federal agency that settles railway disputes – denied a request by the Ballard Terminal Rail Company to reinstate rail service along an 11.2 mile section of the Eastside Rail Corridor between Woodinville and Bellevue, a section of the trail that would pass through the Cross Kirkland Corridor.

The request was denied because of Ballard’s failure to demonstrate credible evidence of demand for renewed freight rail service on the line as well as failure to show that the company had sufficient financing to reinstitute the railway and freight services.

All of this means that Kirkland’s tremendous leadership on the Cross Kirkland Corridor, from purchasing the corridor in 2012 to passing an ambitious master plan in 2014, efforts will continue moving forward into 2015 without any looming questions and concerns around rail service. Kirkland residents can look forward to soon having a safe, convenient, comfortable and eventually paved trail for all ages and abilities to use for transportation and recreation through the neighborhoods, transportation hubs and business districts of the city.

The Cross Kirkland Corridor is just one piece of the 42-mile Eastside Rail Corridor, often referred to as the “corridor for the ages” and formally part of the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway. Bicyclists will eventually be able to travel through Renton, Newcastle, Bellevue, Kirkland, Woodinville, Maltby, Snohomish and Redmond along the off-street trail dedicated for bicyclists and pedestrians.

Just imagine a connected multi-use trail that runs north-south from Renton to Snohomish and serves as a key backbone to a more integrated and active transportation network – a backbone that will connect to light rail transit stations, bus stops, business districts, schools, libraries and parks. Though this might sound almost too good to be true, small steps are already being taken in the right direction. The Cross Kirkland Corridor and Redmond Central Connector are helping make this vision a reality and we look forward to more progress throughout the corridor in 2015.