Grand visions are often realized in increments. It’s how you eat an elephant, so the saying goes. It’s also how the grand vision of the Eastside Rail Corridor (ERC) will be realized: one piece at a time.
Cascade is thrilled that King County will start work in October on rail removal and interim trail building in two locations along the future ERC trail. The resulting packed gravel trail – 5 miles open by spring 2018 – will give people a chance to experience the new active transportation connections the full ERC will bring. These trail segments will also create safer ways for people of all ages and abilities to travel within and between eastside communities – whether as a regular commuter, or on a weekend family ride.
King County breaking ground this year is also a momentous step towards the grand vision of the ERC as a 42-mile multi-use trail from Snohomish to Renton via Woodinville, Kirkland, Redmond, and Bellevue – and potentially forming a connected trail from Vancouver to Vancouver, and beyond.
Learn the Latest at This Week’s Open Houses
King County Parks is hosting community open houses this week to share the latest design and construction information:
- To learn more about the short-but-mighty 1-mile segment in Bellevue, from the southern terminus of the Cross Kirkland Corridor to Northup Way, attend the Saturday, September 9, open house: 1 - 2:30 p.m. at, Bellevue Public Library (map), 1111 110th Ave NE, Bellevue, WA 98004
- To learn more about the 4-mile segment from Newcastle Beach to Gene Coulon parks, which will form part of the popular Lake Washington Loop Trail, attend the Thursday, September 7, open house: 6:30 - 8 p.m. at Renton Highlands Public Library (map), 2801 NE 10th St, Renton, WA 98056
Soon this segment of the ERC, heading south to Bellevue from the Cross Kirkland Corridor will be home to a packed gravel trail to connect people safely on foot and by bike on between neighboring Kirkland and Bellevue.
The Power of Now
Removing the rails and breathing life into the abandoned rail corridor now, rather than holding off several years until all funding is secured and design complete for the full master planned hard-surfaced trail, is a smart move. An interim trail gives people a safe place to walk and bike between and within eastside communities now. It also helps us imagine and share in the grand vision of the ERC.
With 17 miles of the ERC in King County ownership, County leadership in trail development is essential – another reason that the fall groundbreaking matters. Redmond and Kirkland, who each own around 5 miles of the ERC, are well under way developing segments of trail in their communities that reflect the needs and desires of their residents.
The Redmond Central Connector has helped transform downtown Redmond, and is both a community gathering space and transportation corridor.
Since its opening in 2015, Kirkland residents have embraced the Cross Kirkland Corridor. The packed gravel interim trail in Kirkland is the focal point for active transportation planning in the city, acting as a cross-city “active transportation spine.”
Redmond is developing the Redmond Central Connector as a hard surface trail infused with art and gathering places, including the downtown park where the community hosts regular night markets and one-time events.
Together, these distinct spaces form the grand vision of the ERC. But as individual segments they reflect the mobility and outdoor recreation needs and desires of the local community. As the Kirkland the Bellevue and Renton segments come to life, Cascade is excited to see how the trail is embraced and used by the communities it will serve – especially people on bikes. Want to learn more about Cascade’s work to build the ERC vision? Sign up to keep up with the latest, including end of year trail openings.
The Power of You
Grand visions become reality faster when community voices join together to say "we care". Whether attending a public meeting, writing a letter to your local paper, or joining forces with others to host community events, there are many ways to use your voice to help projects like the ERC come to life faster. Cascade is hosting an Advocacy Leadership Insititute training this fall. It's a training that's designed to empower and tool-up people like you, who want to see safe trails and streets in thier community. It's free and it will be fun! If you want to help bring the grand vision of the ERC to life, or to create change through a project close to home, learn more about the Advocacy Leadership Institute now.
The ERC is owned, and being planned for by several public agencies.
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