Eastside Rail Corridor
Eastside Rail Corridor.png
Eastside Rail Corridor route
Length15.6 mi (25.1 km)
LocationEastside King County Snohomish County, Washington, USA
TrailheadsRenton (southern terminus)
City of Snohomish near Snohomish Junction (northern terminus)
UseHiking/Biking, Freight Railroad
Elevation
Highest point200 ft (61 m), Kirkland near Peter Kirk Elem.
Lowest point20 ft (6.1 m), Lake Washington shoreline
Hiking details
Right of wayNorthern Pacific's "Belt Line" and Burlington Northern's Woodinville Subdivision
Websitesnohomishcountywa.gov/561/Eastside-Rail-Project

The Eastside Rail Corridor is a rail Right of way where a rail trail is under development in the Eastside suburbs of Seattle, Washington. The corridor follows the path of the former Woodinville Subdivision from Renton to the City of Snohomish at Snohomish Junction.[1] The Northern portion was still in operation in 2017 by Eastside Freight Railroad.

History

Acquisition

Cross Kirkland Corridor in 2013, prior to removal of rails and resurfacing

The Port of Seattle acquired the right of way of the former Woodinville Subdivision from BNSF Railway through purchase and donation in 2008.[2] On December 10, 2012 the King County Council approved purchase of 15.6 miles (25.1 km) of the right-of-way from Port of Seattle.[3] A portion of the central corridor, named the Cross Kirkland Corridor, is owned by the City of Kirkland;[4] a spur to Redmond, named the Redmond Central Connector, is owned by the City of Redmond;[5] a portion in downtown Bellevue was purchased by Sound Transit, [6] and a northern portion of the corridor remains Port property for dual use as a trail and freight line. Some state residents brought suit against the Port of Seattle because the purchase was not used for freight in its entirety.[7][needs update] In 2016, Snohomish County acquired the right of way from the King–Snohomish County line at Woodinville north to the city of Snohomish.[8]

Opening

Cross Kirkland Corridor after official opening in 2015

In January, 2015, the 5.75-mile (9.25 km) Kirkland portion of the Eastside Rail Corridor, with compacted gravel surfacing, opened for pedestrians and bicyclists.[9][10]

The Kirkland–Bellevue section was opened in July 2018, connecting State Route 520 (and its bike trail) to the Spring District.[11]

Eastside Greenway Alliance

In January 2016, community leaders gathered in Bellevue, Washington, for a one day summit about transforming the 28 miles (45 km) Eastside Rail Corridor into a multi–use trail. This was by no means the first such conversation; in fact, planning and construction of various corridor segments had been underway for years.

The group envisioned a partnership of established and reputable regional and national nonprofits to collectively advocate for the trail. The Alliance would initially be co-led by Cascade Bicycle Club and The Trust for Public Land.[12]

Cities and connections

Cities through which the corridor passes include:

  • Renton
  • Newcastle
  • Bellevue
  • Kirkland (Cross Kirkland Corridor)[4]
  • Redmond (Redmond Central Connector)[5]
  • Woodinville
  • Snohomish

Trail connections

If constructed as proposed by King County, these other trails would or could link to the Eastside Rail Corridor:[13][9]

Railroad Involvement

BNSF sold the running rights to Tom Payne, GNP Railway, between Woodinville and Snohomish in conjunction with the sale to the Port of Seattle.[14]GNP’s partner, Ballard Terminal Railroad, took over freight operations from BNSF Railway in January 2010. By 2011 Ballard Terminal Railroad was filing with other creditors in U.S. Bankruptcy Court for an involuntary reorganization of GNP.[15]

A short line terminal railroad operating in Seattle, the Ballard Terminal Railroad, filed suit in the US District Court for the Western District of Washington and petitioned the Surface Transportation Board on April 1, 2013 seeking to prevent the city of Kirkland from removing the rail tracks for the planned trail. The Ballard Terminal Railroad says they want to keep the tracks intact for future rail freight use.[16] On May 3, 2013 Federal District Court Judge Marsha Pechman granted the City of Kirkland’s motion to dismiss the case filed by Ballard Terminal Railroad Company seeking to prevent rail salvage on the Cross Kirkland Corridor. In her oral ruling, Judge Pechman stated the Federal District Court did not have jurisdiction to consider Ballard’s temporary restraining order (TRO) and that the Surface Transportation Board was the proper forum for adjudicating Ballard’s claims. On Aug. 1 2013 the Surface Transportation Board denied the request by Ballard Terminal Railroad Company to block rail removal along the Cross Kirkland Corridor

References

  1. ^ "Centennial Trail South", Snohomish County Washington Gov, December 15, 2016, retrieved June 29, 2017
  2. ^ Eastside Rail Corridor, Port of Seattle
  3. ^ Eastside Rail Corridor, Metropolitan King County Council, December 10, 2012, retrieved 2012-12-14
  4. ^ a b Cross Kirkland Corridor, City of Kirkland, 2012
  5. ^ a b Redmond Central Connector Phase 1, City of Redmond, retrieved 2013-03-06
  6. ^ Eastside Rail Corridor, King County, Washington, February 19, 2013
  7. ^ Scott Gutierrez (August 30, 2010). "Lawsuit: Purchase of Eastside rail corridor was illegal". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Retrieved 2012-12-14.
  8. ^ Centennial Trail South, Snohomish County
  9. ^ a b Alexa Vaughn (January 31, 2015), "Longest stretch of Eastside Rail Corridor opens in Kirkland", The Seattle Times, retrieved 2019-07-09
  10. ^ Tom Fucoloro (February 2, 2015), "Kirkland's new trail changes everything", Seattle Bike Blog
  11. ^ Pappas, Evan (July 5, 2018). "King County opens first section of Eastside Railway Corridor connection". Kirkland Reporter. Retrieved July 6, 2018.
  12. ^ Eastside Greenway Alliance, May 17, 2017
  13. ^ "The Eastside rail trail corridor". King County executive. January 26, 2009. Retrieved 2012-12-14.
  14. ^ "Is Snohomish rail project on the right track?", Everett Herald, Aug 1, 2009, retrieved June 29, 2017
  15. ^ "Eastside railway's creditors seek reorganization", The Seattle Times, February 4, 2011, retrieved June 29, 2017
  16. ^ "Cross Kirkland Corridor rail removal halts, faces federal lawsuit", The Kirkland Reporter, April 2, 2013, retrieved April 2, 2013

Further reading

  • C.B. Hall (November 13, 2012). "Eastside rail: The Humpty Dumpty of Northwest transportation". Crosscut.com. Retrieved 2012-12-14. The Eastside's only rail line is in the midst of a five-way tug-of-war: Kirkland, Redmond, the Port of Seattle, Sound Transit, King County. Can so many owners ever amount to a whole, functioning transit line?
  • Cooledge, Mia (2013). Sustainable Urban Rail Trails: Designing the Cross Kirkland Corridor (Scripps Senior Theses). Claremont Colleges. Paper 139.
  • Westneat, Danny (June 7, 2014), "Was public railroaded in trail deal? Government officials said they bought the Eastside rail corridor for use as a trail, but it turns out that wasn't quite true. Now the courts are making them pay substantially more for it — at taxpayer expense", The Seattle Times, retrieved June 8, 2014

External links

  • Eastside Greenway Alliance, coalition of non-profits advocating for the Eastside Rail Corridor Trail
  • Eastside Rail Corridor at King County government website
  • Eastside Trail Advocates
  • Eastside Rail Now