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Environment

King County Seeks Public Input On Eastside Rails-To-Trails Expansion

Wilberton-Trestle-eastside-rail-now.jpg
Courtesy Eastside Rail Now
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Located about a half mile southeast of downtown Bellevue, Wilburton Trestle is the largest wooden trestle in the Northwest. It was originally constructed in 1904, and the area below it was an arm of Lake Washington until the lake was lowered in 1916.

Rush-hour congestion in the corridor east of Lake Washington, along Interstate 405, is an everyday hassle for many commuters. Authorities with King County Natural Resources and Parks say they’re working on alternatives. Among them is a major rails-to-trails project that would connect communities from Renton to Redmond.

At the heart of the Eastside rail corridor is Bellevue’s iconic Wilberton Trestle. That’s where officials are releasing a draft plan for development options. 

David St John is a government relations administrator with King County. He says in the emerging network of about 10 trails that are built on former railroad tracks throughout the region, the Wilberton Trestle could become a real gem. From street level, it looks like a catwalk in the sky.  

“It’s 1,000 feet long, a hundred feet high, more than a hundred years old," said St John.  "It’s a historic structure.”

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Credit courtesy King County Dept of Natural Resources and Parks.
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courtesy King County Dept of Natural Resources and Parks.
King County's map of the Eastside Rail Corridor (ERC) shows how it's envisioned to connect with existing and planned trails and Sound Transit's Link light rail.

Cyclists and pedestrians could encounter all kinds of terrain as they traverse a 16-mile corridor that runs through Renton, Woodinville and Redmond.

“And we will be taking advantage of the opportunity to develop the trail in a way there that really is compelling and provides great views and a great experience,” he said. 

The vision includes connections to bus routes as well as recreational areas. But it needs work before it would be safe.

St John says the next step in the process is deciding the level of public and private investments. Cost estimates range from $100 -200 million. 

The County says it will host public open houses on the expansion plan next month. Here are some details:

WOODINVILLE

Thursday, March 17

5pm–7pm

Woodinville City Hall

17301 133rd Ave NE

Woodinville, WA 98072

RENTON

Tuesday, March 22

7pm–9pm

Kennydale Elementary School

1700 NE 28th St

Renton, WA 98056

BELLEVUE

Thursday, March 24

5pm–7pm

Bellevue City Hall

450 110th Ave NE

Bellevue, WA 98004

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