King County Seeks Public Input On Eastside Rails-To-Trails Expansion
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.”
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:
Thursday, March 17
Woodinville City Hall
17301 133rd Ave NE
Woodinville, WA 98072
Tuesday, March 22
Kennydale Elementary School
1700 NE 28th St
Renton, WA 98056
Thursday, March 24
Bellevue City Hall
450 110th Ave NE
Bellevue, WA 98004