Get to Know Eastrail: Connecting the Eastside with 42 Miles of Trail
September 8, 2021 - by Sandy Vo
Categories What's Happening Heart of Bellevue
Get to Know Eastrail:
Connecting the Eastside with 42 Miles of Trail
Built on the historic Burlington Northern rail line, the Eastrail will be an uninterrupted 42-mile trail that connects the communities of Renton, Bellevue, Kirkland, Woodinville, Snohomish and Redmond.
Joe Inslee, Eastrail Communications and Community Engagement Manager, said the Eastrail has a bigger mission than just providing a place for typical bikers.
“It’s going to be a major north-south spine for workers who are looking to commute differently, for those who want to take a five-minute stroll, and for people who want to go on a walk with their kids and feel safe,” Inslee said.
The Eastrail is built to welcome everyone. It’s more than a trail, it's an innovative system that will connect neighbors and the world together.
“The Eastrail is truly a multi-generational project. We are laying the groundwork to be used by others in the future for commuting, for pleasure and recreation,” Inslee said. “None of this would be possible without a good partnership between us, the Eastrail Advisory Council and business supporters.”
IMPACTS ON DOWNTOWN BELLEVUE
WSDOT, in partnership with King County Parks, is constructing 2.5 miles of newly paved Eastrail sections in Bellevue. Parts of Bellevue have been completed, including 106th Avenue SE and Coal Creek Parkway SE, but more projects are in the works. Future construction, including a new trail bridge over I-405 and a new bridge over NE 8th Street are being planned. Plans will also incorporate a rehabilitation of the iconic Wilburton Trestle.
Eastrail Program Manager Curt Warber explained that the Eastrail is critical for allowing people in Bellevue to travel easier and safer. The Wilburton Trestle will be a signature section that lets people avoid one of the worst Bellevue traffic areas.
“We believe that the historical trestle will be an attraction that allows people to get a great view of Downtown Bellevue, but also get a sense of what it's like to be on top of a 100-year-old railroad and see how it was constructed and maintained," Warber said.
Executive Director Katherine Hollis of Eastrail Partners, a non-profit that catalyzes and unifies Eastrail efforts, emphasized the importance of what the trail offers.
“We know that a number of big tech companies are bringing a whole lot of jobs and employees to Bellevue," Hollis said. "The Eastrail will be a key piece to how folks are connecting through the city.”
Looking towards the next five to ten year mark, Hollis hopes to see a fully connected trail through Bellevue and Renton, extending all the way into the northern parts of King County.
WHAT ELSE YOU CAN EXPECT
The Eastrail will connect the diverse communities on the Eastside to businesses and transit options. With proactive and thoughtful collaboration with communities, Eastrail will allow people to get from one place to another through non-motorized options. It also creates easy connections to transit options including the future light rails, a big piece in solving our regional climate solution.
The trail is creating public space for recreation and for communities to experience greenspace. A high-quality pedestrian and bicycle trail will be a sustainable option for alternative transit.
Promoting strong economic development:
The Eastrail will link to employment centers, residential neighborhoods and regional transit hubs.Employees can easily commute by bike or transit, and use the Eastrail to visit coffee shops and other places of business.
You can learn more on the King County website.
This blog is part of the Heart of Bellevue: our campaign to showcase local businesses while connecting you with stories of activity, creativity and recovery. Find out about our campaign and explore more of what’s happening around Downtown.