King County, Kirkland, and Bellevue representatives cut the ribbon on the new trail. From left: Kirkland City Council member Penny Sweet, Kirkland Mayor Amy Walen, Kirkland City Council member Jay Arnold, Bellevue Mayor John Chelminiak, former King County Council member Jane Hague, King County Parks Director Kevin Brown, Bellevue City Council member John Stokes, King County Council member Claudia Balducci and King County DNRP Director Christie True. Photo courtesy of Eli Brownell, King County Parks.

King County, Kirkland, and Bellevue representatives cut the ribbon on the new trail. From left: Kirkland City Council member Penny Sweet, Kirkland Mayor Amy Walen, Kirkland City Council member Jay Arnold, Bellevue Mayor John Chelminiak, former King County Council member Jane Hague, King County Parks Director Kevin Brown, Bellevue City Council member John Stokes, King County Council member Claudia Balducci and King County DNRP Director Christie True. Photo courtesy of Eli Brownell, King County Parks.

King County opens first section of Eastside Railway Corridor connection

Former railway corridor now connects Kirkland and Bellevue.

Dozens of citizens, elected officials, and staff from Kirkland, Bellevue, and King County gathered on June 19 for the grand opening and ribbon cutting of a newly opened section of the Eastside Railway Corridor (ERC).

The new section will be known as Jane Hague Way.

The ERC is an effort by King County and several other Eastside municipalities and agencies including the cities of Kirkland, Bellevue, Redmond, Woodinville and Renton as well as Puget Sound Energy and Sound Transit, to craft a trail that would connect to other cities as well as existing trail systems.

Jane Hague Way is a one-mile portion of the ERC that connects the Cross Kirkland Corridor trail with Bellevue’s Spring District and the Washington State Department of Transportation’s SR 520 trail, which runs east to west from the University of Washington to Redmond. This is King County’s first project to open as part of the long-term ERC plan since the county purchased 16.7 miles of corridor in 2013.

The event was held to celebrate the opening of the county’s first portion of the trail, which was named after Jane Hague, former King County Council member and ERC trail supporter. Hague represented District 6 on the council for more than 20 years and was the co-chair of the ERC Regional Advisory Council (RAC). The county council approved a motion to name the segment after her in 2015.

The ERC runs along a former freight railway corridor from Woodinville to Renton once operated by the BNSF Railway Company. David St. John, environmental affairs officer for King County, explained that in 2003, BNSF was looking to sell the railway. Instead of selling off individual pieces of land, the ERC was kept together by a National Trails Act program called “railbanking,” which protects railway corridors when they are being sold or abandoned.

In 2009, the Port of Seattle purchased the ERC and sold interests to the county and cities the corridor runs through. In 2013, St. John said King County closed its purchase of almost 17 miles of the corridor with the intent to work with the cities involved to craft a connected regional trail system. That same year, voters approved a parks levy that allowed King County to begin developing a master plan for the trail.

The RAC was also formed to get the various stakeholders to collaborate in creating and acting on a vision of multi-purpose use for the trail.

Jane Hague Way is open, but is not in its final stage yet. St. John said the trail development process starts with removal of the railway itself, before it is replaced with a gravel trail. The rail removal and gravel treatment was budgeted by the parks division when the county acquired its sections of the ERC.

Alongside the rail removal and gravel implementation of the trail property, King County is also planning funding for the next step to develop the trails into fully paved pathways.

St. John said this year’s focus is to get the interim segments open while also moving forward with design for other areas such as the Wilburton area north to SR 520. The county plans to open a four-mile portion of the trail from Renton’s Gene Coulon Park to Newcastle Beach Park in Bellevue, later this year.


In consideration of how we voice our opinions in the modern world, we’ve closed comments on our websites. We value the opinions of our readers and we encourage you to keep the conversation going.

Please feel free to share your story tips by emailing editor@redmond-reporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.redmond-reporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 300 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it.

King County map of the entire Eastside Railway Corridor that shows how it connects the area from Woodinville to Renton. Image courtesy of King County.

King County map of the entire Eastside Railway Corridor that shows how it connects the area from Woodinville to Renton. Image courtesy of King County.

More in News

File photo
Snow Lake, located near Snoqualmie Pass in Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest.
Washington releases new forest plan

It outlines ways the state will protect and maintain forest health.

Sage Viniconis is a career performing artist in King County who’s been out of work and seeking creative outlets during the COVID-19 pandemic. Courtesy photo/Sage Viniconis
Puget Sound artists adapt creativity, and business sense, to pandemic

Artists Sunday is an online directory that connects artists across the county, state and nation.

Chris Fagan trekking across Antarctica in 2014. Contributed by Chris Fagan
South Pole or Bust

The story of a North Bend couple who trekked across Antarctica.

King County Council has nine members who each represent a district. Courtesy of kingcounty.gov
King County Council passes $12.59 billion biennial budget

King County Council on Nov. 17 passed a $12.59 billion biennial budget… Continue reading

pexels
EvergreenHealth receives stroke care certification

The hospital system was able to demonstrate quality care and an advanced stroke program

State Sen. Mark Mullet (D-Issaquah) authored the letter to Gov. Jay Inslee. Mullet represents the 5th Legislative District. File photo
Democratic lawmakers ask Inslee to lift ban on indoor dining

They want to try to scaling back on occupancy before forcing an end to inside service.

Tim Eyman get in some last minute campaigning for I-976 in downtown Bellevue on the afternoon of Nov. 5, 2019. File photo
Eyman fights allegation he repeatedly broke campaign laws

In a lawsuit, the state accuses the prolific initiative promoter of getting kickbacks.

Kabal Gill, owner of East India Grill in Federal Way, wears gloves to hand over take-out orders at his restaurant. File photo
State halts indoor service at bars, restaurants, home guests

Amid soaring new coronavirus cases and an overburdened health care system, the state’s clamping down.

King County 2020 unemployment numbers. Source: Washington State Employment Security Department
Boeing, coronavirus likely to impact King County economy

Unemployment remained high in September.

A rendering of the entrance of the upcoming southeast Redmond Light Rail stop. Courtesy Photo/Sound Transit
Construction work increasing around Redmond light rail extension

Residents can expect upcoming tree removal, structure demolition, utility relocation along State Route 520

File photo
State Supreme Court strikes down $30 car-tab initiative

Justices unanimously agreed that voter-approved Initiative 976 is unconstitutional.

The closed Redmond Senior Center on Oct. 13. Community members leave ribbons in the heart to honor the memories of the to-be-demolished center. Haley Ausbun/staff photo.
Demolition of Redmond Senior Center underway this month

The city council has an upcoming vote on the size and cost of the future senior center