Panel will oversee partner planning process for 42-mile corridor
StoryThe Metropolitan King County Council today gave its unanimous approval to the members of the panel that will be responsible for ensuring that the planning for the dual uses of trail and transit on the Eastside Rail Corridor (ERC) will be an inclusive, regional process.
“I’m delighted to be working with these leaders from around the region, our fellow owners of this crucial resource,” said Councilmember Jane Hague, Vice Chair for Regional Coordination. “We have agreed to work together to develop a shared vision for how we will coordinate the corridor’s development.”
“Bringing the Eastside Rail Corridor into public ownership and bringing together representatives of the parties with an ownership share in the corridor will not only enhance cooperative planning efforts, but helps us to realize dual transit and trail use at the lowest cost to taxpayers,” said Councilmember Larry Phillips, Co-sponsor of the legislation and Chair of the Transportation, Economy, and Environment Committee. “I look forward to working with the other advisory council members and incorporating input from citizens and other stakeholders.”
“This is an important rail-trail corridor to have in public ownership, and I am glad to be able to represent the communities, commuters and recreation users who have a great interest in the public uses of this corridor,” said Councilmember Kathy Lambert. “This effort represents an unprecedented level of collaboration among public and private agencies all working in the best interest of regional mobility.”
Last December, the Council unanimously approved legislation that keeps the ERC, the former rail line that extends from King County into Snohomish County, under public control. Part of the approved legislation included the creation of the Regional Advisory Council to make recommendations on a planning process for various uses of the corridor by the entities that have ownership rights within the corridor. The focus of the planning process would be how the rail, trail and utility uses in the corridor will be coordinated.
The panel, whose members were proposed by the County Executive and confirmed by the Council, will coordinate with the affected cities around local planning and development and will reach out to community stakeholders who have long been awaiting the corridor’s future uses.
County Executive Constantine and Council Vice Chair Jane Hague, the Councilmember who represents the majority of the cities directly affected by development of the corridor, will serve as co-chairs of the Advisory Council. The other panel members will be:
• County Councilmembers Larry Phillips and Kathy Lambert,
• Kirkland Mayor Joan McBride,
• Redmond Mayor John Marchione,
• Sound Transit CEO Joni Earl, and
• David Namura of Puget Sound Energy.
“I thank the Council for approving the Advisory Council members and, with their assistance, I look forward to the day when all people in our region can enjoy the corridor,” said King County Executive Dow Constantine.
“The panel has a challenging task, ensuring that the decisions on the future of the corridor are made in an open, transparent and inclusive manner,” said Council Chair Larry Gossett. “I look forward to seeing their recommendations on the direction we could go in coordinating the possible uses of the ERC.”
“I am pleased to see that this advisory council will begin work on this important topic,” said Councilmember Reagan Dunn. “The men and women on this council will do an outstanding job and I look forward to reviewing their findings.”
A facilitator will lead the work of the Advisory Council, which will hold its first meeting later this month.
A key work program item of the Advisory Council will be to discuss how to receive input from a wide variety of voices interested in the corridor's development: representatives of regional partners, local governments along the corridor, community organizations, business owners, adjacent landowners, rail/trail advocates, public health agencies and the public.
The preliminary recommendations from the panel are to be presented to the County Executive by July 31, 2013. The Executive will present their recommendations to the County Council by August 30, 2013.