Elected officials and community leaders today unveiled Eastrail, the new name for the emerging 42-mile multipurpose trail previously known as Eastside Rail Corridor.
At a celebration Redmond, they also announced a new nonprofit partner that will help complete its transformation from a lightly used freight rail line to an uninterrupted paved trail that will span from Gene Coulon Park in Renton through Bellevue, Kirkland, Redmond, and extend north to Woodinville and Snohomish County. It also will connect to four light rail stations that Sound Transit will open in 2023 as part of its East Link extension.
“Today, we accelerate our unified effort to complete an ambitious 42-mile regional trail that will connect Eastside communities with a scenic paved path,” said Executive Constantine. “Eastrail will offer a convenient, healthy way to get to and from four of the 10 Link light rail stations we will open on the Eastside in 2023."
“Twelve years ago, the future of this rail corridor was uncertain,” said King County Councilmember and Regional Advisory Committee chair Claudia Balducci. “Through a bold vision and the hard work of many people, we have preserved the corridor and started opening segments of it to the public. Today, we begin the process of transforming these segments into a singular, regional whole, called the ‘Eastrail’ as we open a new chapter that will make this an exceptional Eastside treasure for all to enjoy.”
Eastrail – pronounced “ee – strail” – is owned and managed by King County, Snohomish County, the cities of Kirkland, Redmond, and Woodinville, Sound Transit, and Puget Sound Energy. It was purchased with the goal of developing a publicly owned, uninterrupted multi-use corridor through the spine of East King County.
About 13 miles of trail are now open to the public with the goal of completing the trail from Renton to Woodinville and Redmond by 2025.
The new nonprofit organization announced Saturday, Eastrail Partners, includes representatives from local businesses, non-governmental organizations, and community leaders. The partnership’s highest priority recommendation is to establish an uninterrupted trail along the entire corridor while supporting the development of trailside amenities and trail-oriented urban development to better connect Eastrail with surrounding communities.
“The Eastrail Partners are proud to support the visionary work of the Eastrail Regional Advisory Council and its member governments to build a world-class trail, together with transit and other public projects, on the old rail line between Renton and Woodinville,” said Bill Finkbeiner, Eastrail Partners board member.
Eastrail’s name evokes its rail history and its trail future. Its tagline, “Let’s Connect,” reflects the vision of the corridor to better connect Eastside communities with an uninterrupted, non-motorized trail.
The celebration Saturday in Redmond included a youth bike rodeo and an organized bike ride sponsored by Cascade Bicycle Club, free bike tune-ups sponsored by REI Co-op, an art walk sponsored by City of Redmond, and live music.