Eastrail Partners celebrates the inclusion of $29M for Eastrail projects we advocated for in “Move Ahead Washington,” the recently passed state transportation package. We thank state lawmakers for including funding for key Eastrail projects that will accelerate progress towards a fully connected Eastrail.
The $29M in state funding will be used to fast-track key trail projects, including the steel bridge that crosses Interstate 90 in Bellevue; extending the trail south with connections to Gene Coulon Park and downtown Renton; and retrofitting a trestle over State Route 202 as the first step in connecting Eastrail into downtown Woodinville.
Eastrail Partners advocated for this project funding in partnership with the cities of Woodinville, Bellevue, and Renton, and King County, and with the strong support of the Eastrail Regional Advisory Council.
“Eastrail is all about connecting communities, and this state transportation funding helps shorten the to-do list of Eastrail projects needing funding as we build a fully connected, safe and accessible trail for all. Eastrail Partners was honored to work with governmental partners, legislative champions like Representative Slatter, and other nonprofits to advocate for funding for these key projects,” said Eastrail Partners Board President Edna Shim.
King County Council Chair Claudia Balducci shares, “Eastrail is the rare project that brings together all the important things we care about: health, transportation choices, climate, and equity. In addition, Eastrail is an example of what we can do when we cooperate, at different levels of government and between public and private entities. This historic investment reflects the unique importance of Eastrail in our community.
$5 million will expand and improve where the Eastrail passes over State Route 202 at the entrance of downtown Woodinville. With other sections of Eastrail in the Woodinville area opening in 2022, funding and implementing this project will kickstart the process towards the full Woodinville section of Eastrail to the Snohomish County line. Thank you to project sponsors Senator Dhingra and Representatives Goodman and Springer!
“The City of Woodinville commends every leader that stepped up to advocate for Eastrail, acknowledging the project as an important link between eastside communities that fosters healthy activities, non-motorized transportation, and recreation for all,” said Woodinville Mayor Mike Millman. “Building on existing local funding and collaboration among public and private partners, this injection of state funds springboards construction on several missing gaps in the project. In particular, the State Route 202 Trestle retrofit has been a longstanding barrier but now the full vision for expanded trail access through Woodinville can be realized.”
$18 million is included for Eastrail Multi-Use Corridor through Bellevue, with over half of that for the I-90 Steel Bridge. Spanning Interstate 90 just west of I-405, this former railroad crossing is key to a seamless trail experience connecting Renton and points south of I-90 to the rest of the Eastrail. This project is a key component to improving equity in the corridor, creating access and connections for south King County communities to other Eastside communities and the Mountains to Sound Trail over I-90. Funding will allow the bridge to be safely retrofitted for bike and pedestrian use. Thank to you project sponsors Senator Kuderer and Representatives Slatter and Walen!
“As an avid bicyclist who regularly uses Eastrail and our expanding network of regional trails in Bellevue, I’m elated with the transportation package adopted by state legislators,” said Bellevue Mayor Lynne Robinson. “This crucial investment to help refurbish the steel bridge over I-90 will unlock trail access both north and south of the highway. I’m grateful to everyone who made this possible, but special thanks to 48th Legislative District Rep. Vandana Slatter, who has been a true champion of Eastrail.”
$6 million in funding will kickstart planning and the acquisition process of the Eastrail corridor south of the current terminus at Mile Post 5 into Gene Coulon Park. Eastrail extending into the park will link users to Gene Coulon Park and Southport on Lake Washington and help build toward a generational opportunity to further connect the Eastrail in Renton with other regional trail corridors in South King County that extend recreation and transportation opportunities for over 60 miles. Thank you to project sponsors from both the 41st and 33rd legislative districts – your collaboration on this project reflects the significant support for the importance of a connected trail system in South King County!
“I’m pleased that $29 million in funding, which will address several key gaps in the Eastrail corridor, was included in the Move Ahead Washington package passed by the Legislature,” shared Renton Mayor Armondo Pavone. “I’m especially excited about the $6 million “Eastrail South” allocation that will help extend the Renton segment of Eastrail south to connect with the shared South Coulon Park and Southport entrance. This funding will be transformative for Renton; it will provide the transition to link Eastrail with other regional trail systems nearby—Cedar River Trail and Lake-to-Sound Trail. Knitting all these trail segments together will provide significant benefits to generations of users in our region.”
This summer King County Parks will open two new miles of trail between Kirkland and Woodinville. Construction is also under way on the new Totem Lake Connector bridge in Kirkland, scheduled to open later this year. Over the past two years, Eastrail Partners has worked to secure $9.5M in private sector funding from Amazon, Meta, and REI for investments in the Wilburton Trestle and Northup Connector projects in Bellevue.
Eastrail is a major north-south spine of Leafline, the regional trail effort that will connect King, Pierce, Snohomish, and Kitsap counties. It will connect to Mountains to Sound trail along Interstate 90 (which also received funding in the transportation package for a trail section in Bellevue) and 520 trail, creating connections between trail systems on both sides of Lake Washington. Additional trail connections will be made at the northern and southern ends as more segments are completed.
“Move Ahead WA is an investment in a healthy future for all Washingtonians,” shares Lee Lambert, executive director at Cascade Bike Club. “Funding for trails, protected bike lanes, and local infrastructure enables more people to get out of cars and onto bikes. Move Ahead WA will improve public health, advance equity, reduce air pollution and climate emissions, and create green infrastructure jobs while making our communities more livable and happy.”
The $29M for Eastrail projects represents a growing commitment to trails as transit infrastructure, the need for active transportation resources, and carbon emissions reductions in transit. Eastrail Partners applauds the inclusion of multimodal infrastructure in this plan, and in the recognition of trails as transit!