While 2021 brought continued challenges for many, the Eastrail continued to be a place for people to come together. Eastrail Partners is proud of our work to make the Eastrail for everyone, every day. It has been a great year for the Eastrail – follow along for 2021 highlights!
Eastrail Sections Opened in 2021
Eastrail Partners joined WA Department of Transportation, King County Parks and other partners in celebrating the opening of the Eastrail from the Virginia Mason Athletic Center where the Seahawks practice to Coal Creek Parkway in Bellevue. This section of Eastrail is wide and paved with a gravel side for folks who want a non-paved surface to walk or run on!
The trail crossing over May Creek in Renton was expanded from a single file walkway to a full-width bridge, with great views of salmon heading upstream this fall.
City of Kirkland constructed the Willows Road connector, which will connect the Eastrail section from northern Kirkland to Woodinville and the Redmond Central Connector of Eastrail into Redmond once opened.
Totem Lake Connector – this Eastrail overcrossing will connect the current Cross Kirkland Corridor segment of Eastrail with the upcoming northern Kirkland section. The overcrossing bridge will take Eastrail users over one of the busiest road interchanges in the area, making Eastrail travel between northern Bellevue and northern Kirkland seamless. It’s slated to open in late 2022 (City of Kirkland project).
405 Crossing – if you have traveled along I-405 through Bellevue, you might have noticed construction work on both sides just north of the I-90 interchange. This is the start of construction of WA State Department of Transportation’s Eastrail crossing where the trail cross from the west of 405 to the Wilburton area of Bellevue.
Northern Kirkland to Woodinville – railroad ties on this section have been pulled (from Totem Lake in Kirkland to NE 145th St. in Woodinville) and trail expected to open summer 2022 (King County Parks project).
Projects Now Fully Funded
Wilburton Trestle and Trail Segment – Eastrail Partners was honored to work with Amazon to secure their $7.5M investment that fully-funds the conversion of 100-foot-tall Wilburton Trestle into a trail, and to build the adjacent Wilburton Trail Segment, which will connect the Trestle to the future NE 8th St. overcrossing and Wilburton light rail station in Bellevue. Read more here.
Northup Connector – In 2020, Eastrail Partners worked with REI and Meta (formerly Facebook) to secure their $2M investment for the Northup Connector. King County Council Chair Balducci included an amendment to King County’s 2021-2022 budget to provide the remaining or “last in” funding needed to complete the estimated $2.5 million Northup Connector project. In December this year, the King County Council approved an innovative agreement will allow Eastrail Partners to manage, design and construct the Northup Connector leveraging the expertise of our board of directors. We are SO excited to more Eastrail to you!! Read more here.
Wondering where you can get out on the Eastrail? Or where projects are?
Our interactive map shows what’s open, upcoming projects and gaps, adjacent parks, and transportation options along the trail. Check it out!
Advocacy for Eastrail Funding
While Eastrail Partners is proud of the private sector investments we have secured for Eastrail projects, significant unfunded sections of the trail throughout King County remain and governmental funding is key to filling these gaps.
This year, Eastrail Partners successfully lead advocacy efforts for state and federal funding for Eastrail projects, resulting in $6.5M for projects included in the House INVEST Act and $29M in WA State new revenue transportation budget proposals (to date, neither piece of legislation have passed). Learn more about our project priorities for state transportation funding.
Shaping Eastrail with Communities
We believe the Eastrail should be for everyone, every day. To that end, we hosted or supported 10 trail events this year. It was great to be able to welcome folks outside on the Eastrail after socially-distanced 2020! Events included federal and state legislative outreach and two partnership events focusing directly on inclusion: Peace Peloton’s Fresh Air/Bike to Black Business ride and community-lead Music & Culture on the Eastrail.
For this effort to truly be sustainable, Eastrail must be safe and accessible for all, especially for individuals and communities who might not traditionally feel comfortable in this space. We are committed to an inclusive Eastrail. We prioritize building relationships with diverse community groups to learn what using the Eastrail means for them. This year’s efforts culminated in community-lead “Music & Culture on the Eastrail” event on the Redmond Central Connector of the Eastrail. Over 300 people participated a trail walk lead by a mariachi band that ended with a celebration of immigrant-owned food trucks and musical performances.
These “do-it-yourself,” app-based scavenger hunts are a fun way to explore open sections of the trail in Renton, Kirkland and Redmond. They are available year-round. We hope you’ll get outside on the Eastrail!
What a year for our trail! Eastrail Partners sends a huge THANK YOU to each of you for your collaboration, engagement, and support this year. We hope to see you on the Eastrail soon!
PS – Supporting Eastrail Partners through an annual donation is the most effective way you can support a fully-connected Eastrail. We hope you’ll choose to give what you can! You can donate via our website, or send a check to: Eastrail Partners, PO Box 1091, Woodinville, WA 98072.