This past summer, Eastrail Partners participated in a number of community events, festivals, and celebrations, where we connected with community to answer questions and gather input about the Eastrail. During these conversations, we heard from community members that they wanted more opportunities to get out on the trail, connect with others, explore new trail segments, and continue being active beyond the summer months. Based on this input, Eastrail Partners planned a series of community walks along different sections of the trail throughout Fall 2022.
Despite unseasonably warm weather, unseasonably cold weather, and a lingering smoke impact, we were excited to welcome many new and seasoned trail users on our nine different walks from Renton to Redmond. This was a great opportunity to hear directly from the community about the Eastrail. There were several major themes that came up throughout these walks:
Improving neighborhood access: Walking the trail allows for a slower look at the places where different access points are, both official and unofficial. We received many suggestions for ways to increase access to the trail, including better bike parking, and more official neighborhood paths.
Women’s Walks: Based on a community suggestion, we intentionally promoted some of these walks as specifically for those who identify as women, trans, femme, and non-binary. On these walks, we heard concerns about safety walking on long, disconnected sections of the trail. We also heard affirmation of additional resources being dedicated to these types of affinity groups.
History, Education, and Wayfinding: At our Bellevue walk, we were lucky to be joined by members of the Newcastle Historical Society, who talked about the industrial history of the former rail line where the trail is built. They shared their proposal for the installation of an historical marker near the trail. Similarly, on our other walks, users shared a desire for better wayfinding, educational placards, and public art along the trail. As the corridor continues to be developed, we hope to work with community groups and organizations to co-create this type of programming and more in the future.
As we look ahead to 2023, we hope to continue our Community Walks and bring even more users to the Eastrail.
We are grateful for the finacial support provided by Symetra, who sponsored our community walks this Fall.
Have an idea for a walk or event you’d like to see on the Eastrail in 2023? Reach out to Community Collaborations Manager Colin Petkus, [email protected]