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The Eastside Rail Trail grows: Celebrate Renton-to-Bellevue Saturday + A look at Kirkland-to-Spring District

King County will celebrate the opening of the newest section of the Eastside Rail Trail in Renton Saturday. The four-mile segment connects Gene Coulon Park to Newcastle Beach Park.

Details from King County:

Dear Friend of the ERC,

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Join King County Parks and our ERC trail partners on Saturday, September 8 at 10:30 a.m., as we celebrate a new four-mile-long segment of the interim Eastside Rail Corridor Trail. The rails are gone, the gravel is down and we’re ready to celebrate!

This new interim trail just south of I-90 connects Renton to Bellevue between Gene Coulon Park and Newcastle Beach Park, with connections to the Lake Washington Loop Trail at both ends.

When: Saturday, September 8 at 10:30 a.m. – noon

Where: On the ERC at North 43rd Street, Renton

The event will include activities for all ages.

We are excited to celebrate with our partners:

  • City of Renton
  • Choose Your Way Bellevue
  • Cascade Bicycle Club
  • The Trust for Public Land

We look forward to seeing you there!

Learn more about the ERC Trail at kingcounty.gov/parks/eastsiderailcorridor.

Bellevue’s newest trail section doesn’t really go anywhere … yet

One the opposite side of Bellevue, I finally had an opportunity to check out a recently-opened section of the Eastside Rail Trail that effectively extends the existing Cross-Kirkland Corridor Trail another couple miles to Bellevue’s under-construction Spring District.

Today, there is not a whole lot of transportation use in this new segment of trail, which has almost no access points between the South Kirkland Park & Ride and the temporary terminus. The Spring District remake is part of Bellevue’s massive BelRed redevelopment effort. Today, there are cranes and construction fences seemingly everywhere.

But in coming years, East Link light rail stations will open and the Eastside Rail Trail should be further connected into downtown Bellevue. By then, there should be a lot more housing and street-level business in the area:

Meanwhile, Bellevue is currently taking comments on building some interim bike lanes on the nearby 124th Ave NE to help connect the Spring District area to downtown. A future rebuild of the street is set to have permanent bike lanes, but the city is hoping to help make the street safer in the meantime. You can support the bike lanes via the city’s online survey.

Northrup Way is so close, yet so far.

The biggest need for this stretch of the trail is a connection to the 520 Trail/Northrup Way. You pass tantalizingly close, but there is no connection up to it. Perhaps a connection to 115th Ave NE under I-405 is the easiest way to make this connection in lieu of a larger project to connect the two major regional bike routes.

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12 responses to “The Eastside Rail Trail grows: Celebrate Renton-to-Bellevue Saturday + A look at Kirkland-to-Spring District”

  1. Erik

    Still don’t understand how anyone can claim the South section connects to Coulon park when it stops just short of it and turns to live rails. Or have they started allowing bikes on the no-bikes-allowed trail along the waterfront North of Coulon park?

    Was over there Monday, and they still had the trail closed off North of the Seahawks training center for bridge construction or something.

    1. asdf2

      I think it’s still legal to walk your bike through the “no bikes allowed” trail, just like you do to cross the Ballard Locks.

    2. Dave

      Rode this Saturday – the day it supposedly was open, It was no different than a few months ago. Still no connection to to Gene Coulon park. It’s ridiculous that they are advertising this section as complete. The tresle north of the Seahawks facility is still closed. The track next to Gene Coulon is still in place. Really no different than when I rode it in May. I can understand that it’s not complete but it’s rediculous to put out a press release claiming it is open when it is clearly not.

  2. Marko

    I question how much use it will get given that there are frequent stop signs that give the cross streets the right of way. Better trail design would give bikes the right of way over cars.

    1. asdf2

      In practice, nobody will come to a complete stop at those stop signs – they’ll just slow down enough to be prepared to stop if a car is coming, then continue on their way. The vast majority of the time, there will be no cars coming, as most of the streets that intersect the trail are tiny streets, which function as little more than driveways for a few homes.

      1. AP

        And if history is a good predictor, drivers of those few cars on those driveways will be infuriated every time a bicycle doesn’t stop at the stop sign. I gave up riding the Burke-Gilman from Kirkland to the UW in large part because of the annoying series of private driveway stops signs somewhere in the Sand Point area. (It’s been so long that I don’t remember exactly where they are.) I had way too many close calls with drivers who hadn’t fully woken up. But stopping fully at every sign would have added a good 10-20 minutes to my commute.

      2. asdf2

        The way it works in practice, you slow down so as to be prepared to stop, but you only actually stop if you see a car coming, which is almost never. Usually, there are curves in the road, limiting drivers to around 5 mph anyway, so it’s not a problem.

        This is much better than a failed experiment the UW police tried, where they turned a 2 way stop for the trail where almost no trail users actually stopped in to a 4 way stop, with police enforcement to make every bike come to a complete stop. The result was considerable delays to both cyclists and motorists, and was reverted within a few weeks.

      3. AP

        >> The way it works in practice, you slow down so as to be prepared to stop, but you only actually stop if you see a car coming, which is almost never.

        As I said, it’s been years since I’ve biked that segment. But in reality, at 7 am on a rainy winter’s day, the bicyclist can’t see the driver and the driver sure as hell didn’t slow down. I had to slow to almost a stop to keep from getting hit. Yes, that’s in accordance with the stop signs. But it was annoying enough and frequent enough to change my commute from Kirkland-BGT-UW to Kirkland-I90-cArboretum-UW.

      4. AP

        Hate the self-reply, but I realize now that the key factor here is “commute”.

        As a commuter, I ride in the worst situations for this kind of stop sign. I ride when driveways are being used (usually only twice a day). I ride when it’s dark. I ride when it’s rainy. I ride out of habit–I spin the same cadence on the same segments every day, usually not having to think about what I’m doing. And I carry (well, used to carry) 30 lbs of bags.

        Trail design in this area is still oriented towards casual cycling. We might claim that trails like the BGT and the ERC are useful for commuting, but in reality, they’re frequently not a viable alternative. I don’t ride the BGT now on my commute from Bellevue to SLU because there are too many people. While I disagree with the 15 MPH speed limit, in the summer, it’s hard to go fast safely on the BGT.

        If we want to consider cycling a commute alternative we have to build viable routes for commuters. That means safety *and* level of service guarantees.

  3. Dana Olson

    I just love riding the trail to the wineries in Woodinville. Just kidding, cause you can’t. For some reason we just can’t have nice things.

    1. I walked my bike on that 2-mile “missing link” between Woodinville & Kirkland earlier this year. It was interesting. And bumpy. Ran into a local. Will appreciate it more when the rails are pulled.

      1. AP

        Bravo! You’re my hero this morning :)

        (Yes, this sounds nasty and sarcastic but it’s meant to be kind.)

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