With the opening of the trail connector between the Eastrail and Northup Way, the in-development rail-trail now connects directly to the 520 bike route. And Hanoch Yeung was there to document the opening and ride the short new trail on his YouTube Channel Best Side Cycling.
This short elevated pathway will play a vital role in the regional trail network, especially once the Eastrail is extended and connected into and through Bellevue. The NE 8th Street bridge in the Spring District was supposed to open in 2023 as well, but it has faced some delays and will open in 2024. But the biggest section of trail in Bellevue is waiting on some major projects like the Wilburton Trestle, currently scheduled to open in 2025. That’s not so long from now.
Folks heading to and from the direction of Seattle on the 520 Trail and connecting in the direction of Kirkland on the Eastrail, the new connector is a bit out of the way but saves a very steep on-road connection on 108th Ave NE near the South Kirkland Park and Ride. However, I suspect many people will continue to ride 108th because it is significantly shorter. But essentially every rider coming to and from areas east of I-405 will be much better served by this new connector.
The Northup Connector was “a private-public partnership with $2M funding from REI Co-op, Meta, and last-in funding secured by King County Councilmember Claudia Balducci,” according to Eastrail Partners.