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Wilburton Station is destined to be a major bike/transit hub of the Eastside

Lots of bikes parked outside Wilburton Station.
Lots of people biked to Wilburton Station for the 2 Line opening celebration.

To celebrate Sound Transit’s 2 Line opening over the weekend, my kid and I biked across the 520 Bridge to a station that seems destined to play a special role in connecting biking and transit on Eastside. The newly-opened Wilburton Station is basically part of the EasTrail. The connection for trail users is seamless, easy and thoughtful. Planners clearly valued the synergy between the new light rail line and the under-construction trail. The result is a station that could be the 2 Line’s answer to UW Station on the 1 Line with its seamless connection to the Burke-Gilman Trail.

The way the 2 Line is designed, Wilburton Station is the only station with immediate access to the EasTrail, though Spring District Station is not too far. Access from the north of Wilburton Station is already in place, and a trail bridge over NE 8th Street is set to open in the coming months to connect to a short trail segment south of the station that ends at NE 4th Street.

Biking and transit map of the area around Wilburton Station.
The Wilburton Station area from the Move Redmond 2 Line station access map. Red lines=bike routes, blue lines=bus routes, black and white line=2 Line.

Trail users coming from Kirkland can continue on the trail past the giant colorful nails:

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A sign at a fork in the trail points left to the Spring District and right to public art.
This sign on the EasTrail has not yet been updated to reference Wilburton Station, but the “public art” direction will get you to the station.
A trail next to 20-foot-tall nails painted in various colors.
When you see the tall nails, you’re getting close to the station.

Like most of the EasTrail, the new trail section is gravel. As of the weekend, the gravel was fresh, wet and not yet fully packed down, but it should be rideable using any bike assuming the surface solidifies like other sections of the trail. Just be on the lookout for soft spots. I saw a couple deep ruts where people’s tires sunk into the gravel, which is not supposed to happen on a proper hardpack gravel surface.

Photo from close to the trail surface showing a tire rut in the gravel.
Telltale rut where someone’s bike tire sunk into the gravel, likely giving them a bit of a surprise.

For now, the bridge over NE 8th Street is still under construction, but the trail connection into the station is open.

A trail barricade blocks the way to the NE 8th Street bridge construction site. The station is to the left.
Photo of a building with a Wilburton Station sign and a path next to it.
A room with a dozen bike lockers.
On-demand bike lockers operated using BikeLink. As with the Seattle BikeLink facilities, it costs only 5¢ per hour to store your bike in one. New users must create BikeLink accounts, verify their IDs and load $20 to their accounts.

The area around Wilburton Station is also on the verge of a lot of development. At the moment, there are a lot of open air parking lots immediately adjacent to the station, but that could change now that the light rail station is open. With the stunningly tall trail trestle providing a landmark experience and both the trail and light rail making access easy, the area has a lot of potential. More more homes and destinations nearby could someday make it one of the more commercially active parts of the whole EasTrail route.

There are already a lot of use cases for combining biking and transit at Wilburton Station. For example, biking the EasTrail is already the best way to connect between the 2 Line and much of Kirkland. For people along the 2 Line who do not have quality bike connections from their homes or workplaces to the EasTrail (one reason we need Bike Bellevue), the train is an excellent way to get them and their bikes to the EasTrail. People could even use the 2 Line as something of a temporary bike shuttle from the I-90 Trail to the EasTrail by catching the 2 Line at South Bellevue Station. A trail connection from the I-90 Trail to South Bellevue Station should be open soon (I have asked the King County sewer project team for an update), but until then you can take some side streets to get there:

UPDATE 5/1: The trail connection from South Bellevue Station to the I-90 Trail is now open.

Wilburton Station is a good transfer point between bikes and transit now, and it will only become more important as new trail and transit segments come online. In the not-too-distant future (currently scheduled for the end of 2025), the EasTrail should extend south over the very cool Wilburton Trestle before crossing I-405 and connecting to Mercer Slough and bike routes to the I-90 Trail. By that time, the 2 Line should also connect to Seattle via the I-90 Bridge, making a bike ride to the station that much more useful.

All these new biking, walking and transit options have the potential to spark a transportation renaissance on the Eastside.

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11 responses to “Wilburton Station is destined to be a major bike/transit hub of the Eastside”

  1. JB

    Any safe and pleasant connections across 405 for people walking and biking?

    1. Kyle

      There’s a wide path on the north side of 12th St NE that you can use to cross I-405. However, EastRail goes under that road so your best route from there is to turn onto Spring Blvd or 120th Ave NE. There’s a 2-Line station just up Spring Blvd, or you can go up the path on 120th Ave NE to connect to EastRail.

      Bellevue also plans to build a path over I-405 as part of the “Grand Connection” project but that’s a while away.

    2. Al Dimond

      Well… EasTrail itself, right around 520, if you’re coming from Kirkland.

      Closer to the station, the best one is NE 12th Street; the closer ones at 10th and 8th have freeway-interchange ramps (8th is particularly bad). A bit farther south I think the Main Street crossing is alright on foot, too.

  2. Allan

    Have they made any improvements to the signal at 112 Ave SE and Bellevue Way since the station opened? If you wanted to use the walk button, there is no convenient curb cut other than a ways up the hill. The road sensor was timed for one or two cars turning left and they assumed most traffic are turning right in the timing.

  3. @tfooq @allposts Got a great surprise update today: The trail connection between the I-90 Trail and South Bellevue Station is open!

    1. Tom Fucoloro

      As a side note, the ActivityPub integration for WordPress just got a significant update. You can follow the blog directly from any Mastodon or other federated account at @allposts. Replies to that account are posted as comments here, and now replies to those comments should also be federated. Pretty neat.

      1. @[email protected] @allposts But you need to have a fediverse account for it all to work.

      2. @[email protected] @[email protected] @allposts I think the final piece missing here is the ability for WordPress commenters to reply even if they don’t have their own Fediverse account. WordPress could create accounts based on their commenter handles perhaps. I don’t know how feasible that would be, but I would love to fully merge the fediverse and wordpress comment streams.

    2. @seabikeblog @tfooq @allposts

      Had hoped to do a ride to South Bellevue, ride 2 Line to Redmond and then ride home via Bothell today and unfortunately the trail was closed at the east bridge to get off Mercer Island for a gas leak. Highway not closed though 🤔

  4. eddiew

    The KC trail bailed out ST. ST should make it a practice to provide grade-separated crossings for its intending riders; in this case, riders transferring between Link and the B Line. There are many other examples in the network. The transit network slows down at transfer points; agencies should pay special attention to their design.

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