This October King County and City of Kirkland, in coordination with the Eastside Greenway Alliance, submitted a $25 million grant request to fund two segments of the Eastside Rail Corridor. Known as the New Connections for Eastside Innovation Centers, the project will construct 2.64 miles of multipurpose trail in Bellevue and a bike and pedestrian bridge in Kirkland, completing the southern portion of the ERC between Kirkland’s Totem Lake and Renton.
The Wilburton Center Segment is anticipated as the highest use portion of the entire 42-mile ERC trail. It runs from downtown Bellevue through the Wilburton District to north of I-90, providing direct connection between residents and local services and businesses. The segment will incorporate community gathering spaces and other amenities to support users of this active transportation corridor.
The Totem Lake Connector Bridge in Kirkland will create a bike and pedestrian bridge over the Totem Lake Boulevard and Northeast 124th Street interchange at the Totem Lake Urban Center. Users of the ERC in Kirkland, known as the Cross Kirkland Corridor, must currently cross the 5-way intersection in order to connect the two ends of the trail. The new bridge will provide an iconic and functional cornerstone of active transportation mobility in the growing Totem Lake area and of the ERC.
The USDOT grant, known as TIGER, is a competitive federal program that funds large infrastructure projects as catalysts to local economic recovery and development. This project proposes to connect five of the largest and fastest- growing cities in the Eastside, which will not only reduce commute time and cost savings for individuals, but also provide the infrastructure for regional businesses to grow into competitive employment centers.
The sheer number of support letters from business, nonprofit and governments – over 50 –received within the tight two- week window speaks volumes to the community interest in and value of the project. The completed application submitted to USDOT, including project details, support letters, and various benefit analyses, can be viewed on the project website.
A final determination of projects selected for this years’ TIGER funding will be announced in spring 2018. In the meantime, progress on the corridor continues, with 5 miles of trail set to open in the next few months.