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Eastside Rail Corridor has plan for moving ahead
The Eastside Rail Corridor Regional Advisory Council unanimously approved a report supporting cooperative planning among corridor owners on Tuesday.
The report recommends how to proceed forward with future use of the Eastside Rail Corridor, identifying a regional policy framework for decision making along the corridor and setting a vision for the ERC as development, transportation and trail system improvements continue.
“Transit riders’ first benefits from this corridor will come in 2023 when Sound Transit opens the East Link light rail extension from Seattle to Bellevue and Overlake,” said Sound Transit CEO Joni Earl in a Halloween news release. “The longer-term potential is also exciting. The process that Sound Transit just launched to update the regional transit Long-Range Plan will give the public a chance to help explore options.”
The report cites constraints within the corridor, but also highlights opportunities for improvements. Bellevue, located along the corridor's main line, will see significant change with the East Link light rail project, including Sound Transit's Hospital Station, which is funded and in design. The city is also being considered for an operations and maintenance satellite facility for handling Sound Transit's increased fleet once light rail is connected from Seattle to Bellevue and Overlake.
A project to extend Northeast Fourth Street in Bellevue, where the city will pull up rail and lower the rail bed where a portion of the old Burlington Northern Santa Fe rail line once was and develop an overcrossing, is expected to temporarily close the corridor. The report encourages continued coordination with neighboring jurisdictions, such as the city of Bellevue, to plan for such impacts to the corridor and find ways to continue use of the ERC during construction projects.
Throughout the report, the Regional Advisory Council highlights the need to integrate the corridor into adjacent communities to improve access to employment centers, utilities, neighborhoods, trail systems, parks and recreation and transportation systems that includes East Link.
“It is inspiring to think about how this corridor will play a huge role in the region’s future by linking people and communities to the places where they work and play, and by supporting essential utility uses." said Christie True, RAC Co-Chair and Director of King County's Department of Natural Resources and Parks, in a news releases. “I commend our partners for seizing the unique regional and local opportunities the corridor offers for mobility and quality of life, and I am excited about King County’s work already under way to address several of the RAC’s recommendations.”
Click here to read the full report.