King County, Kirkland, and Bellevue representatives cut the ribbon on the new trail. From left: Kirkland City Council member Penny Sweet, Kirkland Mayor Amy Walen, Kirkland City Council member Jay Arnold, Bellevue Mayor John Chelminiak, former King County Council member Jane Hague, King County Parks Director Kevin Brown, Bellevue City Council member John Stokes, King County Council member Claudia Balducci and King County DNRP Director Christie True. Photo courtesy of Eli Brownell, King County Parks.

King County, Kirkland, and Bellevue representatives cut the ribbon on the new trail. From left: Kirkland City Council member Penny Sweet, Kirkland Mayor Amy Walen, Kirkland City Council member Jay Arnold, Bellevue Mayor John Chelminiak, former King County Council member Jane Hague, King County Parks Director Kevin Brown, Bellevue City Council member John Stokes, King County Council member Claudia Balducci and King County DNRP Director Christie True. Photo courtesy of Eli Brownell, King County Parks.

King County opens first section of Eastside Railway Corridor connection

Former railway corridor now connects Kirkland and Bellevue.

Dozens of citizens, elected officials, and staff from Kirkland, Bellevue, and King County gathered on June 19 for the grand opening and ribbon cutting of a newly opened section of the Eastside Railway Corridor (ERC).

The new section will be known as Jane Hague Way.

The ERC is an effort by King County and several other Eastside municipalities and agencies including the cities of Kirkland, Bellevue, Redmond, Woodinville and Renton as well as Puget Sound Energy and Sound Transit, to craft a trail that would connect to other cities as well as existing trail systems.

Jane Hague Way is a one-mile portion of the ERC that connects the Cross Kirkland Corridor trail with Bellevue’s Spring District and the Washington State Department of Transportation’s SR 520 trail, which runs east to west from the University of Washington to Redmond. This is King County’s first project to open as part of the long-term ERC plan since the county purchased 16.7 miles of corridor in 2013.

The event was held to celebrate the opening of the county’s first portion of the trail, which was named after Jane Hague, former King County Council member and ERC trail supporter. Hague represented District 6 on the council for more than 20 years and was the co-chair of the ERC Regional Advisory Council (RAC). The county council approved a motion to name the segment after her in 2015.

The ERC runs along a former freight railway corridor from Woodinville to Renton once operated by the BNSF Railway Company. David St. John, environmental affairs officer for King County, explained that in 2003, BNSF was looking to sell the railway. Instead of selling off individual pieces of land, the ERC was kept together by a National Trails Act program called “railbanking,” which protects railway corridors when they are being sold or abandoned.

In 2009, the Port of Seattle purchased the ERC and sold interests to the county and cities the corridor runs through. In 2013, St. John said King County closed its purchase of almost 17 miles of the corridor with the intent to work with the cities involved to craft a connected regional trail system. That same year, voters approved a parks levy that allowed King County to begin developing a master plan for the trail.

The RAC was also formed to get the various stakeholders to collaborate in creating and acting on a vision of multi-purpose use for the trail.

Jane Hague Way is open, but is not in its final stage yet. St. John said the trail development process starts with removal of the railway itself, before it is replaced with a gravel trail. The rail removal and gravel treatment was budgeted by the parks division when the county acquired its sections of the ERC.

Alongside the rail removal and gravel implementation of the trail property, King County is also planning funding for the next step to develop the trails into fully paved pathways.

St. John said this year’s focus is to get the interim segments open while also moving forward with design for other areas such as the Wilburton area north to SR 520. The county plans to open a four-mile portion of the trail from Renton’s Gene Coulon Park to Newcastle Beach Park in Bellevue, later this year.


In consideration of how we voice our opinions in the modern world, we’ve closed comments on our websites. We value the opinions of our readers and we encourage you to keep the conversation going.

Please feel free to share your story tips by emailing editor@bellevuereporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.bellevuereporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 300 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it.

King County map of the entire Eastside Railway Corridor that shows how it connects the area from Woodinville to Renton. Image courtesy of King County.

King County map of the entire Eastside Railway Corridor that shows how it connects the area from Woodinville to Renton. Image courtesy of King County.

More in News

Geographic dispersion of Washington State Patrol commissioned personnel who lost their jobs Oct. 18. (Washington State Patrol)
Rather than get vaccine, nearly 1,900 state workers lose jobs

Exactly how many people will be out of work for ignoring Gov.… Continue reading

King County Courthouse adjacent to City Hall Park (courtesy of City of Seattle)
County council votes to take dangerous park out of Seattle’s hands

City Hall Park, next to the courthouse in downtown Seattle, has had multiple reports of crime.

stock image
Health care workers call on state’s hospitals to help mitigate staffing crisis

Health care workers unions claim hospitals have the resources to fix the issue.

file photo
Eastside Fire & Rescue says their response times will not be affected by absence of unvaccinated employees

Spokesperson says about 13 employees have left the department at the moment.

File photo
Do you need to pay for your COVID hospital stay?

Washington state law requires hospitals to provide free care for certain income brackets.

Stock photo
State AG Ferguson leads effort supporting local journalism

Federal legislation offers tax credits to subscribers, businesses and news organizations

C-17 at Joint Base Lewis McChord airstrip (courtesy of United States Military)
King County councilmember proposes program to aid transition of Afghan interpreters who served the U.S. overseas

Program would provide job training and learning opportunities for Afghan interpreters and advisors.

Vaccinations taking place. File photo
Inslee: No ‘massive disruptions’ as worker vax rates hit 90%

A surge in vaccinations has eased concern about service slowdowns ahead of a Monday deadline.

King County Councilmember Kathy Lambert (file photo)
Lambert removed from King County Council leadership roles

Lambert received backlash after her campaign used flyers that depicted her opponent as a puppet.

Most Read