This is a travesty. A very sad day.
The Eastside Rail Corridor lost another segment today.
“Leadership” and WSDOT declare they can’t cope with congestion and use this as an excuse to create toll lanes on I-405. Sound Transit spends Billions creating a slow, light capacity rail system preaching it is the most amazing solution. But then we abandon the Heavy Capacity Rail line that perfectly parallels the I-405 corridor that could serve as an incredible, irreplaceable resource to relieve the pressure on I-405 and SR522 from Renton to Maltby and beyond at a fraction of the cost of rail-miles in ST3. And rather than contribute to the solution, the NIMBYs adjacent to the right-of-way in Kirkland were more worried about their property value, unlike the people who lost their property to ST light capacity rail in north and south King County.
I am an avid cyclist and a strong advocate for Bike-to-Work. The northern end of this trail ends less than a mile from my house. Converting this to a bike trail would be nice, but for the good of the region, I would rather see us focus on using this in a way it can best serve our community as an integral component of our transit system. Yet there is no plan for it anywhere in the next 20 years.
This is a case of Disgraceful politics rather than intelligent solutions. Sure, there are claims it is “multi-use”, but when? Why wasn’t that included in ST3 at a bargain of a deal on a true commuter rail system or dedicated Bus Rapid Transit line compared to the Billion-dollar-miles they are getting in Seattle? In fact, it could also carry some of that freight that is currently driving on I-405 reducing congestion, increasing traffic speeds, and reducing wear on the highway. It may not be profitable to repair for BNSF, but it would be a bargain to repair at the cost of transit alternatives. Shameful.
Now is the time to call your legislators AND your city mayors and insist the Eastside Rail Corridor be a part of the solution to I-405 TODAY. Call the legislators’ HOTLINE at 1-800-562-6000 (TTY for Hearing Impaired 1-800-635-9993). Or better yet, call each one of your 3 legislators and speak directly to them about it. If you don’t know who your legislators are, you can find them here. Here are their email addresses. Don’t forget to contact your city officials who may have an even bigger impact on this.