Sometimes the wheels of progress turn slowly, but they do turn. This week the King County Council closed the loop on an idea that I first started gathering input on in the fall of 2005: how to preserve what would come to be known as the Eastside Rail Corridor (ERC) in public ownership for future generations to enjoy.
This past weekend, the importance of the corridor was brought home to me again when a friend and I spent several hours biking the Cedar River Trail – another former rail corridor. We rode to the Renton Airport, then took the trail upriver to the Maple Valley area. Along the way, we passed people walking, biking, and pushing their kids in strollers as they enjoyed the morning.
Some people had clearly driven to the trail to take a walk, while others stepped right out their back door to stroll with a cup of coffee and enjoy their neighbors.
The Cedar River Trail connects to the Eastside Rail Corridor and they both offer amazing views of wildlife, forests and precious wetlands. The ERC also runs through six major economic centers on the eastside of Lake Washington, almost like a string of pearls on a chain. By keeping the corridor in public ownership, we are keeping open the possibility that true multi-use transportation, trail and rail, may one day link those pearls.
This project exemplifies the work we try to do in the county; bringing communities together, making it easy for people to have healthier lifestyles, preserving green space and wetlands and providing alternative ways of commuting.
In the end, just one vote away from preserving this land, we all feel a tremendous sense of accomplishment and look forward to the next journey.