Eastside Rail Corridor

All fall King county was busy telling us how they were going to open the southern section of the ERC and the mile of ERC between the 520 trail and the Cross Kirkland Connector by the end of the year.

So early in the morning on New Year’s Day I rode across the 520 bridge and picked up the ERC on 120th.  Despite what is shown on Google Maps, this is still BNSF track, not ERC.  They haven’t even removed the rails yet.  I rode it anyway, frosty conditions and all, and it will be nice when it is done.

 

When I got home I looked at their website and they’ve backed off the end-of-the-year stuff and are now saying “spring 2018.”  I can’t exactly tell what they’re planning, but it looks like you’ll be able to get onto the trail from the bike lanes on Northrup at the bottom of the hill below the old part of the 520 trail.  Next, we need to get going on the segment between Totem Lake and Wilmot Gateway.

Foothills trail

I’d read that the section of the trail just beyond South Prairie had opened and that the connection to the Buckley section would be open by year-end, so on a misty cold Sunday in the middle of December Odette and I took a ride.

The idea was to go as far as the pavement was in and then to turn around, and Odette was only up for 30 miles, so we started at the McMillan trailhead instead of our normal put-in at Pioneer.  As it turned out the trail was paved all the way to Buckley so we rode 15 miles to the totem pole and then rode back.  The grade is really gentle, the forest is beautiful, the view of the the bridge on the lower switchback (on the way back) deserves a photo.  The bridge with the laminated wooden arches is really impressive.

I got on the the web when we got back and found that King and Pierce counties have put together almost enough money for a bridge over the White River to extend the trail to Enumclaw.  Construction is supposed to start in 2018.  Their map shows the trail continuing in basically a straight line from Enumclaw to the Cedar River – but I’m not holding my breath.

The design of the King County section involves using a 100 year-old arch bridge that originally carried the predecessor to SR 410 and which now is not accessible except by bush-whacking.  The tricky part of the design takes the trail across Mud Mountain Road uphill from the highway (and not on the original railroad right of way.)

 

 

 

 

Sultan bridge on SR 2

Here’s a link to an article saying that Sultan is going to put in a pedestrian / bike bridge next to SR 2 where you come into town (in the park on the north-west side of the road.)  It will be nice not to have to jockey with cars on that narrow highway bridge but it will be interesting to see how they make it work – I can imagine coming down Old Owen, crossing SR 2, having to cross back to get to the bridge, and crossing again to continue east on SR 2 to get to Mann road…