4-29-08 email from Kathy Lambert

here is the email I got from Kathy Lambert when I sent her the Cascade Bike Clubs form letter about rail banking:

from: Jones, Andrew
to: jerry@obatik.com,

date: Tue, Apr 29, 2008 at 1:22 PM
subjectRE: BNSF Eastside Rail Corridor
mailed-by: kingcounty.gov

hide details 1:22 PM (22 hours ago) Reply

Dear trail enthusiast,

Thank you for sharing your thoughts with Kathy about this very important corridor. She has looked at the corridor and believes that it can sustain dual use with both rails and trails.

Specifically, Kathy also supports:
* Railbanking the corridor and placing and keeping it in public ownership;
* An interim trail; and
* A regional planning process to evaluate trail and rail use.

The current proposal includes all of these items.

The timeline with BNSF requires that action be taken by May 15. This date is the third extension of the contract date and I doubt that BNSF is interested in any additional extensions. The county has presented so many different offers that it may be difficult for the Port to make a final trail decision prior to May 15.

The most important order of business at this time is to get this corridor into public ownership so it can be an asset for citizens for many years to come. So, this action is a great the first step which will ensure that acquisition, and will still allow for both the Port and the County to work jointly in fine tuning the details of design and use as we move forward. Once the corridor is in public ownership then the usage of it can be determined more specifically.

Neither the executive transmittal nor any communication from the Port have suggested that the Port would have any veto power which could prevent trail development, and no councilmember has suggested such a provision.

Throughout the process, the Port has been wonderful to work with. They have stepped up to make a major investment in the future of this region by purchasing this corridor from BNSF for $107 million.

And please be assured that the Port has made it clear to Kathy that dual usage is the goal. There is enough land in most parts of the 42 miles for that to be easily accomplished. The agreement will allow that in those few pinch point areas there will be cooperation as to how the rails and trails will be designed.

The Port has stated repeatedly that they want the county to be the trail manager as we have the infrastructure to make that happen and a proven track record of providing world class trails. The Port recognizes that they are not in the trail business, but this partnership with the county will allow for various needs and interests to be served along this corridor.

All of this considered, this opportunity is a win-win situation that ensures both rails and trails.

So please help us go one step at a time, first to get the corridor into public ownership, and secondly to work through a regional planning process to develop it to meet dual usage. We will all benefit by sharing this corridor.

The council held a public meeting on Monday, April 28th at our Committee of the Whole meeting and took public comment on this issue. You will also have additional opportunities to comment on Monday, May 5 at the Committee of the Whole meeting which starts at 9:30 a.m., and if it is referred for action that afternoon, at the meeting of the King County Council which starts at 1:30 p.m.

All of our meetings are held in Council chambers on the 10th floor of the King County Courthouse. You can also watch the meetings live on King County Television – Cable Channel 22.

Thanks, again, for taking the time to write.

Andrew T. Jones
Councilmember Kathy Lambert’s office

—–Original Message—–
From: Jerry Scott [mailto:jerry@obatik.com]
Sent: Friday, April 25, 2008 7:58 AM
To: Lambert, Kathy
Subject: BNSF Eastside Rail Corridor

Dear Councilmember Lambert,
Please guarantee the future of a BNSF Trail by railbanking the Eastside rail corridor. King County’s trails carry millions of trips each year and are an invaluable segment of our regional transportation network. A trail along the BNSF corridor would be no less important, as it links the Eastside’s largest job and residential centers together via a clean, affordable, and sustainable form of transportation.

I am disturbed to hear that the latest deal between the Port of Seattle and King County gives the Port veto power over any future trail plans, and subordinates a trail to "transportation use" — despite the fact that trail users are engaging in transportation. A 2005 study showed the Burke-Gilman Trail with over 3,000 trips per day, half of which were commuters going to work (they did not count errands or other utilitarian trips). That’s about as many trips as some of Metro Transit’s busiest bus routes and more than the projections for the proposed diesel rail line.

I strongly disagree with the provision and urge you to strike it from the agreement. Instead, railbank the corridor, build an interim trail, and undertake a master planning process. I support rail-with-trail, but it is critical that we assure the future of a nonmotorized transportation link, regardless of what happens.


Jerry Scott