The Eastside is known for its great commuter trails, though sadly, many of them don’t connect. Instead, cyclists and pedestrians, who are in it for the long haul, have to navigate neighborhood streets in place to augment their commute.
However, the recently-approved Washington state budget has allocated $2.5 million to connect King County and Kirkland trails by creating the Willows Road Regional Trail Connection.
The overall goal of the connection is to lessen traffic congestion while providing better connectivity between Eastside cities according to Kirkland City Council Member Dave Asher. “This is a great milestone for active transportation in our region. The connectivity from northeast Kirkland to Redmond and Woodinville brings the overall vision of the Eastside Rail Corridor one step closer to reality,” he said.
The Willows Road Regional Trail Connection will be one-third of a mile long. The pedestrian and bicycle trail will run east of and adjacent to Willows Road between Northeast 124th Street and 139th Avenue Northeast. Along the Cross Kirkland Corridor, east of Slater Avenue Northeast, the Eastside Rail Corridor crosses Willows Road at 139th Avenue Northeast. The Sammamish River Trail crosses Willows Road at Northeast 124th Street. Another section of the Willows Road Regional Trail Connection will connect Totem Lake, Redmond, and Woodinville.
This tiny section of trail will have huge benefits for the businesses along its path including Woodinville wineries, technology companies on Willows Road, and aerospace and manufacturing companies in Totem Lake.
“This is a win for Kirkland and a win for our neighbors,” Asher said. “The hard work of our full legislative delegation made this possible.”
The Willows Road Regional Trail Connection isn’t the only recent addition to Kirkland’s trail system and green spaces. In early February, city officials voted to purchase land that will expand Juanita Park. The purchase will preserve a crucial wildlife area, and could potentially create even more pedestrian-friendly trails.
Construction on the Willows Road Regional Trail Connection is scheduled to start in early 2019.