Redmond Central Connector: An Important Addition to Redmond’s Trail Network
The Redmond Central Connector (RCC) trail is a rail trail. A rail trail is the conversion of a disused railway into a multi-use path, typically for walking, cycling and sometimes horse riding [Wikipedia].
The City of Redmond purchased the BNSF railroad right of way in Redmond in 2010 specifically to create a rail trail. Design of Phase II of the RCC is complete and construction will begin this summer.
While the RCC will enable easier, safer, faster pedestrian and bike access to Digipen and tech companies along Willows Road, that was never the main intention.
Rather, the RCC was envisioned as several things: First, it is a beautiful (and popular) linear park in downtown Redmond. Second, it is a means for cyclists to bypass Redmond Way and Cleveland Street to travel through Redmond from north to south (and vice-versa). And third, the RCC is an important component and connector in the Puget Sound regional trail network.
To the south, the RCC will connect directly with the East Lake Sammamish Trail and enable non-motorized travel to Sammamish, Issaquah and beyond. To the north and west, the RCC will connect to the Cross Kirkland Connector and the Eastside Rail Corridor. In the near future, one will be able to cycle by trail to Kirkland, Bellevue and Renton. Additionally, Snohomish County has purchased BNSF right-of-way and plans to develop a trail from Woodinville to Snohomish.
Traffic is an unavoidable part of life in our region. Trails enable people to walk and bike more safely – and remove cars from roads. In an ideal world, trails would be designed with no traffic intersections. Sadly, we do not live in an ideal world. Fortunately, trail intersections can be improved with signage and warning mechanisms for both trail users and vehicle operators.
There are plenty of examples of trail users and traffic coexisting peacefully. The Burke-Gilman Trail in Seattle has many intersections as does the Sammamish River Trail in Bothell and Kenmore. The East Lake Sammamish Trail has a number of intersections including an entrance to busy Lake Sammamish State Park. The relatively new Cross Kirkland Connector follows the old BNSF railbed as well, with a number of street crossings.
The Sammamish River Trail – a multi-use recreational trail where bicyclists, dogwalkers, kids, and commuters all coexist – is owned and maintained by King County. Yes it does get delightfully crowded on sunny days. A faster, less crowded alternative trail will be welcomed by many even if it is not as scenic.
Still concerned about safety issues and traffic near the RCC? Simple solution: Use the Sammamish River Trail. I’m looking forward to biking the second phase of the RCC when it opens in late 2016!
I’m not speaking for anyone but myself; however, I have served on the Redmond Parks and Trails Commission for six years, including a year as Chairperson. Anyone is welcome to attend our Commission meetings to express his/her concerns, ideas, and questions. We meet first Thursday of every month, 6:30 pm at Redmond City Hall.Tom Sanko