April 2, 2013
Important message about the Cross Kirkland Corridor
Dear Community Member,
It is with great disappointment that I share with you that the City of Kirkland was served on April 1, 2013 with a Federal lawsuit which seeks to stop the City from removing the rail tracks and ties along the Cross Kirkland Corridor. The lawsuit was filed by Ballard Terminal Railroad Company (“Ballard”) in Federal District Court in the Western District of Washington. In addition to the injunction, Ballard has filed a petition with the federal Surface Transportation Board (“STB”) seeking to reactivate the Eastside Rail Corridor for freight service from Woodinville to Bellevue, WA. These actions make it necessary for the City to carefully evaluate Ballard’s claims and to consider our legal options.
As you may be aware, the City has hired a contractor to remove the rails to make way for an Interim Trail along the Cross Kirkland Corridor. The removal has been anticipated to begin this month; with construction of the Interim Trail to begin this fall. We intend to keep with the community’s desire to allow use of the trail as soon as possible, even if it requires us to put our plans on hold as we take time to better understand the impacts of the lawsuit and petition.
The Cross Kirkland Corridor is 5.75 miles of the 44+ mile Eastside Rail Corridor (ERC). Apart from the segments owned by the City of Kirkland and the City of Redmond, the ERC has been recently acquired by King County.
It is our initial understanding that Ballard seeks to keep Kirkland from removing the rails on our Corridor so that freight use can be re-established. We are hopeful that the Federal District Court will rule on the injunction case in the coming weeks and that the STB decision regarding Ballard’s request to reactivate our Corridor as a freight (not transit or excursion train) corridor will also be expedited.
We are confident that Kirkland will ultimately be able to carry out our citizens’ vision for the Corridor. However, there are many complexities to this issue and your understanding and patience is appreciated. Updates will be released through the City’s email notification subscriber lists and posted to the Cross Kirkland Corridor webpage at www.kirklandwa.gov/crosskirklandcorridor.
If you have a specific question, please send it to Pam Bissonnette, Director, Public Works Department, at 425-587-3802 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
City of Kirkland