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July 15, 2014

All Things Cross Kirkland Corridor
Monthly Update – July 2014

Interim Trail Construction: Contractor on site starting week of July 14

Thanks to all who attended the Groundbreaking for the Interim Trail on June 28. Now that the golden shovels are put away, it’s time to get to work! 

Starting the week of July 14, Rodarte Construction will be “mobilizing” on the Corridor at the south end. We are as anxious as you are about the construction and hope the brief Q&A will be helpful:

Will the entire Corridor be closed during construction?
No. We want to keep as much of it available for public use during the construction as possible. Construction will be done in segments starting at the south end by the So. Kirkland Park & Ride; working north. We estimate each segment will take about a month to complete. Construction will include spreading and compacting the gravel and improving the street crossing within that segment.

Your first construction notice: From approximately July 15-August 15, the most southern segment from 108th Ave NE to the NE 68th Street bridge, will be completely closed to public use/access.

Will there be construction signs?
Yes. Trail closure signs will be posed at intersections and trail heads leading to the Corridor where the trail is closed. For safety, closures will be 24 hours a day and 7 days a week, even without the presence of construction workers.

How long will construction take?
The contractor has 100 working days (there are 5 working days in the normal week) to complete the entire Corridor including road crossings and we will keep our fingers crossed for good summer and fall weather so they are not delayed. The anticipated completion is early December, 2014. Many construction projects have delays and we will let you know if we encounter them on this project. Work hours will generally be an 8 hour day between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m., at the contractor’s election.

What is happening on the Corridor with the Google Expansion Project (SRM Development)?
The property owner where Google is located, SRM Development, has submitted plans to make the Cross Kirkland Corridor Master Plan become a reality between the two Google campuses just south of 6th Street S. The plans for these public amenities include a 16 foot wide hard surface trail, a meandering secondary trail, a basketball court, resting and gathering spots, trees, beachy dunes with a volley ball court, and a children’s play structure. Construction is scheduled to begin this fall and be complete by June of 2015. Inspirational drawings are posted on the City’s web site [PDF]. Direct questions about the plans to Kari Page, Cross Kirkland Corridor Coordinator ( or 425-587-3011).

How will the City communicate project updates?
In as many ways as we can! As a CKC list subscriber, you will receive monthly updates. Updates to the construction map [PDF] will be posted on the CKC webpage.

If you want more immediate updates, please like us on Facebook and/or follow us on Twitter (@kirklandgov). We even have a hashtag! #CKCInterimTrail. If Social Media is not your thing, we are available via phone and email. Contact Kari Page, CKC Coordinator at or 425-587-3011 for current construction updates.

Brown Bag Series: July 28, 12- 1 p.m. 

As much as we’d love to meet up on the Corridor near the construction to show you what’s going on, it’s best we meet away from the construction zone. Join city staff at Lakeview Elementary School, 10400 NE 68th St, in the covered play area, on Monday, July 28, 12-1 p.m. If weather permits, we will walk along the Corridor to look at connections at street crossings to NE 68th Street and downtown, review the Interim Trail construction timeline and see the SRM public amenities plan. No need to R.S.V.P. just B.O.T. (Be on Time).

CKC User Survey: Our inquiring minds want to know….

How often do you use the Cross Kirkland Corridor? Where do you typically access it? Are you walking, running, riding, or commuting on it? Our inquiring minds want to know and hope that you’ll tell us by taking a quick online survey.

We don’t have fabulous prizes to give you for taking the survey but know we appreciate your honest answers as they will give us data that could help with grant applications, help us understand how the CKC is being used and how our improvements will impact the number of users.

CKC Master Plan unanimously adopted by the City Council

Now that the Master Plan is adopted, the fun really begins! Where to start with all of the amazing concepts for the future of the Corridor?

The City Council unanimously adopted the Cross Kirkland Corridor Master Plan on June 17, 2014 (PDF) and had great things to say about the process and the plan.

Mayor Amy Walen notes “Now we have the opportunity to build the Corridor as our contribution to the legacy of Kirkland’s parks and open spaces.” City Council Member Jay Arnold complimented the Plan as an “impressive piece of work.” Several City Council Members appreciated the energy and support of the staff and consultant who worked on developing the Plan. Others recognized the incredible public input that went into the Plan.

View the adopted version of the CKC Master Plan.

Kirkland Council to comment on Sound Transit’s Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement

Sound Transit is in the process of updating the agency’s Long Range Plan and Long Range Plan Map. Once a revised (LRP) is adopted, the Sound Transit Board may choose a set of projects from that LRP to be placed in a System Plan. If the Board so chooses, the System Plan could go before voters and, if approved, would constitute the next phase of Sound Transit Improvements. November 2016 has been targeted by the Board as the earliest date a proposal would be put before voters. Also, authorization from the State Legislature to ask voters for additional funding is necessary.

Because elements of the System Plan can only come from the set of projects in the LRP, it is important that the LRP contains items Kirkland may desire to have in the next phase of Sound Transit’s system construction. Commenting on the Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (DSEIS) is the means by which the public and other agencies can affect the content of the LRP.

The Kirkland City Council will discuss sending a comment letter to Sound Transit at its July 15, 2014 meeting. The draft letter will outline the following concern.

Since the LRP is unconstrained in both time and cost, the DSEIS should include the full spectrum of Bus Rapid Transit and Street Car technology, including vehicles that are autonomous and/or those that are powered by electricity or other alternative fuel technologies. Given the speed of technological advancement, advanced high capacity transit modes such as maglev, aerial tram, and personal rapid transit should not be discounted and are in fact in service at both national and international locations. It could be that, over the life of the plan, one of the modes being excluded from consideration could help improve operations, reduce capital expenditures and do so with a small environmental footprint. The LRP should not exclude innovative/advanced transit modes from consideration.

Understanding the landowner lawsuits involving railbanking of the Eastside Rail Corridor

We have received a few inquiries about the landowner lawsuits involving railbanking of the Eastside Rail Corridor. Railbanking is a complex issue and we offer the following explanation. The City of Kirkland is not a party to the takings litigation nor is it liable to the property owners for their takings claims.

Congress passed the current version of the National Trails System Act (“Trails Act”) in 1983. It allowed for railbanking of rail corridors in lieu of abandonment. Shortly thereafter, adjoining property owners sought a declaration that the Trails Act is unconstitutional. Subsequently, the federal courts have upheld the constitutionality of the Trails Act, recognizing the federal interest in preserving existing corridors for future rail needs.

However, federal courts have also ruled that railbanking rail corridors may result in a taking of property rights in cases where the rail corridor is an easement as opposed to being owned outright by the railroad. If the rail easement is abandoned, then as a matter of real property law, the rights to the easement area would revert to the property owner on whose property the rail easement is located. If all of the elements of abandonment of a rail easement are otherwise met, then railbanking delays a property owner’s reversionary rights.

The recent settlement between the United States and property owners along the Eastside Rail Corridor involved such takings claims. The plaintiffs in that case are property owners in locations where the rail corridor over their property appears to be an easement. Note that such takings claims are not available in cases where the rail corridor was owned outright by the railroad. In those cases there are no reversionary rights and therefore no takings claim. There is also no takings claim in cases where the terms of the rail easement are broad enough to encompass both rail and trail use.

The liability for takings resulting from railbanking under the Trails Act is with the United States government since adoption of the federal Trails Act and federal STB railbanking decisions give rise to the taking claim. State and local agencies and private entities that develop trails on railbanked rail corridor are not liable for trail development activities. Federal courts have ruled that the United States is required to compensate property owners in cases where the rails to trails conversion exceeds the scope of the property interest originally acquired by the railroad, notwithstanding the public benefits of railbanking. The City of Kirkland is not a party to the takings litigation nor is it liable to the property owners for their takings claims.

July 15, 2014