Downtown Woodinville could eventually serve as a major hub and transfer point for commuter service on the Eastside railroad. This is because of its location adjacent to the confluence of the main line and two branch lines, all of which have a substantial traffic potential.
The longer of these branches extends southeast through Woodinville's Winery District and the well-preserved Sammamish Valley to just beyond downtown Redmond. Eastside Rail Now! has proposed that this line eventually be extended southwest to serve Microsoft's headquarters and the soon-to-be Overlake district and connect to the existing main line near downtown Bellevue.1 Also proposed is reinstallation of the hastily-removed track along the eastern shore of Lake Sammamish in order to allow an extension of the commuter service to and through chronically congested downtown Issaquah.
The other branch extends for a short distance northwest from downtown Woodinville. Eastside Rail Now! proposes that it be extended approximately one mile to serve the combined campus of the UW/Bothell and Cascadia Community College and that consideration eventually be given to a further extension to downtown Bothell and perhaps beyond.
The effect on Woodinville of launching a commuter service on the railroad would be profound. There would be a major improvement in mobility, as residents, commuters and tourists would be able to bypass the area's frequently clogged roads, including the chronically congested I-405 freeway, to reach most major destinations on the Eastside. This would result in a large increase in the attraction of downtown both as a shopping destination and for high density residential living, with a corresponding surge in property values.
That there is a tremendous enthusiasm in Woodinville for the startup of commuter rail service is evidenced by the extensive coverage in the local media2 and by the official letter from Woodinville's mayor to the Sound Transit Executive Committee requesting the release of funds for Eastside Rail Now's proposed three-year pilot project.
The above preliminary sketch shows a simple, first-stage station with a train approaching from the east. The tracks on the right gradually curve northward and lead to Snohomish. Thanks to Howard Frank for the artwork.
2See, for example, Port on track to purchase BNSF corridor, The Woodinville Weekly, January 7, 2008, and ERN proposes running rail to UW Bothell / Cascadia campus, The Woodinville Weekly, July 7, 2008.
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Created September 9, 2008.
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