Triplett’s vision for rail corridor will be ultra-expensive | Letter
October 25, 2012 · Updated 3:26 PM
Regrettably, Kirkland has decided to tie funding for initial improvements to the former BNSF railway line to other needed upgrades and acquisitions for Kirkland Parks.
Until funding for any work on the Cross Kirkland Corridor is separated out as a “stand alone” item, citizens should vote buying some five-plus miles of a moribund rail line from a partially publicly-funded entity (the Port of Seattle) for $5 million was certainly not the most urgent need this community has. But now that King County has announced plans to purchase the rest of this line to create a trail, we need to stand down.
King County won’t be rebating a part of our taxes to compensate Kirklanders for creating our own section of a regional trail. We’ll get to pay for “our” trail … and then we’ll get to subsidize Newcastle, and Bellevue, and Woodinville for their portions of any future trail. If that isn’t enough reason to vote “No” on Proposition 2, please do two things before you vote.
First, read the excellent article by Keith Ervin, which ran in the March 18 edition of The Seattle Times. That story, “Kirkland city manager stumps for trail project along old rail line,” makes clear the grandiose and expensive ideas Kurt Triplett has for this long, skinny piece of real estate.
A pathway akin to a Burke-Gilman Trail isn’t fancy enough for him; he wants something “truly world class,” even comparing buying the rail line to the Louisiana Purchase and, in the accompanying photo, adopting a pose worthy of Columbus discovering the New World.
If you are thinking that Triplett’s vision will be ultra-expensive, you’re right. The other factor to consider is just how much money King County spent to merely upgrade and repair a two-mile section of that same Burke-Gilman Trail in the Kenmore-Lake Forest Park-Sheridan Beach area. More than $5 million went into repair and upgrade of just two miles of trail. It’s anyone’s guess as to what it will cost to fully develop the almost six miles of railway we bought a few months ago, and that’s the problem. We need to see the plan and the price tag so citizens can vote up or down on Triplett’s scheme, not create an albatross that will siphon funds from all of our parks for decades.
Bruce Haigh, Kirkland