A new rail-trail in Shoreline? It could be on the horizon. A community-driven planning process to evaluate development of a new trail in Shoreline will kick-off on Wednesday (March 15th). Shoreline planners are proposing a new trail–what they’re calling “Trail Along The Rail”–parallel to the light rail line being constructed as part of the Lynnwood Link extension project. Shoreline is slated to get two stations as part of the extension, one at 145th Street and one at 187th Street next to I-5. The Shoreline trail concept would involve locating a bicycle and pedestrian pathway between these two stations.

As a multi-use path, the rail-trail could prove to be a great connector to key amenities like open space and parks, schools and libraries, and two planned urban villages around the light rail stations. Naturally, it could serve as great recreation option for jogging, strolling, and casual biking, but it also could become a practical means of commuting to work and getting between neighborhoods on foot. It could also fit in well with other planned bike and pedestrian facilities slated for implementation in the coming years.

Conceptual plan for the rail-trail and future bike network. (City of Shoreline)
Conceptual plan for the rail-trail and future bike network. (City of Shoreline)

Shoreline has drafted up possible cross-sections based upon design of the adjacent light rail line, which will be elevated in some locations and trenched in others. The cross-sections indicate a preference toward a 14-foot wide multi-use trail where possible, but there may be some locations that make that infeasible. In cases where that standard isn’t possible, the trail may need to be located toward local streets and require a modified design standard.

Conceptual cross-sections for the rail-trail. (City of Shoreline)
Conceptual cross-sections for the rail-trail. (City of Shoreline)

How The Trail Fits With Other Bike And Pedestrian Plans

For bicyclists, the proposed trail corridor greatly improve north-south connections with a relatively uninterrupted and off-street alternative to planned north-south parallel on-street facilities. In fact, Shoreline’s bike implementation plan involves installation of new bike facilities on Meridian Ave N, 5th Ave NE, and 10th Ave NE, which largely run north-south east and west of the light rail and proposed trail corridor. Shoreline also plans to build out a network of east-west bike facilities to link up inner neighborhoods and two regional trails to the east and west–namely the Burke-Gilman and Interurban.

Part of the east-west network is already in place. Bike lanes connect up the Interurban Trail and 10th Ave NE via N/NE 155th St and N/NE 185th St. But it’s the mile-and-a-half gap in between that makes east-west bicycling a challenge. Shoreline’s long-term bike plan implementation will solve part of this, which is being rapidly phased in with significant improvements slated for this year.

Long-range bike plan for Shoreline. Note that the rail-trail wasn't identified in the 2011 plan. (City of Shoreline)
Long-range bike plan for Shoreline. Note that the rail-trail wasn’t identified in the 2011 plan. (City of Shoreline)

Going forward, Shoreline will begin to implement pieces of the 145th Street Multimodal Corridor Study plan, which places a strong emphasis on improvements for bikes and pedestrians. Projects in the plan include things like:

  • A new signal at N 143rd St and Aurora Ave N for easier east-west bike crossings;
  • A new sidewalk on the south side of the NE 145th St overpass across I-5 to facilitate bi-direction flow of bikes;
  • Property acquisition to improve non-motorized connections; and
  • Improved non-motorized facilities to create a connected network.
The preferred bike network concept for the 145th Street corridor area. (City of Shoreline)
The preferred bike network concept for the 145th Street corridor area. (City of Shoreline)

Taken together, these pedestrian and bicycle plans are setting Shoreline on a good track for increased mobility options and a transit-oriented future. How the rail-trail might fit into all of this will be determined over the next few months.

Shoreline – Light Rail Trail Concept by The Urbanist on Scribd

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