Eastside Rail Now! Glossary

airport swap   a complex and highly controversial plan developed by King County Executive Ron Sims and former Port of Seattle Chief Executive Mic Dinsmore and first announced in October 2006. It included having the Port purchase the Eastside railroad from Burlington Northern and then transfer it to King County, which would replace the tracks with a bicycle trail as quickly as possible. In exchange, King County would have transfered its airport (Boeing Field) to the Port. Tay Yoshitani, the new Port Chief Executive, killed this proposal with his statement on July 25, 2007 in the first major speech of his tenure in Seattle that it "doesn't make sense." See Port Kills Airport-Railroad Swap Deal.

All Aboard Washington   a state-wide rail advocacy group that opposes King County Executive Ron Sims' plan to scrap the Eastside railroad.

balanced transportation   the existence of multiple modes of transportation in a region rather than domination by a single mode, which is almost invariably road transport. Balanced transportation increases user choice and can lower total transportation costs and environmental damage. A commuter rail service on the Eastside railroad would be a key component of balanced transportation on the Eastside.

Bellevue   a city (population about 118,000) that has the second largest downtown in Washington State and which is the biggest destination on the Eastside. The urban core is currently in the midst of a massive construction boom, and it could eventually become one of the largest in the western U.S. The Eastside railroad passes close to the current eastern edge of downtown Bellevue and directly through the growth path of future downtown expansion.

Bellevue's Grand Esplanade   a proposal by Eastside Rail Now! for a broad, elegant, tree-lined walkway extending downtown Bellevue's existing pedestrian passage over the I-405 freeway to connect with the expected eastward expansion of downtown and a commuter rail station on the Eastside railroad in its midst. See Downtown Bellevue's Grand Esplanade.

benefit-cost analysis   see cost-benefit analysis.

best practices   techniques or methodologies that have been shown to be the most effective and are regarded by a consensus of experts in the field as models for others to follow. The term is commonly used in the fields of business management, medicine and software development, and it is increasingly being used in government as well. Best practices can, and frequently do, evolve over time. Unfortunately, they have not yet been applied to fundamental aspects of transportation planning in the Seattle metropolitan area, including with regard to the Eastside railroad.

bicycle trail   A trail that is designed primarily for bicycles and for which there are no enforced speed restrictions. An example is the Burke-Gilman trail. Pedestrians, particularly children, senior citizens and handicapped people, can find using such a trail to be an unpleasant, or even a terrifying, experience. Some advocates of pedestrian-friendly trails refer to bicycle trails as "freeways for bicycles."

Black River Junction   the track connection west of Renton between the Eastside railroad and the Burlington Northern's main line. This connection curves from the east to the northwest. Restoration of a former curve to the southwest would allow trains to operate without stopping and reversing ends between the Eastside and points south, including Tacoma.

BNSF   see Burlington Northern.

BNSF corridor   a frequently used term that refers to the route of the Eastside railroad. It is ambiguous in that it could refer to either the full, mostly hundred-foot width, right of way or to just a narrow strip of land on that right of way sufficient for a single track or a trail. Some commercial interests may desire to acquire much of the right of way and leave just a 25 or 30 foot corridor sufficient to meet the requirements of the Rails to Trails Act. See Corridor vs. Tracks vs. Right of Way.

BNSF Corridor Preservation Study   a costly ($800,000), superficially impressive and frequently cited (but apparently little read) report commissioned by the Puget Sound Regional Council (PSRC) and released in February 2007 that attempts to show that the Eastside railroad tracks should be replaced by a bicycle trail. The November 2007 public disclosure by Eastside Rail Now! that this document is severely flawed was a major turning point in the effort to save the railroad. Among the report's major problems are failure to use any widely accepted infrastructure evaluation methodology, failure to seriously consider the potential of the railroad for commuter rail service, failure to adequately consider the importance of the railroad for regional security, failure to consider the main environmental consequences of loss of the railroad, and a serious conflict of interest. See A Closer Look at the PSRC's "BNSF Corridor Preservation Study".

Boeing field   see King County Airport.

Brightwater   a highly controversial waste water treatment plant under construction near the Eastside railroad north of Woodinville. Among the objections to this facility, for which King County Executive Ron Sims has been the leading proponent, are concerns about emissions of toxic chemicals, its location near on an active earthquake fault, its huge cost and cost overruns (currently $1.8 billion, about double the original proposal), the possible existence of far less costly alternatives, and the belief that its real purpose is to allow sprawl in what is now primarily a picturesque rural area for the benefit of large construction companies. Some people also suspect that one of Sims' true motivations for wanting to acquire and scrap the Eastside railroad is to use its right of way for a major pipeline connecting the Brightwater facility to King County's other major waste water treatment facility, which is in Renton and is likewise located near the railroad.

BRT   see bus rapid transit.

Burlington Northern   the common name for the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway (BNSF), the company that currently owns and operates the Eastside railroad. In 2003 Burlington Northern announced a desire to sell the railroad and justified this by citing declining freight revenues and rising maintenance costs. According to some sources, this announcement was actually the result of a request by King County Executive Ron Sims to have the County acquire the railroad for use as a bicycle trail rather than something initiated by the railroad.

bus rapid transit   (BRT) a recently popular term used to describe bus services that have some or many of the characteristics of rapid transit, including a high frequency of service, an exclusive right of way, prepayment of fares before boarding, platform levels equal to floor heights, and full signal priority at road intersections. Extremely few systems have all of these characteristics, most notably the pioneering system in Curitiba, Brazil and the Orange Line in Los Angeles. Many transit experts believe that BRT is inferior to rail systems in terms of cost, comfort and attractiveness to riders, safety, and environmental effects.

carbon economy   a society in which most energy is suppled from the burning of carbon-based fuels, e.g., oil, coal and wood. A major goal of Eastside Rail Now! is promoting the development of a regional transportation infrastructure that facilitates a switch to a low carbon economy and/or to a hydrogen economy.

carbon footprint   a measurement of the effect of a project on the climate in terms of the amount of carbon dioxide generated by the combustion of fossil fuels. It takes into consideration all phases of a project, including its construction, operation and maintenance and even the production and transport of the raw materials used. The Eastside railroad features a very small carbon footprint as compared with all-new construction, such as Sound Transit's proposed East Link light rail line, because it already exists and thus does not have to be built from scratch. It also features a very small carbon footprint as compared with adding more lanes to the parallel I-405 freeway both because it already exists and because rail transport is generally much more energy efficient and produces much smaller emissions than road transport.

carbon neutral   a product, process, organization, etc. that does not create a net increase in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere over its entire life cycle, including production, use and disposal.

Cascade Bicycle Club   a bicycle users and lobby group that has been the major ally of King County Executive Ron Sims in his effort to scrap the Eastside railroad. A Cascade Bicycle Club director, King Cushman, was the Puget Sound Regional Council official in charge of creating the BNSF Corridor Preservation Study.

Cascadia Project   a Seattle-based private sector organization that studies and makes policy recommendations regarding regional transportation and sustainable development issues. It has been an ally of Eastside Rail Now! in the effort to save the Eastside railroad.

Cedar River Bridge   a bridge slightly to the northeast of downtown Renton that carries the Eastside railroad over the Cedar River. A replacement for the original truss bridge was completed in early 2008 in order to allow trains carrying Boeing's largest aircraft fuselages to reach its Renton assembly plant via downtown Renton and thereby avoid travel via the main part of the Eastside railroad through Bellevue. Several other bridges between this bridge and Black River Junction, where the railroad connects with the Burlington Northern main line, were also replaced at the same time. The underlying purpose of this expenditure of several tens of millions of dollars was to allow all traffic to be removed from the Eastside railroad between north Renton and Woodinville and thereby facilitate its scrapping.

Central Link   the 15.7 mile light rail line being constructed by Sound Transit between downtown Seattle and Sea-Tac Airport. This line has been criticized for its circuitous routing and extensive street running, which will make it slower than the current bus route to the airport, as well as because of its extremely high cost and delayed completion.

climate change   another term for global warming. There is now widespread agreement among scientists that climate change is real, that it could be devastating for much of the world's population, and that human activities are a significant cause of it. The establishment of a transit service on the Eastside railroad as an alternative to the continued widening of the parallel I-405 freeway is one of the most effective and least expensive things that could be done on the Eastside to fight climate change. See How Rail Transit on the Eastside Can Help Fight Climate Change.

Columbia Winery   a winery in Woodinville's winery district that was the destination of the Spirit of Washington dinner train's daily round trip on the Eastside.

commuter rail   heavy rail local passenger trains operated on railroad tracks originally used for conventional freight and/or passenger trains and which are intended primarily to serve commuters. Such trains are most commonly hauled by locomotives, although some use DMUs. Commuter rail was in operation or under construction in 20 urban areas in the U.S. at the start of 2007, and it was in the planning or discussion stage in several additional urban areas. Sound Transit operates its Sounder commuter trains on the Burlington Northern main line from Seattle to Tacoma and Seattle to Everett. Eastside Rail Now! advocates using the Eastside railroad as the core of a new commuter rail service with trains running over existing tracks to Everett and beyond in the north and to Tacoma and beyond in the south. See Rail Transit Systems in the U.S.

conflict of interest   a situation in which a person or organization in a position of trust, such as a government official, lawyer, research scientist or consulting company, has competing professional or personal interests that could affect their professional judgment and prejudice their ability to make impartial decisions. Conflict of interest can exist for financial or other reasons, including being a relative or close friend of one of the parties involved or being an official of an organization that is being regulated or studied. The avoidance of conflict of interest in the public sector is a fundamental requirement for the effective functioning of a democracy, and there is a large body of law at the state and federal levels that prohibits conflict of interest. Even just the appearance of a conflict of interest is generally sufficient to disqualify a person or organization from some roles. A major problem with the PSRC's BNSF Corridor Preservation Study, which recommended scrapping the Eastside railroad and replacing it by a bicycle trail, was conflict of interest, the most obvious manifestation of which was the fact that the PSRC staff person in charge of producing the study was also a director of the Cascade Bicycle Club, which has been a leading advocate of scrapping the railroad.

congestion pricing   charging road users according to the level of congestion. Among its benefits are shorter trip times, reduced air pollution, improved access for emergency vehicles and a convenient source of funds. The cost of implementing congestion pricing has dropped substantially in recent years because of advances in electronic technology for monitoring road use and billing users. Congestion pricing is the most efficient when there are good alternatives to road use, such as rail transit systems. Among the many benefits of operating a commuter rail service on the Eastside railroad is that it would facilitate the implementation of congestion pricing on the parallel I-405 freeway.

continuously welded rail   rails which have been welded together end to end to form long, continuous segments of rail. This has several important advantages over short sections of rail, including greatly reduced maintenance (because most rail wear occurs at the joints between two rails) and a smoother ride. Despite King County Executive Ron Sims' strange statement that the railroad is "in very, very poor shape," some sections have continuously welded rail. This included much of the section that was removed at Wilburton Tunnel in early 2008.

cost-benefit analysis   a tool widely used to evaluate projects. It basically consists of comparing the total costs with the total benefits. Both costs and benefits consist of not only easy-to-quantify monetary items but also other items which can be more difficult to measure, including effects on the environment and public health (e.g., traffic accidents and illnesses caused or aggravated by exhaust gases). Those projects for which the aggregate costs exceed the aggregate benefits obviously will make society worse off and should thus be rejected. Among the projects for which the benefits exceed the costs, those with the highest benefit to cost ratios should be selected.

Cross Base Highway   a proposed new highway in south Pierce County. Funding for the first segments of this highly controversial project was included in the RAT transportation ballot measure that was defeated by the voters in the November 2007 election. The $477 million road was strongly opposed by environmentalists and others not only because of its huge cost but also because it would cut through the largest remaining section of south Puget Sound prairie habitat and put further pressure on that unique ecosystem and the species that depend on it. It was frequently cited as an obvious example of how RAT was formulated with little true concern for the environment.

diesel light rail   similar to conventional light rail except that it is operated with DMUs instead of electrically powered vehicles.

DMU   (acronym for diesel multiple unit) self-propelled rail passenger vehicles that are powered by built-in diesel engines. They can be operated in a manner similar to electrically powered light rail vehicles and are well suited for use on existing rail lines that are not electrified. Major advantages over conventional, locomotive-hauled commuter rail trains are lower acquisition and operation costs. DMUs would be ideal for an initial transit service on the Eastside railroad. See Diesel Multiple Unit.

double stack container train   a train that is designed to accommodate standardized shipping containers stacked two high. This results in a large increase in efficiency as compared to unstacked containers and also has a security advantage. The Stevens Pass Tunnel and the Eastside railroad can accommodate double stack container trains, whereas the Stampede Pass tunnel cannot. See A double stacked container train...

double track   two parallel railway tracks. Although trains can operate in both directions on a single track rail line that has passing sidings, capacity can be further increased by double tracking.

dual use   originally meant use of the Eastside railroad's right of way for both the tracks and a parallel trail. However, King County Executive Ron Sims uses it to mean replacing the tracks with a bicycle trail and making a vague promise to allow consideration of reinstalling the tracks at some unspecified future date. Another problem with this term is that it ignores other important potential simultaneous uses for the right of way, particularly for a linear nature preserve and wildlife migration corridor and for a pedestrian-friendly trail.

easement   the right of a railroad to use land owned by someone else for railroad purposes. In general, the land will revert to its original owners if it is no longer used for railroad purposes, unless it is railbanked under the Rails-to-Trails Act. A substantial portion of the Eastside railroad is on easements rather than land actually owned by the railroad. Legal questions exist as to whether construction of a bicycle trail parallel to the railroad would be allowed on existing easements.

East King County sub-area   stretches from the Snohomish County line in the north to just south of Renton and from Mercer Island, Bellevue and Kirkland in the west to the Sammamish Plateau and Issaquah Highlands in the east. It is about 188 square miles and has a population of about 630,000. There is growing dissatisfaction that Sound Transit has collected far more in sales taxes from this subarea than it has spent on it.

East Lake Sammamish trail   an 11-mile gravel trail on the right of way of the rail line between Issaquah and Redmond that Burlington Northern quit using in 1996. King County purchased the rail line in 1998 and announced that the trail would be completed within a year. However, rail removal and trail construction were opposed bitterly by local residents, and they were able to delay completion until March 2006. King County, led by King County Executive Ron Sims, began ripping the tracks out immediately after the last of the court appeals by opponents of the trail was lost.

East Link   the light rail line proposed by Sound Transit that would branch off from Central Link just south of downtown Seattle across Lake Washington via the center lanes of the I-90 floating bridge through downtown Bellevue and into the Overlake corridor. The highly controversial proposal calls for spending $3.9 billion and for launching revenue service by the year 2027. Although it has been delayed due to the defeat of Proposition 1 in the November 2007 election, Sound Transit is pushing to again place it on the ballot, most likely in November 2008.

Eastside   the urban area on the east side of Lake Washington and whose core is Bellevue. The Eastside has been growing rapidly and now has a population and level of economic activity that rivals that of Seattle, which is located on the other side of the lake.

Eastside Rail Now!   a grassroots environmental organization launched at the start of 2007 for the purposes of (1) stopping the proposed scrapping of the Eastside railroad, (2) preserving the railroad's existing transportation functions, (3) adding a commuter rail service, (4) preserving the full (mostly 100 foot width) right of way (rather than just a narrow strip of it) and (5) using the right of way parallel to the tracks as a linear nature preserve. See About Eastside Rail Now!

Eastside railroad   another name for the railroad that runs in a north-south direction through the eastern suburbs of Seattle from Renton to Snohomish. Built more than a century ago, this until recently still-operating railroad and its generous right of way have an outstanding potential to serve as an environmentally-friendly, multi-purpose transportation corridor and a linear nature preserve. The most commonly used name is still "the BNSF rail line," and the official railroad name for this railroad is the Woodinville subdivision. Eastside Rail Now! uses the term the Eastside railroad because it is more descriptive and because Burlington Northern will no longer own the line (with the exception of the section from Blackriver Junction to Milepost 5 in North Renton) after the sale to the Port of Seattle closes later in 2008. See The Eastside Railroad.

Eastside Transportation Association   (ETA) a Bellevue-based, private sector organization that opposes rail transit and advocates more freeway construction.

Eastside Transportation Partnership   (ETP) an association of Eastside governmental bodies formed in 1987 for the purpose of studying and making policy recommendations about transportation maters that primarily affect the Eastside.

electrification   the construction of overhead wires, power substations and other infrastructure that allows rail vehicles to be powered by electricity instead of by internal combustion engines. Electrification is initially costly, but it becomes much more economical than diesel power when there is a high frequency of service and the service is used for many years. Other advantages include faster acceleration, elimination of the need to refuel vehicles, reduced consumption of fossil fuels, less vehicle maintenance, reduced air pollution and less noise pollution.

esplanade   a long, open, relatively level walkway that is intended for, or suitable for, walking for pleasure. Eastside Rail Now! has proposed construction of an esplanade through downtown Bellevue to connect the existing downtown to the west of I-405 to its future extension to the east of I-405 as well as to a commuter rail station in the latter. See Downtown Bellevue's Grand Esplanade.

Evergreen Point Floating Bridge   also known as the SR-520 Floating Bridge, the northern of the two floating bridges across Lake Washington. It carries State Route 520 between Seattle and Medina and provides a convenient connection between the northern part of Seattle and the Eastside. The bridge is nearing the end of its useful lifespan, and a number of proposals have been made for replacement, some of which include two tracks for light rail.

fixed rail   a derogatory term sometimes used by people who are opposed to rail transit. Rail transit systems can be very flexible because track switches allow vehicles to switch easily among lines. And it is much less expensive and disruptive to build a new rail line to some location than it is to build a new freeway to it. Thus, it probably makes more sense to say fixed freeways than fixed rail. Also, what about fixed buildings or fixed parking lots?

floating bridge   a bridge that floats on pontoons on the surface of the water rather than resting on columns or being suspended from cables. Such bridges can be the lowest cost alternative in some situations, particularly where there is a long stretch of very deep water. The two crossings of Lake Washington, which carry Interstate 90 and State Route 520, have major floating sections and are among the longest floating bridges in the world.

freight mobility   ease of freight movement. It is enhanced by the availability of uncongested and alternative routes, and it serves to minimize costs for manufacturers, shippers and consumers. The Eastside railroad could play an important role in regional freight mobility by providing emergency rail freight redundancy for the Port of Seattle and Port of Tacoma and also by providing a commuter rail service to facilitate a reduction in traffic congestion on the parallel I-405 freeway.

freight redundancy   the existence of extra routes over which freight can be economically hauled in case there is damage to a primary route. The Eastside railroad has the potential to provide freight redundancy for the Port of Seattle and Port of Tacoma because it could serve as an emergency substitute route to the Stevens Pass tunnel were Burlington Northern's vital but vulnerable main line between Seattle and Everett to become impassible.

fuel cell   an electrochemical device that converts a fuel, typically hydrogen, directly into electrical energy. Major differences from batteries are that fuel cells consume the reactant, which must be replenished, and that their electrodes are more stable and longer lived. Recent years have seen much progress on fuel cell technology, and this device is now on the verge of becoming practical to power a wide range of products. Experiments are currently being conducted with fuel cell-powered rail vehicles in Japan and Europe.

global warming   see climate change.

GNP Railway   a company set up by Tom Payne, founder of Canada's RaiLink Ltd., which is one of the contenders to operate the Eastside railroad.

grade crossing   an at-grade intersection of one or more railroad tracks with a street, road, highway, etc. Grade crossings exist on almost every railroad and rail transit line except for high speed bullet train lines abroad and many rapid transit systems. See The Eastside Railroad and Grade Crossings.

grade separation   an underpass or overpass that allows a road to go under or above railroad tracks, thereby eliminating a grade crossing.

habitat   an area which is suitable for living for specified species or for an ecosystem. Eastside Rail Now! advocates that the main use for the Eastside railroad's right of way that is not occupied by tracks should be as habitat for native species.

heavy rail   a type of transit system that uses relatively heavy passenger vehicles. Both commuter rail services and conventional subways and elevated lines are usually classified as heavy rail. Heavy rail can be the most efficient transit mode in some situations, particularly where tracks already exist (such as on the Eastside) or where there are extremely large passenger volumes. However, it has less routing flexibility than light rail, as it requires gentler curves and generally cannot run in streets or in transit malls.

HMU   (acronym for hydrogen multiple unit) self-propelled rail passenger vehicles that are powered by built-in hydrogen fuel cells. They can be operated in a manner similar to electrically powered light rail vehicles and are well suited for use on existing rail lines that are not electrified. Among their advantages over even the most advanced DMUs would be reduced noise, zero emissions, no dependence of unstable fossil fuel sources, and the ability to operate through tunnels, such as the downtown Seattle transit tunnel, without requiring any special ventilation.

hydrogen economy   refers to a society in which much or most energy is provided by hydrogen. A major goal of Eastside Rail Now! is promoting the development of a regional transportation infrastructure that facilitates a switch to a low carbon economy and/or to a hydrogen economy.

hydrogen fuel cell   see fuel cell.

I-405   the north-south freeway that runs through the Eastside roughly parallel to the Eastside railroad and the only north-south freeway on the entire Eastside. It has become increasingly congested despite repeated and costly widening projects and is rated by WSDOT as the most congested freeway in the entire state of Washington. See The Great I-405 Boondoggle.

I-90   the east-west freeway that begins in Seattle, runs across Lake Washington via a floating bridge and then passes through the Eastside on its way across the U.S. ultimately to Boston.

I-90 Floating Bridge   a floating bridge that carries the I-90 freeway over Lake Washington between Seattle and Mercer Island. Sound Transit has made a controversial proposal to remove the two center lanes on the bridge, which are currently used by buses and carpools, and replace them with tracks for its East Link light rail line.

Issaquah   a small (population about 11,500) but growing city along I-90 and to the southeast of Redmond. The Redmond branch line continued to Issaquah until King County removed the tracks along the eastern shore of Lake Sammamish several years ago after purchasing that section from Burlington Northern. A trolley is occasionally run on the short section of remaining track in downtown Issaquah, and efforts are being made to reinstall some track to extend service northward to the southern tip of Lake Sammamish.

King County   the county through which the southern half of the Eastside railroad runs and which includes Seattle and the Eastside. King County is the main provider of transit services within its jurisdiction; this service consists mostly of ordinary buses, but there are also a number of trolleybus lines in Seattle and a currently dormant streetcar line (the Waterfront Streetcar). Population is about 1.47 million, most of which is concentrated in the urbanized western half.

King County Airport   also called Boeing Field, handles more than 300,000 air-freight takeoffs and landings each year and plays an important role in the region's economy. Although it is valued at a minimum of $400 million and possibly as much as $1 billion (on the basis of selling prices of nearby property plus improvements), King County Executive Ron Sims had attempted to sell it to the Port of Seattle for $200 million and use the proceeds to purchase the Eastside railroad in order to replace the tracks with a bicycle trail.

King County Council   the legislative body of King County. It consists of nine members, each of whom is elected from a specific district. On May 5, 2008 the Council agreed unanimously with the Port of Seattle to allow the latter organization to purchase the railroad intact and make the final decision as to how it should be used.

King County Executive   the head of the executive branch of the King County government. The current executive is Ron Sims, who has been spearheading the highly controversial plan to scrap the Eastside railroad and build a bicycle trail on its roadbed.

Lake Sammamish   a scenic lake that marks the eastern boundary of Bellevue. The railroad track that was formerly located along the eastern shore of this lake was removed in 1998 by King County immediately upon obtaining court approval and despite intense opposition from nearby property owners. Critics point out that King County failed to adequately consider the potential of this line for future transit use.

Lake Washington   a large, scenic lake that separates Seattle from the Eastside. The southern half of the Eastside railroad runs roughly parallel to the eastern shore of the lake, and riders on the railroad are provided with some excellent views of the lake and of Mercer Island (the only island in the lake) as well as of Seattle on the far shore. The lake is a major obstacle to providing a direct rail transit link between Seattle and downtown Bellevue.

Lakewood Line   a 22 mile line running south from Tacoma to Nisqually Junction, which Sound Transit purchased from Burlington Northern in 2003 for the purpose of extending its Sounder commuter rail service 8.2 miles to the growing suburb of Lakewood. The line will also be used by Amtrak trains as well as for local and military freight. This project sets a good precedent for Sound Transit to eventually acquire at least partial ownership of the Eastside railroad.

least cost planning   (LCP), also called least cost planning methodology (LCPM), a best practices technique for making decisions about transportation infrastructure that evaluates the entire range of alternatives (including road construction, transit development and trip demand reduction) on an equal footing. It is required by Washington state law (RCW 47.80.030) for planning by regional organizations, such as the Puget Sound Regional Council. However, it has not been implemented with regard to the Eastside railroad, including in the PSRC's BNSF Corridor Preservation Study. See A Brief Introduction to Least Cost Planning.

light metro   grade-separated light rail with a costly infrastructure, often including elaborate and expensive stations, comparable to that of heavy rail subway and elevated lines. It has the advantage that it can be relatively easy to convert to full-fledged rapid transit, although its critics claim that it has little, if any, advantage over conventional light rail. Similar to a pre-metro.

light rail   a type of transit service that operates relatively light weight, self-propelled (usually by electric motors) vehicles that have steel wheels that run on standard steel rails. The technology is basically the same as that of streetcars (called trams in some countries), although light rail systems usually operate on separate rights of way rather than streets for most of their length and provide faster service than streetcars. Numerous cities in the U.S. have recently constructed (or are constructing) light rail lines, including Seattle, in which one is being built from downtown to Sea-Tac International Airport. See Rail Transit Systems in the U.S.

linear nature preserve   a long, narrow natural (preserved or restored) area. Linear nature preserves can serve multiple functions, including preserving and protecting native species, providing a wildlife migration corridor, providing a park-like setting and containing pedestrian-friendly trails. The largely 100-foot width of the Eastside railroad right of way provides plenty of room for a linear nature preserve parallel to the tracks.

low floor vehicle   a relatively new type of rail transit vehicle whose floor level is about the same height as street curbs and low level platforms at transit stops. This makes it extremely easy for people (especially those with disabilities or using wheelchairs, bicycles and baby carriages) to enter and exit safely and swiftly. The ease of entry and exit helps provide faster and more reliable service. Low floor vehicles have come into widespread use on streetcar systems in Europe in recent years and have met with a very enthusiastic public response.

Memorandum of Understanding   (MOU) non-binding agreements that were approved by the Port of Seattle, King County and Burlington Northern regarding the purchase of the Eastside railroad. The newest version was signed in November 2007 and replaced an earlier version dated February 26, 2007. A key statement in the MOU is that "The Port desires to acquire and preserve the Woodinville Subdivision as a rail and transportation corridor..." There is nothing in the most recent MOU that requires that the railroad be scrapped. The full text is available on the Port's web site.

Milepost 5   a location on the Eastside railroad Near Gene Coulon Park in the northern part of Renton. The Port of Seattle has purchased that part of the railroad north of Milepost 5.

mitigation   see traffic mitigation.

MOU   see Memorandum of Understanding

moving sidewalk   a conveyer belt for transporting people horizontally or at an incline. Moving sidewalks can play an important part in a balanced transportation system and providing urban mobility by greatly enhancing pedestrian speeds, as is the case on the "Mid-levels Escalator" on Hong Kong Island. They could be an important feature for the proposed Grand Esplanade for downtown Bellevue.

multiple use   the concept being advocated by Eastside Rail Now! of utilizing the Eastside railroad right of way for several simultaneous uses, including commuter rail service, emergency freight redundancy, linear nature preserve, wildlife migration route and possible hiking trail. This is in sharp contrast to the so-called dual use advocated by the hard-core bicycle lobby.

Newcastle   a small (population about 8,000), high income, mainly residential, city located between Bellevue and Renton and near the Eastside railroad. Newcastle has been very supportive of retaining the railroad and launching a commuter service on it. See Newcastle's Official Request to Preserve the Railroad.

NIMBY   (acronym for not in my back yard) people who are opposed to a project that will be adjacent to, or adversely affect, their properties. NIMBYs arise to oppose nearly every public works project in urban areas, and the Eastside railroad is no exception. In addition to the NIMBYs who oppose operating commuter services on the railroad, there are also NIMBYs who oppose constructing a bicycle trail on the railroad right of way.

North Link   the planned northern extension of Sound Transit's Central Link light rail line. Originally scheduled for completion in 2007 as part of ST1, Sound Transit is now preparing to begin construction in 2009 with a goal of beginning revenue service around 2020. The line would run underground from downtown Seattle to Husky Stadium in the University District. Sound Transit hopes to eventually extend it, mostly above ground to Northgate shopping center and eventually all the way to downtown Everett, a distance of about 28 miles.

November 2007 election   see Roads & Transit.

Overlake corridor   a mainly commercial and light industrial area that stretches several miles east from downtown Bellevue along Bel-Red Road (also called Northup Way) towards Microsoft's headquarters in Redmond. This corridor is slated for redevelopment into a high density residential and commercial neighborhood. Sound Transit's proposed East Link light rail line would run through the Overlake corridor. Eastside Rail Now! is proposing a low cost alternative in which a branch of the existing railroad would be built through this corridor and extend all the way to downtown Redmond.

P811   a highly automated track renewal system that moves forward on existing track and leaves completely new track at its trailing end. Among its operations are (a) pulling the spikes from the old rails, (b) moving the old rails to the sides of the trackbed, (c) replacing the old ties with new concrete ties that have been pre-positioned in piles along the track, (d) placing the new rails on the new ties and (e) fastening the new rails to the new ties. The P811 itself is approximately 300 feet long, and it tows about a dozen cars containing new rail, making the entire train roughly 800 to 1000 feet long. It is operated by a crew of about 25. This train is followed by a ballast train, which dumps crushed rock on the newly relaid track, and then by a tamping train, which raises and aligns the track horizontally and vertically track by forcing the ballast beneath the ties. The cost of using the P811 to upgrade the track on the Eastside railroad has been estimated at about $800,000 per mile. This machine is made by Harsco Track Technologies of West Columbia, S.C.

passing siding   a parallel section of track that is long enough to hold a train while another train passes it from the other direction or a faster train overtakes it from the same direction. Passing sidings are commonly used to enable trains to operate in both directions on a mostly single-track line. They are also used on some double-tracked lines to allow express trains to bypass local trains. There are currently several passing sidings on the Eastside railroad, including in Renton, Bellevue and Woodinville.

peak oil   the widely accepted theory that world oil output will soon reach a peak and thereafter start declining. The rapid rise in fuel prices that is expected to result from reduced oil output would likely lead to a large increase in the demand for rail transportation because of its greater efficiency of fuel usage as compared with road transportation.

pedestrian-friendly trail   a trail which the full range of pedestrians (i.e., including children, senior citizens and handicapped people) can use without feeling intimidated by high speed bicycle traffic.

pilot project   a small-scale test or trial. Eastside Rail Now! is advocating a pilot commuter rail service for the Eastside railroad as the best way of testing the market for commuter rail on the Eastside. A three-year pilot project consisting of a few round trips daily between Renton and Snohomish could be conducted for less than $10 million, according to preliminary estimates by Eastside Rail Now! See Request for Funding in Sound Transit's 2008 Budget for a Three Year Pilot Commuter Service on the Eastside Railroad.

Port of Seattle   a public body with taxing powers that operates Seattle's maritime facilities as well as Sea-Tac International Airport. After having rejected King County Executive Ron Sims' highly controversial airport swap plan in July 2007, the Port formally decided on December 11, 2007 to purchase the Eastside railroad intact from Burlington Northern. The Eastside railroad would be crucial to the continued operation of the Port of Seattle in the event of a prolonged shutdown of either of the two rail routes on which it depends for most of its shipping.

Port of Seattle Commission   the policy-making branch of the Port of Seattle. It is composed of five Commissioners, each elected at large by the voters of King County for four-year terms. The Commission turned down King County Executive Ron Sims' plea that the Eastside railroad be scrapped as a condition for acquisition by the public sector and voted unanimously on December 11, 2007 to purchase the Eastside railroad intact from Burlington Northern.

Port of Tacoma   an independent, municipal corporation that operates under state-enabling legislation. It is a leading North American seaport, handling more than $36.33 billion and nearly two million TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent container units) in 2007. More than 70 percent of the Port's international import container cargo heads east via rail. The Eastside railroad would be crucial to the continued operation of the Port of Tacoma in the event of a prolonged shutdown of either of the two rail routes on which it depends for most of its shipping.

pre-metro   a light rail line or system designed for eventual upgrading into a full-fledged rapid transit system. Several such systems were, at least partially, constructed in Western Europe, chiefly Belgium and Germany, during the second half of the 20th century. Eastside Rail Now! advocates that consideration be given to an eventual upgrading of Sound Transit's light rail projects to pre-metro standards.

Proposition 1   see Roads & Transit.

PSRC   see Puget Sound Regional Council.

Puget Sound Regional Council   (PSRC) a regional governmental agency governed by representatives of cities, towns, counties, ports, state agencies and native American tribes in the four-county central Puget Sound area. It has specific responsibilities under federal and state law for transportation planning, economic development and growth management. The PSRC commissioned the BNSF Corridor Preservation Study, a severely flawed document which was designed to justify scrapping the Eastside railroad.

railbanking   the application of the Rails-to-Trails Act to allow a railroad right of way to be preserved by preventing it from reverting to its original property owners where it is on an easement.

rails-now-trails-later   Eastside Rail Now's goal of first ensuring that the Eastside railroad's track and full right of way are kept intact, and then considering building a roughly parallel, pedestrian-friendly, and ecologically-sensitive trail later where appropriate and when funding for construction and maintenance becomes available.

rails-to-trails   the concept of converting the right of ways of disused or abandoned railroads into trails for use by pedestrians and/or bicycles. This is beneficial in that it provides some excellent trails that would otherwise not be available and, at least theoretically, preserves the rights of way for possible railroad use again in the future. The main problem is that it is extremely difficult to convert such rights of way back to railroad use for several reasons, including opposition from people who have become accustomed to using the trail and from nearby property owners as well as because of the high cost of reinstalling the tracks and related infrastructure. Critics of King County Executive Ron Sims' plan for the Eastside railroad consider it a perversion of the intent of the rails-to-trails concept because he is attempting to use it as a reason to scrap an operating railroad rather than as a means of preserving the right of way of an already removed railroad.

Rails-to-Trails Act   a federal law passed in 1976 and expanded in 1983 for the purpose of preserving abandoned rail rights of way for interim trail use and potential reuse for rail lines.

rails-with-trails   the concept of building trails on railroad rights of way parallel to the tracks while keeping the tracks intact for current or possible future use rather than removing them. This can be practical in some cases on rights of way of sufficient width, such as the 100 foot right of way of the Eastside railroad.

rapid transit   a high speed, high capacity, high frequency urban rail line or system that runs entirely on exclusive tracks and on its own dedicated right of way (i.e., underground, on elevated structures and/or on the ground). Such systems usually have high level loading platforms, and users make payment in stations rather than on vehicles. Examples include the New York City subway system, the Chicago "El," BART in the San Francisco Bay Area, the Los Angeles subway, and Skytrain in Vancouver, BC. Sound Transit's new light rail line is not rapid transit because it will have extensive street running and will have to operated in mixed traffic with buses in the downtown transit tunnel. See Rail Transit Systems in the U.S.

R&T   see Roads & Transit.

RCW   (Revised Code of Washington) the compilation of all permanent laws currently in force in the state of Washington. Most of the transportation-related laws are contained in title RCW 47. Among the chapters relevant to the preservation of the Eastside railroad are RCW 47.06A (Freight Mobility) and RCW 47.76 (Rail Freight Service). Of particular importance is RCW 47.80.030 (Regional transportation plan -- Contents, review, use), which requires that each regional planning organization (such as the PSRC) create a regional transportation plan that is based on least cost planning methodology.

Redmond   a small (population about 46,500) but rapidly growing city to the northeast of Bellevue and currently the southern terminus of the Eastside railroad branch line that begins in Woodinville. Eastside Rail Now! has proposed construction of a new branch line from downtown Bellevue through the Overlake corridor, which is slated for redevelopment, to downtown Redmond where it would connect with the existing track.

Redmond branch   a branch line of the Eastside railroad that runs from Woodinville southeast to Redmond. It formerly continued on to Issaquah, but it was removed several years ago by King County after purchasing it from Burlington Northern despite vigorous protests. Eastside Rail Now! advocates extending this branch to downtown Bellevue via the Overlake corridor and, in the longer term, re-extending it to Issaquah.

Renton   the city (population about 78,500) at the southern end of Lake Washington and at the southern end of the Eastside railroad. It is home to a major Boeing aircraft assembly plant, and a large, mixed-use project is currently under construction north of downtown and adjacent to the railroad. Renton was the southern terminus and base of operations for the Spirit of Washington dinner train until its forced departure on July 31, 2007.

right of way   the land under the tracks and on both sides of them that is owned by a railroad or used as an easement granted by the owners of the property. In the case of the Eastside railroad, the right of way is generally about 100 feet wide, which is more than sufficient to accommodate two tracks, a linear nature preserve and possibly a pedestrian trail. An important goal of Eastside Rail Now! is to assure that both the railroad and its full right of way are preserved. Apparently, some commercial interests desire to acquire much of the right of way and leave just a 25 or 30 foot corridor for a single track or trail. See Corridor vs. Tracks vs. Right of Way.

roadbed   see trackbed.

Roads & Transit   commonly called Roads & Transit (R&T or RAT), a measure on the November 6, 2007 ballot in the urban areas of King, Pierce and Snohomish counties that would have authorized a massive, 50 year increase in the general sales tax and in motor vehicle registration fees to fund new transit and road projects. Its stated purposes included reducing traffic congestion and protecting the environment, both of which have been shown by polls to be among the top concerns of the citizens in the Puget Sound region. Most of the expenditure would be for transit, mainly for 50 miles of new light rail lines. Most of the road expenditure would be for widening existing freeways and arterials. This measure was rejected by 56 percent of the voters. Eastside Rail Now! opposed RAT for a number of reasons, including its failure to consider using the Eastside railroad, its harm to the environment and its enormous cost. See 23 Reasons to Vote "No" on Proposition 1 (Roads & Transit).

Ron Sims   the current King County Executive (i.e., the head of the executive branch of the King County government) and the chief advocate of scrapping the Eastside railroad. He has been accused of hypocrisy because of his relentless push to scrap the railroad despite his claims to be intensely in favor of protecting the environment and in favor of rail transit. Sims may have lost a great deal of respect and influence among the political establishment for his sudden reversal of position regarding Proposition 1 and its subsequent defeat, and there is speculation that this, in turn, has further reduced support for his push to scrap the railroad. See An Open Letter to King County Executive Ron Sims, A Second Open Letter to King County Executive Ron Sims and Ron Sims' Urgent Plea to Scrap the Eastside Railroad.

short line   a relatively short railroad. Large railroad companies such as Burlington Northern and Union Pacific have been selling a number of their lightly used branch lines in recent decades to small businesses and individuals to operate as short lines. The new operators are often able to boost freight business by improving service and lowering costs. It is possible that the same thing could occur on the Eastside railroad.

signature station   a distinctive railway station. Eastside Rail Now! advocates construction of a such a station on the Eastside railroad in the eastern extension of downtown Bellevue and adjacent to the proposed esplanade.

single track   a section of a railroad that has only one track instead of multiple tracks. The vast majority of rail mileage throughout the world is single tracked, as this is far cheaper to construct and maintain than double track lines. Trains can travel in both directions on primarily single track lines through the use of passing sidings. The Eastside railroad is mainly single tracked.

Snohomish   a picturesque, historical town in Snohomish County (just to the north of King County) in which the Eastside railroad currently terminates. Many Snohomish residents and businesses favor starting of a transit service on the railroad because of the slow and inconvenient bus service to and from the Eastside and Seattle and because it would give a boost to the town's tourist business. Although Snohomish has a population of only about 8,500, nearby Everett has a population of close to 102,000 and Snohomish County as a whole has a population of more that 606,000.

Snohomish County   the county to the north of King County. The northern half of the Eastside railroad is located in this county.

Sound Transit   the regional transit agency that provides express bus and commuter rail service in Pierce, King and Snohomish counties. Sound Transit is currently constructing a light rail line between downtown Seattle and Sea-Tac International Airport, and it has proposed the addition of a branch line over the I-90 floating bridge to the Eastside which would begin operation by the year 2027. It has also been expressing increasing interest in operating a commuter service on the Eastside railroad.

Sounder   the heavy rail commuter train service operated by Sound Transit on the Burlington Northern's main line from downtown Seattle south to Tacoma and north to Everett. See The Sounder.

South Lake Union streetcar   a 1.3 mile streetcar line opened in Seattle on December 12, 2007 between downtown Seattle and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. It passes through the South Lake Union neighborhood, which is undergoing rapid redevelopment into a high density residential, commercial and research area. The total cost for the controversial line was $50.5 million, of which about $25 million is being contributed by nearby property owners. Advocates of commuter rail on the Eastside railroad point out that the entire 42-mile railroad could be substantially upgraded for the same amount and that the potential ridership would be much greater.

Spirit of Washington   a train composed of historic passenger cars that served dinner to its riders and entertained them on a 48 mile round trip on the Eastside railroad from Renton to the Columbia Winery in Woodinville. This daily, and twice daily on weekends, train was an important contributor to the local economy and had been a major factor in reviving downtown Renton. Burlington Northern refused to extend its lease beyond July 31, 2007 as part of the plan for removing all traffic from the line in order to facilitate its scrapping. See Spirit of Washington Dinner Train.

ST1   (acronym for Sound Transit 1) Sound Transit's package of proposed transit projects that was approved by the voters in November 1996. It imposed a ten-year 0.4 percent sales tax increase and a 0.3 percent motor vehicle excise tax increase in the urban parts of King, Pierce and Snohomish counties. At that time, Sound Transit estimated the total cost would be about $5 billion in year-of-expenditure (YOE) dollars and that construction would be completed by 2007. As of 2007, it projected that the total cost would be about $15 billion and the projects would be finished around 2020.

ST2   (acronym for Sound Transit 2) Sound Transit's package of proposed transit projects that was included in the failed November 2007 election transportation ballot measure. Funding was to be in the form of a 0.5 percent increase in the general sales tax. ST2 included extending the light rail system currently under construction, improving the Sounder commuter rail system and adding more express bus service. A provision for spending $17 million to study the use of the Eastside railroad for rail transit was added as a result of testimony by Eastside Rail Now! and others.

Stampede Pass tunnel   the southernmost of the three rail tunnels through the Cascades. It was reopened by Burlington Northern in 1996 in response to the continued growth in container traffic between the Ports of Seattle and Tacoma and points East. This tunnel cannot accommodate double stack container trains at present due to its low height, and there has been discussion about increasing its height by means of a costly track lowering project.

Stevens Pass tunnel   the northernmost of the three rail tunnels through the Cascades and the only one that can currently accommodate double stack container trains. The Eastside railroad, which can also potentially accommodate such trains, is critical to regional freight mobility because it could serve as an alternate link between that tunnel and the Ports of Seattle and Tacoma.

stray current   the flow of the return current from direct current (DC) electrified transit systems through buried water pipes or other conductors in the ground instead of through the rails. This results in accelerated corrosion of such conductors, which can be very costly. Stray current could be a major obstacle to installing light rail on the I-90 floating bridge, as it would induce corrosion of the iron rebar in the bridge and thus reduce its life expectancy.

streetcar   a type of light rail vehicle that runs primarily in streets and has frequent stops. Also called a trolley or tram. The last few years have seen a resurgence of streetcar lines in the U.S., including the South Lake Union line in Seattle. See Rail Transit Systems in the U.S.

sub-areas   the division of the three-county area taxed by Sound Transit into five smaller areas: East King County, Snohomish County, South King County, North King County and Pierce County.

sub-area equity   a mechanism for attempting to ensure that the tax revenues collected by Sound Transit within each of the five sub-areas are used for capital projects and operations that directly benefit those areas. Critics of Sound Transit's policies claim that this principle has been violated because the many hundreds of millions of dollars of tax revenues collected in the East King County sub-area have been used to fund cost overruns on rail transit projects that center on Seattle and provide little benefit to the Eastside.

TDM   see transportation demand management.

TOD   see transit-oriented development.

The Landing   a large, mixed-use development currently under construction on 46 acres of former Boeing land north of downtown Renton and adjacent to the Eastside railroad.

third place   a location that has a role intermediate between the home and the workplace and that allows people to be around other people without being in a structured setting. Examples include coffee shops, pubs, libraries and public plazas. The use of third places has been increasing on the Eastside largely as a result of the growth of telecommuting and the ability of many people to work effectively from any location that has good Wi-Fi access. An important part of the Eastside Rail Now! project is to make both the rail transit stations and environs and the rail vehicles themselves into attractive third places.

toxic runoff   engine oil, ultra-fine particles from brakes and tires, and various chemicals that get washed into streams, lakes and other bodies of water, where they can harm fish and other aquatic life. Among the environmental benefits of starting a transit service on the Eastside railroad is a slowing of the increase in toxic runoff by slowing the widening of the I-405 freeway and related arterials, parking lots, etc.

trackbed   the strip of ground on which railway track is laid. On well designed track intended for medium to high speeds and/or frequent use, the trackbed contains layers of crushed stone on which the treated wood or prestressed concrete ties are laid, and thus it is higher than the surrounding ground. Such a trackbed serves to stabilize the track, increase safety, and increase the smoothness of the ride. King County Executive Ron Sims wants to remove the track from the Eastside railroad and use its trackbed as a bicycle trail. Also referred to as roadbed.

traffic mitigation   in the context of the Eastside railroad refers to the operation of a transit service on it to help offset the effects of the reduced north-south road traffic capacity in the region resulting from the eventual demolition (or collapse) of the Seattle waterfront viaduct and from construction on the I-405 freeway. See Sinking Viaduct and Traffic Mitigation.

transit-oriented development (TOD)   mixed-use residential and commercial areas designed to maximize access to and promote use of public transport. TOD neighborhoods are usually centered around a rail transit station. They have relatively high-density development at that center and have progressively lower-densities spreading outwards. New rail lines typically lead to TOD around the stations. A large amount of TOD is likely to occur around commuter rail stations on the Eastside railroad because of the continuous growth of population in the region and the fact that the railroad passes through or near most major destinations on the Eastside.

transportation demand management (TDM)   measures designed to reduce the demand for transportation, particularly for road use, including improvements in mass transit, use of road congestion pricing, encouragement of telecommuting and changes in urban design policies. Among the latter are the development of high density, pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods and policies that make it easier for people to live near where they work.

trolley   a traditional light rail vehicle that obtains its power from an overhead wire via a trolley pole mounted on its roof. The term is often used as a synonym for streetcar. A trolley car is sometimes operated by the Issaquah Valley Trolley using the short remaining section of the former line between Issaquah and Redmond. Eastside Rail Now! has proposed that a trolley service be operated on the section of the railroad between downtown Bellevue and Woodinville after its proposed route from Bellevue to Redmond and via the existing Willows Road track is completed.

UW-Bothell extension   a short extension of the Eastside railroad from Woodinville to the University of Washington at Bothell and Cascadia Community College that has been proposed by Eastside Rail Now! This extension would make use of the existing spur that leads northwest from downtown Woodinville (and which formerly extended all the way past the UW main campus and into downtown Seattle). A further extension could provide service directly into downtown Bothell and perhaps beyond.

Wi-Fi   (wireless fidelity) a system for providing high speed Internet access for personal computers via radio waves. It is an example of an amenity that can help encourage people to ride transit instead of drive in their own automobiles.

Wilburton Trestle   a spectacular wooden trestle just south of downtown Bellevue which is used by the Eastside railroad to cross a valley that was formerly an extension of Lake Washington. Completed in 1904, it is 102 feet high and 975 feet long, making it the longest active wooden trestle in the Northwest. See Wilburton trestle is the...

Wilburton Tunnel   a tunnel used by the southbound lanes of the I-405 freeway to pass under the Eastside railroad just slightly south of the Wilburton Trestle in Bellevue. WSDOT removed the tracks at this location in early 2008 in preparation for replacing the tunnel with an open cut, claiming that it would save millions of dollars when widening the freeway. Opponents of this plan say that the loss to the region as a whole from cutting the tracks and removing the tunnel would be much greater than the cost of retaining and widening the tunnel. There is also concern that cutting the tracks at this location would be in violation of Washington state law. Efforts are now being made to require that a bridge be constructed at this location to restore the cut in the railroad.

wildlife migration corridor   a convenient and safe route for the movement of wild animals. Recent studies have found that preserving or creating such corridors, rather than just preserving isolated areas of habitat, plays an important role in the health and sustainability of wildlife populations. This applies not only to connecting large wilderness areas but also to linking smaller areas of habitat in urban areas. Because of its generous width, the Eastside railroad right of way is well suited for use as a wildlife migration corridor parallel to the tracks.

Willows Road line   another name for the branch of the Eastside railroad that runs largely along Willows road between Woodinville and Redmond.

Woodinville   a small (population slightly under 10,000), but growing, city along the Eastside railroad that is well known for its wineries and which was formerly the northern terminus of the Spirit of Washington dinner train. Woodinville has been a strong supporter of retaining the railroad and launching a commuter service on it. See Woodinville's Official Request to Sound Transit for Funding for Pilot Project.

Woodinville Subdivision   the name used by Burlington Northern, including its train crews, to refer to the Eastside railroad. The railroad acquired this name because one of its original endpoints was Woodinville.

WSDOT   (Washington State Department of Transportation) in charge of the massive and controversial widening of the I-405 freeway that parallels the Eastside railroad. WSDOT was originally planning to leave the Eastside railroad intact while widening the freeway at Wilburton tunnel, but it suddenly reversed its position and decided to sever the track, apparently as a result of pressure from those wanting to scrap the railroad. See The Great I-405 Boondoggle.

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This page created January 6, 2007. Last updated June 7, 2008.
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