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Originally published Saturday, April 26, 2008 at 12:00 AM

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Public input sought on plan for Eastside rail, trail

The Metropolitan King County Council will take public testimony Monday on a pending deal with the Port of Seattle and BNSF Railway for construction...

Seattle Times staff reporter

The Metropolitan King County Council will take public testimony Monday on a pending deal with the Port of Seattle and BNSF Railway for construction of a 26-mile bicycling and hiking trail on the Eastside.

A campaign launched by the Cascade Bicycle Club bombarded the County Council and the Port Commission with e-mail messages Friday asking that the trail not be subordinated to possible future commuter rail use.

The Port, which plans to buy the 42-mile, Snohomish-to-Renton rail corridor from BNSF for about $105 million, is negotiating a trail easement with the county for segments of the line that run from Woodinville to Renton and from Woodinville to Redmond.

County Executive Ron Sims has said rail and trail should be "coequal in principal." But Port Commission President John Creighton and Port CEO Tay Yoshitani told Sims and the County Council in a letter Wednesday that future rail uses have priority over the trail.

Port and county officials have said they agree on the long-term goal of trains and bicyclists sharing the corridor.

The County Council meeting Monday starts at 9:30 a.m. on the 10th floor of the King County Courthouse, 516 Third Ave., Seattle. Citizens will also have an opportunity to testify May 5, when the council is expected to vote on a deal.

Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company

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