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Mercer Island and Sound Transit Finalize Settlement Agreement

Oct 18, 2017 - ​Last night, the Mercer Island City Council unanimously voted to finalize its acceptance of a package of mitigation measures first offered in May 2017 by Sound Transit and valued at just over ten million dollars. The financial settlement terms remain unchanged from the original proposal and are intended to offset the impacts of light rail construction and operation, and also to partially compensate for permanent impacts to local traffic patterns, including the loss of access to westbound I-90 from the Island’s only 4-lane arterial (Island Crest Way).

Key community-identified priorities are reflected in the settlement agreement:
  • Traffic/Safety Enhancements and Last Mile Solutions:  $5.3 million to address vehicle, bicycle and pedestrian access issues resulting from the closure of the Center Roadway and fund “last/first-mile solutions” that enable Islanders to access transit without driving.
  • Parking:  $4.6 million that will provide approximately 100 additional commuter parking stalls during the East Link construction period (2017-2023), and will fund construction of new commuter parking for residents.
  • Bus-Rail Integration:  No bus facility will be built on 80th Avenue - instead, all pick-up and drop-offs will continue to occur on North Mercer Way, as they do today, and bus volumes will be comparable to today. The City received a letter from King County Metro in support of the City’s negotiated terms.
With this formal and binding approval from both parties, the City also agrees to dismiss its pending legal actions, filed earlier this year, asserting that legally-binding commitments regarding mobility were made under a 1976 Agreement and subsequent 2004 Amendment to ensure public safety and the continued mobility of drivers to and from Mercer Island.  The Sound Transit Board already issued its final approval of the agreement at its June 22, 2017 meeting (see Motion No. M2017-96).

Sound Transit commenced construction of the East Link light rail line linking Seattle and the Eastside across Mercer Island on June 3, 2017, when the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) closed the I-90 center roadway permanently to vehicles.

Since June, the City has been exploring various potential pathways to address the above list of priorities, and a tentative November 7 Study Session before the City Council will present the latest findings on first/last-mile solutions, commuter parking at the South Luther Burbank Parking Lot, and other topics. The City continues to collect local traffic performance statistics in order to make data-driven decisions about traffic mitigation measures to ease congestion and improve safety.

Visit the City’s webpage for helpful commuting information:


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