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9611 SE 36th Street
Mercer Island, WA 98040
Phone: 206.275.7600
Fax: 206.276.7663
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Light Rail Discussions and Outreach



Light Rail Outreach Meeting
While the benefits of predictable, gridlock-free travel to Seattle or Bellevue are desirable, the construction of any large public works project also brings some adjustments for residents. Typically, in the case of Sound Transit, various temporary and permanent measures (such as traffic control measures, parking, local transit options to reach rail stations, etc) are agreed upon to mitigate for impacts of rail-related construction and operation.

The City and your Councilmembers worked diligently with key representatives at the local, regional, state, and national level to respect historic agreements, and ensure the maximum transportation benefit possible for Islanders while minimizing undesirable changes to the daily routines of all Islanders. Many of these complex, interconnected issues have long histories, and their successful resolution will depend on the support of multiple parties.
In October 2015, based directly on community input, Council developed a set of 6 priorities that were used to guide all mobility negotiations with Sound Transit and WSDOT.  View the updated 2016 language here.

Download a simple 2-page overview (Oct 2016) about light rail mitigation issues. 

Starting in early 2016, the City also began focusing intently on negotiations regarding access to
new HOV lanes (the "R8A Project") that were added to I-90; these discussions continue. Learn more here.​

On May 31, 2017, the City Council accepted a tentative settlement offer of $10.1million in mitigation payments from Sound Transit; the agreement was finalized and signed in early November 2017. 

What's Happening Now - Meetings; Events

[Note: Public updates on negotiations over Sound Transit rail construction, as well as WSDOT-related issues, began at the September 19, 2016 City Council Meeting, and continued at most Council meetings until 2018 -- click for Agendas.]

2016 Events included:
  • Sun 10/9 -- Farmers Market 10:00am-3:00pm
  • Wed 10/12 -- PTA Council Meeting (20 mins within 9:30am-11:30am mtg)
  • Thu 10/20 -- PTA Membership Bring Your Own Lunch (BYOL) 12-1:00pm
  • Tue 10/25 -- Rotary Luncheon 12-1:00pm
  • Thu 11/3 -- Chamber Luncheon  12-1:00pm
  • Weds 11/9 -- Community Open House (@MICEC) 6:30-8:30pm
  • Tue 11/15 -- Aljoya Roundtable Discussion 11:00am-Noon
  • Weds 11/16 -- Osher Current Events Roundtable 10:00am-11:00am
  • Weds 11/16 -- MI Clergy Association 10:30am-Noon
  • Mon 11/28 -- Covenant Shores 2:00-3:00pm
2017 Events:
  • Thurs 1/19 -- Community-Wide Open House (@MICEC) 6:30-8:30pm - General Listening Session
  • March onwards -- Various listening sessions with smaller groups of stakeholders have been held since March with the City Manager and key staff.
  • Thurs 6/22 -- Community Open House: review new traffic impacts and gather input on highest priority trouble spots to improve commuter, and bike/ped safety (@West Mercer Elementary) 7:00-8:30pm
  • Weds 7/12 -- Sound Transit held its customary "Meet the Contractor" outreach open house; view all meeting materials here
  • Weds 11/29 -- Community Open House: an update on traffic data, possible transportation safety and mobility projects to help commuter travel, transit access, bike/ped needs, etc (@City Hall) 6:30-8:30pm
2018 Events:

To be determined. Meetings will likely address ped/bike/car/bus access to the future rail station, and the design of the interface between the station and City streets.


Recent History

Council discussed these matters more fully, and received a Traffic Impacts Study and an assessment of I-90 Vehicle Access Alternatives, at its Monday, November 7, 2016, meeting (webcast here)
View the KPG Traffic Impacts Study Powerpoint presentation here.
View the City's Powerpoint presentation here

In June 2016, Mayor Bassett held meetings in Washington, DC, to ensure the City's case is fully understood by all necessary federal agencies and our State's congressional delegation.

Based on Sound Transit listening events in the fall of 2015, and ongoing feedback from Island residents, commuters, and community groups, the following are the City's goals, as reiterated at the July 19, 2016 City Council Meeting (footage available online here):
  • Determine access to the new lanes to be added to the outer roadways (referred to by WSDOT as the "R8A Project"), in the context of historic agreements, before the center roadway closes to cars.
  • Changes to I-90 access should not significantly impact mobility in and around Town Center.
  • Improve availability of convenient commuter parking, enabling Island residents to access bus transit services and in the future, light rail.
  • Increase on-Island transit options through existing and future innovative services, facilitating better "last mile" connections to light rail.
  • Regional commuter bus operations on Mercer Island should not generate additional adverse impacts.
  • Implement safe and convenient pedestrian and bicycle access to the future light rail station, and enhance interconnections with existing trails and paths.

Frequently Asked Questions

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Supporting Documents

Negotiating Priorities
Historic I-90 Agreements and Documents
East Link Light Rail Documents



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