Mercer Island Mobility Projects and Pilots
|City of Mercer Island Mobility Pilot Program|
On October 17, 2017, the City Council approved the Sound Transit Settlement Agreement, which provides funds valued at just over $10 million to offset the construction impacts of the East Link light rail project and 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). This package provides mitigation in all the areas the community identified as its top priorities, including $226,900 toward "First/Last-Mile Solutions."
These programs are intended to help weekday commuters access transit options at the Mercer Island Park & Ride without the need to drive a personal vehicle. As parking pressure mounts, all 447 stalls now fill by 7:00am on most weekdays, forcing many Islanders wishing to use bus transit to reluctantly choose Single Occupant Vehicle (SOV) travel instead. The City believes reducing SOV usage will improve congestion on the Island, reduce rush hour pressure on I-90, and help lower local greenhouse gas emissions.
After extensive exploration, the City launched a 6-month rideshare pilot program with providers Lyft and Uber in mid-April, 2018. For six months, the program subsidized any ride on Mercer Island that started or finished at the Park & Ride on North Mercer Way. The pilot ended Oct 31, 2018. Learn more here
The City also launched a 3-month bikeshare pilot program in mid-July, 2018, with LimeBike. Approximately 25 electric-assist models were available 24/7 to anyone, Island-wide, and were restocked daily at designated hubs. Learn more here.
For the past year residents have been seeing these colorful bikes around the Island as a result of the City of Seattle’s Free-Floating Bike Share Program
that launched in 2017 with vendors LimeBike, Ofo, and Spin. The City of Bellevue launched a 1-year pilot
with LimeBike in Aug 2018, and other Eastside cities are exploring the concept.
The City is also exploring how to better promote existing King County Metro programs among its residents; click here to see Metro's range of RideShare Programs
. Currently, there are 5 VanPools
leaving Mercer Island each morning, and 1 VanPool arriving. In addition, Metro offers a Carpooling
service, and there are carpooling apps such as Scoop, which matches drivers with riders for a small fee.
King County Metro Innovation Program
Metro is in the process of launching a number of pilots
across the County that includes exploring new concepts to address geographic transit deserts, time-of-day challenges, and peak time challenges of meeting demand. The City is eager to collaborate with Metro on first-last mile solutions and has had good success with the existing Route 630 Commuter Shuttle
and looks forward to discussing other potential pilot projects.
Integration With Bus Transit and Future Light Rail
These pilot programs are currently focused on transporting commuters to the Mercer Island Park & Ride area in order to board express buses. When light rail opens in 2023, trains will replace much of today's bus service, and it will be especially important to ensure that there are also safe bicycle/pedestrian corridors leading to the future rail station. This will receive consideration during the design processes for the rail station perimeter (including preferred pedestrian routes and sidewalks, bike access/storage, bus drop-off curbs, bus turnaround facilities, etc.).