Maintain Mobility and Transit Options for I-90
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We are a group of concerned Mercer Island residents who care deeply about the future of our unique community. We recognize Mercer Island is in the midst of negotiations that will dramatically and permanently change our mobility (car/bus/bike/pedestrian), safety, schools, parking and ultimately quality of life for generations of Islanders. We would wholly embrace WSDOT and Sound Transit's regional approach if it were not so clearly detrimental to Mercer Island. To that end and because our community has entrusted you with our current and future well-being, we urge you act now to negotiate the best deal for our city:
- Mercer Island, Sound Transit, Metro, and the WSDOT must have a unified term sheet with specific terms that Mercer Island residents agree upon.
- Mercer Island must motivate Sound Transit and WSDOT to agree to a term sheet that outlines specific mitigations to prevent irreversible and irrevocable damage to our community, including compensation.
- Mercer Island must revoke the Shoreline Permit that it had previously issued. The Council’s obligation to revoke the permit follows the letters from FHWA as, "New information indicating a proposal's probable significant adverse environmental impacts", under WAC107-11-600(3)(b)(ii) with respect to SOV eligibility contained in the FEIS referenced by the permit application.
By revoking the permit, Sound Transit, Metro and WSDOT will be motivated to negotiate a term sheet. This deal needs to have Mercer Island, Sound Transit, Metro and WSDOT agree to the following:
- Well-enforced SOV access to R8A managed lanes between I-405 and Seattle, inclusive of all ramps, for all Mercer Island traffic.
- Keep the Island Crest Way ramps open to all traffic, not just HOV.
- WSDOT enforces integrity of Managed Lanes by preventing cut-through traffic using technology on I-90 and Sound Transit pays for installation of cut-through prevention technology on arterial roads, ramps, and other roads of Mercer Island.
- No bus intercept or turnaround on Mercer Island.
- MI Park and Ride will be given MI permit parking (an allocation) during peak hours and % allocation for future parking issues.
- To mitigate traffic backup on I-90 and bus access from 2017-2023, two additional direct access ramps for all traffic must be opened prior to closing center roadway.
- Metro increases local intra-island shuttle options to help teachers, students, commuters, local businesses and others.
- Sound Transit keeps I-90 center roadway open until it is absolutely necessary to close for construction. We see no reason to build station head houses early on and then keep the roadway closed for another four-plus years.
- Sound Transit provides funding to address and mitigate the issues created from the ST2 Eastlink expansion:
a. Improve pedestrian, bike and vehicle safety
b. Access to transit and intra-island multi-modal solutions
c. Emergency Services Support Funding
d. Infrastructure enhancements commensurate with LR/ST2 Construction
e. Impacts to businesses and educational system
f. Sound Transit to pay for and provide parking per the 1976 agreement
In her December 13th editorial in The Mercer Island Reporter, Deputy Mayor Debbie Bertlin wrote that she, the Council, and city staff will advocate for the community’s needs with an approach that has the highest probability of delivering the best outcomes. Deputy Mayor Bertlin adds, “The council and I also remain open to all other options if negotiations do not progress favorably.” With all due respect to the Deputy Mayor, Mayor and other Council and staff who have worked on this issue, we believe now is the time to opt for revoking the Shoreline permit; said revocation will be the only way Mercer Island will be able to achieve our stated goals.
The actions we outline will respect the hard work and foresight of past city leaders with respect to mobility for Mercer Island residents through the hard-negotiated 1976 MOA and 2004 Amendment. Consistent with the Mercer Island School District, Vision Mercer Island, and Save Our Suburbs, we believe Mercer Island must negotiate for "loss of mobility" for changes and/or operations of I-90 between Seattle and I-405. This is a time when the citizens of Mercer Island and the city council must stand together to fight for our community before irreversible, ruinous changes are enacted.
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