September 1, 2015

Mercer Island Community Gets New Voice on Transportation Issues

Nonprofit Vision Mercer Island to conduct online survey to identify real resident concerns on impact of infrastructure changes to community

Mercer Island, Wash.– Concerned that a multitude of transportation projects, under the jurisdictions of different agencies, will leave its community idling on the shoulder, a group of Mercer Island residents has formed a new nonprofit to educate citizens and officials and encourage an open dialogue on complex infrastructure issues.   They will launch an online survey to gather real community feedback on pressing transportation needs.

“We need a transportation plan that benefits Mercer Island as well as the region,” said Lori Otto Punke, executive director of Vision Mercer Island. “Traffic is bad and about to get worse, so we formed Vision Mercer Island to give Island residents a forum to share real concerns about how changes to regional transportation systems will impact our community.”

Because of its unique geography, Mercer Island sits in the center of many imminent transportation changes, including construction closures and route modifications on I-90, rerouting buses and Park & Ride traffic, and Sound Transit’s East Link light rail expansion project and the road-level Mercer Island Station. While the goal of these projects is to improve transit availability, the resulting traffic impacts will make it significantly harder for drivers to get on, off and around Mercer Island. This affects not only those who live and work on Mercer Island, but also those who commute and move freight across the critical I-90 corridor.

Vision Mercer Island is forming at a time when input from Mercer Island residents is not only needed, but requested by government officials and agencies. Sound Transit approved a motion to seek more input from Island residents before moving ahead with existing plans for light rail, with King County Executive Dow Constantine and State Transportation Secretary Lynn Peterson, both Sound Transit board members, encouraging King County Metro and the Washington State Department of Transportation, respectively, to participate in the process. The agencies plan to host a series of public meetings and drop-in sessions over the next two months to listen to residents’ concerns.

To encourage real community feedback, Vision Mercer Island will conduct an online anonymous survey of Island residents to gather input on pressing transportation issues. By better understanding community needs and expectations, the Island will be better able to engage in responsible dialogue and create a climate for a transportation plan that supports a strong and vibrant future.

“We like to say that sustainable transportation solutions start here on Mercer Island — and this is a distinct moment in time to highlight the challenges, opportunities, and impacts transportation has on our community,” continued Punke. “Mercer Island has a proud history of creating extraordinary transportation outcomes that benefit our community and greater region alike, and we need to work together to keep that legacy alive now.”

About Vision Mercer Island

Vision Mercer Island is a community organization created to educate Mercer Island residents about the complex transportation issues facing our Island. Our aim is to help create a climate for a comprehensive transportation plan that Mercer Island will be proud of for decades to come. For more information, visit



Lori Otto Punke