Welcome to the Vision Mercer Island blog, your source to understand transportation issues affecting Mercer Island and the region.

VMI was founded in the summer of 2015 by a dedicated group of civic-minded Mercer Islanders. We
saw that Islanders were (and still are) not fully aware of the major issues and our City and leaders had
neither the time, resources nor expertise to tackle the myriad of looming, complex transportation
decisions.

HOV/Access: In 2017, the center Express Lanes of I-90 will be permanently closed for construction of
Light Rail. The I-90 outer lanes are being restriped to add a full-time HOV lane in each direction. The
reversible ramp at 77th Ave SE is being decommissioned.

Parking: The South Bellevue Park and Ride will close in February 2017 for several years. The Island Crest
Way ramps are being reconfigured. Major bus service changes impact local traffic.

Cut Thru Traffic: I-90 commuters are increasingly cutting through Mercer Island, clogging ramps and
merges, causing even longer highway delays. And a new light rail station is being built near the MI Park
and Ride, raising questions about how Island commuters will get to the train.

These are complex issues that will impact mobility on, off and around the Island for decades.

Mercer Island faced a similar situation when the existing I-90 facility was proposed. Mayor Aubrey Davis, for whom Lid Park is named, led a once-in-a-generation negotiation resulting in a landmark 1976 win-win agreement. The island got access to the HOV lanes, lid parks, and other concessions, while the
region got a state-of-the-art highway through the heart of Mercer Island.

That agreement also mandated that any future changes to the I-90 facility had to be renegotiated. Now,
forty years later, we are again faced with a once-in-a-generation negotiation.

So VMI raised a lot of money to hire expertise – traffic, engineering, legal, environmental, policy, market research, PR and other – so that we could become subject matter experts on every aspect of the
transportation changes coming to our City and region.

Our mission is threefold:

  1. Educate people on the complex transportation issues
  2. Advocate for good decision making processes
  3. Facilitate win-win solutions for Mercer Island and the region

To date, we have been largely out of the public eye, trying to educate, advocate and facilitate quietly
and efficiently. Our research and analysis indicates that there are win-win solutions that all of the
parties – Mercer Island, Sound Transit, WSDOT, Metro, King County, and the Federal Highway
Administration – can agree meet their needs. We’ve shared this with all of them.

Unfortunately, the institutional bureaucracy at all levels has made it hard for decision makers to truly
understand the issues and come to a timely agreement.

So now Vision Mercer Island is reaching out directly to educate the people impacted. Like us on
Facebook over the coming days and weeks as we provide you with what we hope is valuable information
concerning the massive transportation changes in our future.

So what can you do?

Email the Mercer Island City Council today and let them know you care about the outcome of these negotiations. Tell them to get unified quickly. Tell them the people of Mercer Island know a good win/win deal from a bad deal.

Write your own email or feel free to copy the one below. Either way, nothing will happen if you don’t make yourself heard.

***

Dear Mercer Island City Council,

I care about the outcome of the current transportation negotiations and am concerned the City is on the wrong track. Please work together as a unified Council and stand up for win/win solutions the Island and region can get behind.  Get the deal specifics on the table and don’t be afraid to play hardball.  This is a once-in-a-generation negotiation. Please get it right.

Sincerely,

***

Mercer Island City Council Email Addresses:

bruce.bassett@mercergov.org

debbie.bertlin@mercergov.org

dan.grausz@mercergov.org

jeff.sanderson@mercergov.org

Wendy.Weiker@mercergov.org

David.Wisenteiner@mercergov.org

Benson.Wong@mercergov.org

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