How are Pedestrian/Bicycle projects selected?

The City of Mercer Island recognizes and encourages walking and bicycling in the community. In 1996, the City developed a plan which identified specific pedestrian, bicycle, and trail projects.  The plan was updated in 2010.

Projects included in this 2010 Plan were developed and ranked based on the following performance criteria:

  • Connectivity. The plan will provide a network of continuous links connecting employment, retail centers, schools, parks and other primary destinations with the Island's neighborhoods.
  • Sustainability. The plan will increase the opportunity for sustainable transportation choices by Island residents by facilitating pedestrian and bicycle movement as an alternative to the automobile.
  • Safety. Facilities provided by the plan shall be designed to reduce conflicts between autos, bicyclists and pedestrians, and provide a safe system of facilities for all user groups, especially for children on routes between neighborhoods and schools.
  • Routine Accommodation. Street improvements will be designed by identifying the full range of mobility needs to be met by the facility, and then balancing or adjusting these needs with space, financial and other considerations to achieve the best result.
  • Arterial corridors are shared-use assets. Automobile, bicycle and pedestrian use must be integrated. These needs should be considered in planning street projects.
  • Incremental solutions are preferred. Consideration should be given to the minimal facility or improvement that can balance competing priorities.
  • Appropriate facilities balance community values, expected uses, and site. Preserving Mercer Island's woodsy, rural character and neighborhood scale is important.
  • The Mercer Ways are a unique and valuable community asset. Trade-offs here are especially complex.
  • Maintenance practices, parking and speed control policies (and their enforcement) affect use of these facilities. These issues must be addressed to assure full value is obtained from investments.
The City makes an effort to coordinate the development of new or enhanced pedestrian and bicycle facilities with utility and street projects. As a result, major pedestrian and bicycle facility improvements are often constructed in conjunction with other projects.

What types of projects are included in Mercer Island's Transportation Improvement Program?

There are four project categories: a) Residential Streets Preservation Program; b) Arterial Street Improvements; c) New Pedestrian and Bicycle Facilities (PBF); d) Other Transportation Projects

How are residential and arterial streets selected for improvement?

Every three years, the City conducts a Pavement Condition Survey to rate the condition of the Island's streets. Survey results help the City prioritize maintenance and capital improvements. Streets are evaluated on criteria such as existing pavement distresses, surface condition, base condition, drainage, pending underground utility needs, and average daily traffic volume.

These rankings are coupled with other planning considerations (such as the water and sewer comprehensive plans and the Pedestrian and Bicycle Facilities Plan), and used to develop the six-year Transportation Improvement Program.

How often are streets resurfaced?

The City of Mercer Island owns and maintains approximately 54 miles of residential and 26 miles of arterial streets, for a total of 80 miles. Several factors determine resurfacing frequency; the City's streets are evaluated, ranked, and re-prioritized every two to three years. Improvements that correct a safety hazard are prioritized accordingly.  Typically, residential streets are resurfaced on a 35-year cycle and arterial streets, which carry more traffic, are resurfaced on a 25-year cycle.