Transit Interchange Working Group Initiates Rapid Assessment

At its July 16 meeting, the City Council unanimously approved (5-0) the formation of a working group to rapidly evaluate all feasible bus intercept configurations that would serve the future East Link rail station on Mercer Island.

The working group, led by Deputy Mayor Salim Nice and Councilmember Benson Wong, convened this week, and includes the Police and Fire Chiefs, and several other senior City staff.

The group is charged with reviewing in greater detail the 77th Avenue Configuration put forward by Sound Transit, as well as other designs or improvements that could address community concerns over pedestrian volumes and crossings, delays to rush hour drivers, bicycle travel, and general public safety.

Operating under a tight timeline, the working group hired an independent traffic consultant expert with knowledge of the bus/rail integration history, to review existing engineering and environmental documentation with a fresh set of eyes. The City’s expert will produce a summary report identifying ways to optimize these proposals while mitigating anticipated impacts associated with a transit interchange.

Continued communication with Sound Transit and WSDOT staff is also underway in order to swiftly confirm transit data and engineering assumptions, and to dismiss technically unworkable alternatives.

After several more planned meetings, the working group is expected to present its recommended design solutions at the August 20 Council Meeting for full Council consideration.

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