Mercer Island Transit Interchange

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The Mercer Island Transit Interchange is the integration of bus transit service from the Eastside with East Link light rail. When East Link opens for service in 2023, some bus routes from the Eastside to Seattle will terminate at Mercer Island Station, where passengers will transfer to/from light rail.

Learn more by reading the articles below, as well as the FAQs and studying the Document Library; use the tools below to Ask a Question or Post a Comment. [Note: FAQ's not updated after Oct 2020]

The Mercer Island Transit Interchange is the integration of bus transit service from the Eastside with East Link light rail. When East Link opens for service in 2023, some bus routes from the Eastside to Seattle will terminate at Mercer Island Station, where passengers will transfer to/from light rail.

Learn more by reading the articles below, as well as the FAQs and studying the Document Library; use the tools below to Ask a Question or Post a Comment. [Note: FAQ's not updated after Oct 2020]

Guest Book

Please post your Comments to the City on the Bus/Rail Interchange below; all comments will be considered as part of the public record and reviewed by staff. Be a good neighbor and keep your comments civil - please refer to our moderation policy for more details. 

If you have a specific Question, please submit it through the Ask A Question tool for a staff response.

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I once rode the light rail with someone that not only was muttering words to themselves, they ALSO smelled very heavily of body odor. They seemed like they hadn't showered in at least 2 days. We cannot let people like this infiltrate our community. We must take a stand against Sound Transit and preserve our community values. Is there any way we can have our own dedicated Light Rail car that only Mercer Island residents can use. Maybe the doors can be opened by scanning a QR code / App on our phones that only CONFIRMED MI residents have access to? Could also have a paid full time police officer in the car at all times? This seems like it could be a good compromise yes?

Todd Cohen 4 months ago
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As a 25 year resident of Mercer Island I strongly support Sound Transit’s preferred bus turnaround and street design to ensure efficient, safe transfers between trains and busses. The plan is well thought through and the City should stop hampering Sound Transit’s efforts to best serve our island.

Steve M 5 months ago
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If you look at page 26 of the Metro Connects 2040, you can see that they are forecasting that it will take 51 minutes to go from Issaquah to Seattle which is not fast:
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B44RYEx3kgpoZUJqbXVScnR4cjg/view?resourcekey=0-QNnuWXJScAoaecJWdhSRsg
But if you look at the I-90 WSDOT Capacity Report, if you take the HOV time (30 minutes from Issaquah to Seattle) and replace that with Rapid Bus Transit, it would take the 30 minutes and with a transfer at the International Station to light rail, which would take 10 minutes from Seattle to Mercer Island, it would take about 40 minutes to 45 minutes which is quicker than if people took regular bus to Mercer Island, then transfer at Mercer Island and then the trip via light rail into Seattle. I mean, who do you know who would want to be forced off the bus at Mercer Island, schlep down to the light rail station, wait for the next train and in all weathers? And when you think of how much money this roundabout is costing, it is crazy. Why they won't let buses just continue on as they do today is beyond my comprehension.

fletchsa1 5 months ago
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This FAQ is not correct. Each articulated bus is 60ft long, yet Sound Transit are making out that the layover space is designed for only one bus. That can't be right. Considering they weren't supposed to have any buses dropping off, picking up or laying over on the north side of North Mercer Way, they certainly are taking liberties and lying about how many buses will be able to lay over. It is more like two.
Q: What is the layover space requirement for the proposed layover on the north side of North Mercer Way?
In response to Mercer Island City Council concerns and the amount of space available, the length of the flexible curb space/layover on the north side of North Mercer Way was designed to be only 145 feet for one bus. This is the smallest it can be and still meet Metro’s operational needs to pull in and out of the space safely.

fletchsa1 5 months ago
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In the Hearing Examiner's Decision, does anyone know if Sound Transit's bus drivers also have a Union Contract with regard to layovers? And I am sorry, if they need a layover, they can put it on the south side in that a layover area on the north side would impact traffic flow. Does anyone know if Sound Transit's bus drivers have a Union contract and does it have the same requirements? "Since the MITI will be a bus route terminus, provisions for “layovers” must be provided. A layover occurs between the end of a bus’s trip and the beginning of its next trip. Metro bus drivers’ labor contracts include minimum requirements for layover time. Layovers generally range between 10 and 20 minutes, with a 15 minute average. Without adequate provisions for layover bays, the adopted East Link service plan could not be implemented. (Exhibit 1002, PDF 15 & 16; Katie Chalmers (“Chalmers”) {Metro}, Steve Crosley (“Crosley”) {Metro} testimony"
And the City Council voted against the Optimal Configuration which had buses stopping on both sides of North Mercer Way and on 80th Ave SE. Did they not notify Sound Transit of this fact> And I hope the city will not permit an "Emergency Zone." If there is an emergency, there is no reason why they can't just close the whole roadway. Why do they need a specific zone for it? It is quite obvious that they are going to use it for their buses to pick passengers up. I mean, why wouldn't they want that area for buses?

fletchsa1 7 months ago
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Mercer Island city council concerns about the interchange could be minimized by limiting buses terminating on island to the 3 or 4 ST554 routes an hour currently stopping on Island. King County Metro wasn't part of the Settlement agreement, negating any claim they can terminate routes on island. Don't allow KCM buses stop on island on I-90 routes into and out of Seattle.

Bill Hirt 9 months ago
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Could you please post the Right-of-Way Permit Sound Transit requested, as well as the legal documents which got filed in the lawsuit? Thanks.

fletchsa1 about 1 year ago
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Thank you for holding the line in the October 2 letter to Sound Transit, and offering ST yet another opportunity to avoid litigation by simply sticking to what they originally agreed to! The potential litigation has nothing to do with stopping buses, or people, from coming to Mercer Island or impeding regional transit, as some have suggested...quite the opposite. Anyone who thinks this, should catch up on the facts which are that Sound Transit signed an Agreement in 2017 and now they want to breach that agreement. They expect the City to acquiesce to these changes (to the detriment of riders, pedestrians and residents). Let's all hope that Metro/Sound Transit can manage to stick to the Agreement in order to avoid litigation and in order to have a safe and workable outcome for all, especially the riders. Thank You to the City Manager and City Council for continuing to uphold our end of the deal, despite the fact that Metro/Sound Transit doesn't think it necessary to do the same.

AshleyHay about 1 year ago
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As a resident of mercer island, I am constantly upset and surprised by the actions of the city council. Why are we so afraid of people coming to the island and the increased bus traffic? I have read the SoundTransit plans and they are sound and will connect us with our region. It's time to stop thinking so individually when we need to think regionally. Stop impeding SoundTransit from connecting us to our neighbors. The link and the bus intercept are good for the city and the region. I am completely opposed to the new tax increase as we should not be actively pursuing litigation.

Sarah about 1 year ago
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The Mercer Island light rail station and bus interchange are set to bring people and business to the island it would have never had otherwise, amounting to increased revenues I have to believe our city's staff have already begun examining. Coupled with the environmental and quality of life benefits that a short ride to Seattle, Bellevue, Redmond, and so on in the near future brings and it makes absolutely no sense to me why our City Council would choose to try to prevent it. 

Add onto that us being in the middle of one of the worst job markets and recessions our country has ever seen and the optics get even worse. Our city is willing to tax us in the millions to try to fight a very likely/obviously losing battle against Sound Transit that shouldn't be fought in the first place?

Take the light rail and bus interchange for what it is, good for the entire Puget Sound region (Which we are a part of and benefit from as well) to get to where the live, work, and play that much easier time-wise, environmentally, and so on. All of you in favor of this tax and litigation need to be willing to accept the ridiculously bad optics it puts on our city when we look like we want to throw around lawyers anytime we feel like it.

I strongly oppose this superfluous tax and the superfluous litigation it is meant to support.

David Rosen about 1 year ago
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Please do not let Sound Transit bully us into an unacceptable situation. I fully support going forward with litigation and using the utility tax increase to pay for the litigation. The bus intercept is not necessary and should be placed in South Bellevue where they have the space if built. This is totally a safety, congestion, & pollution issue!

Ben Chew over 1 year ago
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I have communicated to Salim Nice on the council that there are solutions that can be adopted that do not impact MI. Most notably a bus exchange can be constructed on columns above the light rail station and freeway and which can be planned and designed to ensure buses come off and go back on the freeway without even using a MI road. It could easily incorporate extra "Park and Ride " bays. While this would be a significant construction, I think that it is entirely reasonable that the region as a whole pay for a dedicated facility on Mercer Island that benefits the whole region - particularly as it provides zero benefit to Mercer Island residents.

Personally I believe there are better places to construct such a facility (such as at the South Bellevue station with dedicated feeder off ramps from I90 for buses). But if it has to be Mercer Island, let's not cobble together a street modification, let's do the job properly. I am happy to share my concept with the council or Sound Transit.

Brian Sadden over 1 year ago
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I think that Sound Transit's plan looks great. When you choose to live on Mercer Island, you choose to live next to a major transportation corridor -- there's no way around it. If you must raise taxes on Island residents, please use the money to fund more important endeavors such as Youth and Family Services and/or Parks and Recreation, rather than actively working to impede the development of important public transit infrastructure.

Grady Yuthok Short over 1 year ago
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It is ridiculous to pursue litigation against Sound Transit.

The real issue is that the original proposal for a layover on 80th with loading and unloading facilities there made the most sense. But we are now precluded from the most logical siting due to a half-baked settlement agreement, whose seeming sole purpose was to extort money out of ST to increase commuter parking spaces.

It is embarrassing how Mercer Island's Council and community more generally has represented itself in these proceedings with ST whether it was delaying the project for years due to the Express Lanes litigation to now undermining regional transit over misplaced concerns for bus facilities. Our community will benefit enormously from Light Rail and would benefit additionally from regular bus service to the entire East Side.

It's past time our island gets beyond myopic parochial concerns about buses and their impact on air pollution or increased congestion. Neither will be significantly altered due to any proposal. The facility exists above I-90. All this false equivocating is just painting a veneer of reasonableness on a more ugly truth. There is a vocal minority on this island who equate buses and transit with an 'other' kind of community that 'we are not.' It's exclusionary, entitled, and arrogant. It is a shame to see our council bow to misplaced and unsubstantiated concerns once more. Quit wasting our money on litigation and actually act in our community and region's interests.

Trevor Reed over 1 year ago
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I do not support the utility tax increase to fund this lawsuit against Metro. While it may be true that the Settlement agreement is being breached, I don't see how the plan for the bus intercept could be improved. The current plan seems like the best solution and even if Islanders believe that there are no benefits to Island residents, public transit is still beneficial to many others. I worry that this lawsuit is just Mercer Island trying to stay within its bubble and prevent outsiders from coming through. We should put aside our misinformed common sense that people not from our community are bad, and try to accept steps toward more public transit.

sarahc over 1 year ago
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Growing up on Mercer Island, public transit was invaluable. As a teen taking classes in Seattle and participating in sports in Seattle, public transit was the only reason I had those opportunities.

Improving public transit is good for our community, our environment, and our kids.

Really disgusting to see my neighbors argue that bringing in the light rail will increase traffic and reduce air quality. It's very clear to us all that a vocal contingent of this island are fabricating excuses to keep the island isolated because they are afraid of the people of Seattle. I will repeat again, it is disgusting and as your children grow up they will be embarrassed to say where they are from and disappointed in your fearful, hateful values.

And paying 50 dollars a year in additional taxes to sue your own government in order to keep a vital service to our community? Sad.

Zach Rowe over 1 year ago
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Thank you, Council, for taking the necessary steps to keep this project within the parameters established and agreed upon in 2017. It is extremely disappointing that Sound Transit has made no attempt to address the plethora of questions and concerns related to their recent 60% design. Despite informing our community that they would publish the public comments related to their plans, Sound Transit did not do so. Sound Transit continues to ignore (and hide) the concerns of the public and intends to proceed unilaterally, regardless of the negative impacts of their expanded plans. It is unfortunate that we must enter into litigation, but it is the only recourse with all other options exhausted and Sound Transit's refusal to act in good faith. I fully support and appreciate the Council's unanimous approach here. Thank you!

AshleyHay over 1 year ago
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This is an unacceptable situation. I fully support going forward with litigation and using the utility tax increase to pay for the litigation.

Teresa Hall over 1 year ago
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Entitlement = Mercer Island
Detached from reality = Mercer Island
Void of diversity = Mercer Island
Paucity of purpose and finds consumption and car ownership the equivalent of why they exist = Mercer Island

Sam99 over 1 year ago
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If MI residents paid a special tax to pay for the prior lawsuit that established the “settlement” agreement that SoundTransit in now proposing to violate, what’s the use in suing them again, with an additional special rotation on residents? Why would the buses have to come onto the Island - why not stop at South Bellevue to get riders to the train?

DonC over 1 year ago
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Page last updated: 22 November 2021, 16:37