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 were last updated 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 were last updated Oct 2020]

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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. 

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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 about 1 month 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 6 months 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 7 months 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 7 months 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 7 months 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 8 months 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 8 months 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 8 months 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 8 months 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 8 months 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 8 months 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 8 months 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 8 months 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 8 months 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 8 months ago
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Increasing the size and scope of the bus interchange on Mercer Island is problematic for several reasons. The are already significant foot, bicycle, and car safety issues. Traffic congestion, and alternative traffic routes are not an option as the island is very small and already fully developed. Air quality will deteriorate significantly in close proximity to multiple senior housing facilities with diesel buses using the area for staging. An aside- the notion that the buses will be turned off while sitting on the side of the road is faulty, to run air conditioning or heating, the motor needs to be running. In Seattle, this means at least 6 months of the year the buses will be idling while staging. Road based surface water runoff will create additional pollution and deteriorate water quality within hundreds of yards of Lake Washington.
Finally, a very real additional factor in my comments is Sound Transits track record. Sound Transit has not been a partner either with Mercer Island, or with other entities that have come in contact with Sound Transit. The story is a broken record of autocratic control, broken promises, and no accountability. If anyone from Sound Transit is reading this, understand that past actions impact future credibility. There is no going back on this in ten years and having no recourse is not an option. Sound Transit's promises are tainted by Sound Transit's lengthy track record and for these reasons, I support litigation.

Jim Gregson 8 months ago
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Thanks for the update. Sad situation but I support going forward with litigation and using the utility tax increase to pay for the litigation.

Bonnie 8 months ago
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As part of the Metro Vision 2040, it says that it will take 51 minutes for a 15.5 mile trip to take light rail from Issaquah to Seattle. That is not fast at all. It would be quicker for Metro/ST to put Rapid Bus Transit buses which would go non-stop from Issaquah to Seattle which would take 30 minutes, and have commuters then transfer to light rail to Mercer Island for a total trip time of 40 minutes, 11 minutes quicker than had they taken light rail. And Metro have the same concerns as myself and that is that people would rather drive to Mercer Island, park in our Park and Ride, and then take light rail into Seattle. There would not even be a need for a roundabout.

fletchsa1 9 months ago
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The 6 year Transportation Improvement Plan (TIP) includes SP123, “North Mercer Way Park and Ride Frontage Improvements”, which I strongly oppose for the following reasons:
1. It is too expensive. It is the largest TIP at $1,284,107, which is 70% of all REET projected for 2024.
2. It is very low priority. It cannot be considered either mandatory or necessary. REET can alternately be used for the General Fund or to accelerate more important Capital Improvement Plans, such as replacement of about 200 undersized and deteriorated water main projects.
3. It is a detriment to safety by mixing bicycle traffic with pedestrians. Bicyclists should be required to dismount south of the parking garage.
4. It is redundant to the bike trail on the north side of the parking garage.
5. It precludes better solutions for Mercer Islanders and bus riders from the east and southeast. Mercer Islanders and Eastside bus commuters are better served when busses arriving from the east continue on to Seattle, either without stopping on Mercer Island, or by using the existing bus bay without forced transfer to light rail. The roundabout is certain to cause major traffic jams on NMW and trip delays. The bus bay on the north side of NMW should at least be retained for local buses and private car, Uber, Lyft, and taxis drop offs. Layovers/idling should be prohibited.
6. Forced bus transfers are not customer friendly. Eastside riders will not like to make an extra transfer that takes longer.

Dwight 10 months ago
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Considering the slavish support for Sound Transit's schemes for Mercer Island exhibited by our past mayors and city council majorities, including several of those on our current city council, I find the letter to Sound Transit laughable. The ideological priority of our city council majority has been and, I suspect will continue to be, to sacrifice our community to the broader leftist regionalist, county and state government priorities which do NOT care about our neighborhoods, our town center or our ability to access our island via SOV. Do NOT listen to what the city council majority and the mayor say; Watch what this city council majority and mayor actually do. They want the ST hub, expanded urban density, higher population growth, neighborhood upzoning, short-platting and all the negative consequences for our city of pursuing those objectives.

Madrona Crest 11 months ago
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