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, a few 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.

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, a few 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.

  • Sound Transit Online Open House

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    about 1 hour ago

    On June 1, Sound Transit began mailing a postcard (see image) to all Mercer Island addresses, announcing an upcoming online open house, slated for June 8-19.

    The open house covers the design of the Bus/Rail Interchange which will facilitate bus riders transferring to and from light rail when it opens in 2023.

    The City encourages all interested residents to weigh in on the design of a proposed roundabout, as well as plans for the un-built 80th Avenue station entry plaza, and sidewalk and curb cut adjustments along North Mercer Way. Please also share any other concerns you may have...

    On June 1, Sound Transit began mailing a postcard (see image) to all Mercer Island addresses, announcing an upcoming online open house, slated for June 8-19.

    The open house covers the design of the Bus/Rail Interchange which will facilitate bus riders transferring to and from light rail when it opens in 2023.

    The City encourages all interested residents to weigh in on the design of a proposed roundabout, as well as plans for the un-built 80th Avenue station entry plaza, and sidewalk and curb cut adjustments along North Mercer Way. Please also share any other concerns you may have with proposed operations.

    The City's engineering and building staff recently reviewed the 60% design and provided comments on the technical aspects of construction, such as materials to be used, necessary excavation, landscaping, and other details of the roundabout.

    Learn more about the Sound Transit Open House, and don't forget to comment between June 8-19.

  • A Letter to the Community from Your City Council

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    7 days ago

    (May 27, 2020) Sound Transit’s Non-Compliant Bus/Rail Interchange 60% Design Does Not Address City Concerns

    Dear Mercer Island Community,

    The East Link light rail station on Mercer Island is nearing completion, yet there still is much work to do to ensure the community’s interests are being met with the final design of the Sound Transit Bus/Rail Interchange that will deliver bus riders to the train.

    The City Council understands that the Bus/Rail Interchange is a topic of great interest to the Mercer Island community. Depending on design, the Bus/Rail Interchange has the potential to adversely impact traffic patterns and public...

    (May 27, 2020) Sound Transit’s Non-Compliant Bus/Rail Interchange 60% Design Does Not Address City Concerns

    Dear Mercer Island Community,

    The East Link light rail station on Mercer Island is nearing completion, yet there still is much work to do to ensure the community’s interests are being met with the final design of the Sound Transit Bus/Rail Interchange that will deliver bus riders to the train.

    The City Council understands that the Bus/Rail Interchange is a topic of great interest to the Mercer Island community. Depending on design, the Bus/Rail Interchange has the potential to adversely impact traffic patterns and public safety on the Island. The time for public comment is nearing, and this will be your opportunity to let Sound Transit know what you think of their design.

    Earlier this spring, Sound Transit submitted their 60% design plans for the roundabout at 77th and North Mercer Way (download here) to the City for technical review. These documents identify the construction methods, materials to be used, necessary excavation, landscaping, and other details for the roundabout, as well as plans for the unbuilt 80th Avenue station entry plaza, and sidewalk and curb cut adjustments along North Mercer Way.

    To meet the City’s governmental obligation as the agency responsible for construction oversight, the City’s engineering and building staff reviewed the 60% design and provided comments solely on the technical aspects of construction, which can be viewed here.

    We also notified Sound Transit that the 60% design for their Bus/Rail Interchange fails to meet the terms of our 2017 Settlement Agreement. The Settlement Agreement between the City and Sound Transit limits how Sound Transit can operate their Bus/Rail Interchange. The 60% design includes curb cuts along the north side of North Mercer Way that are not contemplated under the Settlement Agreement.

    While there are many benefits that the completion of light rail provides to the community and region, the City has several significant unresolved concerns about the high volume of bicycles and pedestrians that are expected to mix with cars and buses adjacent to the busy Park & Ride location once East Link light rail is operational. Last October, we reiterated our concerns to Sound Transit over pedestrian safety, bus layovers, and a proposal to use the north curb frontage of North Mercer Way to drop off bus riders bound for light rail.

    Unfortunately, Sound Transit’s response to our concerns was met this April by a letter repeating their unwillingness to accept the limitations imposed by the Settlement Agreement on their Bus/Rail Interchange. Despite this response, the City remains committed to engaging Sound Transit proactively to urge them to comply with the terms of the Settlement Agreement during design, construction, and operation of their Bus/Rail Interchange. The City has also tried to engage King County Metro in a constructive dialog; to date King County Metro has shown little interest in engaging in this dialog.

    On May 19, 2020, during the City’s presentation on the draft Transportation Improvement Plan (AB5691), City staff proposed for our consideration and adoption a new project that begins to address public safety concerns. We were also provided with a conceptual design for this project. This project and conceptual design are consistent with the Settlement Agreement. The City’s conceptual drawing excludes bus drop-off and layover locations on the north side of North Mercer Way, improves sightlines, widens pedestrian paths and crossings, and enhances lighting.

    Now is the time for all Islanders to engage in this final stage of light rail planning to ensure the best outcome for the Mercer Island community. Sound Transit has communicated plans to hold an online open house, currently expected to occur in June, on the 60% design depicting the roundabout and related features of their Bus/Rail Interchange. Sound Transit needs to hear from our community. The City Council strongly encourages all interested residents to view and comment on these 60% design plans, and to share any other concerns you may have (open house details will be posted on the City’s Let’s Talk page when available).

    -Mercer Island City Council


    Mayor Benson Wong

    Deputy Mayor Wendy Weiker

    Councilmember Lisa Anderl

    Councilmember Jake Jacobson

    Councilmember Salim Nice

    Councilmember Craig Reynolds

    Councilmember David Rosenbaum


  • City Responds to King County Metro's Transit Interchange Requests

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    8 months ago

    On October 16, 2019, the City of Mercer Island sent a response to Sound Transit regarding King County Metro’s bus-rail interchange requirements at the future Mercer Island light rail station.

    In a May 10, 2019 letter to Sound Transit, Metro had requested changes to the configuration already agreed upon by Sound Transit and the City for bus-rail passenger transfers.

    The City’s response notified Sound Transit that under the November 2017 Settlement Agreement between the City and Sound Transit, the City does not approve the changes requested by King County Metro.

    The City remains open to considering other reasonable alternatives...

    On October 16, 2019, the City of Mercer Island sent a response to Sound Transit regarding King County Metro’s bus-rail interchange requirements at the future Mercer Island light rail station.

    In a May 10, 2019 letter to Sound Transit, Metro had requested changes to the configuration already agreed upon by Sound Transit and the City for bus-rail passenger transfers.

    The City’s response notified Sound Transit that under the November 2017 Settlement Agreement between the City and Sound Transit, the City does not approve the changes requested by King County Metro.

    The City remains open to considering other reasonable alternatives to, and additional studies of, King County Metro’s requested changes, and looks forward to future constructive dialogue.

  • Transit Interchange Working Group Initiates Rapid Assessment

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    10 months ago

    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...

    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.

  • Questions About Transit Interchange Safety

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    11 months ago

    Do you have questions about how commuter buses will integrate safely with the future light rail service on Mercer Island (opening 2023)? The City Council will be discussing this topic at its July 16 Regular Meeting, but in the meantime we have also crafted a Q&A hitting some of the hot topics the community is discussing right now. The Transit Interchange Safety FAQ (from July 11) can be accessed from our Document Library.


    Do you have questions about how commuter buses will integrate safely with the future light rail service on Mercer Island (opening 2023)? The City Council will be discussing this topic at its July 16 Regular Meeting, but in the meantime we have also crafted a Q&A hitting some of the hot topics the community is discussing right now. The Transit Interchange Safety FAQ (from July 11) can be accessed from our Document Library.


  • Planning for the Transit Interchange

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    12 months ago

    East Link light rail is currently under construction with service set to begin in 2023. One of the remaining issues under discussion regarding light rail on Mercer Island is the integration of the new rail service with existing bus transit at the Mercer Island Station. Sound Transit and King County Metro are seeking to minimize overlap between light rail and bus service along I-90, maximize transit efficiency and reduce air pollution.

    A 2017 Settlement Agreement between the City of Mercer Island and Sound Transit sought to balance the goals of the transit agencies with the City’s desire to protect quality...

    East Link light rail is currently under construction with service set to begin in 2023. One of the remaining issues under discussion regarding light rail on Mercer Island is the integration of the new rail service with existing bus transit at the Mercer Island Station. Sound Transit and King County Metro are seeking to minimize overlap between light rail and bus service along I-90, maximize transit efficiency and reduce air pollution.

    A 2017 Settlement Agreement between the City of Mercer Island and Sound Transit sought to balance the goals of the transit agencies with the City’s desire to protect quality of life for Island residents. The Settlement Agreement outlined the location and design of the Transit Interchange, identifying a roundabout at North Mercer Way and 77th Ave SE as the location for bus loading/unloading and turnaround.

    King County Metro was not a party to the Settlement Agreement, but it was known when the agreement was signed that Metro would need to be involved in planning and implementation of the transit interchange. Thus, after the Settlement Agreement was signed, Sound Transit commissioned the Mercer Island Transit Interchange Operational and Configuration Study (Full Study; Exec Summary) to evaluate how Metro buses will integrate with the light rail station. Since the study was completed, Sound Transit and Metro have been working to further refine plans for the interchange, including the design of the improvements to the right of way, the roundabout, bus queueing and layover areas, and pedestrian, bicycle and vehicle circulation.

    Throughout early 2019, the City Council has also been in discussion with the transit agencies about expected bus operations and the design details of the proposed interchange. The City Council held two Study Sessions (19 March and 30 April, 2019) at which Sound Transit and Metro presented updates on roundabout design and proposed future bus operations. Meeting materials, FAQ, and comments/questions are provided in the articles below.

  • Council Holds Second Study Session on April 30, 2019

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    12 months ago

    On Tuesday April 30, The City Council held a second Study Session to understand additional details of the proposed interchange and bus operations design. Following this meeting, Sound Transit and King County Metro provided the City with a proposed construction timeline, as well as extensive answers to Council questions (both documents are available in the Document Library). You can watch the meeting footage here on the Council You Tube Channel.

    On Tuesday April 30, The City Council held a second Study Session to understand additional details of the proposed interchange and bus operations design. Following this meeting, Sound Transit and King County Metro provided the City with a proposed construction timeline, as well as extensive answers to Council questions (both documents are available in the Document Library). You can watch the meeting footage here on the Council You Tube Channel.
  • Questions Answered

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    about 1 year ago

    Following the March 19, 2019 Study Session with Sound Transit and King County Metro staff, Council requested additional information and analysis of Sound Transit’s Mercer Island Transit Interchange Operational and Configuration Study (Study). KPG, the City’s on-call traffic engineering firm, will provide a review of the Study and recommendations for station access improvements including Pedestrian and Bicycle Improvements and Signal Phasing Improvements for Pedestrians at a City Council Study Session on April 30, 2019 at 6:00pm at Mercer Island City Hall.

    Responses to the list of Council questions from the March 19 Study Session along with an extensive FAQ are now available.

    Following the March 19, 2019 Study Session with Sound Transit and King County Metro staff, Council requested additional information and analysis of Sound Transit’s Mercer Island Transit Interchange Operational and Configuration Study (Study). KPG, the City’s on-call traffic engineering firm, will provide a review of the Study and recommendations for station access improvements including Pedestrian and Bicycle Improvements and Signal Phasing Improvements for Pedestrians at a City Council Study Session on April 30, 2019 at 6:00pm at Mercer Island City Hall.

    Responses to the list of Council questions from the March 19 Study Session along with an extensive FAQ are now available.

  • We're Working on Answering All Your Questions

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    about 1 year ago

    At the March 19 Council Meeting, representatives from Metro and Sound Transit provided a lot of insight into bus operations and roundabout construction. We received a number of questions during that night's 90-minute session, as well as others that continue to come in via this site. We are gathering data from the agencies and posting the responses as soon as possible...

    You can watch the meeting footage here on the Council YouTube Channel -- Thank you!

    At the March 19 Council Meeting, representatives from Metro and Sound Transit provided a lot of insight into bus operations and roundabout construction. We received a number of questions during that night's 90-minute session, as well as others that continue to come in via this site. We are gathering data from the agencies and posting the responses as soon as possible...

    You can watch the meeting footage here on the Council YouTube Channel -- Thank you!

  • Submit Your Questions Today About Interchange Operations

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    about 1 year ago

    In advance of a March 19 Council Study Session (meeting materials posted here), the City is gathering questions from the public about the future operations of the transit interchange that will allow regional buses to exchange passengers with East Link Light Rail trains (starting in 2023). Please use the Ask a Question Tab to submit yours, or check the FAQ page.

    In advance of a March 19 Council Study Session (meeting materials posted here), the City is gathering questions from the public about the future operations of the transit interchange that will allow regional buses to exchange passengers with East Link Light Rail trains (starting in 2023). Please use the Ask a Question Tab to submit yours, or check the FAQ page.