The biggest news of recent weeks was the City of Mercer Island’s tentative $10 million settlement with Sound Transit that ends the City’s lawsuit over I-90 access. The story was covered by The Seattle Times, KOMO News, KIRO 7, and the Mercer Island Reporter.
According to the tentative agreement, Sound Transit will pay $5.1 million toward traffic safety enhancements and $4.5 million toward building up to 200 transit-user parking stalls on Mercer Island. A complete list of the proposed settlement items can be found here.
As expected, there was a significant community response to the news, including lengthy discussions on Nextdoor.com, a follow-up reasoning from City Council member Dan Grausz, and an open letter from Vision Mercer Island. All links provided below.
The I-90 center roadway express lanes are now permanently closed. I enjoyed them one last time on a mother-son excursion to a Seattle Mariners game on Saturday, May 3rd. With two friends and our three sons, we remarked on the final voyage and the changes to come to Mercer Island and the greater Seattle region with the expansion of light rail.
The Island Crest Way westbound I-90 on-ramp is also now closed to single-occupant vehicles (SOV), though the City continues to negotiate for SOV access to this highly traveled access point. They are engaging political support toward getting the US Department of Transportation to “grandfather” SOV access, per historical agreements, according to a recent message from Julie Underwood, Mercer Island City Manager.
We have included all I-90-related links below as well as our usual round-up of the previous month’s most interesting Mercer Island-related links from around the web.
If you’d like to share your experience of how the I-90 changes have impacted your commute, we’d love to hear from you. Please share with us in the comments!
I-90 News & Notes
I-90 Ramp & Lane Changes | Parking & Commute Resources
Helpful Information for Residents & Commuters [City of Mercer Island]
The State of I-90 – A Message from the City Manager, Julie Underwood (Complete Mailer) [City of Mercer Island]
Mercer Island braces for new I-90 bottlenecks as light-rail works begins [The Seattle Times]
Settlement News & Information
Sound Transit plans to pay Mercer Island $10M to settle I-90 dispute [The Seattle Times]
Mercer Island and Sound Transit reach tentative agreement [City of Mercer Island Press Release]
Mercer Island, Sound Transit agree on tentative $10 million settlement [Mercer Island Reporter]
Reactions & Responses
Sound Transit Settlement Update [City Council member Dan Grausz / Nextdoor.com]
An Open Letter from Vision Mercer Island about the MI-Sound Transit Tentative Settlement [Vision Mercer Island]
Exclusive: Videos Of I-90 Negotiations, Islander Reaction [Mercer Island Distorter]
And our favorite … Florist gives roses to Mercer Island commuters on first day of express-lane closure [The Seattle Times]
The Mercer Island Farmers Market is now open for the season (Sundays, 10 am to 3 pm); the market also has a new manager, Lora Liegel [Mercer Island Reporter]
Q13 Fox News featured the Lakeridge K-Kids’ bracelet fundraiser in support of their classmate Ewan Lil, who is battling leukemia. [Video]
Bellevue parents are protesting the Bellevue school board’s decision to use crumb rubber, an artificial turf infill material, that may cause cancer and other health issues. The debate is also ongoing on Mercer Island as the city is considering using the material for its upcoming renovation of the Island Crest Park sports fields. [Mercer Island Reporter]
Mercer Island police and Mud Bay employees teamed up to save orphaned ducklings. [Patch]
The City of Mercer Island temporarily raised residents’ utility tax to help pay for legal fees incurred from the I-90 access lawsuit – a cost of approximately $78 to the average homeowner [KIRO 7]
Kathy Morey, a preschool teacher at the Creative Learning Center school on Mercer Island, was named the Mercer Island Preschool Association’s exceptional educator of the year. [Mercer Island Reporter]
“The spooky, underwater forests of Lake Washington” … enough said. [KUOW.org]
And (from 2014), other crazy things at the bottom of Lake Washington. [KUOW.org]