East Link Light Rail Plans Provoke Controversy in Seattle Suburb

A proposal to link local and regional buses with the East Link light rail expansion in Mercer Island, already under construction, threatens to boil over into the courtroom.

2 minute read

September 1, 2020, 12:00 PM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell


Transit Planning

Sound Transit / East Link Light Rail

"Mercer Island is considering a temporary utility tax increase to help pay for legal action against Sound Transit," reports Andy Nystrom. 

The threat of legal action is connected to the transit agency's plans to overhaul the connections between bus routes and the East Link light rail route under construction right now. The East Link light rail extension will eventually pass through Mercer Island, on Lake Washington, on its way from Seattle to Bellevue and Redmond.

Nystrom explains the specifics of the city's complaints:

The council has voiced concerns to Sound Transit about its plan, in which bus passengers will transfer to and from the East Link light rail. Notably, the council is in contention about the new curb cuts to accommodate bus layovers along North Mercer Way that fail to meet the terms of the settlement agreement, according to the letter. There’s also the safety issue once light rail is up and running with a multitude of bicyclists and pedestrians intermingling with cars and buses next to a packed park and ride. The council also penned an online letter to the community on May 27 that addressed these vital issues and more.

The city has announced its plans to take legal action after offering to undergo mediation with Sound Transit, which the agency has refused. Statements on the controversy from both the city and Sound Transit are included in the article.

Thursday, August 27, 2020 in Mercer Island Reporter

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