Wednesday, April 29, 2015

MI Transportation Improvement Program - City Seeks Input by April 30.

Mercer Island’s ​TIP is reviewed each year.  A group of cyclists visited with the city staff ​recently ​and think this year’s projects deserve your support.  ​Comments can be made to City Engineering Staff or via email to the City Council at

2016 ​TIP ​Projects: 

Shoulder projects for West and East Mercer.
The current plan funds two valuable shoulder projects in 2016:  one between 7400 and 8400 on West Mercer Way (D7) and another south of 6600-7500 on East Mercer Way(D6).  These two sections are heavily used by South End pedestrians, dog walkers and  cyclists.   Extending the shoulders in these two areas will improve safety by reducing the conflicts between pedestrians, cars, and cyclists. No shoulder work has been done on East and West Mercer for at least two years.

Safe Routes to School (D2 and D3) funding is for projects for the new elementary school on 40th.

PBF Plan Implementation (D1) for smaller projects such as signage, replacing the plastic buttons marking shoulders white paint, and similar projects.  We hope these funds will also be used for sharrows and additional signage on East and West Mercer Way, 24th Street, and to alert drivers to the presence of cyclists.

Future TIP Projects. 

North End Park N Ride.  Bicycle traffic across the North End of Mercer Island is continues to grow and in many places has outgrown the existing infrastructure built when the I-90 lid was constructed.  ​The increase in traffic is driven by ​growth in both bicycle commuting and recreational use and improvements in bicycle infrastructure in Seattle and Eastside communities.   The planned construction of the light rail on I-90​ ​will make commuting by bicycle even more attractive. ​ ​The City ​should address the conflicts along the I-90 Trail, particularly around the Park N Ride and the Community Center.

For example, the East West I-90 Trail forces cyclists and pedestrians to share a narrow sidewalk that passes through the bus stop area in front of the Park N Ride, which is particularly congested in the morning and evening when the numbers of bus riders and commuting cyclists are at their peak. Possible solutions include:

  • Redirecting bicycle commuters from Seattle and the Eastside behind the Park N Ride via signage. 
  • Adding new signage to encourage strong riders to avoid the Park N Ride area.
  • Creating a Park N Ride dismount area for cyclists in front of the Bus Stop area.
  • Kiosks at the bicycle entry points to Mercer Island showing best practices and safe or preferred routes.
  • Encouraging Sound Transit to include separate routes for cyclists in their plans for a bus ​interchange near the Park N Ride.

Because the I-90 Trail falls under the Parks ​​Department some of the these remedies do not fall under the TIP and must be examined by both the Traffic and Parks departments.  However, support for addressing this issue and possible solutions should still be directed to the city via the links above.

City Center Visioning Project.

The City is conducting a review of its vision for the future of the City Center.  The concept presented at the April 14 Stakeholder meeting includes rerouting bicycles via a dedicated bike path on 80th Ave, the street ​that runs north south beside the Bank of America.  This route raises several concerns​:  it is longer, has more hills, and may be less safe.​  In short it is unlikely to be used by cyclists.​

​For example, for cyclists riding up from West Mercer Way, ​​the new concept would detour cyclists uphill two blocks on 40th, left across ​oncoming ​traffic onto 80th Avenue, uphill and then downhill through neighborhoods and intersections on 80th .  Once in the city, at various points cyclists ​then have to cross more intersections to get back to 78th or 77th Avenues.  See the concept here:

​The current route using 78th Avenue, ​is shorter, has fewer hills, crosses fewer intersections, is protected from cars backing out of driveways and connects directly to the wide shoulders on 77th Avenue.

Please do take a look.  You can post your views here.