If you’re interested in the Mercer Island Link station layout, be sure to attend Sound Transit’s community workshop on the subject this Tuesday, March 9th, from 5-7:30pm with the presentation starting at 6.  It’ll be at the Mercer View Community Center (8236 SE 24th St.)

  • Learn about the East Link light rail system and view in-progress preliminary engineering drawings
  • Share your thoughts about the Mercer Island station layout
  • Tell us more about your community and how East Link can best serve you and Mercer Island.

To beat a dead horse for a moment, Mercer Island residents might let ST know whether or not they want direct Link service to the Downtown Bellevue core, as well as a line that serves the South Bellevue P&R, thus preventing I-90 commuters from having to use the Mercer Island Park & Ride to access Link by car.

13 Replies to “Mercer Island Link Workshop”

  1. Thanks for the heads-up, STB. With the Mercer Island Park and Ride already full by 8 am most mornings, many Mercer Island residents already don’t have a practical option for public transportation. If we get more load at the park and ride it’ll effectively become useless for those of us who live on the Island.

    1. Once Link is up and running, it’s possible that Metro could eliminate the one-seat rides downtown on the 202 and use the cost savings to increase frequency of service. I’m not sure how a transfer to Link would work on a regular basis though. There won’t be much in the way of time savings on Link from MI to downtown although reliability in both directions should be better because of dedicated ROW.

      I’ve only driven the 202 once. It’s quite a pleasant, if deafeningly quiet, route to drive. Maybe it was just early in the morning.

      1. Not just that route – a lot of other bridge routes can go to the South Bellevue P&R.

      2. Like all Eastgate and Issaquah and Renton Highlands ‘one seat’ riders?
        I’m not being snarky Ben, but the idea of forcing transfers on existing bus riders would be a good separate post in the future.
        It only makes sense IF the forced transfer offers something in return for the inconvenience imposed on the rider – like a faster, cheaper, more reliable, or comfortable ride. Filling rail car seats, using bus passenger butts is not the objective. It’s getting new butts to fill new seats.
        If it were, then ST should proceed ASAP to build the Boeing Station, large enough to intercept ALL northbound I-5 buses, for the Link ride into downtown. Overall, bus and rail ridership combined would plummet.

      3. When you stop running huge amounts of duplicate service on a bridge, you can easily increase frequency of bus routes. After the Opening of Vancouver’s Canada Line, many bus routes that used to run every 1/2 hour started running every 15 minutes, as all those buses didn’t have to make the long trip up to Downtown.

        Transfers are annoying today because of low frequency, higher frequency makes transfers better. If you increase frequency, than overall, bus and rail ridership would skyrocket. The reason that won’t work with Central Link, is becasue of it’s painfully slow movement on MLK way, making it fail to function well as arterial.

      4. “The reason that won’t work with Central Link, is becasue of it’s painfully slow movement on MLK way, making it fail to function well as arterial.”

        “Painfully slow”? Try “less than ideal but still pretty good”. I goes faster than I thought it would, and it beats the 8 running alongside it in the evening. The frequency is another boon: two or three trains pass while you’re walking ten minutes or waiting for a bus.

      5. The largest potential gain from linking routes like the 111, 114, 212, 214, 215, 218, 225, 229, and 211 to South Bellevue P&R is that people will have the choice to go out to Bellevue, Overlake, and eventually Redmond that users of some of those routes currently don’t have. (At least not in the same frequency) Add to that the increased frequency of service possible with reduced operating costs and it *might* just be worth it. Think about it, getting in and out of South Bellevue, virtually any time of day or night, is much easier than navigating traffic downtown on a dead-head. At north of $100 per hour of operating costs for bus & driver, that’s a lot of saved overhead.

        Some routes will have the option of stopping at MI which they don’t currently do. It adds time, but the dwell time for light rail on MI will be far lower than navigating the current off ramp, traffic light, P&R, and metered on-ramps. Even with the extra time in there it will probably be faster than driving during rush hours.

        The point is that with a South Bellevue station with lots of layover space you have a lot of potential to link current buses into the light rail system. There would also be potential for using those deadheading buses to create reverse commute routes as demand warranted – A good example is the 212 which has been slowly adding reverse commute trips on some dead-heading buses.

      6. Velo: Do you know if the rails will be ’embedded’ into the surface of the bridge (DSTT style), or laid on top of typical cross ties?
        I’m left wondering what happens to all the access ramps that currently feed the I-90 busway, like the Mercer Island tunnel ramps, if they can’t use the same surface accross the bridge between trains.

      7. I have absolutely no expertise here, but I’ll give my SWAG.

        Since there will be no need for mixed traffic on the former express lanes, there’s no need for embedded rails. Also, since the rails would be laid on a concrete roadbed and unballasted, there would be no need for crossties. I would expect direct fixation.

        For the I-90 busway, they might try to (somehow?) allow buses and HOVs to access Dearborn St and trains to access the DSTT. I’m not sure how the MI tunnel ramps are configured; hopefully they could be changed to access the HOV lanes. I also hope that they can also arrange to integrate bus/train transfers at the Ranier Ave. station.

        Related to the issue of truncating bus routes at a Link station, I’m reminded of ST’s typical visualiztion of the Lake Washington crossing. There are still lots of buses on the bridge in the HOV lanes.

      8. Thanks. Sounds as good as anything I’ve heard.
        Direct fixation of rails to roadbed sounds good, except here the roadbed is subject to some wave action, so maybe some cushioning is needed to keep from breaking rails at pontoon joints. Rail steel is quite brittle. I’ve broken them with a sledge hammer after ‘nicking’ the side flange.
        Ballasted ties perform that function. Just curious.

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