MI Weekly

    A weekly update from the City of Mercer Island

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(For event details, visit the City's online calendar or click on a specific event)

Bruce Bassett

Debbie Bertlin  



Dan Grausz 

City of Mercer Island Website

Volunteer Opportunities 

9611 SE 36th Street
Mercer Island, WA 98040



Monday - Friday
8:30am to 5:00pm

Donations Requested 

The Mercer Island Food Pantry relies on your non-perishable food donations to keep the shelves stocked year-round.
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Aug 10, 2016 | Vol. 11 | No. 32
R8A_LanesVehicle Access to I-90 During and After Light Rail Construction
A 40-year history of I-90 agreements regarding access
to I-90; click for larger version (pdf)
While the benefits offered by light rail to the entire region are significant, Mercer Island residents will also experience changes to the community, both temporary (during construction) and permanent, and the City has been been working diligently to represent the interests of its citizens. One of the most noticeable changes will be the permanent conversion of the center roadway bridge between Mercer Island and Seattle to a light rail corridor

In addition to negotiations with Sound Transit about the impacts of light rail construction itself, the City has also been in discussions with other agencies regarding future access for Islanders to new vehicle lanes that will replace the existing express lanes when they close to vehicles.
Since 2005, the State of Washington, Sound Transit, Mercer Island and other local governments have been in agreement on what will happen on I-90 once the Center Roadway Express Lanes are closed.  Specifically, Mercer Island traffic should have the same access to the new I-90 lanes (known as the R8A project) being added in each direction as that traffic has today to the existing center roadway. 

Earlier this year, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) raised legal concerns to this agreed solution. As a result, the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) asked for clarification, and the City of Mercer Island weighed in with FHWA directly by letter dated May 31, 2016 and with a trip to Washington, D.C.

On August 5, 2016, WSDOT and Mercer Island received a response that repeated the FHWA's legal concerns.  The letter, however, acknowledged the "unique importance of I-90 to Mercer Island as its sole access on and off the island," and the FHWA went on to state that it was "eager to find a solution."

The City of Mercer Island believes a favorable solution to this issue is critical to maintaining mobility of travel to and from the Island following the permanent closure of the I-90 Center Roadway Express Lanes.  While the City disagrees with the FHWA letter and will respond accordingly, it shares FHWA's desire to find a solution.

In response to the FHWA letter, the City is moving forward, in conjunction with its partners-elected representatives, Sound Transit and WSDOT-to meet with the FHWA and develop possible solutions to this important issue.  These meetings are part of an ongoing process devoted to identifying solutions that allow for the timely development of light rail, while at the same time protecting mobility and access to I-90 for Mercer Island.

Read the City's full press release on this issue.

To learn more about these R8A negotiations, or read supporting documents and correspondence, visit the City's webpage on this topic at www.mercergov.org/R8A
ObliterideFundraiser Bike Ride Crosses MI This Sunday
Click to learn more about the route across Mercer Island
This weekend the Obliteride fund-raising bicycle ride rolls through Mercer Island on Sunday, August 14. About 500 participants are navigating routes ranging from 10-150 miles around Lake Washington and beyond, with a portion of the 50-mile race option traversing the Island (see map).

Every dollar raised from the event benefits the globally-recognized Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, whose mission is the elimination of cancer and related diseases as causes of human suffering and death. Home to three Nobel laureates and interdisciplinary teams of world-renowned scientists, the "Hutch" is a global leader in research to prevent, detect and treat cancer and other life-threatening diseases.

Residents will encounter bicyclists after about 10:30am on Sunday along East and West Mercer Ways, and are asked to accommodate the event; riders must follow all traffic laws.
Music_ConcertsMusic in the Park Concert Series
Click for more information
Join your friends and neighbors at Mercerdale Park in August for the rest of Mercer Island Arts Council's annual FREE summer concert series!

There are still two different concerts remaining this month on Thursday August 11 and 18, from 7:00pm to 8:30pm at Mercerdale Park in downtown Mercer Island. 

Contact Amber Britton with event questions, by Email at amber.britton@mercergov.org
Mercer Island Goes Green
Green_WorkplaceCity Earns Workplace Recycling and Waste Award for Third Year
Click to visit the Best Workplaces website
For the third year in a row, the City operations of Mercer Island have been named to King County's annual list of workplaces with exemplary waste prevention and recycling programs.  
Each spring, employers in King County (outside of the City of Seattle) are invited to apply for recognition as a   Best Workplace for Waste Prevention and Recycling. This year, King County's Solid Waste Division has named 112 locations -including the City of Mercer Island- to its tenth annual list of Best Workplaces.
The 2016 list spans a wide array of employers: from education to transportation to local government. Each of the 2016 Best Workplace employers listed has shown exceptional commitment to recycling and reducing the amount of waste their organization sends to the landfill. Collectively, their actions help reduce the impacts of climate change and feed recycled materials back into the economy.
The City is pleased to be recognized for this achievement, and looks forward to even more improvements in the efficient operation of City facilities. Learn more about the City's recycling and other sustainability programs.
Schoolbus_PassingNew Fines for Motorists Passing Schoolbuses Illegally
A Mercer Island schoolbus; click to learn more about the new safety system
At its June 20, 2016 meeting (view footage and materials here), the City Council voted unanimously to adopt an ordinance allowing the installation of cameras on school bus stop arms, in order to deter illegal passing by private vehicles.
Under the plan, cameras would be installed on the stop arms of five school buses, and a citation would cost violators a fine of $394. Of that amount, the school district receives $299 to fund school zone safety projects, a processing fee of $69 is sent to the vendor (American Traffic Solutions), $21 will cover municipal overhead, and $5 covers the MIPD's law enforcement cost.
Every school day in the United States, more than 70,000 motorists illegally pass school buses as they stop to let students on and off. This inexcusable behavior endangers the lives of children, many of whom aren't yet as observant as adults.

The CrossingGuard safety solution mounts purpose-built cameras on the side of each school bus. When the stop arm is deployed, the camera automatically detects a vehicle illegally passing the stop arm in either direction, and captures video of the violation as well as still images of a vehicle's license plate. The violation video and license plate images will be reviewed by the MIPD for approval prior to a citation being issued.

Both the City and the Mercer Island School District have launched a public information campaign, and the camera system will go online at the beginning of the 2016-17 school year, with no grace period for early violators.

Contact MIPD Commander Jokinen by Email with questions.


For questions and comments on the MI Weekly, contact
Sustainability & Communications Manager Ross Freeman at

ross.freeman@mercergov.org or 206.275.7662.