Commuter Parking Expansion
Many residents are familiar with the long-standing capacity challenges at the Sound Transit-owned Mercer Island Park-and-Ride, which now fills by 7:00am on most weekdays. Half of the daily users are from off-Island, making all-day parking very competitive for Islanders wishing to use mass transit. (See 2014, 2015 and 2016 license-plate surveys; note 2016 used less exact geolocation due to new WA Dept of Licensing privacy rules). Pressure has been even greater since light rail construction began in June 2017, and the 519-stall South Bellevue Park-and-Ride closed for 5 years.
Historically, the most requested improvement to the Town Center area has been additional parking. Based directly on extensive community input, the City Council's negotiating priorities for 2016 and 2017 mitigation discussions with Sound Transit also included commuter parking as key item.
When East Link light rail opens in 2023, the City anticipates a significant increase in transit usage and an accompanying demand for commuter parking that MI residents can use reliably.
What's Happening Now
In May 2018, the City of Mercer Island announced the potential purchase of one Town Center property and the surplus of another (see map), to promote each property’s redevelopment that together will include up to 200 new commuter parking spaces near each end of the future East Link light rail station. The proposed property deals are part of a City Council push to prepare for light rail by implementing innovative ways to improve mobility and increase public transit use on Mercer Island.
|Freshys/Tullys Parking Proposal (May 2018) -- Click for full-size map|
The proposed land deals seek to create the greatest number of new parking spaces for the smallest amount of taxpayer dollars, relying on Sound Transit settlement funds plus private investment leveraged by City properties.
The City is planning to purchase one Town Center property (the “Tully’s site” located at 7810 SE 27th Street), and sell another (a small parcel of land adjacent to the “Freshy’s site” located at the Southwest corner of SE 24th and 76th Ave SE), to activate development on both sites and provide up to 200 new commuter parking spaces for Island residents’ use.
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There are no parking-focused meetings currently scheduled.
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