Sound Transit and partners dedicate new Mercer Island Park-and-Ride facility
Sound Transit dedicated the new Mercer Island Park-and-Ride facility today, marking the arrival of increased parking capacity at Mercer Island’s bus hub and proposed future light rail station.
The old park-and-ride originally had 250 parking stalls, which were typically full by 7 a.m. on weekdays. The new facility, which is operated in partnership with King County Metro Transit and serves both Sound Transit and Metro bus routes, has 447 parking stalls, as well as new bicycle storage areas and other rider amenities.
“The Mercer Island park-and-ride is critical for transit users today, it’s also very important to our region’s future,” said Sound Transit Chair and Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels. “As the Sound Transit Board continues to weigh our ballot options and future projects, what we’ve created here and celebrate today is a facility that’s meeting the region’s mobility needs now, and is poised to expand those transit options in the future with light rail.”
The park-and-ride site is proposed as the location for future light rail service to Mercer Island as part of the East Link light rail extension. East Link is proposed to connect the Eastside to the Sound Transit’s Link light rail line from the airport to downtown Seattle that is set to open in 2009. The East Link environmental review process is now underway and includes review of route and station options.
“The new Mercer Island Park-and-Ride is just a snapshot of all the work that has been going on along the I-90 corridor,” said Sound Transit Boardmember and Issaquah Deputy Council President Fred Butler. “The park-and-ride, the direct access ramp, new transit centers in Redmond and Issaquah—the list goes on and on. All of these projects work together, and it took lots of agencies working together to get through the challenges of this important project.”
“Today on Mercer Island we see a park-and-ride lot with six bus routes, but we also see the groundwork for East Link,” said Sound Transit Boardmember and Kirkland City Councilmember Mary-Alyce Burleigh. “If approved by voters, light rail would serve this park and ride lot, taking riders into downtown, the airport, and farther into the Eastside.”
“A growing city needs transportation options to grow with it, and that’s what is happening here,” said Mercer Island Mayor Jim Pearman. “Mercer Island continues to support connecting the region, and connecting regional job centers.”
“As we can see by the art and design; it’s not just a transportation issue. It’s a quality of life issue,” said former Mercer Island Mayor Bryan Cairns. “I’m glad to be here today to celebrate this accomplishment. It is contributing to much-needed traffic relief in this corridor.”
Sound Transit had originally planned to open the facility in March 2007. In September 2006, the discovery of a cracked beam during construction led the company that designed the facility to acknowledge several errors. Following a number of design and structural changes, Sound Transit is working to recover costs related to the design problems in order to prevent taxpayers from having to cover their costs.
The dedication ceremony included a ribbon cutting for the plaza’s hallmark art piece and the acceptance of the Puget Sound Regional Council’s Destination 2030 Award for the project. The new Mercer Island Park-and-Ride has unique design features inspired by community input that reduce visual and height impacts, as well as artwork and landscaping that is integrated into the facility’s structure to better harmonize with the surrounding community. Artist Julie Berger attended the dedication ceremony and signed a specially designed poster dedicating her sculptural art piece, named Migration, which is the centerpiece of the park-and-ride plaza.
Mercer Island Park-and-Ride will be served by the following bus routes:
ST Routes 550 and 554
Metro Routes 201, 202, 203, 204, 205, 213, 216, and 942
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Sound Transit’s regional network of express buses, commuter rail, light rail and transit facilities connects communities in King, Pierce and Snohomish counties.