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Plans for light rail station move ahead
Sound Transit plans for a light rail station at Mercer Island are steadily advancing. More detailed renderings of the station which will eventually be erected on the north end of the Island were showcased at a council meeting last month. Representatives from ST told council that more would be made available over the coming months.
East Link is now at 60 percent design; an important milestone for ST, noted Ron Lewis East Link executive project director, because it expects to baseline the alignment in December. Though there are few new design updates, council has considered asking Sound Transit to keep R8A, a new HOV lane in I-90’s outer roadway, open in the window between when construction wraps and light rail begins service in 2023.
“I don’t know that I’ve seen a solution that works with both R8A and the center roadway open,” said Mike Cotten of WSDOT when asked about the compromise at a council meeting last month. “But we’d be open to other options there. I really think other signatories to the memorandum agreement would need to be involved with that as well.”
Sound Transit is also engaging with WSDOT, King County Metro and the city of Mercer Island on a study to assess the impacts of commuter traffic once East Link begins service. The study, part of the 60 percent design milestone, says ST spokesperson Geoff Patrick, looks at how buses will interact with the station, under the assumption that light rail will absorb many metro commuters. A progress report is expected for spring.