Opinion

LETTERS Continued from page A5

Thanks from

Island Arts Council

On behalf of the Mercer Island Arts Council, we would like to thank a long-time Mercer Island resident, who wishes to remain anonymous, for her very special gift to the people of Mercer Island. The donor, on her frequent walks through the Mercer Island Outdoor Sculpture Gallery, had admired the sculptures, Island Poles, by Seattle artist Steve Jensen, and decided to purchase and donate them to the city of Mercer Island. She wanted to ensure that future generations could enjoy the sculptures for many years to come.

The Island Poles will now be part of Mercer Island’s permanent art collection and will remain in the Sculpture Gallery, located in the park on the south side of I-90 between 77th Avenue S.E. and 80th Avenue S.E. Most of the sculptures in the Outdoor Gallery are for sale and are changed every two or three years. The Island Poles, according to the artist, are intended to pay homage to nature and to maintain a respect for our natural resources.

We invite the people of Mercer Island to visit our Sculpture Gallery and view our beautiful new acquisition.

Inspirational Baccalaureate

We have had the honor and privilege over the past four years to work with students, faculty, clergy and community members to plan the annual Mercer Island Baccalaureate, held the evening before graduation.

The Mercer Island Baccalaureate grew from a community desire to have an inspirational gathering for our graduating high school seniors, to applaud them and to bless them on their way.

The Mercer Island Baccalaureate is a student-led event, and truly, every year the students are just amazing. They come together from many backgrounds, cultures and beliefs to plan a meaningful interfaith program that is inclusive of their entire class. It is an annual gift for our entire Island, and we have been privileged to participate.

Squeezing Island Crest Way

Did you know that our City Council has voted to reduce Island Crest Way to a single lane in each direction from just south of the stoplight at S.E. 40th all the way down ICW to Sunnybeam School at 68th?

During the school year, the two-lane portion of ICW — from 68th to where it becomes four lanes — is stop-and-go traffic during commuting/school hours. It is obvious that extending the two-lane portion north to 40th will exacerbate the problem. And the city plans to spend nearly $500,000 to make this change!

It seems this decision was made to avoid inconveniencing a few dozen people who live off West Mercer Way, in an attempt to make the Merrimount intersection “safer.” Why can’t these people use a perfectly adequate access to Island Crest Way northbound via West Mercer to 40th? It’s only ½ mile further up West Mercer Way to access 40th and ICW. This, rather than force thousands of us who drive to work daily to extend our commuting time to and from the South end?

At any time of day, on the current two-lane section of ICW, one car going 5-10 mph below the speed limit (which happens regularly) easily backs up five to 10 cars. Imagine what the lane reductions will do when you double the distance that is only two lanes.

A suggestion that this reduction in lanes will promote bicycling and walking does not make sense. We drive ICW several times a day and never see a single biker on it, and there is already a sidewalk on the entire stretch being changed. Bikers use East and West Mercer if they’re going into Seattle — they’re not going to ride up to mid-Island to ride a less scenic path. Further, many of the accidents that occurred at the Merrimount intersection in the last several years are not addressed by any of the proposed changes.

$500,000 is a lot of money for a “trial test” to see how something works.

The solution? Install a barrier at Merrimount/44th for $50,000 as the next step. Also, why not close off the east side of 44th to ICW entirely — to make the Merrimount intersection safer?

I urge you to contact our mayor and City Council members to let them know that you are NOT in favor of this Island Crest Way lane reduction decision.

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