Opinion

I-90 letter: A major move forward

On the evening of October 3, the Mercer Island City Council was shown a letter signed by officials of Seattle, Bellevue, King County and Sound Transit that virtually assures Island SOV drivers will be able to drive in I-90 HOV lanes for years to come. The letter, signed by the mayors of Seattle and Bellevue and leaders of Sound Transit and King County, is a concrete representation of their collective belief that the way to mitigate any loss of our existing SOV/HOV access is to grant the right for Islanders to drive in any new HOV lanes, when and if those lanes are moved to the outside roadway.

The letter is a testament to the cooperative approach that members of the city council and our state representatives have taken -- not only to ensure beneficial access to I-90 -- but to keep Mercer Island an important voice in other regional issues.

Was the timing or presentation of the letter a political move? Not likely. There is little evidence that the mayors of Seattle or Bellevue or other public officials could be swayed by any political pressure from Mercer Island on this issue. Island officials and state representatives worked behind the scenes using common sense, persuasion and a bit of finesse, perhaps, to get all of the regional players to sign the letter.

Compromise and détente work better than demands.

Right or wrong, selfish or not, Islanders have literally gotten what all have wanted and many feel is their right.

As many will point out, such access is not guaranteed forever. If speeds on I-90 during commute times worsen beyond certain levels, use of the lanes will again be called into question. But no one can argue that the signed letter is anything but a good outcome.

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