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Letter | Ideas to fix the traffic problems on Mercer Island
The ongoing traffic problems at the 40th/86th intersection and the Merrimount/Island Crest Way intersection have solutions that I have not yet seen discussed. Unused public street right-of-ways exist that can greatly improve traffic on Mercer Island.
Opening the one-block portion of S.E. 42nd Street between 85th and 86th would give direct access to the high school from Island Crest Way, relieving back-ups at the 40th/86th light. A new traffic light may be needed along ICW.
Another project has an even greater prospect for improving traffic, especially at Merrimount Drive. An unused public right-of-way exists at S.E. 53rd Street and West Mercer Way that could link with existing streets to create a new route up to Island Crest Way. At Island Crest Way this would meet with S.E. 53rd Street, which comes up from East Mercer Way to create a new cross-Island corridor at mid-Island. Work would be needed to widen the existing S.E. 53rd Street and realign it a bit as it meets ICW. Island Park School would lose some land, which the city could mitigate by allowing the playground to expand a bit into Dean’s Children’s Park. Another new traffic light may also be needed.
Both these projects would be expensive and probably be unpopular with people who live adjacent to them. They should be discussed, however.