Letters to the Editor

Letter | A letter to the City Council – is I-90 access threatened by safety issues?

Concerning a June 22, 2011, cover letter from the Federal Highway Authority to WSDOT and the attached Interchange Justification Report (IJR) Executive Summary.

The second paragraph of the cover letter warns that the FHWA considers the left-hand access ramp from Island Crest Way to westbound I-90 to be a “safety issue,” and warns that SOV access to westbound I-90 at the Island Crest Way access ramp might be terminated.

Are you aware of this?

The Executive Summary also contains other information you should read, including change in access for eastbound traffic exiting I-90 onto Mercer Island at Island Crest Way, and westbound SOVs possibly not being able to use I-90’s westbound HOV lane except to merge and accelerate (to get into the neighboring GP lanes).

If Island SOVs cannot access I-90 westbound from Island Crest Way ... What’s the alternative?  Where would all the cars go to access westbound I-90? There may be over a 1,000 SOVs using the Island Crest Way tunnel/access ramp to get to westbound I-90 during peak a.m. hours. Patrick Yamashita should be able to get the number of SOVs using the Island Crest Way access ramp/tunnel from several sources, including the May 2004 FEIS on Sound Transit’s Two-way Transit & HOV Operations project; WSDOT’s 2006 Ramp & Metering Study; WSDOT’s 2008 update (called I-90 Traffic Study, I think).

I asked Deb Symmonds about this issue back in 2004, when I was opposing the City Council’s misguided approval of the 2004 Amendment to the 1976 I-90 Memorandum of Agreement. She told me then that the city would never allow changes to the Island Crest Way tunnel access to westbound I-90. She said the city worked too hard to get that access.

Lisa Belden

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