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Thankfully, a group of citizens took it upon themselves to provide a factual Web site to help us understand this important decision. The data on the mercerislandabc.org Web site was extracted from the information that the city and their consultants provided to the Citizen Panel that reviewed the options in depth earlier this year.
To me, the data points are clear. There are three options on the table for the Island Crest Way corridor: a traffic light at Merrimount, the three-lane reconfiguration, and an option for cleaning up the temporary change that is in place today. Unfortunately, the difficult terrain at the Merrimount and Island Crest Way intersection makes the traffic light option remarkably costly ($1.5-$2.2 million without land acquisition costs) and not at all ideal from a traffic standpoint. The same terrain factors make it necessary to spend money to simply clean up what is there today. This option carries a $450,000 price tag for grading and lane widening work, but does nothing for the corridor as a whole. Only the three-lane reconfiguration addresses traffic and pedestrian safety issues, corridorwide. Best of all, it has essentially the same cost as cleaning up what is there today ($500,000).
I encourage all Mercer Islanders to study the data presented at www.mercerislandabc.org for themselves before forming their opinion on this matter. The three-lane reconfiguration simply makes sense from a safety, cost and time perspective. Once I fully understood the options and the opportunities, the three-lane reconfiguration became the obvious choice.