Work is slated to begin at the end of August on a six-week crosswalk safety project to improve accessibility to Aubrey Davis Park for pedestrians and bicyclists.
According to the city of Mercer Island’s Public Works Director Jason Kintner, the project — situated at the intersection near the Interstate 90 onramp to West Mercer Way — has been on the city’s transportation improvement plan docket since 2018 and links to the light rail traffic and safety mitigation projects, which are funded by Sound Transit mitigation funds.
The project comes at a time when the onramps and offramps at West Mercer Way are seeing more usage since the center roadway of the I-90 floating bridge was closed for East Link construction. During this time, there have been increased conflicts with pedestrians and bicyclists on the busy trail nearby, a city press release read. According to police, a minor car/bike accident occurred in the crosswalk in November 2018.
The $385,000 Kamins Construction project will include widening the existing Mountains to Sound Trail crossing and adding a refuge island, revamping the existing crosswalk near the onramp, adding two additional crosswalks — one near the entrance to the western parking lot and the other further north on West Mercer Way — and lighting and vegetation improvements, noted Kintner and the press release.
Per the Kamins bid award document, the trail crossing of West Mercer Way near the I-90 westbound onramp will be widened by 12 feet and feature new concrete curb refuge islands in the center of the roadway.
Kintner said the northern crosswalk provides a more direct route to cross between the two recreation areas at Aubrey Davis Park. One area is used for youth sports and general park usage and the other area across West Mercer Way features a playground, basketball court, another grass field and more. The park, which also borders 76th Avenue Southeast, covers 90-plus acres and features a 2.8-mile long recreation and transportation corridor.
With the current main sidewalk location, which sits closer to the onramp, Kintner said his department found that people weren’t always utilizing the crosswalk while entering both sides of the park space.
“I think it will be a beneficial project. It’s going to enhance the usability of the park. It’s going to improve our safety and sightlines. We always want to design a crosswalk that is safe and usable, that meets engineering design standards,” said Kintner, adding that the crosswalks are designed by KPG. The crosswalks will receive new concrete sidewalks and curb ramps that comply with current Americans with Disabilities Act design standards, the bid award document noted.