Mercer Island residents should be especially supportive of “Pay to Park” as the way to meet their commuting needs. Islanders or their employers could agree to pay $250 a month or $3000 annually for 2000 assigned “Pay to Park” spaces at one or two P&R lots on the Island.
With ~$10 per-mile-bus-operating costs (per Sound Transit 2016 budget) the $20,000 daily fees would pay for 2000 miles of bus service. If the distance between the P&R lots to either a T/C on 4th Ave or in Bellevue were 6.25 miles, the morning and afternoon round trips would each take 12.5 miles or 25 miles total. Thus the 2000 miles of bus service could provide 80 morning and afternoon round trips to the two T/Cs with capacity if needed for 8000 riders. (That’s 2/3 or the ~12,000 islander residents between 20 and 64.)
The 2000 parking space “owners” could decide on how the 2000 daily miles of bus service would be split between routes to Seattle, Bellevue, and Overlake. Presumably most of the trips would be during morning and afternoon peak commutes but others could be throughout the day or even into the evening. Again the assigned parking spaces would assure commuters of having a place to leave their car whenever they chose to do so.
With “Pay to Park”, like East Link, Mercer Island commuters will lose the exclusive “Single Occupancy Vehicle” (SOV) access to I-90 Bridge center roadway. However, the islander buses, along with all the other I-90 corridor buses, could use the bus-only, inbound and outbound lanes for fast reliable commutes on I-90 Bridge center roadway. And they could begin doing so within 2 years.
With East Link funding from ST3, Sound Transit will close the I-90 Bridge center roadway next year. Not only will Islanders loose their SOV access, their on ramp lanes to I-90, being the last with access will likely be heavily throttled. Once on the outer roadway they’ll likely encounter ever-increasing congestion due to loss of center roadway lanes. Even when East Link begins operation its lack of capacity means the vast majority of I-90 corridor commuters (and islanders) will still be forced to commute by car or by bus on likely gridlocked outer roadways.
It should be an easy choice.