Emily Pace, WSDOT communications, 206-464-1190
Editor's note: Surveys mailed to residents have an error in the example travel journal. View the corrected version.
MERCER ISLAND – Starting Wednesday, Nov. 13, Mercer Island residents and businesses will receive surveys from the Washington State Department of Transportation in their mailboxes asking about their Interstate 90 travel patterns.
Information from the surveys will help WSDOT evaluate the potential effects that proposed I-90 tolling alternatives between Seattle and Bellevue would have on Mercer Island. As part of the variable tolling alternative, WSDOT is considering tolling options that would provide Mercer Island residents free or discounted trips on and off the island.
“With the help of Mercer Island residents and businesses, this survey will provide us critical insight into their I-90 travel patterns,” said Craig Stone, WSDOT assistant secretary, Toll Division. “We encourage people to accurately complete the survey to help us understand the potential effects proposed tolling options would have on those who live and work on the island.”
The survey will ask Mercer Island residents to record the total number of trips their household makes to Seattle and Bellevue each day for the week of Sunday, Nov. 17 through Saturday, Nov. 23. WSDOT will also mail a separate survey to Mercer Island businesses, schools, and churches to gather information on the travel patterns of their employees, customers and vendors. Survey responses require no identifying personal information.
Returned surveys must be postmarked by Tuesday, Nov. 26. WSDOT expects to share survey results with the city of Mercer Island and the public in early 2014.
The Legislature directed WSDOT to conduct an environmental impact statement (EIS) to study the potential environmental and social effects of tolling I-90 across Lake Washington. Data from the survey, along with traffic counts from Mercer Island ramps to and from I-90, will help inform various analyses conducted as part of the overall study.
The public will have another opportunity to provide feedback on the I-90 study when the draft EIS is published in mid-2014. The final EIS is expected to be published in early 2015.
Purpose of the study
The Legislature directed WSDOT to study tolling I-90 between I-5 in Seattle and I-405 in Bellevue as a way to manage traffic across Lake Washington and help fund the remaining portion of the State Route 520 Bridge Replacement and HOV Program. About $1.4 billion is needed to complete the I-5 to Medina: Bridge Replacement and HOV Project.