The first thing I would do is direct Sound Transit to give up its idea of a light rail connection to Bellevue and Overlake via Lake Washington floating bridge. A light rail system across Mercer Island only makes sense if it includes an extension to Eastgate that provides direct connections into Seattle.
The Eastgate station would improve access to residents living east of 405 along the 1-90 and south 405 corridors. It also would provide a terminus for all Eastside Seattle-bound buses crossing Lake Washington, reducing bridge congestion and eliminating the obvious inefficiencies of parallel bus and train routes.
If this dual leg rail system is not doable, then Sound Transit should convert the bridge center section into a two-way bus only structure and move the HOV lanes to the outer bridge sections.
Sound Transit and Metro should take maximum advantage of this improved capability by dramatically increasing the number of express bus routes into Seattle.
Sound Transit literature indicates all their Eastside projects will be completed this year. Approximately 40 percent of Sound Transit’s funding comes from the Eastside and must be spent here. More than adequate funding should be available for the bridge conversion, added bus service, and additional P&R lots.
Any funding left over should be directed to funding a 520 bridge rebuild with one lane in each direction dedicated to express bus service connections from P&R lots to the University light rail station. Again the return routes for those buses would provide direct connections to Bellevue, Overlake and Redmond business districts.
Lastly, I would provide an extra incentive for commuters to car pool or ride the bus by imposing a parking surcharge on all single occupancy vehicles in the respective business districts. It only would apply to long-term parking during the work week at public parking lots and for businesses that provide parking for their employees.
Businesses would allocate non-surcharge parking areas for customers and carpoolers. They would be required to pay a similar surcharge for other employee parking, again for public transportation.