Dedicated on-site parking is not desirable to build within Mercerdale Park, nor feasible to build underground. In early 2016, the City commissioned Berk Consulting to conduct a study of non-residential parking in the Mercer Island Town Center that identified empty off-street parking spots were available within a short distance of the proposed site. The study showed more than 1800 off-street spaces and more than 100 on-street spaces were available in the Town Center during the early afternoon peak, with more available in the evening hours when MICA would be heavily used. Pending City approval, MICA will pursue agreements with businesses in the area to allow after-hours parking for MICA patrons in parking stalls that would otherwise be empty.
The City has also proposed, as part of its Town Center development plan, restriping 77th Avenue SE to provide more than 70 curbside parking spaces. Parking spaces the Mercer Island Youth and Family Services Thrift Shop at the southeast corner of Mercerdale Park, that are typically unused in the evening, are also within a short distance of MICA. MICA is working with the City and transportation consultants Transpo Group to refine the proposed Parking Management Plan to meet parking needs in accordance with City regulations.
MICA has applied for a Zoning Text Amendment to allow combined use of on-street and off-site parking for public institutions in the P Zone. This approach is the proper way to amend zoning and is commonly used in communities nationwide, particularly for institutions which provide public benefit. MICA is using the same process that was used by the School District for several recent projects including Lakeridge Elementary.