Reacting to the inability of elected officials to preserve Mercer Island’s single-occupant vehicle (SOV) access to the I-90 HOV lanes, a group of local concerned citizens is advocating acts of civil disobedience against the new HOV restrictions on Island Crest Way.
“We tried working within the process established by the federal, state, and city governments, but that turned out to be rigged,” said Gerd-Otto Mawae, spokesperson for Save Our SOVs, Mercer Island. “Now we’re encouraging Islanders in single-occupant vehicles to ‘go rogue’ and use the HOV entrance to I-90 West from Island Crest Way.”
Save Our SOVs has also launched a fundraising campaign, selling bumper stickers to cover the fines and associated legal costs for Islanders who engage in this form of protest. “We’re in the tradition of the great Mahatma Gandhi, who showed the world how to use non-violent resistance to fight oppression,” added Mawae. “Right now nobody is more oppressed than Mercer Island commuters.”
Save Our SOVs is also addressing claims that Mercer Island residents are asking for special privileges. “We understand that some mainlanders might think our earlier proposals went too far,” said Mawae, “But we’re willing to compromise. We’ll settle for only one lane of I-90 being reserved for Mercer Island traffic.”
Not all Islanders support this approach to gaining SOV access to the HOV lanes. Said one: “If WSDOT will simply wise up and do what our neighbors to the north and south have already done, we Islanders can drive our Teslas in the HOV lanes whenever we want.”