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Melissa Slager | streetsmarts@heraldnet.com
Published: Monday, June 4, 2012, 12:01 a.m.

Not enough disabled parking?

Joel Capella of Everett writes: I am disabled with multiple sclerosis and find it hard to believe that a city the size of Everett has only two parking spaces designated for the handicapped at the main post office downtown.

Many of the vehicles using those two spaces don't have placards or plates indicating a handicapped driver.

I know the spaces are used mostly for quick ins-and-outs but sometimes it's not possible to get my mail without walking long distances because some dolt disrespects me and the law.



Ryan Sass, city engineer for Everett, responds: Two spaces would meet the minimum requirements under the Americans with Disabilities Act for handicapped-designated stalls for a lot with up to 50 total stalls. Only one is required for a lot of up to 25 stalls. I think they are in compliance.

The Everett Police Department encourages people to call 911 if they see a violation occurring.

Tree trimming on I-5

Ramona Hoff of Everett writes: I drive I-5 south three to five times a week. I have been making this drive for almost 11 years.

Over the years, I have noticed that the electronic Everett Mall sign has become harder and harder to see from the freeway because of the trees.

Are there any plans to trim back those trees? Otherwise, what's the use of the sign if no one can read it between the trees?



Bronlea Mishler, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Transportation, responds: The short answer is no, we don't plan to trim or remove the trees. That's not just an arbitrary decision, though.

Our department follows really specific standards when it comes to trimming or removing foliage alongside a highway.

In this case, the Everett Mall sign sits on the edge of the Everett Mall property, and the trees nearby sit on state property. If a business, resident or driver asks us to trim or remove foliage, we first check to see if it's a safety concern.

If the trees or bushes look like they could be a hazard to drivers, then we can trim or remove them. Otherwise, we consider how removing or trimming foliage would affect the overall function and safety of the highway. If there's no safety concern, and removing or trimming trees or bushes wouldn't benefit the function of the highway, we typically don't make any changes.

We also have to abide by standards set by the Federal Highway Administration. Those standards say we shouldn't clear or remove any foliage simply to improve the view of a billboard or other commercial advertising. Since the trees near the Everett Mall sign are healthy and not a safety concern, we don't plan to trim or remove them.



Email us at stsmarts@heraldnet.com. Please include your city of residence.



Look for updates on our Street Smarts blog at www.heraldnet.com/streetsmarts.
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