Owen Carter, engineer for Snohomish County, responds:
As Jared clearly described, 128th Street SW west of I-5 is a busy stretch of road – and weekday peak commute times are no exception. County traffic engineers monitor this section of 128th closely, and adjust the timing of the traffic signals to improve traffic flow.
Engineers have to balance traffic demand on 128th with demand on side streets and freeway ramps. During peak commute times, when a large amount of traffic tries to squeeze onto the same road at the same time, congestion is unavoidable regardless of how well the traffic signals are adjusted. There's just not enough space at the I-5/128th Street SW interchange to handle all that traffic.
Snohomish County has been working with the state to secure funding for improvements to the interchange; however, at this time we have not been successful in this endeavor. The cost to replace the interchange and improve the traffic flow within this stretch of roadway is estimated to be $180 million. As we continue to seek funding, county engineers are also working with the state Department of Transportation -- the agency that owns the traffic signals at the ramps and east of I-5 -- on something called "adaptive signal timing."
That's where a computerized system monitors current traffic conditions and anticipates possible delays, and uses that information to time the traffic signals to reduce congestion for drivers. However, the ultimate solution is a major road construction project that Snohomish County will continue to aggressively pursue. Thank you for your question.
Matt Hayes of Everett writes: I've lived in my little house off E. Marine View Drive for roughly a year-and-a-half. There are many heavy trucks that use E. Marine View to reach businesses along Highway 529 in the flats. I myself have been tailgated by 18-wheelers and dump trucks on my commute. I've seen them blow through the lights at 16th and 12th streets, with complete disregard to other cars, pedestrians in the crosswalk, and the homes along E. Marine View when they use their exhaust brakes. It seems the trucks could use other routes that have fewer homes, meaning they are less likely to run over some poor little girl's cat.
I realize that cutting through this neighborhood may be a faster route for these trucks. But how is it safer for the residents? Where is our benefit of this nuisance and hazard? While waiting for the crosswalk light at E. Marine View and 12th, it's not uncommon to count five to seven heavy trucks out of 10 vehicles. I've talked with many of my neighbors about this issue, and while many of them are either as aggravated as I am or more so, they either have no idea what to do, or say "there's nothing we can do about it."
How can we make our neighborhood quieter, and safer for the children who have to cross this street to reach their bus stops, or to get their after-school snacks at Marine View Market? These trucks aren't being tolled to use our neighborhood. They don't stop at the bakery outlet, or the produce market, or the convenience store, nor do they support any other local business along their way.
As I'm sitting here, in my living room, typing this letter, I've heard two trucks use their exhaust brakes, and my house is a block off of E. Marine View. What can we do, either on our own, or as a neighborhood to put an end to this?
Tim Miller, traffic engineer for Everett, responds: The city has identified E. Marine View Drive as a major arterial for more than 60 years. As a major arterial route, it is used by trucks to serve the business and industry needs of Everett.
In recent years there has been considerable effort to reduce the effect of trucks on residential areas along E. Marine View. These include curb bulb-outs, staggered parking areas, raised medians with landscaping and street trees, a combined bike-and-pedestrian path along the east side, and improved crosswalks, to name a few. These were implemented following extensive public input from neighborhood residents in 2003 and 2004.
These measures were constructed prior to Mr. Hayes moving to the area so he may not be aware of the major improvements which have been implemented. Truck volume on this route will remain significant as it serves a number of business and industrial concerns. We have the ability to deploy speed counters in the area in question or loan radar units to interested citizens to help gauge the scope of the problem.
We will also share his concerns with Everett Police traffic enforcement. We would encourage Mr. Hayes to contact our office so we can evaluate and address his concerns in detail.
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Look for updates on our Street Smarts blog at www.heraldnet.com/streetsmarts.
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