The Herald of Everett, Washington
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Melissa Slager | streetsmarts@heraldnet.com
Published: Monday, March 3, 2014, 1:00 a.m.

Radar speed signs planned for 4th Avenue between Everett schools

Natalie Gettemy of Everett writes: On Fourth Avenue W. in south Everett, there are two schools within a couple of hundred feet of one another: Mariner High School and Voyager Middle School. Nowhere near either school is there a “school zone” speed limit sign.

Shouldn’t there be some sort of marker or flashing light indicating when and where you are entering and exiting a school zone and need to slow down? If there is no indicator it would seem to me that you could do the posted speed limit of 35 mph without getting pulled over, because there is absolutely no indicator you are in a school zone.

Bronlea Mishler, a spokeswoman for Snohomish County, responds: On Fourth Avenue W., near Mariner High School and Voyager Middle School, a traffic signal is provided at every location where students can cross the road. Because Fourth Avenue W. is a multi-lane arterial with a considerable amount of traffic, this is a safer alternative for students than merely reducing the speed to 20 mph and installing crosswalks.

Technically, it is not a school zone. If doesn’t have 20 mph school-zone signs, then it is not a school zone. In this case, however, there are signs warning drivers they are approaching a school.

This spring, Snohomish County is planning to install two radar-operated speed signs in the vicinity of both schools as an additional tool to help drivers recognize the posted speed limit. The speed signs will tell drivers how fast they are traveling as they pass by the schools.

Mike Beauchamp of Camano Island writes: I frequently drive through Everett on I-5 to Seattle and have noticed that there are numerous overhead illumination lights that have burned out from the center median through Everett, from the Snohomish River bridge to south of downtown Everett.

More than two dozen of these lights are not working. This is a safety concern, as this is a very congested length of I-5 with numerous ramps and is historically affected by low visibilities and fog. 

I have made numerous attempts to correct this issue with phone calls to the state Department of Transportation. Each time I was told it was a safety concern and that they would take care of the issue. However, to date nothing has been done to correct the problem.

It seems to me the Transportation Department would check for burned-out lights on a routine basis and would replace any malfunctioning bulbs before it contributes to an accident.

Tom Pearce, a spokesman for the state Department of Transportation, responds: Our maintenance crews are aware of the issues Mike describes regarding the lighting along I-5 through Everett and are planning for repairs to the lights.

Because of the location of the lights within the median section of I-5, making repairs requires a fair amount of planning and preparation. The locations involved are exposed to traffic and require coordination with electrical maintenance crews with tall bucket trucks needed to reach the lights, as well as roadway maintenance crews to provide traffic control and close the southbound carpool lane and shoulder to provide a safe work environment.

The work can be done only during daylight hours, when the lighting system can be deactivated without throwing a large section of I-5 into the dark. Because of high traffic volumes during the work week, the best time to do the work is during early morning hours on weekends.

We had recently scheduled this work to be done, but weather conditions forced us to cancel. We now are rescheduling and hope to complete the work in the next few weeks.

E-mail us at streetsmarts@heraldnet.com. Please include your city of residence.

Look for updates on our Street Smarts blog at www.heraldnet.com/streetsmarts.
Story tags » I-5Traffic Safety

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