Drivers: Tell us your traffic pet peeve

In nearly three years of doing Street Smarts I’ve had a chance to vent a few of my traffic pet peeves.

These include the slow drivers who camp in the left lane of the freeway. There are the drivers who are completely oblivious to what’s going on around them. Then we have the sidegaters. We have the drivers who unneccessarily stop in the right lane on side streets, preventing turns. And of course there are the engine idlers.

Some people may be a few or all of the above.

Now it’s your turn. As a little jump start for 2012, I want to hear what ticks you off the most. I want to know the most common gripes.

Maybe it’s the left-lane campers. Maybe it’s tailgaters or speeders. It could be the drivers who cut you off, those who don’t use their turn signals, or both. Or it could be something else entirely.

Send your responses to the email address below and I’ll run the results in next week’s column. No long rants or explanations, please — keep them short and to the point, so we can get them in print.

There also will likely be another little follow-up the week after. We’ll keep the exact topic a secret for now.

Mukilteo ferry dock

Chris Hill of Mukilteo writes: I have been thrilled over the traffic improvements at the Mukilteo ferry dock — the designated turn lanes and now the light to stop traffic coming off the ferry intermittently as it unloads. Both have improved the safety and the nerves in getting around the hazards of the intersection — cars, people and buses all competing for a chance to cross.

What has been troubling is that the lights face the off-loading traffic, and not up the hill as well. If you are waiting to make a turn, you have no idea how long the traffic will be stopped, and especially no clue when the commuters get the signal to race off again. Any solution?

Bronlea Mishler, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Transportation, responds: It’s nice to hear that the recent improvements we made to the Mukilteo ferry dock have made a difference for drivers and pedestrians. However, we have no plans to change the current setup of the signal.

The “new” signal isn’t actually brand-new — instead, it’s just been moved to a new location at the intersection. Before our project, the signal was located in the middle of the transfer span. Moving the signal allowed us to decrease the time between light cycles and add a pedestrian crossing during the ferry unloading process — all without delaying the ferry unloading time.

Moving the signal to the intersection allows drivers off-loading from the ferry to see stopped vehicles at other legs of the intersection more easily, in turn allowing drivers and pedestrians to make better decisions about when to cross the street or enter into traffic.

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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