Report malfunctioning signals to keep traffic moving

Laura Bilger of Lake Stevens writes: At night, the stoplights at Highway 9 and 20th Street SE have always been an “on demand” style stoplight. This summer, it switched to Highway 9 priority. My husband drives this stretch of road every night, and I use it at night once in awhile.

Seven or eight cars are regularly stopped on 20th Street, waiting for the light to change, even at 1:30 a.m. One time, at 3:30 a.m., about eight cars, mine included, were stopped for more than a minute while the light for Highway 9 burned green for no one.

Tom Pearce, a spokesman for the state Department of Transportation, responds: Our maintenance crews checked the signal at Highway 9 and 20th Street SE near Lake Stevens. They found an equipment malfunction that caused the signal to remain green for southbound Highway 9 even when no traffic was present. The crew replaced the equipment and now the signal should be responding on demand.

Reports such as Laura’s are very useful to the Transportation Department because they help locate potential problems. The department is responsible for about 7,000 miles of roadway in the state, so it can be a challenge to keep up with every traffic signal and intersection.

Nathan Ray of Marysville writes: My family lives in a residential neighborhood near the Marysville Library on Grove Street. Although our street has several very sharp curves, there is a double yellow line down the middle and cars continually exceed the speed limit. Every day we see multiple cars cross the center line as they take our corner too sharply. We have also seen cars do the opposite — end up in neighbors’ yards or bushes.

Once recently, a car lost control coming around one of the curves about a block from our house. It struck three vehicles, and a fourth was damaged by rocks thrown up from the gravel driveway-shoulder area.

My question is: How would I start the process to get speed bumps or some other form of traffic control installed on the roadway?

Jesse Hannahs, traffic engineer for Marysville, responds: Grove Street from Cedar Avenue to 67th Avenue NE is classified as an arterial and primary route for ambulances, fire trucks and police cars.

The posted speed limit is 30 mph. Under city policy, “traffic calming” devices such as speed bumps cannot be installed on arterials.

Concerns about speeding may be brought to the city public works department. A traffic safety committee of city officials from several departments evaluates many such reports.

If a speeding problem is confirmed on an arterial, measures can include more police enforcement, placement of a speed radar trailer for education and more speed-limit signs.

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.

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