Website tracks wrecks on U.S. 2

Warren Hartz of Index writes: We regularly drive by the electronic sign near Zeke’s that tells us how many days since the last serious accident on U.S. 2.

Once recently it was up to about 30 and I noticed was reset to 2, which means either the power went out, which I don’t think it did, or there was a serious accident. But I searched and found no report. Is there a Web page that updates this number?

Bronlea Mishler, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Transportation, responds: The safety corridor signs along U.S. 2 are updated by the Washington State Patrol after a serious collision occurs. The troopers go out to the signs and manually flip a switch that resets the signs to zero. When the State Patrol notifies us that they’ve reset the signs, we then reset the sign on our website: www.wsdot.wa.gov/Projects/US2/DriveSafe.

Don Van Winkle of Mukilteo writes: I am puzzled by a statement by the Department of Transportation that it has no plans to change the current setup of the signal at the Mukilteo ferry dock intersection. During busy periods when the light changes to green, there is a huge conflict between the ferry traffic and any buses, cars or pedestrians that are already in the intersection.

At times, 20 seconds is just too short for three-way traffic movement versus the two- minute, one-way ferry movement.

Who has the right-of-way? Judging from the horn honking and hand gestures, ferry riders believe they do. At one time, because of safety reasons, the state had a plan to install a complete four-way signal system. Why wasn’t that implemented?

Mishler of the transportation department responds: As many residents and ferry users know, there has been a signal for offloading ferry traffic for a long time. When the ferry isn’t at the dock, the intersection functions as a three-way stop. When the ferry is at the dock and offloading traffic, a process that can take between five and eight minutes, the signal gives ferry traffic 90 seconds of green time. Then the other directions of traffic get 20 seconds of time in which to move through the intersection. In total, the full cycle of both signals is slightly less than two minutes.

The only change we made was to move the signal closer to the intersection so that vehicles at all legs of the intersection can see each other. When the ferry offloading traffic begins to move again, the rest of the traffic knows that they need to wait until the ferry traffic is once again stopped.

When ferry traffic has the green light, they have the right of way, although they still need to be mindful of other traffic in the intersection.

We’re still looking at ways to build a full signalized intersection, but we don’t have the funding to continue with design or construction.

E-mail 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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