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Street Smarts
February 11  |  By Melissa Slager Herald Writer
Back in black? Depends on how you define the baseline.In the first three months of operation, express toll lanes on I-405 brought in $3.7 million in toll revenue — three times the conservative $1 million estimate used for planning by the Washington State Department of Transportation.That’s more than enough to cover the costs of operations so far.But some key expenses have yet to kick in.

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February 9  |  Herald staff
Spring ferry schedules available for vacation planning
Washington State Ferries has released its spring schedule, which starts March 20 — the first day of spring — and runs to June 11.

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February 8  |  Herald staff
More snow means Snoqualmie Pass is closing more often
If it seems like I-90 is closing more often this year at Snoqualmie Pass, you’re right.Last winter was very mild, with zero closures for avalanche control. This winter — which saw more snow in one week of December than all of the 2014-15 season — is a lot different.Through January, the Pass has seen over 300 inches of snow, well over the average.

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February 7  |  By Melissa Slager Herald Writer
Ban self-serve gas? Poll shows growing interest in full-service
It’s wet. It’s cold. Your hands end up smelling like gasoline. What if you could just stay in the car?Support is growing in Washington to require gas station attendants to pump your gas for you, according to a recent insurance company poll.

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January 28  |  Herald staff
Bob Tate of Everett writes: “Puget Park Drive has two semi trailer trucks that park for 10 to 15 days a month out on the street. I assume there is some type of ordinance to prevent this from happening but it continues on weekly basis.”

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January 27  |  By Melissa Slager Herald Writer
Tolls have helped buses traveling I-405 shave some time off their routes, a key goal to help make what transit is available more reliable and attractive to commuters.About 4,200 people get on buses traveling I-405 each weekday. During the morning commute, their rides are from 5 to 7 minutes shorter, on average, than they were a year ago, and 3 to 5 minutes faster during the evening commute back north.Some trips saw even more dramatic improvement, by as much as 16 minutes.

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January 26  |  Herald staff
Pat Forster of Lake Stevens wrote in after slogging through “another big tie-up” one recent morning at the merge of Highway 204 to the U.S. 2 westbound trestle. “We need a stop-and-go light like on I-5 entries at the merge point! Too many 204 merge peeps just keep butting in and DON’T...

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January 25  |  By Melissa Slager Herald Writer
Anne Hagel of Everett wonders about the math that's used to calculate toll rates on the I-405 express lanes. Hagel is an I-405 commuter in a two-person carpool and feels the Snohomish County end is unfairly dinged at higher rates.

"For example, the other day my southbound morning toll was $7.75, but after crossing over the King County line, the toll for new...

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January 24  |  By Melissa Slager Herald Writer
Perhaps it’s because we live in the Pacific Northwest and not an East Coast undergoing Blizzardpocalypsemania 2016. But you Street Smarts readers were awfully quiet on your tips and tricks for quickly defrosting an icy windshield.So I put down my hamburger and did a little reading.

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January 22  |  Herald staff
Check for car recalls online
You can check for recalls on your vehicle at safercar.gov/checkforrecalls. The search engine works best with a vehicle identification number (VIN) but also offers a search by make and model.

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January 21  |  Herald staff
Gas prices are low — but who has the lowest price at the pump?Costco is your best bet, according to GasBuddy, which tracks gas prices and offers an app to help folks find the cheapest, nearest station.

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January 18  |  Herald staff
Carmen Carpenter of Lynnwood asks: “Why are the car dealerships allowed to park their trucks in the turn lanes along Highway 99 (between 164th and 188th) in order to unload vehicles? Shouldn’t this be done on their own property? It seems to cause a bit of confusion on a regular basis. Isn’t this considered a no parking area? Or does it depend on how much money you are worth or the size of your company?”

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January 17  |  Herald staff
Joanne Davis of Lynnwood writes about a rough ride on westbound 196th Street SW (Highway 524) in Lynnwood, particularly at the intersection with Scriber Lake Road. A new signal was installed there, one of the Transportation...

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January 15  |  Herald staff
Nancy Ross of Stanwood writes: “I am wondering about the Miller Road In Stanwood. It has been closed for years, but I have noticed the last few times I have driven by there that they are doing some work on it. Does this mean it will reopen sometime soon? That would be wonderful!”

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January 14  |  Herald staff
You can now check toll rates for the I-405 express lanes before you head out the door. The same rate information that appears on electronic reader boards is now fed to an online map, at tinyurl.com/405tollrates.

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January 12  |  Herald staff
It's cold outside. Why the heck would I turn on the A/C? Oh, right. Science.

YouTuber and viral virtuoso Mark Rober explains the fastest way to de-fog a windshield in this video:



It's a long one. If you want to skip the science and the snickers, go to the four-minute 20-second mark.

Contrary to the thumbnail, this tested the...

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January 10  |  By Melissa Slager Herald Writer
The express toll lanes are moving more cars per hour than their HOV predecessors.But that’s not true for every spot along the way, particularly the one-lane section of the northbound lanes in Snohomish County, according to a Street Smarts look at state data.Here, traffic volumes in the former HOV lanes have stayed unchanged or gone down northbound. And what bright spots there are going south are well short of dramatic.

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January 7  |  Herald staff
Bart Rehmer of Marysville asks: “Simpson Sand and Gravel operates a large operation at the west end of 140th Street NW (Firetrail Road) in Marysville. Dozens of large dump trucks and pony trailers haul dirt, sand, and gravel from this facility and trash the road with dirt and mud.

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January 6  |  By Melissa Slager Herald Writer
The state’s free Flex Pass incentive for carpoolers and free motorcycle pass for regular I-405 drivers continues through the end of March.Over 33,000 of the free Flex Pass transponders have been given out since last spring.Having a Flex Pass turned to HOV mode and linked to an active Good to Go account is the only way to travel toll-free in the I-405 express lanes as a carpool.

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January 4  |  Herald staff
BOTHELL — The City Council is looking at forming a Transportation Benefit District to raise tax dollars earmarked for streets projects.Open houses to discuss the plan are set for 5:30-7:30 p.m. Jan. 13 at Evergreen Church, 3429 240th St. SE, and Jan. 14 at the Northshore Senior Center, 10201 E Riverside Drive.

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January 4  |  Herald staff
A new road will be added to the grid in Arlington as part of a new business park planned for the old Northwest Hardwoods site.

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December 31  |  Herald staff
Trudy Lothyan of Mill Creek had this request: “There is a small island on 527 in Mill Creek just before Dumas Road going south. On dark rainy nights it is impossible to see it until you are about to turn into the turn lane to turn west on Dumas Road. If a reflector or two were put on the island, it would make it more easily seen.”

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December 30  |  Herald staff
Jeff Danner asks: “Exit 208/I-5 Arlington is in terrible shape also with the deck and on/off ramps. What plans are in the works on this?”Tom Pearce, spokesman for the Washington State Department of Transportation, responds: “A project to repave the ramps and bridge deck is planned for summer 2017.”

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December 29  |  By Melissa Slager Herald Writer
David Nelson of Marysville is among those wondering: What are the long-term plans to extend an HOV lane or expand capacity on I-5 N past Everett to Marysville?

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December 28  |  Herald staff
Josh Hardy of Marysville writes about a sign he saw in a...

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December 27  |  By Melissa Slager Herald Writer
The California migration to Snohomish County continues — and the Texas migration, Oregon, Arizona, and Florida. But, really, California.The state Department of Licensing releases monthly summaries of new driver registrations from other states.

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December 26  |  By Melissa Slager Herald Writer
Bridge repair, maintenance work in county set for 2016 The new Broadway Bridge in Everett re-opened to traffic Dec. 8. The former span was 102 years old and had weight restrictions the last eight months of its use.

The new bridge was the highlight of a relatively quiet year of bridge work in Snohomish County that largely focused on maintenance and repairs.

Shovels are getting prepped for a busier 2016.

In Brier, an innocuous yet...

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December 23  |  Herald staff
Steven Lay of Everett writes about close calls and fender-benders at one of the curvy and hilly entrances to Forest Park on East Mukilteo Boulevard at Federal Avenue.

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December 21  |  By Melissa Slager Herald Writer
Over the Salish Sea and through the tangled traffic, to grandmother’s house we — oh, forget it, let’s stay home this Christmas.Tap, tap, tap.Sorry, my 5-year-old informs me that presents are waiting at Grandma’s. Right, so here we go.

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December 20  |  Herald staff
Drivers who use I-5 through Marysville should plan ahead for a closure of all lanes early morning Tuesday, Dec. 22.Contractor crews working on a Tulalip Tribes project at the 116th Street NE interchange will close all southbound lanes from 1 to 3 a.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 22.

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