The Herald of Everett, Washington
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Street Smarts
March 5  |  By Melissa Slager Herald writer
Here’s one of those problem areas that just keeps coming up, year after year.Rick Ogden lives just off of Filbert Road, known better on transportation documents as Highway 524.

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March 4  |  By Melissa Slager Herald writer
Susan Kramer of Everett writes: “Everett has installed some pedestrian (walk/don’t walk) signal lights that have countdown timers. Some of these timers are coordinated with the traffic lights such that when the timer reaches zero the light turns yellow and shortly thereafter red. For others, when the timer reaches zero the light remains green for a time before turning yellow and then red. ... Is there some philosophy/rule that is followed for the location of the pedestrian lights with...

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March 3  |  By Melissa Slager Herald writer
This blog post has been updated since its first publication to clarify when it is legal and illegal to have HID headlights.



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March 2  |  By Melissa Slager Herald writer
“A traffic nightmare.” That’s how Greg Miner of Tulalip — and many of his fellow commuters — describe the traffic on 116th Street at I-5.“The left-turn lanes are short, holding only a few cars. Cars waiting to access I-5 often have to sit in the through lanes, thus blocking traffic,” he wrote. “Any relief in sight?”Your timing is impeccable, Greg.Relief is finally on its way to 116th Street as the Tulalip Tribes takes bids on a $25 million project to rebuild the bridge over I-5.

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March 1  |  By Melissa Slager Herald writer
Street Smarts reader Palmer Edwards, of Snohomish, recently wrote asking why the state doesn’t require drivers to keep their headlights on at all times.“It’s a no-brainer and does not cost anything,” Edwards said.Turns out some Snohomish High School teens are pushing for just that.

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February 27  |  By Melissa Slager Herald writer
We recently shared the struggle of eco-conscious families to recycle expired car seats.If you were thinking, like me, of repurposing your seat into a play thing of some kind with your kids rather than pitching it in the landfill, you might want to reconsider.

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February 26  |  By Melissa Slager Herald writer
Street Smarts reader Kathy Moon notes there’s been a change to the reader board at the I-5 and I-405 interchange, which now gives the estimated travel time to Southcenter instead of Seattle. “Do you know why the change was made?”The ever-helpful Mike Allende, who works for the state Department of Transportation, shares the answer.

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February 25  |  By Melissa Slager Herald writer
Speedometers don't always match radar feedback signs Another radar feedback sign has gone up in Everett, this time on Rucker Avenue just north of 19th Street. There are others, such as on Broadway as you enter downtown from I-5, and on Colby Avenue.

The equipment shows drivers how fast they are going, and includes a sign showing the legal speed limit for the roadway.

A handy reminder, but Street Smarts reader Dan Brown noted that none of the signs seem to match his own speedometers in three different vehicles.

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February 24  |  By Melissa Slager Herald writer
Vern Elder of Edmonds contacted Street Smarts with a concern about signal timing at 220th Street SW and 76th Avenue W.Especially during the evening rush hour, eastbound traffic on 220th “gets an extremely long green light while westbound traffic backs up all the way to Highway 99 and even at times causes congestion at the Highway 99 and 220th Street SW intersection because westbound traffic is stopped for blocks away at the intersection of the 76th Avenue West signal.”

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February 23  |  
Les Pederson of Arlington writes: “The traffic light at 51st Avenue NE and 172nd needs a unrestricted left turn light. The intersection is a disaster. This is located south of Arlington Airport.”

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February 22  |  
The Washington State Transportation Commission is expected to send a new survey late in the week of Feb. 23 to members of the Voice of Washington State (VOWS) survey panel, asking about “Future Changes to the I-405 HOV Lanes.”

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February 22  |  By Melissa Slager Herald writer
We know the law, we recognize its value — and then we ignore it completely. (To invoke a fictional pirate, they’re "more what you’d call ‘guidelines’ than actual rules.")

It's true of the speed limit. And it's true of cellphone use, too, according to a recent AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety survey.

Some lowlights:

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February 20  |  By Melissa Slager Herald writer
We spend a lot of time in our vehicles. And I mean a lot.

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February 19  |  By Melissa Slager Herald writer
Is traffic really as bad as it seems?

Yes, and now there are more numbers to back it up.

The Puget Sound Regional Council, a shepherd of funding for many local transportation projects, recently issued a report on compounding congestion.

From Everett to Seattle on I-5, there were 4,600...

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February 18  |  By Melissa Slager Herald writer
Millions of child car seats are sold each year. With a shelf life of six to 10 years, most of them will end up in landfills.

Local efforts to find long-term recycling solutions continue. In the meantime, here are some ideas for repurposing an expired car seat:

Use the straps and padding to make handbags.

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February 18  |  
Here’s your chance to give your own opinion on a clean fuel standard.The Washington Department of Ecology was directed by Gov. Jay Inslee to engage the public and others on ideas and comments about a potential standard before making any rules. Background material and a comment form can be found at www.ecy.wa.gov through March 4.

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February 17  |  By Melissa Slager Herald writer
Roundabouts come in all sizes. And sometimes it’s the smallest that are the hardest to navigate.Take the roundabout near the Les Schwab and Safeway gas station at Frontier Village in Lake Stevens.

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February 16  |  By Melissa Slager Herald writer
This was an interesting one.“Several times recently I have noticed buses ... stopped at a red light and then proceed through the intersection while the light is still red,” writes Chester Swanson of Everett.Most recently, a Community Transit bus heading northbound on Highway 99 seemed to run the red at 148th Street SW in north Lynnwood. “In fact, the bus was almost to the Highway 525 overpass before the rest of us waiting at the intersection got a green light,” Swanson recalled.

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February 15  |  By Melissa Slager Herald writer
You’re on the highway during rush hour. Then an ambulance, lights flashing and sirens a’blaring, needs to get by. So like everyone else you sigh and slow down even more, move over, and tell yourself that a few more minutes in traffic is certainly better than being in whatever situation is prompting a paramedic response. But then some hot shot hops right into the wake of the emergency vehicle and sails on by everyone, riding the wave of a stolen right-of-way.

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February 13  |  By Melissa Slager Herald writer
At times it feels like manhole covers are meant to be those road turtles (OK, "raised pavement markers") designed to wake a drowsy driver.

Street Smarts reader Merl Eaton brought this up.

"As I drive down Cathcart Way and my tires clatter over the numerous manhole covers, I have to wonder why the engineers who design roadways seem to manage to put them right in the vehicle track rather than to the shoulder, where we as motorists do not...

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February 5  |  
OK, so we've answered the question of what a crosswalk is — now, how long do you wait for a pedestrian to move through one?

"My friends and I are confused about the state law regarding the responsibility of drivers when there are pedestrians in a crosswalk," wrote Lynda Hughes of Edmonds. "How far do pedestrians have to be through the crosswalk before a driver can...

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February 3  |  
Continental, ladder or zebra ... crosswalks come in many stripes — and sometimes none at all.

Let's take a look.

What is a crosswalk?

Street Smarts reader Dave Maness of Arlington notes that a crosswalk doesn't require paint on pavement — and this can lead to confusion on the part of many drivers.

"It's scary...

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February 1  |  By Melissa Slager
Teen needing a summer job? Ecology Youth Corps is hiring for litter crews Over 12 million pounds of litter are tossed or blown onto state roads each year, according to the Department of Ecology.

As the weather warms, preparations are underway to start picking up the pace of picking it all up.

Teenagers age 14-17 interested in a summer job with the Ecology Youth Corps can now apply.

There are fewer positions available because of dwindling dollars. But the young litter-bug busters can still put an awful big dent in the...

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January 29  |  By Melissa Slager, Herald writer
As we were driving down the interstate the other day, a plastic bag flew out of a truck bed. It ballooned and bobbed through the air like a nonchalant little ghost over the roofs of speeding vehicles.

From the back seat, I heard my 7-year-old gasp. "Pollution!"

These dark, cold days have us seeing more and more litter on roadsides, when most organized clean-up programs are on a seasonal break.

Joyce Lewis of Camano Island recently drove...

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January 26  |  
Clearly there is a lot to be done on our state roads. Recent blog posts here on Street Smarts about Snohomish County wish-list items, such as a long-sought westbound U.S. 2 trestle, are mere potholes in a vast road map of discontent.

But there's not...

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January 26  |  By Melissa Slager
Is the price tag for a new U.S. 2 trestle too big? In a question to readers about your most dreaded intersection, the three-way chokepoint where U.S. 2, Highway 204 and 20th Street all converge elicited the most groans — groans we've been hearing here at Street Smarts for several ... years ... now.


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January 25  |  
Karen Hart of Clearview asked when the next phase of the Highway 9 widening project will resume. The state project most recently wrapped up widening the highway from 212th Street SE to 176th Street SE.The highway now has three lanes until just north of 180th Street SE, “which creates a huge jam-up of cars and almost daily accidents as it becomes the old two lanes,” Hart notes. “Is this going to be fixed any time soon?”

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January 18  |  
Want to have a say on toll rates for the future I-405 HOT lanes coming this fall?

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January 15  |  By Melissa Slager
Marilyn de Soto of Snohomish noted a problem on 180th Street SE between 35th Avenue SE and Sunset Road, just east of Mill Creek in unincorporated Snohomish County.

"There are no lines on the shoulder where signs caution ‘dropoff'; also the middle line is not complete," she said. "A lot of road work has been done here with tearing up, then repaving, but it appears that it is not complete."

She said she hoped the lines would be...

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January 14  |  
You’re driving down the road late at night, and the signal in front of you turns yellow. You slow and stop. Then you notice that the cross street, just given the green, is a veritable ghost town. Not even a glimmer of headlights. Oh, come on!If you’ve ever been in that situation, you’ll sympathize with our next Q-and-A reader.

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