Dinner depends on color of drive

Millions of times a year, commuters check the state highway department’s Web site.

What they really want to know: How will traffic affect my dinner?

From Boeing in Everett through Seattle to Tacoma, colored maps tell it all: Green means go – directly home – and red means stop – at McDonald’s.

Yellow means call home first. Start with something cordial, like “Yellow, sweetie … “

Black (“stop and go” areas in downtown Seattle and Bellevue) means expect to see the sun set before the wheels hit the driveway, even in summer.

Ask us about traffic

Have a question about traffic or street rules around Snohomish and Island counties? We can help find an answer. E-mail The Herald at stsmarts@heraldnet. com.

Some of the most clogged areas of Snohomish County are gray, with no equipment to show whether the last few miles can be measured in minutes or epochs.

But help is on the way.

Are we there yet?

Question: How long is the average commute from Arlington to Bothell (and to Lynnwood and Seattle) in the morning? When are the best commuting times to those locations? When are the worst?

Christine Kerlin, Arlington

Answer: The state Department of Transportation can’t calculate travel times from Arlington because it doesn’t yet have data stations that far north. I-5 traffic data starts near the Everett Mall and Boeing at Highway 526.

But the Everett I-5 carpool expansion project will add data loops all the way to U.S. 2, and with money, more could follow to Highway 531 in Arlington, said Myly Posse, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Transportation.

Until then, commute times from Everett to Bothell average 23 minutes, Everett to Lynnwood is 19 minutes and Everett to Seattle is 38 minutes.

There’s a problem with such averages: They can combine a great commute on a bank holiday with the worst rainy day full of fender benders. Generally, avoiding rush hour (6 to 9 a.m. and 3 to 6 p.m.) is the best time to commute.

The state’s real-time traffic maps and cameras are at www.wsdot.wa.gov/traffic.

A reminder: Move over

Question: What does it take to get the state Department of Transportation to put up some more “Keep right except to pass” signs on I-5 between Smokey Point and Highway 526 (the Boeing exit in south Everett), in both directions? Some lane courtesy would go a long way in easing congestion.

James Parker, Arlington

Answer: “We can check on this,” said Mark Voth, state traffic operations specialist.

The state Department of Transportation places reminder signs, sometimes as an emphasis but typically on a standardized approach and with the funds it has. Strictly speaking, “It is a traffic infraction to drive continuously in the left lane of a multilane roadway when it impedes the flow of other traffic.”

With a dose of reality, the intent of state law says drivers must stay to the right when practical, which mostly means outside intense gridlock. The state removed some “keep right” signs in the 1990s in Pierce and Thurston counties where traffic was too thick and the signs didn’t make sense.

Talk to us

More in Local News

Cars move across Edgewater Bridge toward Everett on Tuesday, Sept. 26, 2023, in Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Edgewater Bridge redo linking Everett, Mukilteo delayed until mid-2024

The project, now with an estimated cost of $27 million, will detour West Mukilteo Boulevard foot and car traffic for a year.

Lynn Deeken, the Dean of Arts, Learning Resources & Pathways at EvCC, addresses a large gathering during the ribbon cutting ceremony of the new Cascade Learning Center on Thursday, Sept. 28, 2023, at Everett Community College in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
New EvCC learning resource center opens to students, public

Planners of the Everett Community College building hope it will encourage students to use on-campus tutoring resources.

Everett Police Chief Dan Templeman announces his retirement after 31 years of service at the Everett City Council meeting on Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2023 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Everett police chief to retire at the end of October

Chief Dan Templeman announced his retirement at Wednesday’s City Council meeting. He has been chief for nine years.

Boeing employees watch the KC-46 Pegasus delivery event  from the air stairs at Boeing on Thursday, Jan. 24, 2019 in Everett, Wa. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
Boeing’s iconic Everett factory tour to resume in October

After a three-year hiatus, tours of the Boeing Company’s enormous jet assembly plant are back at Paine Field.

A memorial for a 15-year-old shot and killed last week is set up at a bus stop along Harrison Road on Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2023, in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Teen boy identified in fatal shooting at Everett bus stop

Bryan Tamayo-Franco, 15, was shot at a Hardeson Road bus stop earlier this month. Police arrested two suspects.

Car crashes into Everett apartment, displacing residents

No one was injured in the crash late Friday, according to Everett police.

Mike Bredstrand, who is trying to get back his job with Lake Stevens Public Works, stands in front of the department’s building on Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2023, in Lake Stevens, Washington. Bredstrand believes his firing in July was an unwarranted act of revenge by the city. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Lake Stevens worker was fired after getting court order against boss

The city has reportedly spent nearly $60,000 on attorney and arbitration fees related to Mike Bredstrand, who wants his job back.

Chap Grubb, founder and CEO of second-hand outdoor gear store Rerouted, stands inside his new storefront on Thursday, Sept. 21, 2023, in Gold Bar, Washington. Rerouted began as an entirely online shop that connected buyers and sellers of used gear.  (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Used outdoor gear shop Rerouted finds a niche in Gold Bar

Seeking to keep good outdoor gear out of landfills, an online reselling business has put down roots in Gold Bar.

Naval Station Everett. (Chuck Taylor / Herald file)
Everett man sentenced to 6 years for cyberstalking ex-wife

Christopher Crawford, 42, was found guilty of sending intimate photos of his ex-wife to adult websites and to colleagues in the Navy.

Most Read