State may have hard time getting drivers out of their cars

Peter Cetera was such a far thinking guy. I listen to him in the car and think about how driving will be such a hard habit to break.

The Evergreen State wants to reduce how much people drive to stave off global climate change. State law commands it to cut down on carbon dioxide emissions. About five million Washington drivers travel 56 billion miles each year.

The miles driven per licensed driver climbed from 10,000 to 13,000 a year between 1980 and 1990. The figure dropped to 11,500 miles per year in 2007. But by 2030, each driver is predicted to travel 13,500 miles per year.

The state Department of Transportation is required to come up with a plan to trim how much we drive, including how much restrictions might hurt some businesses, the poor and rural residents.

The state will probably have to pry our steering wheels from our cold dead hands — unless we succumb to the shock of rising gas prices first.

Speaking of gas prices: It’s taken three weeks for the average gas price in the Everett-Seattle-Bellevue area to drop 9 cents from the all-time area record of $3.56 a gallon, according to AAA auto club.

Costco conundrum

Question: I am leaving the Everett Costco’s main entrance-exit, heading eastbound on 102nd St. SE. The left lane is left-turn only, the right lane is right-turn only. I would like to go straight into the Washington Mutual parking lot. Is it legal?

Throw in this curve ball: A bicyclist wants to turn left onto northbound 19th Avenue SE. He is to the right side of the left-turn lane. As I was following him, I realized how dangerous this could be for the cyclist.

If I would have ignored his intentions, or he sped up to the car behind him and it decided to go to WaMu, the cyclist would lose!

Big Ken Gross, Everett

Answer: Great question, said Sgt. Robert Goetz of the Everett Police Department. He mulled through several possibilities for the scenario. If the driver went straight, would they be disobeying the turn arrows painted on the pavement? Would it be illegal lane travel?

Probably not, he said.

“If the maneuver is done safely on a green light, and you aren’t failing to yield to any other traffic, I don’t believe it is prohibited under any RCWs that come to mind,” Goetz said.

“I don’t believe that we would have officers stopping (drivers) out there,” he said. The bicyclist would have the right of way on the green light, he said.

Carpool lane tailgaters

Question: Tell me what the law is: If I’m in the carpool lane and people want to get around me, should they change into the fast lane to pass me or should I move into the fast lane to allow them to pass?

Kathy Hokanson, Marysville

Answer: “If she’s in a carpool and has two or more people, that’s a private lane,” said State Patrol Sgt. Kirk Rudeen. “As long as she’s going the speed limit, then she doesn’t have to move. If they want to go around her, they can move into the right lane.”

The carpool lane is not like the fast lane, Rudeen said. “The carpool lane is there to reward people who have two or more people in the car,” he said. “You don’t have to worry about moving over.”

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