Monthly Archives: April 2011

How about clearing outside lane at Manette Bridge?

The in basket: Gary Reed writes, “The people building the Manette Bridge have been leaving their large sign and traffic cones on Washington Avenue, long after the work is done for the day. This blocks the outside lane that is used to turn onto the bridge all the way to the bridge entrance, forcing everyone to wait for a green light for the inside lane to continue straight or turn right onto the bridge.

“Is it just too inconvenient for them to place and remove the sign each day?  It is pretty inconvenient to the motorists when traffic backs up for blocks,” Gary said.

The out basket: Project Engineer Jeff Cook says it comes down to weighing cost savings versus traffic disruption.

“Starting last week, and for the next few months,” he said, “the bridge work is occurring under both daytime and nighttime operations.  Both day and night work require the closure of the turn lane.

“There is a small window of a few hours between the two shifts when the arrow board, signs, and channelization devices have been left in place,” he said. “As there is a cost associated with each set up and take down, we have been monitoring the extent of traffic backups in an effort to balance convenience of travel with cost to the project.

“Since it takes approximately 30 minutes to fully remove the setup and take it to a staging yard, then another 30 minutes to re-establish the setup, it is something we are continually assessing.

“This week we will be pulling off the closure at the end of day shift and setting it back up for the night work and monitoring the difference,”  Jeff said.

How goes the fight against ferry line cutting?

The in basket: I recently came across a year-old e-mail announcing the expansion of the state’s HERO program that lets civilians anonymously report traffic violations, including  the license number of the alleged violator.

The expansion was to include reporting of ferry line cutters, those forcing their way into an established line of vehicles waiting to board a ferry. Line cutting was made illegal in 2007, and calls to the HERO line to report the action were officially encouraged as of March of 2010,

At the time, Susan Harris-Huether of Washington State Ferries publicity office said, “As part of the HERO program, customers reporting line cutters will receive a card with the number 877-764 HERO (4376). The customer will be encouraged to call the number, and submit the violator’s license plate number and make of car.” The car owner will get a letter and information brochure from the state alerting the person to the report of line cutting and the change in the law authorizing a fine for ferry line cutting.

The fine is $124, but only a law enforcement officer can impose it after witnessing a driver cutting in line. Otherwise, it’s essentially a warning that someone has objected to the driver’s behavior and made a report of it.

I asked how it has been working.

The in basket: “Actually very good,” Susan replied.

“We had 416 reported line cutters in a year.  Of those, 61 percent were at Mukilteo, 17 percent  at Edmonds, 10 percent at Clinton and 5 percent at Kingston. The rest are scattered throughout the system.

“The customers have been positive,” she added. “It gives them an outlet for their frustration and a letter goes to each person reported after we check to make sure they are not on our preferential loading list (medical, carpool etc.)”

I asked if some activist at Mukilteo might account for the disproportionate number of HERO calls from there. Last year, before HERO calls reporting them were authorized, Susan had said, “On summer Sundays, WSF receives an average of 45 line-cutting complaints at the Kingston terminal and 25 at Mukilteo.

Susan said the source of each call is unknown, as they are made anonymously.