Monthly Archives: May 2009

Washington Remains Most Bicycling-Friendly

Washington has been rated by the league of American Bicyclists as the nation’s No. 1 bicycle-friendly state for the second year in a row.

The Bicycle Friendly State Program recognizes states that actively support bicycling as a way of addressing climate change, traffic congestion, obesity and high fuel prices. States are rated based on their support of bicycling through legislation, policies and programs, education, places to ride and planning.

Getting More Confirmation on Tunnel Opening

I don’t think anybody has officially announced the opening ceremony yet for Bremerton’s new tunnel, although it doesn’t seem to be a big secret. Last week Carlos Jara, in a comment on one of my stories, invited the community for the ribbon-cutting ceremony on Monday, July 6.

More info out of Kitsap Transit confirms the date and narrows down the time to about 4 p.m.  After the ceremony, the tunnel will be open to pedestrians for a short time, old cars will parade through, and then traffic from the 5:30 p.m.  ferry from Seattle, which will arrive at about 6:30 p.m.

Highways Couldn’t Handle Traffic Over Weekend

Nearly 10 percent more vehicles traveled the state’s highways this year than in 2008. Whether it was the nice weather, cheaper gas, or popular concerts and festivals, the sheer volume made getting anywhere a nightmare, according to the state Department of Transportation.

Travel was especially tough over Snoqualmie Pass on Friday afternoon and Monday. On Friday, several minor collisions in the early afternnoon near the pass led to 17 miles of stop-and-go traffic through the evening. Drivers coming back Monday faced 22 miles of stop-and-go traffic.

Highway 101 around Hood Canal was also a mess. Thousands of people who would normally cross the Hood Canal Bridge had to go around because the bridge is closed for construction. That led to southbound backups stretching as far as 9 miles from Hoodsport. It took 60 to 90 minutes to get through that mess.

Other spots where it was really bad were northbound Interstate 5 Monday afternoon and evening from Olympia to Fort Lewis, and Highway 2 westbound Monday was stop-and-go between Peshastin and Leavenworth.

Commercial Pokes Fun at Overly Polite Drivers

Pemco came out with a new character today for its “We’re a Lot Like You. A Little Different.” campaign. It’s the “4-Way Stop, You Go. No You Go. No You Go. Guy.” and pokes fun at Washington drivers who are notorious for being overly polite and letting others through the intersection out of turn.

The character will be introduced with a story on KING-TV’s “Evening Magazine” program tonight at 7.

The insurance company even did a poll to find out if drivers have a good understanding of four-way stop laws. Most of them do, the poll discovered, making the pollsters wonder what other factors lead to the behavior.

If you didn’t know, when two cars approach or enter an intersection at about the same time, the vehicle on the left must yield to the one on the right. In the poll, 89 percent of Washington drivers got it right. Ninety-six percent of drivers 55 and older knew the law while 84 percent of those younger than 35 did.

Pemco has about 50 other Northwest profiles featured at

Gregoire Signs Second Narrows Bridge Bill

Gov. Chris Gregoire, for the second time in two weeks, signed a bill sponsored by Sen. Derek Kilmer, D-Gig Harbor, that benefits Tacoma Narrows Bridge toll-payers.
On Tuesday, Gregoire signed Senate Bill 5795 that restricts the use of tolls to expenses directly related to the financing, operation, maintenance, management and repairs of the bridge and not to overhead costs such as staff training, travel and meetings. It requires the state Department of Transportation to post quarterly expenditure reports on its Web site.
The move comes two weeks after the governor signed another Kilmer bill, SB 5556, that ensures that toll violators whose fines are reduced still pay the portion of their ticket that goes into the bridge account. Rep. Larry Seaquist worked on getting the bills passed from the House side.

WSF’s Moseley Among Top Managers

moseleyFerries director David Moseley and 15 other state managers received Governor’s Leadership in Management Awards Tuesday at the governor’s mansion.

He had a lot thrown at him in his first year in the post and soaked it all up, stayed composed and clear-thinking while being attacked, and involved the public more in ferry system discussions.

Not Everyone Will Drive Nice

Now that I’ve just got done posting about Drive Nice Day on Thursday, I come across this.

The National Safety Council is estimating that 366 people will be killed in car crashes and 19,400 injured from 6 p.m. Friday until the end of Monday.  The good news is, that’s down 23 percent from 2007.

Using your seat belt will reduce your risk of injury by 50 percent, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The NSC estimates that 324 lives will be saved this Memorial Day weekend because people wore seat belts, and that 85 more lives could be saved if everybody wore one.

Back in the day, not many people wore seat belts, even if your car was new enough to be equipped with them. I didn’t. Then my roommate and sister-in-law got killed in car crashes within a few months. Neither was wearing a seat belt. I’ve had mine on ever since.

State Mass Transit Projects Will Get $114 Million

Washington agencies will receive $114 million in federal stimulus money for mass transit projects, according to an Associated Press story I don’t see anything for Kitsap or ferries, but I’ll try to find a more complete list if there is one.

Sen. Patty Murray says the grants released Wednesday by the U.S. Department of Transportation include:

$71 million for 60 hybrid buses for King County;

$22 million for Sound Transit bus and rail projects;

$14 million to buy 22 buses for Snohomish County transit;

$2.7 million to expand the Ben Franklin transit base in Richland;

$2.3 million to buy four hybrid buses for Olympia transit;

$1.3 million for the Seattle monorail and south Lake Union trolley.