Monthly Archives: January 2012

Slowing it down to 20 mph

A bill that passed the State House today would let cities and towns cut speed limits to 20 mph on non-arterial streets. It passed unanimously and now the so-called “Neighborhood Safe Speeds Bill” moves on to the Senate.

Bill proponents say it’s too much hassle now to reduce speed limits, so cities don’t do it. It entails an enginieering and traffic study, which requires staff time and money. The bill would let cities skip that step. It doesn’t mandate that any speed limits be lowered, but gives cities local control to do so if they choose.

Proponents say the bill would make it safer for pedestrians and bicyclists, especially children and old people. I can’t think of any places that around here that would benefit from dropping to 20 mph. Can cars even built to go that slow? Do speedometers work at that speed?



Republicans proposing pinata transportation bill

House Republican leaders are expected Tuesday to introduce their version of a transportation bill. It won’t go anywhere and they know it because they’ve loaded it up with a bunch of non-transportation stuff they know the Dems won’t go for.

The bill would mandate new offshore drilling off the Atlantic and Pacific coasts, and in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge; divert oil revenues to pay for transportation projects and require passage of the controversial Keystone XL tar sands pipeline.  By insisting on these unrelated items, the House GOP is preventing passage of badly needed transportation legislation.

That violates my idea of fairness, no matter which party is doing it. These people are supposed to be grownups and yet they play these silly games with our country.

Final ferry fare study changed from draft

The ferry media study I wrote about last week wasn’t the one handed in to the Legislature’s Joint Transportation Committee. I was one draft behind, and there are some differences.

What the study doesn’t do, unlike I wrote earlier, is recommend separating car fares from driver fares, eliminating fees that generate little income, and consolidate fares among routes, Kathy Scanlan of consultant Cedar River Group informed me.

It suggests charging the same fare for Southworth-Fauntleroy, Southworth-Vashon and Vashon-Fauntleroy, but not for the Point Defiance-Tahlequah boat, as proposed earlier.

The next step would be for the Legislature to allocate $1.2 million this session to start putting it into play. Of that, $900,000 would go toward automatic vehicle measuring devices and $300,000 to add the stored-ride feature of ORCA for multi-ride cards.