State Route 520 bridge tolls could divert traffic

December 13, 2011

The state Department of Transportation plans to start tolls on the state Route 520 bridge Dec. 29 — and motorists could experience additional traffic on Interstate 90 as commuters avoid the toll.

The state estimates tolls should cause thousands of motorists to use the I-90 bridges or drive around Lake Washington instead.

Meanwhile, the state is encouraging motorists to set up a Good To Go! pass account.

Purchase a pass at www.wsdot.wa.gov/goodtogo or a $5 sticker pass at participating stores, including Costco, Safeway, Fred Meyer and QFC. Find a list of retail locations at www.wsdot.wa.gov/goodtogo/retail.

The state extended call center hours and hired extra customer service staffers to prepare for the anticipated high volumes of customers registering and activating accounts. Customers can purchase the sticker passes at stores and activate them online.

“Tolling is helping Washington move forward with critical transportation investments and will finance ongoing and future work to replace the vulnerable SR 520 floating bridge and corridor,” state Transportation Secretary Paula Hammond said in a statement.

Help state, club count cyclists, pedestrians in Issaquah soon

August 30, 2011

Join the state Department of Transportation and the Cascade Bicycle Club to tally the number of people in Washington using foot or pedal power to commute.

The partners need volunteers to count people bicycling and using bike lanes, and walking on paths and sidewalks, from Sept. 27-29. Join the effort in Issaquah, a city selected as a documentation site.

The agency set up a website to answer questions about the count at www.wsdot.wa.gov/bike/Count.htm.

Or, contact Cascade Bicycle Club Principal Planner Tessa Greegor at tessa.greegor@cascadebicycleclub.org or 206-204-0913 to learn more about volunteering.

The tally is used to help measure the Department of Transportation’s efforts to increase bicycling and walking, and reducing the number of vehicle miles driven.

“This annual count of bicyclists and pedestrians helps us more accurately measure demand, gauge the results of our investments and plan for future improvement projects,” Secretary of Transportation Paula Hammond said in a statement. “The information volunteers collect helps ensure that we are investing transportation dollars on priority projects, in locations where they are needed most.”

Help count bicyclists, pedestrians in Issaquah soon

August 22, 2011

NEW — 6 a.m. Aug. 22, 2011

Join the state Department of Transportation and the Cascade Bicycle Club to tally the number of people in Washington using foot or pedal power to commute.

The partners need volunteers to count people bicycling and using bike lanes, and walking on paths and sidewalks, from Sept. 27-29. Join the effort in Issaquah, a city selected as a documentation site.

The count is part of a yearly bicycle and pedestrian count and survey sponsored by the Institute of Transportation Engineers Pedestrian and Bicycle Council.

The tally is used to help measure the Department of Transportation’s efforts to increase bicycling and walking, and reducing the number of vehicle miles driven.

Read more

Washington ranks as friendliest state for bicyclists

May 31, 2011

Washington is the Most Bicycle Friendly State again.

The ranking from the League of American Bicyclists honors a strong commitment to bicycling through policies and programs. The honor marks the fourth consecutive year the Evergreen State has clinched the No. 1 spot.

“Public support is strong for making biking safer and more convenient for children, commuters and recreational users,” state Secretary of Transportation Paula Hammond said in a statement.

The league rates states based on bike-friendly legislation, policies and programs, education, places to ride and planning. Washington scored consistently high in all ranking evaluation categories.

Statewide, the number of people bicycling has increased — a figure reflected in the state Department of Transportation’s annual statewide bicycle and pedestrian count.

In a three-day snapshot taken at 155 locations across the state in fall 2010, volunteers counted nearly 16,000 bicyclists, compared to more than 9,600 in the previous year.

Washington’s bicyclist-involved fatality crash rate improved from 1.37 per 1 million people in 2008 to 1.35 in 2009.

Washington ranks as state friendliest to bicyclists

May 26, 2011

NEW — 10 a.m. May 26, 2011

Washington is the Most Bicycle Friendly State again.

The ranking from the League of American Bicyclists honors a strong commitment to bicycling through policies and programs. The honor marks the fourth consecutive year the Evergreen State has clinched the No. 1 spot.

“Public support is strong for making biking safer and more convenient for children, commuters and recreational users,” state Secretary of Transportation Paula Hammond said in a statement. “WSDOT works closely with regional and local agencies to increase the number of walkers and bikers, while also improving safety to reduce the number of bicycle- and pedestrian- related collisions.”

The league rates states based on bike-friendly legislation, policies and programs, education, places to ride and planning. Washington scored consistently high in all ranking evaluation categories.

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Report: Statewide traffic deaths reach historic low

March 31, 2011

NEW — 8 a.m. March 31, 2011

The number of deaths on Washington roadways reached a historic low last year: 448, a decline from the 492 deaths in 2009.

Washington Traffic Safety Commission officials said 2010 marked the safest year ever on Washington roads. The number of deaths could increase slightly as the commission continues to receive reports.

Under a highway safety plan called Target Zero, the state aims to eliminate traffic fatalities and serious injuries in Washington during the next 19 years. Officials set a goal of zero traffic deaths by 2030.

“The lives saved are a true testament to the effectiveness of Washington’s comprehensive and integrated approach to traffic safety: the Target Zero plan,” commission Director Lowell Porter said in a statement Wednesday.

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DOT updates snow priorities

December 7, 2010

The state Department of Transportation and Washington State Patrol announced a plan last week to join forces the next time ice and snow cover roads.

The agencies announced the creation of two Joint Response Teams — a DOT snowplow and a state patrol cruiser — to be deployed to collisions involving buses, tractor-trailers and other large vehicles. The teams plan to work in the King County area.

Transportation officials also announced a plan to convert pickups into mini-sanders. The smaller vehicles should be able to maneuver more easily between stopped vehicles than full-size sanders or snowplows.

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DOT updates snow response priorities, plans to add mini-sanders

December 2, 2010

NEW — 1:15 p.m. Dec. 2, 2010

The state Department of Transportation and Washington State Patrol announced a plan Thursday to join forces the next time ice and snow cover roads.

The agencies announced the creation of two Joint Response Teams — a DOT snowplow and a state patrol cruiser — to be deployed to collisions involving buses, tractor-trailers and other large vehicles. The teams plan to work in the King County area.

Transportation officials also announced a plan to convert pickup trucks into mini-sanders. The smaller vehicles should be able to maneuver more easily between stopped vehicles than full-size sanders or snowplows.

Read more

Report: Issaquah commuters spent less time in traffic last year

November 30, 2010

Issaquah commuters spent less time on the road to Bellevue and Seattle last year.

The typical morning commute between Issaquah and Seattle shrank to 21 minutes — a decline from 25 minutes in 2007. The morning commute from Seattle to Issaquah also dropped, from 20 to 18 minutes. The trip between Issaquah and Bellevue declined to 15 minutes from 17 minutes during the same period.

The state Department of Transportation said the decreases represent a broader trend. Evergreen State drivers spent less time in traffic last year.

The information is outlined in the annual congestion report produced by the Department of Transportation.

Planners attributed the change to the economic downturn and the completion of major congestion-relief highway projects. The result: fewer delays and shorter travel times on high-demand corridors. Read more

Washington ranks as friendliest state for bicyclists

May 25, 2010

For the third consecutive year, the League of American Bicyclists ranked Washington as the No. 1 Bicycle Friendly State.

The ranking honors a strong commitment to bicycling through policies and programs. State officials announced the award on Bike to Work Day, May 21.

“For Washington to have a 21st century transportation system, we need to give people transportation choices,” Gov. Chris Gregoire said in a news release. “Bicycling is an important part of this and it’s an honor to be recognized for the third year in a row for our commitment and efforts to make Washington bicycle friendly.”

The league rates states based on their support of bicycling through legislation, policies and programs, education, places to ride and planning. Washington scored consistently high in all ranking evaluation categories.

“Being recognized as a leader for three years in a row reflects the strong partnerships that have been forged over the years, as well as the smart investments that have been made at the local, regional and state level,” state Secretary of Transportation Paula Hammond said in the release. “In Washington, bicycling plays an important role in our overall transportation system, giving people choices for

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