Deadline looms to remove roadside political signs

November 12, 2012

NEW — 10 a.m. Nov. 12, 2012

Election Day is done, but political signs continue to linger along roadsides and in yards.

The state Department of Transportation reminds landowners to remove the signs from private property along state highways.

State law allows political signs on property visible from state highways, but the signs must come down 10 days after the general election, and the 10-day period ends Friday.

Otherwise, failure to remove the political signs after being notified by the Department of Transportation can result in a misdemeanor.

Pat O’Leary, Department of Transportation highway advertising program manager, said illegal signs do not pop up often and landowners often do a good job on removal after Election Day.

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Candidates’ signs raise stakes, then linger as litter

November 6, 2012

A cluster of political signs on the road shoulder vie for motorists’ attention Nov. 1 at the corner of Northwest Gilman Boulevard and state Route 900. By Greg Farrar

The emerald strip in the center of Northwest Gilman Boulevard is prime real estate for political signs, a landscaped median exposed to thousands of vehicles each day.

Unfortunately for candidates, city code prohibits campaign operatives from turning the median — and others around Issaquah — into a politician’s paradise in the run-up to Election Day.

Some passers-by regard political signs as litter, just another piece of detritus from a long and acrimonious campaign season. Others see the placards as grassroots organizing at the actual grassroots, a First Amendment affirmation.

Michele Forkner, code compliance officer for the city, treats the signs as a necessary but messy task.

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State allows studded tires as winter approaches

October 30, 2012

The change in seasons means motorists can again use studded tires.

In Washington, studded tires can be legally used between Nov. 1 and March 31. Violators face a $124 penalty during other months. The abrasion on roads caused by studded tires wears down pavement at a much greater rate.

The state Department of Transportation recommends motorists headed into higher elevations carry chains and use approved traction tires year round.

In addition to studded tires, the Washington State Patrol reminds all drivers and freight haulers to carry sufficient chains between Nov. 1 and April 1.

Under state law, commercial vehicles and combinations of vehicles more than 10,000 pounds gross vehicle weight rating must carry sufficient tire chains.

Issaquah motorist is injured in Interstate 90 crash

October 23, 2012

Police said a 45-year-old Issaquah woman sustained minor injuries in a major crash Oct. 19 along Interstate 90 near the Interstate 405 interchange.

Washington State Patrol investigators said a 57-year-old Renton woman speeding in a Mazda caused the accident on westbound I-90 in Bellevue.

The state patrol said she crashed into the back of a Toyota at about 5:30 p.m., sending the Toyota into the adjacent lane, where a pickup truck driven by the Issaquah woman struck the vehicle.

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Department of Transportation hosts local meeting on Snoqualmie Pass project

October 22, 2012

NEW — 6 a.m. Oct. 22, 2012

The state Department of Transportation is at work on a major project to improve safety and meet traffic demands on the east side of Snoqualmie Pass, and local residents can comment on the project.

The project is on a 15-mile stretch between Hyak and Easton in Kittitas County. Improvements to the corridor include building a six-lane highway, stabilizing rock slopes, building wildlife crossings, reducing sharp curves and adding chain-up areas.

The 45-day public comment period for the draft environmental review on avalanche structures proposed for the project runs through Nov. 19.

The agency plans to hold a public meeting for residents to ask questions and discuss the project from 4-7 p.m. Tuesday at the Lewis Creek Visitor Center, 5808 Lakemont Blvd. S.E., Bellevue, near Cougar Ridge Elementary School.

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For bridge toll violators, penalty is vehicle registration hold

October 2, 2012

The state Department of Licensing placed holds on registration renewals for about 7,900 vehicles after owners ignored notices for unpaid bridge tolls.

Violators should start to receive notices about unpaid tolls and registration holds in the days ahead. Department of Licensing officials said violators cannot renew registrations until they pay all tolls, accrued fees and penalties.

The holds affect toll violators on the state Route 520 and Tacoma Narrows bridges.

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Driver dies in fiery tractor-trailer crash on Tiger Mountain

September 21, 2012

NEW — 9:45 a.m. Sept. 21, 2012

Westbound state Route 18 near Issaquah closed to traffic for more than 90 minutes early Friday after a fiery crash on Tiger Mountain left a tractor-trailer driver dead.

The vehicle, a FedEx rig hauling a pair of trailers, veered off the roadway just after 6 a.m. The truck struck a tree and then burst into flames along the westbound lanes. Flames engulfed the cab and spread to surrounding brush and trees.

The driver died in the incident, although investigators could not determine if he fell asleep or suffered a medical problem before the accident occurred. The driver’s name, age and city of residence have not yet been released.

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For bridge toll violators, penalty is vehicle registration hold

September 18, 2012

NEW — 10 a.m. Sept. 18, 2012

The state Department of Licensing placed holds on registration renewals for about 7,900 vehicles, after owners ignored notices for unpaid bridge tolls.

Violators should start to receive notices about unpaid tolls and registration holds in the days ahead. Department of Licensing officials said violators cannot renew registrations until they pay all tolls, accrued fees and penalties.

The holds affect toll violators on the state Route 520 and Tacoma Narrows bridges.

Owners with registrations set expire in December should receive the initial renewal notices from the Department of Licensing with holds resulting from unpaid civil penalties.

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Traffic congestion ensnares Issaquah commuters

September 11, 2012

Commuters experienced a mixed bag last year, as traffic congestion snagged motorists along Interstate 90.

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Help count cyclists, pedestrians in Issaquah soon

September 11, 2012

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. 25-27. Participants can 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’s 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.

“Volunteers are key to the success of this project,” Ian Macek, Department of Transportation bicycle and pedestrian coordinator, said in a statement.

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