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Street Smarts
June 1  |  By Melissa Slager Herald Writer
It's not a Lexus lane — not literally, anyway.

Express toll lanes are replacing the high-occupancy vehicle lanes on I-405 between Lynnwood and Bellevue this fall. They join similar toll lanes on Highway 167 south of Renton — and on roadways across the country.

Since the 1990s, critics of toll lanes have called them "Lexus lanes," a perk for the rich. The dig is that only the well-off can...

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May 28  |  By Melissa Slager Herald writer
More 'Double Tall' buses coming to Community Transit routes Community Transit is nearly doubling its fleet of double-decker buses in one $22.2 million swoop. The high-capacity buses could be in service by the end of summer, in time for the heavy fall commuting season.

Community Transit has one new "Double Tall" in hand and expects delivery of 21 more within a month. The delivery will bring its double-decker fleet to 45. All 23 of Community Transit's current...

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May 28  |  By Melissa Slager Herald writer
You could make a basket there’s so much weaving.The place on I-5 where both the westbound U.S. 2 and Everett Avenue on-ramp converge shortly before the exit to Marine View Drive is a source of frustration for drivers like John Cloakey of Lake Stevens.Cloakey suggests the state eliminate the solid white line to merge from the trestle, which bumps up pretty close to the exit for Marine View Drive. “This creates a chokepoint,” he argued, not to mention traffic jams.

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May 27  |  By Melissa Slager Herald writer
Retired bus driver Pamela Compton of Everett wonders why the on- and off-ramps from I-5 to the South Everett Freeway Station Park and Ride are for carpools only. She feels it would make more sense if all vehicles that are taking the ramp in order to use the Park and Ride lot — including a single-occupant driver joining or just leaving a carpool — could use the ramps "rather than having to worry about Eastmont or going to 128th Street. It seems it would alleviate...

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May 26  |  By Melissa Slager Herald writer
Several readers have wondered about that new traffic signal on 20th Street SE at Cavelero Road in Lake Stevens, on a steep incline just east of the trestle.

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May 25  |  By Melissa Slager Herald writer
Cruising Claremont is illegal, but who notices? Somehow I don't think Dr. Dre was on the radio.

Herald copy editor Bill Pedigo recently took his 90-year-old mother on a slow-mo joyride down Claremont Way in Everett in his economical hybrid Prius. They were testing the law by breaking it (in sunglasses, so you know they meant business). Their crime? They cruised Claremont, even though there are signs that explicitly forbid the practice.

I'm told by the authorities that the pair will escape the $1,000 fine...

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May 20  |  Herald staff
The intersection of 230th Street SW and 58th Avenue West in Mountlake Terrace has been converted from a 2-way stop to an all-way stop. Two stop signs, two “Stop Ahead” signs, and four “Traffic Revision Ahead” signs were added to the intersection.

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May 19  |  By Melissa Slager Herald writer
Are you planning on getting away this holiday weekend? Prepare for company.Nationally, travel for the Memorial Day weekend is expected to be high this year, leaping 4.7 percent over last year — the highest volume since 2005 and the biggest one-year forecasted jump since 2012, according to AAA Travel. The trade group includes Thursday in that equation. The long weekend typically marks the start of the summer travel season.

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May 18  |  By Melissa Slager Herald writer
Commuters who stand in the aisle of a Community Transit bus for as long as 80 minutes to get to their jobs in Seattle are proof enough that buses are not immune to the region's traffic woes.

Travel times in the high-occupancy vehicle lanes on I-5 between Everett and Seattle have gone up 20 minutes in the past year. Buses rely on those lanes as much as carpoolers. In 2014,

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May 17  |  Herald staff
The Washington State Department of Transportation recently released an animated video about the new I-405 express toll lanes that are slated to open this fall from Lynnwood to Bellevue. Part infomercial, part primer — and all Muzak.

Have a question? Email us at streetsmarts@heraldnet.com. Please include your...

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May 7  |  By Melissa Slager Herald writer
Like many of us, Lyle Rice of Mukilteo has noticed the new tolling equipment going up on I-405 in preparation for the switch from carpool lanes to high-occupancy toll lanes.But the placement of equipment over the far side of I-405 south of the interchange with Highway 522 caused him a bit of concern, and perhaps some others as well.

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May 6  |  By Melissa Slager Herald writer
We recently told you about state plans to improve a pedestrian crossing on 164th Street at I-5, which will take away direct carpool access to the on-ramps.

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May 5  |  Herald staff
Snohomish County Public Works is making it easier for people to find more information on road projects:Website: snocoROAD.orgPhone: 425-388-ROAD (7623)Email: ROAD@snoco.org

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May 4  |  Herald staff
Those of you who live or drive the back roads of Everett, Snohomish and Monroe, be prepared for the return of a Mother’s Day weekend bicycle event slated for 8 a.m.-3 p.m. May 9.

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April 29  |  By Melissa Slager Herald writer
Sometimes all you have to do is ask.

Andreas Tsircou lives in the neighborhood of 112th Street SE and Seventh Avenue SE in Everett. "I have been dealing with an inconvenience with that intersection," Tsircou wrote.

There is no right-turn arrow on the traffic signal for drivers on westbound 112th...

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April 28  |  By Melissa Slager Herald writer
Driving a friend to the airport.

Packing the kiddos in the car seats and heading to visit Grandma on the Eastside.

A van full of students coming over the Cascades for a local high school soccer match.

There are tolls coming to I-405 this fall, but not all of us who use the interstate are day-in, day-out commuters.

What do the changes mean for infrequent users like us?

The short answer: If you think you might use the express toll...

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April 26  |  By Melissa Slager Herald writer
Bridge work on I-5 will require weekend closures Summer construction season is coming, and there are some updates on one of the key projects coming to Snohomish County.

Washington State Department of Transportation crews will replace 41 aging expansion joints on the I-5 Ebey Slough, Union Slough and...

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April 21  |  Herald staff
Karen Bell of Arlington writes: “I like the new roundabout at 84th and Highway 9, but I have seen many of the vehicles traveling much faster than 15 mph, especially those headed north/south on Highway 9. They may slow down to 30. Is the speed limit 15 in roundabouts? Why is that fact only signaled by a tiny, easily overlooked sign at least a...

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April 20  |  By Melissa Slager Herald writer
If you live in Lake Stevens, you probably won’t be surprised to find the city on a financial group’s Top 10 Worst Commutes in the region.Lake Stevens was No. 8 on the NerdWallet list, which primarily looked at commute times, but also factored in gas prices, insurance premiums, and the numbers of commuters who drive alone and who take transit.

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April 19  |  By Melissa Slager Herald writer
An amendment from state Rep. Mark Harmsworth, R-Mill Creek, that would have delayed a recent rule change on I-405 carpools has hit a dead end.

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April 17  |  By Melissa Slager Herald writer
In answering a reader’s question, Washington State Department of Transportation spokesman Tom Pearce shared how the state arrives at its speed limits. It’s interesting enough to share here, too:

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April 16  |  By Melissa Slager Herald writer
Liz Carrington of Mill Creek dreads the signal at Highway 9 and Lowell-Larimer Road (Broadway Avenue) in Snohomish.

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April 15  |  Herald staff
Shortly after the summer ferry schedule was released yesterday, the reservation system stopped working. Washington State Ferries can’t take summer reservations online or by phone until it sorts out the technical glitch.



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April 10  |  By Melissa Slager Herald writer
Changes are coming to a pedestrian crossing on busy 164th Street at I-5 in Lynnwood.The Washington State Department of Transportation plans to enlarge a traffic island there, reducing the number of lanes that feed the I-5 on-ramp from two to one.Currently, the far-right lane goes directly onto the on-ramp. The second lane, for high-occupancy vehicles, allows cars to travel straight on 164th Street or turn right for the on-ramp.

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April 9  |  By Melissa Slager Herald writer
Contractor crews working for the Washington State Department of Transportation will begin work the week of April 13 to improve traffic flow through Highway 99 and Airport Road in Everett, where more than 35,000 vehicles pass through on an average day.

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April 7  |  
Ferry users should plan for two weeks of reduced capacity on the Edmonds-Kingston route.

Through April 19, plan for 44 fewer vehicle spaces on approximately half of all sailings on the Edmonds-Kingston route. The temporary downsizing is needed while the 188-car Walla Walla normally assigned to this route is out of service for scheduled maintenance. During this time one Jumbo Class ferry, the Spokane, and one Super Class ferry, the Hyak, will serve the route. Customers are...

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April 6  |  By Melissa Slager Herald writer
Your bumper sticker reveals you An insurance company poll claims Northwest drivers are particularly in love with bumper stickers, with 1 in 4 of us using our vehicle as our own personal pep rally (or soapbox, as the case may be).Driving around Snohomish County, you will see a lot of 12th Fan shout-outs.Others like to cheer their college alma maters, or the colleges they’re now sending checks to for their kids.Certainly there are plenty of political rants to go around.

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April 2  |  By Melissa Slager Herald writer
Work is underway in Lynnwood to close the gap on 204th Street SW, providing another direct route to Edmonds Community College by the time fall classes start up.

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April 1  |  
The transit agencies that participate in the ORCA smart card fare system — including Community Transit, Everett Transit and Sound Transit — are propose a new Regional Day Pass program, geared primarily at tourists. Public input is requested.

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March 31  |  By Melissa Slager Herald writer
My colleague Bill Pedigo commutes on I-5 from Stanwood to Everett and was curious about differences in two middle lanes that were re-paved with different results.

The northbound section is from the Smokey Point rest area to the Island Crossing exit. The southbound section starts near the 116th Street NE overpass and ends just before 88th Street NE.

"On my way to work, I move to that southbound lane. It's as smooth as a new baby's butt, and the road noise...

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