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City Renton ,WA ,USA
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City Renton ,WA ,USA

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Group advises 3+/2+ hybrid option for future i-405 HOT lanes
After their final meeting on the matter, the Interstate 405 Executive Advisory Group is recommending an option that would keep I405’s planned HOT lanes open for two-person carpools during off-peak hours, but would switch to three-plus during busy times.
The group’s recommendations will help determine the future of the 40-mile long express toll lane system, encompassing I-405 express toll lanes and state Route 167 HOT lanes.
An HOT lane is a multiple-occupancy lane that is open to single-car drivers for a price, like the lanes on SR167.
The Washington State Department of Transportation has plans to install at least one of the lanes on I-405, but the state law states that HOT lanes must be designed to maintain a minimum speed of 45 mph 90 percent of the time and that tolls must pay for their operation.
Because of that, discussions over how to deal with the lanes have gotten complicated, with several advisory members, including Renton representative and City Council President Randy Corman, worried that the public will simply not accept a plan that changes the rules for HOT lanes to three-plus from the current two-plus option.
But WSDOT officials have concluded that a two-plus option is not viable because too many people would use the lane, making the speed requirement nearly impossible to meet, as well as not generate enough revenue.
According to Renton Public Works Administrator Gregg Zimmerman, the Nov. 7 meeting was “amiable,” and despite reaching a consensus, Zimmerman said all involved had an understanding that “not everyone is going to agree on every detail.”
In a presentation before the City Council on Nov. 4, Zimmerman detailed some of the city’s concerns, including that Renton city streets get a lot of use from people looking to avoid traffic on the highway, or that the I-405/state Route 167 connector project be funded at the front end of the phase two project to ensure traffic can continue to flow when the new lanes are added to the existing highway.
During the meeting, Corman also said he was concerned that a mandatory transponder would be necessary to use the HOT lanes, stopping the possibility of a spontaneous carpool from using the lanes.
Combined with what he sees as a potential loss to the public who are used to carpool lanes being two-plus, he said he had some concerns.
“It seemed like with a lot of the proposals, the incentive for carpool fades away,” he said.
In the end, Zimmerman said the advisory group went for a hybrid option, making the lanes three-plus during peak usage hours, but keeping them two-plus at other times.
Zimmerman also said funding recommendations were discussed. As of now, the state legislature has not passed a transportation funding package for this project and others.
Zimmerman said there were three options for funding being discussed. At the top level was a $1.1 billion package that would fully fund the entire 40-mile system without tools being needed to supplement the funding. In that case, tolls that are collected could be put to future improvements.
The next level of funding is a more traditional $960 million package that would require $215 million in tolling to complete the project.
Finally, the group discussed a $675 million option that would need $500 million to be collected from tolls.
Zimmerman said there was little support for the bottom option.
“It seemed to be pretty much between the high and the middle funding options,” he said of the discussions, adding that no consensus was reached on funding options.
The next step in the process is for the Washington State Transportation Commission to begin the rate-setting process, including tolls and exemptions, a meeting that will take place Nov. 20 in Kirkland.
After that, WSDOT will deliver a final report on funding and phasing to the legislature and governor by the end of the year.
The new lanes are expected to be opened by 2015.

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State police out looking for texters behind the wheel this week

August 5, 2013 · 1:47 PM

The Washington State Patrol and local law enforcement agencies will have extra patrols from August 5-23, 2013 targeting distracted drivers, connected to the use of cellular phones or texting while driving in King County.
"Distracted driving is quickly becoming one of the main reasons for collisions on our roadways, please help us by keeping our roadways safer by staying alert while driving,” comments Lt. Michael Rupert of the Washington State Patrol.
“Just like drunk driving, distracted driving is illegal and threatens the safety of other drivers, pedestrians and cyclists,” stated Dr. Beth Ebel, of Harborview Medical Center.  “We see the consequences from the distraction too often in the trauma center.”
Research by the Washington Traffic Safety Commission (WTSC) showed that from 2009-2012, distracted driver-involved collisions accounted for 20 percent of all traffic deaths in King County.  A study by the University of Utah confirmed that subjects who text while driving are six times more likely to be involved in a collision than a drunk driver.
Distracted driving goes beyond just cellular phone use or texting; reading, eating and adjusting music are other factors that can affect a driver’s ability to operate a vehicle in a safe manner.
In Washington State, drivers are prohibited from texting or talking on their cellular phones without the use of a hands-free device.  The fine for this violation is $124 but could be increased in the case of a traffic collision.  Teens with intermediate driver licenses or learner permits may not use a wireless device at all while driving, including hands free devices, unless they’re reporting an emergency.
This special patrol is funded by grants from the King County Emergency Medical Services and WTSC with the coordination of the King County Target Zero Task Force.
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City Renton ,WA ,USA

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We asked the Port of Vancouver Commissioners to reject the proposal from oil giants Tesoro and Savage to build a massive oil export facility in Vancouver, WA. My mom and nine-year-old daughter hand-delivered your signatures — more than 14,000! — to the commissioners last week at the official hearing.

More than 90 people came to the hearing to oppose the project, including local Climate Parents members and their families. Unfortunately, the Port of Vancouver Commission sided with oil companies over our families and voted to approve the proposal.

Now, Tesoro and Savage must apply to Washington State for approval on their dangerous project. Washington’s governor, Jay Inslee, a long-standing champion of building a clean energy economy, will be the final decision-maker on the oil export terminal. Can you send him a message now asking him to oppose this project?

As a parent, I know how important it is to stand up for the safety of my family. I live in Vancouver, WA, and it’s where I’m raising my daughter. Tesoro and Savage’s proposed facility would ship as many as 360,000 barrels of crude oil every day along the Columbia River — that’s half the volume of the Keystone XL pipeline. This project would incentivize additional oil extraction across America at a time when our country is being racked by climate change-fueled heat waves, floods and drought.

Last week, Gov. Inslee told local press there are legitimate questions surrounding the safety of the proposal and said the public needs to be protected. He has a strong record of supporting clean energy solutions, but the pressure to approve this project from oil companies will be immense. That’s why we need to take action now. If Gov. Inslee is really committed to a clean energy economy, he must reject this proposal.

I will keep working to stop this oil facility. I hope you’ll continue to work with me. By signing my petition with Climate Parents, you’ll be part of a growing movement of families demanding solutions to climate change. And, Climate Parents will keep you updated about this and other issues where we can make a difference for our kids and communities.

Please, tell Gov. Jay Inslee to oppose this massive project and look toward kid safe, climate safe energy solutions:

Thank you for your support, 
Caleb Connolly 
Climate Parents membe
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