August 14, 2006
Transportation Round-up

KOMO: "Anti-Tailgating Strategy Backfires On Interstate 5"

Seattle Times: "Digging up the past under the Alaskan Way Viaduct" (hint: guess what would happen if they were to find any artifacts halfway through digging a tunnel)

Posted by Stefan Sharkansky at August 14, 2006 03:15 PM | Email This
1. The Olympian has an update on the "Dots." They are getting rid of them down here, but I think it said they are going to try them somewhere else. Look out!

Posted by: sgmmac on August 14, 2006 03:12 PM
2. Dumb idea. Following distance is not fixed. It increases with speed. Putting two rows of Bot's Dots on the road for following distance is a fixed distance.

Put one line of dots (not two), inform motorists that they should be crossing that line 2 seconds after the car in front. I prefer 4 sec, but that is from driving big rigs. At 4 seconds I seldom have to do any hard braking.

Anyone who has taken a driving accident prevention course or advanced driving course would know that.

But not Transportation Engineers in WA.

Posted by: JCM on August 14, 2006 03:21 PM
3. I drove through these last thursday before the signs were uncovered. They literally made it hard to see! It is like they distort you vision because they are so large and white, especially against the grey pavement.

I slowed down automatically because it hampered my vision, as did other drivers. The area is known for accidents, and I am sure the "idea" was well intentioned, but not thought out, or even tested..... But hey it is just our TAX DOLLARS.

Posted by: chris on August 14, 2006 03:27 PM
4. Why couldn't we wait until Maryland, Minnesota and Pennsylvania finished their "dot" study? Because, in spite of always crying poor, D.O.T. is awash in $$. These are the kinds of stupid things that are done when spending has no constraints.

Beyond the overall worthlessness of the project, how about the visual blight?

The concept of being at least two seconds behind another vehicle when going 60 mph was big in the sixties when stopping distances were considerably longer than they are now and there was no ABS. This thinking is outdated to automotive technology.

It isn't that cars aren't far enough apart, it's people who generally drive poorly particularly not paying attention and jabbering on cells while they drive. And if the state didn't hand out licenses like candy on Halloween, we'd be more than halfway toward solving the problem. Assuming, of course that tailgating is a problem that requires huge dots on the road.

Posted by: G Jiggy on August 14, 2006 03:32 PM
5. Is this our gas tax at work?

Why don't we raise the gas tax another 25 cents per gallon so they can try out some rainfall catching robots to monitor water quality in the rainfall next to the freeway?

Of course the stingy misers in the GOP will be against such a technological marvel of the future.

Posted by: Andy on August 14, 2006 03:49 PM
6. If you drive the same area on I-5 up the Nisqually hill on the sides of the Interstate you will see newly installed long round hay barriers. They are there to divert stormwater rushing towards the Nisqually river. Of course, they didn't take a sample of the water at the startup of the project to see if they actually make a difference.......

They will claim improvement later.

Posted by: sgmmac on August 14, 2006 03:54 PM
7. JCM- Wow, personal accountability for your own stopping distance. You know that doesn't fly in the nanny state.

I'm sure JCM will agree with me, it's not so much tailgaters as it is people that see a couple car lengths in front of you and cut in. Then you have to slow slightly so that you give yourself enough stopping distance.

I drive a BMW and new Pathfinder. Each requires there own amount of stopping distance and driving style as per their specific designs.

I'm no old lady driver and have had my share of tickets (speeding where it was safe to do so) but people need to concentrate on their driving. If you have the skills to chat on the cell while driving safely - go ahead, if you can't, get off the damn phone, etc.

If you've ever taken high performance driving classes, you'll know just how safe and focused these skillful trainers are and they do their best to pass along to their students.

Posted by: Jeffro on August 14, 2006 03:58 PM
8. Why wasn't there a lot of press when they released the results of the retrofit cost. Substantially cheaper, the retrofit would stand up to the big one but the foundation may be damaged. That sound reasonable to me. How often does the big one hit?

That has got to be the preferred option. Or does it?

Posted by: swatter on August 14, 2006 04:05 PM
9. These archaeologists find one old chicken bone discarded by some hameless guy 40 years ago, DNA test it and find Native American DNA and you can kiss the whole damn highway goodbye. No retrofit, no rebuild, no tunnel. They'll give the entire waterfront to the Indians and it will be turned into a giant casino.

Such a proud heritage!

Posted by: Jeffro on August 14, 2006 04:11 PM
10. About the DOTS. That story is funny. It figures that this would happen around the LAcey/Olympia area. I mean without specific instructions how are the liberals to know that they can actually close the distance at slower speeds?

Posted by: TrueSoldier on August 14, 2006 04:40 PM
11. Stefan--
Good point about possible "artifacts" under the Alaska Way Viaduct.
The Hood Canal Graving Yard debacle in Pt. Angeles cost taxpayers $87 million PLUS an additional $17.5 setlement negotiated by Mrs. Gregoire with the City of Pt. Angeles, Port of Pt. Angeles and Lower Elwha Tribe PLUS other concessions in "gift that keeps on giving"!!!
Over $100 million of wasted gas tax dollars!!!
I've got an idea....let's give the WSDOT MORE TAX DOLLARS to reward them for their mistakes!!
OOOOOOPS, we did. Forgot about that Gas Tax Increase for a moment.

Posted by: Mr. Cynical on August 14, 2006 04:44 PM
12. When I was in Junior High back in California I remeber on the way home seeing some road construction and they found some skeletal remains and other artifacts from an Indian Burial ground while laying some new piping. They did have to shut down for some time, but once all the artifacts and remains where exhumed they were able to continue on. I mean this is Northern California, the Bay Area and yet they still had enough common sense to carefully exhume the site but then continue building after words.

Posted by: TrueSoldier on August 14, 2006 05:00 PM
13. Actually there's an easier solution to prevent tailgating:

After moving here about 7 years ago, I quickly realized that Washington drivers seem to believing that they have some type of "right" to drive in any lane regardless of speed...nevermind that State law says "Keep right except to pass".

If you really want to crack down on tailgating, go after the slow pokes that drive 60 MPH in the fast lane and don't move over when another car comes up behind them at 70 MPH, and teach new drivers to yield to faster traffic.

While your intention maybe to to keep traffic slow, the result is that you contribute to road rage, and cause accidents as people attempt to weave across lanes to get around you.

So, once again, if you don't want to be tail-gated, just remember: KEEP RIGHT EXCEPT TO PASS!

Thank you!

Posted by: Darth Dogbert on August 14, 2006 05:12 PM
14. you know as well as I that they will inevitably find "artifacts" in the dig--or any dig for that matter;

now--everyone is lawyering-up and getting obscure 'experts' on every conceivable ethnic group; EXCEPT, whites, Chinese, Blacks and any other 'non-essential" ethnic group bones found in the northwest; for them, it's a quick "respectable re-burial" but--for natives, it's a whole frikkin feeding legal trough of payments and delays;

why? are one man's bones equal in the dust (excuse me--"holy ground")as another's or are some bones MORE SPECIAL (discrimination) than other bones? isn't the whole world, in theory, 'holy ground?" i think so...

Posted by: Jimmie-howya-doin on August 14, 2006 05:21 PM
15. The signs were still up yesterday and the back-up was from the State Capitol on ramp all the way through to the Madigan Hospital exit, what should have been a half an hour took an hour and a half!

The Queen and her court are all fools with our money!

Posted by: SP Fan on August 14, 2006 05:48 PM
16. the ones that get me are the ones in the left lane with a quarter mile of gap in front of them (in heavy traffic, and not doing the speed limit, either).

This story is awesome. Clearly we have some EXTREMELY incompetent people making crap up as they go.

State Transportation Dept I can understand (we all know how stupid they are), but WSP as well? Tell me they didn't actually think this one up - its one of the stupidest things I've ever heard of.

Posted by: thecomputerguy on August 14, 2006 07:01 PM
17. Do you actually think that the Seattle politicians would "stoop" to using common sense and throw out the idea of building a tunnel in place of the viaduct, just because a few artifacts might be present ?

If that happens, the agencies will have to pay through the nose - no doubt about it. Which leads me to the next question - do you think anyone would be accountable for such a blunder ? No way...
The only way to stem this pending disaster waiting to happen is by Public outcry !

Posted by: KS on August 14, 2006 07:35 PM
18. This is not all that uncommon in the transportation field in this area. Tacoma, for example, uses bits and pieces of various "traffic calming" measures and in doing so have set up situations whereby traffic is now dirrected through a formerly 90 degree intersection at an angle to the physical lay out of the intersection. This is not only contrary to accepted engineering practice, it is plain stupid and dangerous.

Posted by: JDH on August 14, 2006 08:51 PM
19. The dot thing would be funny if it weren't so dumb. Those dots are enormous. Isn't it obvious that they would be distracting? As for people following the instructions too literally, either our engineers failed to learn from other states' experience or WA drivers are just too cautious.

But Chris, who says the idea was "untested" -- this was a test. And Jeffro, sorry, I don't want to rely entirely on "personal accountability" on the highways -- I want the government to require driver licensing and enforce the laws. If someone kills me in an accident, it doesn't help me to hold them accountable.

Posted by: Bruce on August 14, 2006 10:10 PM
20. My neighbor on Camano Waterfront, had to hire an Archeologist full time just to watch them dig a new bulkhead one foot wide by 90 feet long from his existing bulkhead. $2000 dollars later (to this Archeologist) his bulkhead was completed.

I cannot imagine the cost overruns of this massive waterfront dig, with all the people waiting in line to sift every single artifact out of this dig.

I hope mayor's Nickle's Nickel's are in place to cover the massive overrun costs of this dig, based on the artifact hunt that will be going on in every inch of the earth he uncovers.

4 billion, he says, and if this the final cost of this I will glagly eat these words!

My guess is 10 billion + after the dig is complete, through gravegard after graveyard of early Seattle remnants.

Can you say Ding Ding Ding Ding Ding

We will watch this mayor self destruct over this boondoggle....Mark my words!

Posted by: GS on August 15, 2006 12:15 AM
21. With Hezbollah partying in Beruit, Iranians dancing in the streets, Olmert about to lose his job, the Iraq government making anti-Jew comments and calling terrorist "national heros" for killing Americans, more than 1,200 Britions under investigation for supporting terror, Gaza starting to heat up again, Syria moving to the border of Israel, the fascist winning in Somalia, Iran getting the Nuc'clur bomb. -- we are talking about bumps on the road and indian bones, which is the winning ticket in November.

Posted by: John McDonald on August 15, 2006 06:34 AM
22. "But Chris, who says the idea was "untested" -- this was a test. And Jeffro, sorry, I don't want to rely entirely on "personal accountability" on the highways -- I want the government to require driver licensing and enforce the laws. If someone kills me in an accident, it doesn't help me to hold them accountable.

Posted by Bruce at August 14, 2006 10:10 PM"

Bruce, sounds like you need a nanny!!!

The goverment does require licensing, and the WSP does enforce the laws.

The goverement also Requires all drivers to carry insurance to protect your nanny "arse".

If I am not mistaken, The Dot's were also being used in the Marysville area.

Posted by: Chris on August 15, 2006 06:46 AM
23. Democrats are trumpeting Hezbollah partying in Beruit, Iranians dancing in the streets, Olmert about to lose his job, the Iraq government making anti-Jew comments and calling terrorist "national heros" for killing Americans, more than 1,200 Britions under investigation for supporting terror, Gaza starting to heat up again, Syria moving to the border of Israel, the fascist winning in Somalia, Iran getting the Nuc'clur bomb. -- we are talking about bumps on the road and indian bones, which is the winning ticket in November.

Posted by: Jeff B. on August 15, 2006 06:48 AM
24. As well the Democrats should ... now let's get back to talking about the far more interesting hypotheticals, so tell this Haida Redskin more about those Indian bones and what might possibly happen if someone might possibly find some.

Posted by: John McDonald on August 15, 2006 07:08 AM
25. I think the big dots should be painted different colors.

Posted by: danno on August 15, 2006 07:17 AM
26. Bruce-

I think Chris hit the nail on the head. I wouldn't mind if driver's licenses were harder to come by. I also wouldn't mind if more licenses were suspended for DUIs, reckless driving, excessive tickets, etc.

As far as trying to control peoples driving habits with dumb a$$ programs - enough already! Driving is NOT a right and drivers must be accountable for their driving habits, good or bad.

Posted by: Jeffro on August 15, 2006 07:53 AM

Eminent domain wasn't intended to burn bridges - Sound Transit destroys businesses

Posted by: JDH on August 15, 2006 07:53 AM
28. Just the sort of leftist whackjobbery we've come to expect in this state. The simple lack of common sense and vision by our esteemed officials couldn't be more clearly displayed in this exhibition of lunacy.

Mrs. Paine and I were just coming back from Oregon last weekend when we hit this colossal traffic jam just north of Queen Christine's house. No accidents, what the hell - and then we came across these giant bizarre white goose eggs painted in the middle of the freeway lanes!!

Hey liberals, take some physics classes (and economics, history, etc.). A safe following distance depends upon your SPEED. Say WaTF..

Posted by: Jefferson Paine on August 15, 2006 09:01 AM
29. Here in lies the rub- If the cars on the highway are 80 feet apart, moving or not, it cannot be considered a traffic jam. Really, all that space between cars. We don't have to build more capacity, we're not even filling the highway lanes we have.

Posted by: Jeffro on August 15, 2006 09:41 AM
30. Jeffro:

The dots are 80(90?) feet apart - but the drivers are instructed to keep at least 2 dots seperating them. The considered "safe" following distance at 60mph is 176 feet - which roughly corresponds to "2 dots" distance. The amount of space varies depending on the speed (one of the apparently "unforseen" problems with the stupid dots - or should I say STUPID DOT?)

The "safe" following distance assumes that as soon as you notice the vehicle in front of you stopping quickly, that you apply the brakes. The "Average" driver will take somewhere near 1 full second to notice the car in front of him stopping and begin braking (perception + reaction times)... during this time, he travels 88 feet (going 60mph for the whole second). After that, the remaining 88 feet are a sort of safety buffer... if the driver in front is more proficient on his brakes, or if he collides with another car (which would cause him to stop faster than using his brakes alone), etc.

The only way that 80 feet (or less) could be considered a safe following distance at 60mph would be if there was an automated system used to activate the brakes on a car. I remember seeing a show on the discovery channel where they have cars safely driving a few feet away from each other in testing... We're probably 10 years away from this technology becoming available, with probably another decade added in before its commonplace.

Posted by: thecomputerguy on August 15, 2006 11:48 AM
31. Chris, you totally missed my point. The idea of the dots is to help people to enforce the law, which says you must maintain a safe following distance. The idea may be flawed, but are you really saying the DOT should drop the hundreds of things it does to help people drive more safely?

Posted by: Bruce on August 15, 2006 12:06 PM
32. Typo -- above post should read "help people to follow the law"

Posted by: Bruce on August 15, 2006 12:07 PM
33. "...but are you really saying the DOT should drop the hundreds of things it does to help people drive more safely?"

No, just the pointless, stupid ones...

Posted by: alphabet soup on August 15, 2006 12:17 PM
34. thecomputerguy-

My whole point was tongue in cheek. If they seriously want less tailgating, add lane capacity, semi trucks in right lanes only, left lane used primarily for passing, enforce the laws.

I also argue that tailgating and rear end collisions aren't as big a problem as the DOT is making it out to be. I've been driving for 30 years and have only experienced two minor, virtually no damage, rearenders. They were both in city and were folks behind me jumping the gun while I was waiting for the person in front of me to turn.

With the slow movement of our congested highways, I rarely need 160 feet, heck, most of the time 30 feet is plenty.

Hey DOT, less stupid dots and more lanes!

Posted by: Jeffro on August 15, 2006 12:21 PM
35. Anyone have enough sense to CONNECT those dots?

Posted by: ReVOTERguy on August 15, 2006 12:44 PM
36. Bruce @ 31

I have know Idea what you are talking about!!!

Clue me in please :)

Posted by: Chris on August 15, 2006 12:59 PM
37. thecomputerguy-

Many high end cars already have proximity warning braking systems and one of the soon-to-be-released upper end Mercedes will actually have a system that will engage the brakes to about 50% when the car in front of it slows, etc.

I'm sure it will be a while before we see a lot of cars with these options, but I'm sure sooner than we think.

Nothing like the free market to solve an issue that the nanny state fails miserably at.

Posted by: Jeffro on August 15, 2006 01:02 PM
PORT ANGELES - Washington state will pay more than $17 million to tribal and local officials to settle lingering disputes over the state's accidental disturbance of an ancient American Indian village and burial ground.

Chris - the gift that keeps giving

How many millions of our dollars has the State of Washington had to give away to settle lawsuits in the last few years? In how many of those instances has Chris been in charge/involved?

Posted by: SouthernRoots on August 15, 2006 01:16 PM
39. According to the report entitled "Introducing the Hood Canal Bridge rehabilitation Project and the Port Angeles Graving Dock Program" A March 31, 2005 Presentation to the Transporation Performance Audit Board by Douglas B. MacDonald on Page 20 of 31 SOMEBODY (the Governess) owes the citizens of the State of Washington about 14 Million Dollars. From the Report

WSDOT- Tribe Mitigation Settlement Agreement and Legal Release.

Lump sum mitigation payment of 3.4 Million to cover cost of purchase of reburial property, costs of temporary and permanent curation of artifacts, costs of tribal staff, legal and archaeological consultants and staff, and costs of appropriate ceremonies.

Tribe releases the State of Washington from future liability or litigation.

Tribe and WSDOT reaffirm "Walk Together" Approach to future activities at the site.

It would appear if this agreement was in place that the Governor will be expecting a HUGE campaign donation for the '08 governors race.

Posted by: Smokie on August 16, 2006 05:30 PM
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