Days ago, I had a hard time putting up Donanza Project Board on my blogger account. When I signed up, I was given my own Donanza Project Board URL. The picture below shows the page when a visitor click my Donanza URL which is http://bhingaprojects.donanza.com/.
by guest blogger Victoria Tobin
It’s been nearly a month since we began tolling the SR 520 bridge. And every day since then we’ve kept a keen eye on traffic patterns. Not just on SR 520 and I-90, but the entire region – I-5, I-405, and even that Mercer Weave across the Ship Canal Bridge. We’re watching it all. The common denominator is, it’s all changing nearly every day.
This is the biggest traffic change we’ve had in Puget Sound in decades. Drivers are still figuring it out. While it’s too early to draw conclusions with firm percentages, we are obviously seeing more congestion on I-90 and less congestion on SR 520. But that’s what we expected. Here’s another fact - we had more people cross SR 520 on Wednesday, Jan. 25, than any other day since tolling began. You can see how the numbers are still in flux and people are making their way back to SR 520.
While we’d like to be able to say that after a month of tolling we’re finally starting to see the beginning of the “new normal” in terms of traffic patterns, we just can’t yet. The reality is, we’ve only been able to collect about 12 reliable days of traffic data in the last month. There have been too many unpredictable variables (collisions on SR 520 and a stalled semi-tanker on I-90, just to name a few) that have altered the traffic data we’re collecting.
Since tolling started we’ve had three separate holidays, a week-long snow and ice storm and we are still cleaning up after heavy winds – there were numerous collisions, construction work and the post-holiday traffic rush – all variables that have changed and affected traffic all over the region and have had a significant impact on what we’d typically call “normal traffic patterns.” As a result, traffic volumes were way down across the region, not just on the floating bridges.
This is the first week since tolling began where traffic volumes are getting back to more “normal” levels. You (the twitterverse) see it too, and you’ve been tweeting and facebooking us, wanting to know what’s going on. We believe traffic will keep changing, across I-90, across SR 520, on I-5 and even on your local buses for the next few days, weeks and months. We expect people will continue to tweak their routes and times to find something that works for their schedule, like they’ve done since tolling started.
It’s still too soon to make any changes and draw big conclusions. One thing we know is that traffic throughout the greater Puget Sound region is all interconnected. A change in one place causes a ripple effect across the region and not always where you might expect. It’s probably going to take upwards of six months before commutes really start to settle out and we finally reach that new normal.
That all said, it would be interesting to hear and know what your commute has been like since tolling started. Have you tried different routes? Changed your commute times? Tried taking the bus or carpooling? Are you working from home? What has or hasn’t seemed to work for you?
Your comments will be factored in as we work through this change. Thanks!
If you have questions or concerns regarding a toll bill, civil penalty or Good To Go! account please call 1-866-936-8246 or email GoodToGo@GoodToGo.wsdot.wa.gov.
by guest blogger Jamie Holter
I love snow storms in Puget Sound.
|Food Supply in the EOC|
|Charlies Angels radio in the EOC|
world’s oldest Charlie’s Angels two-way radio. I love taking calls from staff reporting for duty who say, “When do you need me, just let me know.”
|Monitoring television coverage|
Our Emergency Operations Center had been active since Saturday. A storm manager on with King County, the National Weather Service and doing interviews; a traffic engineer tracking cameras and collisions, another person who’s tracking collisions just involving buses and large trucks . Those vehicles that cause the biggest problems. Everyone is at the top of their game, except for the moments when they are mugging for the camera.
The traffic management center, the nerve center for operations in Puget Sound, has more staff tracking traffic, putting up information on overhead signs, talking with crews in the field and dispatching teams to trees down, icy spots on the roads or helping State Patrol.
|Staff Monitoring Twitter|
Snow and ice is always scary and I’m proud that my job involves helping people stay on top of road and weather conditions even if we’re just stuck in a building and not on the roads like our Highway Heroes who do the heavy lifting. The folks I work with are top-notch, dedicated public servants. We can’t make Mother Nature change course, but we are here to help you get where you
|Crews on roadway|
Bottom Line’s Daily Health News
- Take a 30-minute break from driving every two hours or 100 miles to drink coffee or another caffeinated beverage. It takes about 30 minutes for caffeine to enter the bloodstream.
- Sleep at least seven hours the night before a long trip.
- If possible, travel with an alert and well-rested passenger who will help keep you awake.
- Stay somewhere overnight instead of extending your drive time beyond the length of your typical day.
- Can’t remember how far you’ve traveled or what you’ve recently passed.
- Find yourself tailgating or drifting out of your lane.
- Daydream or have disconnected thoughts.
- Often yawn or rub your eyes.
- Miss signs or drive past your exit.
- Veer off the road and hit the rumble strips on the shoulder.
- Have to blast the radio and/or roll down the windows in an attempt to stay alert.
Bottom Line’s Daily Health News
To make sure the lights and heat come back on as quickly as possible, our Olympia-area maintenance road crews are out with utility crews, working traffic control for Puget Sound Energy and others repairing downed power lines.
Monday, the crews were working on the tree-lined back roads of south Thurston County between Olympia and Centralia. These were hard hit with snow and ice last week and when branches fell, they took with them power lines on roads like State Route 121 near Millersylvania State Park and SR 507 between Tenino and Centralia, plus many city and county roads.
So what does a flagger or pilot car have to do with getting the lights on? Holding that stop/slow sign or leading traffic through the same 1/4-mile route over and over may not seem to help get power back on, but it’s those vital tasks that allow utility crews up in that bucket truck get their job done faster and safer, and make sure drivers get around those crews and back home.
Where, hopefully, the heat will be on soon.