Thursday, October 22, 2009

Hi. My name is Traffic Team. I’m here to help.

If you had told me five years ago that I would be able to find a government agency that would promptly and accurately answer just about any question I was able to throw at them, I probably would have checked to make sure you were still taking your medication.

Today, it’s no hallucination. There is such an agency. It’s WSDOT and their Ask the Traffic Team page.





Five years ago, I was a newspaper reporter trying to find someone to answer my questions. I spent more than my fair share of time sending e-mails into the black hole of the Internet, leaving voicemails for people I wasn’t sure actually existed, and all-too-rapidly turning into a very cynical reporter, wholly unconvinced of that whole government for the people, by the people thing.

Now I work for WSDOT. (No, the irony is not lost on me.) And to be honest, I’m still a bit cynical, which is actually a good thing for you. I remember exactly how frustrated I used to get when someone didn’t call me back or reply to my e-mails.

Hi. I’m Bronlea, otherwise known as the WSDOT Traffic Team.

If you haven’t heard about the WSDOT Traffic Team, I’ll give you a quick rundown: We launched the Ask the Traffic Team page about a month ago as a one-stop-shop for all those WSDOT-related questions you may have been pondering. We’ve got an archive of frequently asked questions, as well as seven region-specific pages that let you see what questions people in your area are asking. I update the page weekly, so you can check in on Mondays for your weekly dose of WSDOT.

Not finding the answer to your question? Send me an e-mail. Usually, I’ll get back to you with answers in less than a week. Sometimes, it takes me less than a day. And no, I’m not a WSDOT know-it-all. We have a ton of WSDOT engineers and other staffers across the state who help me find answers to the myriad of questions you send me.

So what kind of questions do I get? It varies, week to week. Sometimes you want to know about I-405 projects. Sometimes you have roundabout questions. Sometimes you have traffic enforcement questions (which, technically, should be directed to the State Patrol, but I call WSP for answers anyway because I’m curious). And sometimes, you want to point out a problem with a traffic signal and ask that we check it out.

We actually did find a problem with a detection loop and fixed one of our signals on SR 20 on Whidbey Island after I got an e-mail from a driver who constantly got stuck there. Sometimes it pays to point out a problem. After all, you’re the ones who drive our highways daily. You’re more apt to notice when something isn’t working properly.

And on that note, I have a request: I’ve noticed that you haven’t sent me as many questions lately. And I doubt that it’s because I’ve answered all your burning questions in the past month. I’m betting that you’re still wondering about something WSDOT-related. Or, you’ve got a friend, coworker or family member who’s wondering about something WSDOT-related.

Don’t be a stranger. Check out the Traffic Team page. Send me an e-mail. I’m looking forward to hearing from you.

3 comments:

Dustin Terpening said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

I heard that there will be a closure of the Hood Canal Bridge on Friday October 23rd. What is up. I am leaving for Spokane on Friday Morning and want accross the Canal, What is the schedule?

Bronlea said...

You can find Hood Canal Bridge answers on the WSDOT site and sign up for bridge opening alerts: http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/Projects/SR104HoodCanalBridgeEast/faq.htm