Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Thanksgiving Travel Smart Quiz

Are you ready for Thanksgiving? Got the shopping done, china and silver dusted off? Whew, those preparations are done - now it's time to prepare for travel. We will be working all weekend, but need your help. Test your holiday travel smarts with our Thanksgiving Travel Smart Quiz. With these tips (and others on our Web site) you can get where you need to be this holiday weekend, whether you are taking a ferry, crossing the border, or just loading the car with the kids to see grandma. Just remember to Know Before You Go, and travel safely!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Photo Friday: The New Stanwood Station Edition

In April 2009 we began building a new train station on the northeast corner of 271st Street NW and 84th Avenue NW in Stanwood. The station will give residents of the Stanwood-Camano Island area access to Amtrak Cascades intercity passenger trains that travel between Portland, Seattle, Vancouver, BC, and ten intermediate communities.  The last time passenger trains stopped in Stanwood was over 35 years ago.

Don't you just love old photos? This is a great one. It's the old Stanwood station in the 1960's.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Point Defiance Rail Bypass project

By Guest Blogger Kevin Jeffers – Rail Engineering Manager

The Pt. Defiance Bypass project is a capital rail project that will reroute passenger trains that currently operate on the BNSF Railway main line near Pt. Defiance and along southern Puget Sound to an existing rail line that runs along the west side of I-5 through south Tacoma, Lakewood, and DuPont. Part of the bypass route is the same route that Sound Transit will use to extend Sounder commuter rail to Lakewood.

At a Lakewood City Council meeting on November 9, WSDOT staff from the State Rail and Marine office gave a presentation on the Pt. Defiance Bypass project. During the presentation, several videos were shown on traffic simulations for Bridgeport Way, Thorne Lane, and Berkeley Ave. There were also videos showing a comparison of train speeds between freight and passenger trains and a video demonstrating wayside horns.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Deer: a seasonal driving hazard

November means it's the time of year where we start focusing a lot on preparing drivers for weather-related hazards. Studded tires are always a hot topic, the closing of mountain passes garners a lot of attention, as does the general anticipation /speculation of what this year's winter weather will bring. But we often overlook the fact that deer are a seasonal driving hazard as well. November is prime time for road kill—deer in particular. We remove approximately 3,000 deer carcasses from state highways every year with most vehicle collisions involving deer happening during the months of October- January.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Help us do what we do better - communicate with you.

What gets measured gets managed. It is a philosophy I have heard repeated countless times at the Washington State Department of Transportation. People here take the idea of accountability and transparency very seriously. Our quarterly Grey Notebook regularly tops 100 pages or more, jammed full of data and information about our agency’s performance.

As the WSDOT communication director, it is my job to see whether we are meeting the public’s expectations for quality two-way communication. We have many anecdotal examples of how we have met your expectations, and a few examples of how we have not. We now hope to build a qualitative baseline of public opinions about our communication and public involvement efforts. Do you think we do a good job reaching out the public? Are we listening well to what you are saying? Of course, you can post your thoughts here. But we ask that you take a few minutes to fill out our online survey.

Our mission is to keep people and business moving by operating and improving the state’s transportation systems vital to our taxpayers and communities. We take this mission seriously. We would like to know your opinion about how we are doing. Your feedback will help us learn more about how we can improve our performance. Thank you.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Looking for some property at a great price?

Remember back in August when we had all of those cabins up for auction near Mt Baker?  We had a lot of buzz around those little structures which garnered quite a turnout. We had another auction recently that seemed to fly a little under the radar as we have quite a few properties still up for grab.  This one pictured on the left is in Skagit county.  It's a 2 bedroom, 1 bath with a couple of detached outbuildings on 1.35 acres...and it's available on a first-come, first serve basis at the minimum bid price!