Monday, February 28, 2022

Join us for an online listening session about how we can better include all voices in transportation decisions

By Ann Briggs

We're beginning work to create an equitable decision-making process for significant actions planned on our state's transportation system, especially as it relates to communities of Black Americans, tribal members, people of color and low-income individuals. That means when we design a project, we include all voices in making decisions about how and where the project is built and learning what we can do to ensure that the project's benefits and negative effects are equally distributed. We want to hear from you how we can best work together.

But first, please bear with us as we provide some background on this important issue:

Decisions of the past have consequences for today

It's no coincidence that transportation infrastructure can have negative health effects on the people who live next to it. Planners and engineers of past decades often designed highways, bridges, airports and rail lines to run next to, or right through the middle of, communities of color and low-income neighborhoods. Land was less expensive and the people who lived there had limited resources or opportunities to challenge the decisions that were being thrust upon them.
Studies have shown that as a result of those decisions, people who live in communities adjacent to major transportation infrastructure are more likely to suffer poor health due to air pollution, water pollution, noise pollution and related stress. In recognition of these conditions, the state Legislature in 2021 passed the “Healthy Environment for All Act,” or more commonly called the HEAL Act (Senate Bill 5141).

When planning the Mukilteo ferry terminal, we made it a priority to include tribes in early planning and decision making to help guide the process and make it more equitable for all involved. The finished building features several tribal cultural pieces as well as interpretive boards honoring the tribes’ past, present and future connection to the area.

The HEAL Act is a first step toward preventing and lessening the long-term negative environmental and health effects of state agency decisions. The act aims to improve the health for all Washington state residents. We're one of seven state agencies covered by the HEAL Act. The others are the departments of: Ecology, Health, Natural Resources, Commerce, Agriculture and the Puget Sound Partnership.

To begin this important work, we want to talk with and listen to the people who are affected by our transportation decisions, especially those living in overburdened communities that bear the adverse effects of infrastructure placement. That's where you can help.

Talk with us and share your experience

Before we can begin addressing the problems created by transportation activities, we need to know how best to engage with and understand the needs of the people who are most affected by our work.

We're holding online listening sessions to start the conversation and help us understand the best ways to communicate with people who live in underserved communities.

Listening sessions information

Online listening sessions are being held over Microsoft Teams. To join us, click on the link for one of the following:

Here's what you can expect during these sessions:

  • We'll share information about the HEAL Act and its requirements for the state agencies covered under the act.
  • We'll talk about environmental justice and what that means for communities that have experienced more than their fair share of harm from state agency decisions.
  • We'll ask a few questions of participants to get the conversation going.
  • Then we'll listen while you tell us your experiences and concerns; how you want us to reach out and involve you in decisions; and what's working – or not working – for you.

We'll then use your input and suggestions to help create more equitable decision-making that better serves the needs of all (part of our community engagement planning and tools).

No Wi-Fi? No problem!

Free, temporary internet access is available in locations throughout the state for those who do not have broadband service. To find the nearest Wi-Fi Hotspot visit: www.commerce.wa.gov/building-infrastructure/washington-state-drive-in-wifi-hotspots-location-finder/

Language assistance

If you have difficulty understanding English, you may, free of charge, request language assistance services by calling 360-705-7090 or email us at Corwin.Scott@wsdot.wa.gov  
Servicios de traducción - Aviso a personas con dominio limitado del idioma inglés: Si usted tiene alguna dificultad en entender el idioma inglés, puede, sin costo alguno, solicitar asistencia lingüística con respecto a esta información llamando al 360-705-7090, o envíe un mensaje de correo electrónico a: Corwin.Scott@wsdot.wa.gov.
翻译服务 -  如果您难以理解英文,则请致电:(360) 705-7090,或给我们发送电子邮件:Corwin.Scott@wsdot.wa.gov,请求获取免费语言援助服务。

خدمات الترجمة - إذا ﻛﻨﺖ ﺗﺠﺪ ﺻﻌﻮﺑﺔ ﻓﻲ ﻓﮭﻢ اﻟﻠﻐﺔ اﻹﻧﺠﻠﯿﺰﯾﺔ، ﻓﯿﻤﻜﻨﻚ ﻣﺠﺎﻧًﺎ طﻠﺐ ﺧﺪﻣﺎت اﻟﻤﺴﺎﻋﺪة اﻟﻠﻐﻮﯾﺔ ﻋﻦ طﺮﯾﻖ اﻻﺗﺼﺎل ﺑﺎﻟﺮﻗﻢ 360-705-7090، أو ﻣﺮاﺳﻠﺘﻨﺎ ﻋﺒﺮ اﻟﺒﺮﯾﺪ اﻹﻟﻜﺘﺮوﻧﻲ Corwin.Scott@wsdot.wa.gov

các dịch vụ dịch thuật - Nếu quý vị không hiểu tiếng Anh, quý vị có thể yêu cầu dịch vụ trợ giúp ngôn ngữ, miễn phí, bằng cách gọi số 360-705-7090 hoặc email cho chúng tôi tại: Corwin.Scott@wsdot.wa.gov

번역 서비스 - 영어로 소통하는 것이 불편하시다면, 360-705-7090으로 전화하시거나 다음 이메일로 연락하셔서 무료 언어 지원 서비스를 요청하실 수 있습니다: Corwin.Scott@wsdot.wa.gov.

Adeegyada Turjumaada - Haddii ay kugu adag tahay inaad fahamtid Ingiriisida, waxaad, bilaash, ku codsan kartaa adeegyada caawimada luuqada adoo wacaaya 360-705-7090 ama iimayl noogu soo dir: Corwin.Scott@wsdot.wa.gov.

Услуги перевода - Если вам трудно понимать английский язык, вы можете запросить бесплатные языковые услуги, позвонив по телефону 360-705-7090 или написав нам на электронную почту: Corwin.Scott@wsdot.wa.gov.

Wednesday, February 23, 2022

Help us plan for a better Human Services Transportation system!

By Matthew Kenna

When you think about our agency, highways and ferries are probably the first things that come to mind. But did you know we also support human services transportation programs that help people with mobility challenges and other special transportation needs get where they need to go? A well-functioning network of human services transportation options is vital to the quality of life of people who rely on them to access medical and social services, food and groceries, work, school, and more.

Ensuring everyone has a safe, reliable way to get around is a vital goal for us as a multimodal transportation agency.

Right now, our Public Transportation Division is collecting public feedback for the 2022 update of the Human Services Transportation Plan (PDF 3.7MB). We held a virtual public meeting in early February to share some of the plan's highlights, give some background on strategies and actions we're recommending to strengthen human-services transportation in the coming years, and answer questions from the public. Twenty-six people attended the hour-long discussion, including users of human-services transportation programs and transportation planners working on their local human-services transportation plans. Attendees' questions were largely focused on two issues:

  • How hard it can be just to get to public transit, for example because of sidewalks that are missing or in bad repair.
  • The difficulty of cross-regional travel, especially when switching between transportation providers (for instance, transferring from one county's transit system onto another) or between modes (taking the bus to a location at which they are picked up by, say, a van from a nonprofit transportation provider).
We support human services transportation programs that help people with mobility
 challenges and needs get where they need to go.

We're excited to use what we learned in this meeting to make this update of the Human Services Transportation Plan better.

But our outreach doesn't end there: we want to hear from as many more of you as we can!

If you have questions about sidewalks and cross-regional transportation or have other thoughts that you want to share, take a look at the Human Services Transportation Plan's online open house – available in English, Spanish and Russian – and tell us what you want to see in the 2022 Human Services Transportation Plan. We're accepting your feedback until Monday, March 21. We look forward to hearing from you!

Thursday, February 17, 2022

Aviation division announces first ever Washington Airport Guide Cover Photo Contest

By Christina Crea

Washington state is full of aviation heritage and enthusiasts. Our aviation division wants to celebrate the spirit of aviation in the state by holding our first ever photo contest to determine the new cover photo of the Washington State Airport Guide.

We want a fantastic picture to be on the cover of our printed 2022-2024 Washington Airport Guide. It's your chance for thousands of people to see your best Washington aviation shot!

How to submit a photo

Send your photo submissions via email to avphotocontest@wsdot.wa.gov between February 18th and March 6th. Please limit three submissions per entrant. We will compile entries for judging by the public.

Photo requirements and contest rules

We want something unique, striking and interesting. We want a photo that encapsulates the spirit of aviation in our beautiful state! There is so much to love about the varied geography of our state which makes it a great place to fly. Photos should capture what makes flying in Washington so special. In addition to the submission qualifications listed above, each entrant must follow these requirements and rules:

  • Your photo:
    • Must have an aviation theme and be set in Washington state
    • Must have been taken yourself and you have the rights to submit it to this contest. The winning entrant may be required to submit a Copyright Release Form.
    • May have been taken at any time.
    • Digital photos should be taken at the highest resolution possible.
    • Please submit in JPG, TIFF, or PNG format
  • Do not break any federal, state, or local laws or do anything unsafe in order to snap a shot.
  • You may submit up to three pictures. If you submit more than three, we will only consider the first three shared.
  • You will retain rights to your photograph; however, as a condition of entering this contest, you grant WSDOT a perpetual and non-exclusive license to display, reproduce, or prepare derivative works of the submitted photograph or photographs for WSDOT Aviation purposes. Entries will be credited and will never be used by WSDOT for commercial advertising or sale.
  • Submissions will not be accepted once the submission deadline has lapsed.

Selecting a winner

We will be gathering all photo submissions and placing them on Survey Monkey for the public to select their favorite photo. The photo with the most votes will win the cover photo contest. The winner will be acknowledged in the inside cover of the guide with a small biography, photo of the winner, and description of the winning photo.

Voting on Survey Monkey will begin Wednesday, March 9th and will close Wednesday, March 16th. The winner will be announced Friday, March 18th.

Wednesday, February 2, 2022

Why do we clean the SR 305 Agate Pass Bridge?

By Doug Adamson

There's a lot of work that needs to be done to keep bridges in good working order. This includes regular cleaning of the span that carries State Route 305 over Agate Pass, connecting Bainbridge Island to the Kitsap Peninsula.

It might be difficult to picture, but a lot of dirt can accumulate on the bridge. Plants and grasses can take root.  All can obscure key elements of the bridge which need to be clearly visible to our inspectors. Bridge cleaning also is an opportunity to make repairs before they become a problem.

What should travelers expect?

There are no two ways about it: The annual work on the Agate Pass Bridge causes long delays. This year, that work is scheduled to happen daily from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday, Feb. 14 to Sunday, Feb. 20.

We work to keep traffic moving as much as possible but for the crew's safety it will be one-way alternating traffic across the bridge. That's a challenge with 19,000 vehicles a day using the bridge. If you're among them, expect delays of at least 30 minutes. Law enforcement will provide traffic control at the intersection of SR 305 and Suquamish Way Northeast so please stay alert for them and follow their directions to keep everyone safe. They may temporarily let one direction through for longer periods of time to help mitigate major backups.

We need your help. Please consider cancelling discretionary travel over the bridge during the work. Otherwise plan for a least 30-minute delays. If you're catching a ferry, plan plenty of time to get to the terminal.

Crews use an Under Bridge Inspection Truck for bridge cleaning. It's delicate, precise work and
needs to be done during daylight for the workers' safety.

How will the bridge be cleaned?

A lot of people work at once on the bridge. Crews use specialized trucks called Under Bridge Inspection Trucks (UBIT) that reach areas under the bridge. An operator skillfully navigates a crew carrier through the elevated steel truss bridge. The crew then uses an articulated arm to move beside and under the bridge. For safety, it's work that can only be performed during daylight hours.

Once in position, the dirty work begins. They use hand tools to scrape away dirt, debris, and animal droppings. It is a labor-intensive process at dizzying heights. To protect water quality, crews scoop up the debris and haul it away. After hand-cleaning is complete, the bridge gets a rinse of water.

After the hand cleaning of the bridge is done, the bridge gets carefully washed down.

Is there other work?

The bridge cleaning is a chance for maintenance crews to do a lot of other work. During the yearly cleaning, workers also make needed repairs and patch the roadway. They may also seal bridge expansion joints, replace rivets, and remove rust. Every other year, the bridge undergoes an in-depth inspection.

While the bridge is being cleaned, our maintenance crews take the opportunity to do
other work like cleaning out drains.

Why doesn't work take place at night?

We do a lot of work at night. If we could do it here, we would, but it's not possible. Our crews need to thread an articulated boom through steel truss members of a bridge. After that, crews maneuver that boom under the bridge deck in very tight quarters. For their safety, we need to do it in daylight.

Why is the work being done in February?

This is a great question! A couple reasons. First, we need to get this done before the busy summer travel season. Also, peregrine falcons have nested on the bridge and doing it now avoids their nesting season.