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traffic

KUOW PHOTO/KARA MCDERMOTT

Seattle looks for answers after two SPD officers fatally shoot 30-year-old mother of four Charleena Lyles in her home, after officers say she threatened them with knives.

A new KUOW/KING 5 poll finds former Seattle mayor Mike McGinn leading a crowded field ahead of the August 1 primary election, with former US Attorney Jenny Durkan close behind.

Seattle mayor Ed Murray looks to help people with criminal convictions get an apartment in the city, with some landlords saying they're losing even more control over who they can rent to.

And is it ever your job to enforce the rules of the road? We learn from a case of Subaru-versus-Jeep road rage in Kent.

Downtown Bremerton.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Seattle is the fastest-growing city in the country, which means bad traffic and increasingly unaffordable housing.  

Every morning hundreds of thousands of people traverse Austin's congested roads to get to work. Most of them have probably thought: There’s got to be a better way.

This is the story of one man who found it.

Drivers wait to cross Mercer Street
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

Bill Radke talks to Chris Long, the traffic engineering manager with the city of Bellevue, about adaptive traffic lights and how they can change the flow of traffic in busy areas. 

A rollover accident on Interstate 5 on Saturday morning.
WSDOT

A downed power line wreaked havoc on north Seattle traffic on Saturday morning – resulting in major backups on Interstate 5 at Northeast 130th Street. 

Photo/Washington State Patrol

The Washington State Department of Transportation has confirmed what drivers have been suspecting: Crashes are causing more traffic delays.

State crews cleared more than 15,000 traffic incidents in the final quarter of last year, 20 percent more than in 2015.

'Week in Review' panel Bill Radke, Jonathan Martin, Natalie Brand and Essex Porter.
KUOW Photo/Bond Huberman

Washington's attorney general says the injunction he won against President Trump's travel ban still applies to the president's new executive order and is asking a federal judge to agree.

Seattle landlords sue the city for making them rent to whichever qualified applicant shows up first.

Some people are mad with Sound Transit over the rising cost of car tabs and how the agency decides what your car is worth.

And we're still talking about a propane spill that clogged city traffic for nine hours.

sawant radke burbank vance WIR
KUOW Photo/Bond Huberman

Who should pay for solving Seattle's homelessness emergency? Can a new income tax make Seattle "Trump-proof"? Are taco trucks the answer to our traffic problem? And would you vote for President Oprah?

The promise of automated cars is that they could eliminate human-error accidents and potentially enable more efficient use of roadways. That sounds, at first blush, like self-driving cars could also mean traffic reduction and lower commute times.

But researchers aren't so sure.

Hesham Rakha is an engineering professor at Virginia Tech who studies traffic's flow — or lack thereof.

Drivers wait to cross Mercer Street
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

Traffic engineers have a nickname for the years 2019 to 2021, when a slew of new megaprojects will get underway in downtown Seattle around the same time. They call it “The Period of Maximum Constraint.” Translated into plainspeak, it means during those three years, we’ll be up the creek in a leaky canoe without a paddle.


Amanda Batterson of Skip's Everett Towing has her doubts about shoulder driving, which would provide congestion relief to commuters living north of Seattle.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

Washington state plans to open up parts of Interstate 5 to shoulder driving. It begins early summer, when the state will let buses drive part of the shoulder south of Everett.


This heat map produced by real estate company Trulia shows the commute times for Seattle residents. The warmer the color, the longer the commute away from Seattle's core.
Screenshot with permission from Trulia

About 236 people move to the Seattle area every day, according to the Puget Sound Regional Council.

This means more people driving to their jobs, some more than an hour. About 100,000 people commute to the region from Whidbey Island, Aberdeen, Mount Vernon and beyond, according to the regional council.

traffic commute transportation car
Flickr Photo/JBLM (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Light rail planners aren't wasting any time after voters approved the transportation package known as Sound Transit 3.

The full project list will take up to 25 years to complete. Residents in Ballard and Everett will get light rail service in about 20 years. It's a shorter timeline to West Seattle and Tacoma — about 15 years.

National Archives, Seattle collection

Seattle traffic, as you know, has become monstrous.

Delays on regional freeways doubled between 2010 and 2015, according to the Puget Sound Regional Council. 

Why have our highways failed us so? A 50-year-old document provides one answer. 

There’s a line in “Where’d You Go, Bernadette,” by Maria Semple, that triggers pained recognition among locals.

“The drivers here are horrible,” she begins. “They’re the slowest drivers you ever saw.”

A pedestrian crosses Lake City Way near Northeast 125th Street in Seattle's City Council District 5.
KUOW Photo/Gil Aegerter

The city of Seattle wants drivers to slow down.

On Tuesday officials announced a plan to reduce the speed limit on all streets without posted signs.

Dave Price wants to know why Seattle doesn't do a better job planning for traffic congestion.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

Traffic is so bad in Seattle. Sometimes, when you’re sitting in your car, or on the bus, and you’re not moving, you wonder, is anyone, anyone with power, paying attention?

We’ve all been there. You’re stopped at a red light, it finally turns green, but the driver in front of you doesn’t seem to notice and doesn’t pull forward. You watch helplessly as the light changes to yellow, then red.


Cynthia Ulrich of Stop 405 Tolls looks unhappy as she prepares to enter the toll lane for the first time.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

A beat-up red convertible bumps south along Interstate 405. Driver Cynthia Ulrich is about to break her boycott on the freeway’s new toll lanes -- all to help KUOW illustrate how tolls are collected and spent.

But she’s not happy about it.

The U.S. Department of Transportation and Paul Allen's company Vulcan Inc. are teaming up to stage a $40 million to $50 million winner-take-all competition. The prize will go to the "mid-sized" American city that comes up with the best plan to use technology of any sort to improve mobility and reduce pollution. 

Eliza Hinkes of Seattle says her cat had a bad experience in I-5 traffic. 'We've never tried to drive him anywhere again.'
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

If you think Seattle has some of the worst traffic in the nation, you’re right. A new traffic study  by the American Highway Users Alliance shows that the spot where Interstate 5 passes through downtown is the 17th-worst traffic bottleneck in the country.

Timothy McCall works in WSDOT's new $17.3 million Northwest Region Transportation Management Center in Shoreline.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

Washington has a new Transportation Management Center in Shoreline. That’s the nerve center where engineers help resolve traffic problems.

Before officials showed me the new center, they showed me the building they used to work out of. It looks like an underground missile control bunker from the Cold War era.

Traffic on Second Avenue in downtown Seattle.
Flickr Photo/Oran Viriyincy (CC-BY-NC-ND)/http://bit.ly/1irsJLd

Ross Reynolds talks with Mark Hallenbeck about traffic congestion in the Puget Sound region, and what can be done to solve it. Hallenbeck is director of the Washington State Transportation Center at the University of Washington.

Monica Sweet says cheaper asphalt sidewalks would be a good thing for neighborhoods that have been waiting decades for sidewalks.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray wants to loosen up the city’s standards for sidewalks by building them cheaper and faster. That would let money earmarked for sidewalks in the Move Seattle levy stretch much further.

Drivers wait to cross Mercer Street
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

It’s rush hour on Mercer Street, in Seattle’s South Lake Union neighborhood. Tech workers are getting off work. Lauren Wheeler and Sande Ditt just finished an after-work jog – when I flag them down and ask them to share their traffic horror stories.

“On Mercer?” asks Ditt. At times, she says, “I’ve probably been here at least 45 minutes just trying to get on the freeway.”

Shoppers cross Fifth Avenue in Seattle during the Christmas season, 1954.
Flickr photo/IMLS Digital Collections & Content (CC BY 2.0)

Drivers soon won’t be able to turn right on red lights at 10 intersections in downtown Seattle – part of a plan meant to protect pedestrians.

The changes will affect drivers on Fifth, Sixth and Seventh avenues (see map below).

Phyllis Porter is a neighborhood activist who lobbied long and hard to get Rainier Avenue S on a "road diet."
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

People have called Rainier Avenue Seattle’s most dangerous street. There’s at least one accident every day. Pedestrians have died. But that could change soon.

The Alaskan Way Viaduct sends cars streaming past Seattle's waterfront.
KUOW Photo/Gil Aegerter

Ross Reynolds speaks with Mark Hallenbeck, director of the Washington State Transportation Center at the University of Washington, about whether the $16 billion state transportation package will make your commute better.

The challenge of strategizing the best route to work against the herd of other drivers can be as routine as the daily commute itself. A number of apps are out there to help shortcut one's route and evade traffic jams. But which ones are the most accurate? And how?

The All Tech Considered team put a few competing traffic apps to the test in Robert Siegel's usual short commute from Arlington, Va., to NPR's D.C. headquarters.

The Test Drive

This ride is about 15 minutes in no traffic. But it's now morning rush hour.

At least there's a beautiful sunset to look at when you're stuck in Seattle traffic.
Flickr Photo/HeatherHeatherHeather (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Traffic is getting worse in Seattle. Our rising population is driving it. And even with a multibillion-dollar transportation package, it's not expected to improve.

Which is why we plug our ears when we hear someone like Gil Penalosa, a former parks commissioner from Colombia, say, “I think congestion is good.”

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