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transportation

See that car in the middle lane zipping to the front of the line? You hate that driver, but they're actually doing the right thing, known as the zipper merge.
WSDOT

Three years ago, we ran a story about a little-known traffic tip known as the "zipper merge." 

In short: Drivers should use all lanes leading up to a merge point, rather than clog up one lane. Arrived at the front of the line, drivers in all lanes take turns merging. This is not cheating! (See image above for why the seemingly polite way gunks up traffic.) 

The threat of a nuclear attack, immigration enforcement and paying by the mile to drive are all on the agenda as Washington lawmakers hold meetings the week of September 11.

Are Seattle drivers really so terrible?

Sep 6, 2017
If we're terrible drivers, so is everyone else, because there's little difference between driver behavior across regions.
Flickr Photo/Susan Murtaugh (CC BY-ND 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/7rdUUW

If there’s one thing Seattleites want to know, it’s this: Why is everyone else such a terrible driver?

Jeremy Noble flies his Cessna 182 airplane on Wednesday, August 23, 2017, to the Renton Municipal Airport during his morning commute to work.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

It's after 3 p.m. on a Wednesday afternoon, and Jeremy Noble is about to leave his job as an air traffic controller at Sea-Tac International Airport. 

If he were driving home to Stanwood, north of Everett, his commute would take two hours. But today, he's taking his plane.


Fiona 'Jell' Pena-Rolla commutes on the Monorail to Seattle Center on Wednesday, August 30, 2017, in Seattle.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

For 27 years, Jayme Gustilo has been a cashier and conductor on the Seattle Center Monorail.


A majority of large ship operators are cooperating with a request to temporarily slow down in the shared border waters between Victoria and San Juan Island. The Port of Vancouver in British Columbia is running an experiment there to reduce underwater noise that bothers whales.

The city of Seattle is allowing Limebike, Spin and Ofo bike-share companies to operate under a six month pilot program.
Courtesy of LimeBike and Spin

First orange and green bikes, and now yellow bikes are for rent in Seattle. This month marked the U.S. debut for China-based bike share Ofo.


A project to build a new runway at Pullman-Moscow Regional Airport will stay on track if the Washington State University Board of Regents approves a deal Wednesday.

Road congestion has more than doubled in the Puget Sound region in the last five years. Sound Transit has been trying to build a light rail system to give commuters an option to get off the roads. Now, federal funding for the Lynnwood line is in danger.
Sound Transit

Voters approved a light rail line to Lynnwood from Northgate in 2008. Now there’s word the cost of that line is half a billion dollars over estimate.

James Turner, Metro's Transit Operator of the Year, has been driving buses for 35 years.
Courtesy of King County Metro

When Seattle passengers love their bus driver, they can call a feedback line to sing their praises.

King County Metro bus
Flickr Photo/clappstar (CC BY-NC-ND)

If you ride King County Metro transit, you may soon see fares change. A new proposal would simplify pricing and set a flat rate for all times of day and all destinations.

Courtesy of WSDOT/Ally Barrera

Jeannie Yandel speaks with Ally Barrera and Mike Allende, the minds behind two of Washington Department of Transportation's Twitter accounts, @wsdot and @wsdot_traffic. They are known for posting gifs, memes and hand drawn maps to make Seattle area traffic just a little less awful. 

Ever been stuck in traffic and wished you could just levitate and fly over the crawling cars? Flying cars of various sorts entered the popular imagination more than five decades ago. Think “The Jetsons.” 

And now, a division of aerospace giant Airbus is getting ready to test a pilotless flying air taxi.

Bill Radke speaks with professor Sara Rankin of Seattle University and Scott Lindsay, former public safety advisor to the mayor of Seattle, about legislation being crafted that may aim to end ticketing of cars that double as residences for their owners, which is up to 40 percent of all homeless in the city. 

It might seem like vocal discontent about airline bumping has reached a high-water mark recently, especially after a passenger was bloodied and dragged off a United flight last April.

Now, new data from the U.S. Department of Transportation shows that bumped-passenger rates are at their lowest level since 1995.

New Bus Gives Hikers a New Way to Get Outside

Aug 2, 2017

It’s hard to go hiking if you don’t have a car, says Ben Hughey, with the Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust.

And that means “the people we see out on the trails aren’t the people that we see in the city,” he adds. “This isn’t a representative sample. Not everyone who lives in the city is getting outdoors.”

Starting in August it will be easier for Seattle-area hikers to get to the woods on public transportation. King County Metro is working with King County Parks to ease traffic and competition for parking at trailheads — and to help people who don’t have cars get outside.

KUOW PHOTO/Kara McDermott

Health care reform didn't make it out of the Senate, the military said it won't be taking action yet on the President's tweets about transgender service members and Congress passed a set of sanctions against Russia despite what President Trump has said about sanctioning Russia. So just how powerful is the  president? 

Parking in Seattle could become a thing of the past.
Flickr Photo/James Callan (CC BY NC SA 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/4mBfBq

Bill Radke talks with Donald Shoup, a UCLA professor and urban planner who studies parking. A new study says that drivers in Seattle spend an average of 58 hours a year looking for parking, and Shoup explains some of the ways the city could cut those hours down. He also tells a story of how he found out that Pike Place Market is ground zero for Seattle's parking problem.

With an assist from Microsoft, Washington state’s Department of Transportation has launched a feasibility study of bullet train service in Cascadia.

Alaska Airlines is still ironing out operational wrinkles following the acquisition of Virgin America last year. At the same time, its smaller, regional airline is still grappling with a pilot shortage.

Spokane voters will decide in November whether to allow the shipment of coal and oil by rail through the city. The city council voted in favor of a special election in November.

Coal and oil trains pass through Spokane daily, but that could change by the end of the year. Spokane’s city council will take public testimony Monday on a proposed ballot initiative that would prohibit coal and oil shipment by rail through specific areas of the city.



The city of Seattle is allowing Limebike, Spin and Ofo bike-share companies to operate under a six month pilot program.
Courtesy of LimeBike and Spin

Bill Radke speaks with Gabriel Scheer, director of strategic development for LimeBike, and Derrick Ko, co-founder and CEO of Spin. These two bike share companies launched in Seattle this week.

Up until now, when we talk about Seattle and bike share, we talk about it failing. We already tried that and it didn't work.

Adhering to Seattle's climate action plan would require reducing tailpipe exhaust 15 times faster than the 0.5 percent a year Seattle has actually achieved.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Seattle leaders love to talk about fighting climate change.

Texting or holding a phone to your ear while driving is already illegal in Washington state. But starting Sunday, Washington state troopers and local police will begin enforcing a toughened law against distracted driving.

There were about 25 passengers on the final trip of the morning from Seattle. The Rich Passage I holds 118 people.
KUOW Photo/ Carolyn Adolph

In a region where traffic congestion is making commutes longer and longer, one commute just got shorter. It now takes half an hour to get from Seattle to Bremerton.

Kitsap Transit’s fast ferry service began Monday morning.

For Tim Eyman, when it comes to initiatives it’s all about timing. And now the professional initiative promoter thinks the time is right for another version of his $30 car tabs measure. That’s because of Sound Transit 3, the voter-approved measure that has resulted in a spike in vehicle registration renewal fees.

Display at the Valentinetti Puppet Museum in downtown Bremerton, Washington.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Starting Monday it will only take half an hour to reach Bremerton if you take Kitsap Transit’s fast ferry. It runs from the King County dock just south of Colman dock – the one used by the water taxis – to a dock close to WSDOT’s car ferry terminal in Bremerton.

Until today, a car trip from downtown Seattle to Snohomish County took less time than a ferry trip to Bremerton. Now, the opposite is true. 

As part of a set of ambitious new environmental goals, France expects to do away entirely with the sale of diesel and gas vehicles by 2040.

Environment Minister Nicolas Hulot announced the proposal on Thursday as part of the country's renewed commitment to the Paris climate deal, reports the BBC.

Hulot said that financial assistance would be available to lower-income drivers to replace their gas vehicles with cleaner ones.

The first-ever mass-market Tesla should roll out of the factory this week.

CEO Elon Musk tweeted late Sunday that the company's Model 3 car "passed all regulatory requirements for production two weeks ahead of schedule. Expecting to complete SN1 on Friday," using an abbreviation for serial number one.

Musk also tweeted that production would increase "exponentially," with 100 cars in August, more than 1,500 in September and 20,000 per month in December. Musk also announced a July 28 "handover party" for the first 30 buyers of the Model 3.

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