transportation | KUOW News and Information

transportation

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?

The Federal Highway Administration has granted Oregon $2.1 million for the state’s pay-per-mile tax program. The pilot OReGO program started in 2015 and now includes more than 1,200 vehicles.

"We received funding to expand our technology options and to develop new ones potentially, including a manual option that we would need if we were to go to a fully mandated statewide program," said Michelle Godfrey, an Oregon Department of Transportation spokeswoman.

Sound Transit's light rail shot from the SeaTac Airport Station.
Flickr Photo/Michael @NW Lens (CC BY NC ND 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/9P9hnJ

In one month, Sea-Tac airport will no longer be the last stop on the Sound Transit light rail line. Sound Transit plans to open the Angle Lake train station on September 24, several years ahead of schedule.

Light rail runs on the surface in Seattle's Rainier Valley.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

Bill Radke speaks with Seattle Times transportation reporter Mike Lindblom about the cost overruns of the original Sound Transit plan to build light rail in Seattle that passed in 1996. 

As Shoreline's planning commission met Thursday night, people in the Ridgecrest neighborhood hold the biggest event on their calendar: their annual ice cream social. Shoreline mayor Chris Roberts, in green, is serving ice cream.
KUOW Photo/Carolyn Adolph

Shoreline’s planning commission has approved the rezoning of a large area around the future 145th Street light rail station near the city’s border with Seattle.

It happened as its citizens learned that more residents would be displaced than previously thought.

Washington gubernatorial candidates touched on the topic of oil trains during their first debate of the season in Spokane Wednesday.

A measure that was added to the November ballot less than a month ago would have imposed fines on rail cars transporting fossil fuels through the heart of Spokane. On Monday night, the city council opted to withdraw it.

Colonial postmen once rode horses along the Boston Post Road to deliver the country’s first newspapers between New York and Boston. Today, the road is called U.S. 1. It’s the longest north-south highway in the country running along the East Coast with up to six lanes of traffic and few sidewalks.

Cassandra Basler, from Here & Now contributor WSHU, followed a 75-year-old man as he walked through Connecticut on U.S. 1, drawing attention to the state’s most dangerous road for pedestrians.

Two weeks ago, the Spokane City Council approved a ballot measure that garnered national attention. It would impose a fine on every rail car that transports coal or oil through the heart of the city.  Monday the council could consider its withdrawal.

Delta Air Lines announced it was grounding nearly 300 flights Tuesday, a day after a computer outage hobbled the carrier's communication and booking systems and forced it to cancel about 1,000 flights worldwide.

Tens of thousands of passengers were stranded on Monday.

In a statement, Delta said the additional cancellations were to allow the carrier "to reset the operation and get crews, aircraft and other operational elements in place to take care of customers."

Updated at 12:15 p.m. ET

Delta flights around the world were delayed this morning because of a "computer outage," the company says.

A power outage in Atlanta around 2:30 a.m. ET was responsible for the problem, the company said in a statement.

Bill Radke speaks with KUOW's environmental reporter Ashley Ahearn about the growing debate around oil trains traveling through Washington state and why we are in the crosshairs for even more trains carrying crude oil from the Bakken Shale in North Dakota. 

Uber provided drivers like Suzy Harrison with shirts that say, 'I Drive, I Vote.'
KUOW Photo/Amy Radil

Seattle’s attempt to offer collective bargaining to the city’s Uber and Lyft drivers is facing delays.

The ordinance allowing those drivers to unionize was scheduled to take effect in September. But city officials say they aren’t ready to implement it yet. And they still need to settle a divisive issue: which drivers will get to vote on the union when the time comes.    


Thick black smoke that spewed from a derailed oil train burning in Mosier, Oregon, was not the visual Vancouver Port Commissioner Jerry Oliver wanted in people’s minds.

“It was unfortunate for the community," Oliver said. "It’s also unfortunate because it gives a tremendous black eye to anything related to fossil fuels.”

Oliver has been a vocal supporter of what would be the largest oil-by-trail terminal in the country, known as the Vancouver Energy Project. It’s controversial, to the point Oliver said he’s even lost friends over his stance.

Jourdan Keith.
KUOW Photo/Amina Al-Sadi

Elizabeth Austen talks to Jourdan Keith, founder and director of the Urban Wilderness Project, about the workshops she's leading for King County's Poetry on Buses program.  

Spokane’s City Council Monday voted on a November ballot initiative that would make the shipment of oil or coal by rail through the city a civil infraction. If it passes, every rail car carrying oil or uncovered coal will generate a $261 fine.

The Montlake Blvd Market, known as the Hop In, would be torn down to complete construction on 520.
zomato.com

Seattle's Montlake neighborhood faces 11 more years of construction related to the 520 floating bridge, even with the bridge up and running. Transportation officials updated the city this week on plans to replace the western segment of the highway.

When a Union Pacific oil train derailed and burst into fire in Mosier, Oregon, in June, the initial damage was in plain view, as dark smoke billowed into the sky.

Now OPB has learned about invisible damage: elevated concentrations of benzene and other volatile organic compounds in groundwater near the derailment site.

As the car's bumper breaks the laser curtains, cameras capture the front and back license plates and a sensor pings for any Good To Go transponders.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

The pause on Interstate 405 tolls during nights and weekends could be made permanent. The state's transportation commission is set to finalize the change in rules this week.

After many complaints from drivers about congested commutes through the corridor, the commission in March adopted a temporary change that stopped tolling during off hours.

Earth movers are beginning to move dirt for a better runway at the Pullman-Moscow Regional Airport on the Idaho-Washington border. Construction work has begun even though difficult negotiations to acquire needed land under the new runway's approach are not concluded.

On April 27, Steve Holm and three other inspectors drove right over a set of broken railroad bolts that later would cause a massive oil train explosion.

Holm rode shotgun as Union Pacific Railroad’s specially equipped pickup rolled along at 10 mph over its tracks through the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area.

He stared out the front windshield at the steel rails, the wood ties beneath and the plates and bolts that held them together.

The National Transportation Safety Board has responded to letter from Oregon’s senators about why it did not investigate last month’s oil train derailment in the Columbia River Gorge, saying its limited staff likely would not have gleaned any new safety recommendations from examining the incident.

The federal agency provided a 50-page response to Oregon Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley, saying it “recognizes the impact of this accident on your constituents and understands the concerns of those affected.”

DoNotPay, the service helping folks get out of parking tickets, is coming soon to Seattle.
Flickr Photo/Mark Lyon (CC BY-NC 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/99xWhv

Bill Radke speaks to Stanford student Joshua Browder about his service DoNotPay that helps people get parking tickets dismissed with the help from a "lawyerbot."

DoNotPay is available in London and New York City, and it will be coming to Seattle in September. 

week in review radke
KUOW/Bond Huberman

On Wednesday Seattle media devoted their coverage to people experiencing  homelessness. That same day billionaire Paul Allen announced he would invest $1 million to build 13 units in Columbia City for people who are homeless. Is this a workable solution? 

Top read: This little yellow house tells the story of Seattle

Earlier this year two Seattle police officers shot and killed a man named Che Taylor. This week the Seattle Police Department’s Force Review Board ruled that the shooting was “reasonable.” Are these shootings happening because the police have a problem with implicit bias?      

The Sound Transit 3 plan is ready for your ballot this November, but are we ready for it? Is Sound Transit moving too fast with this major transportation plan?

 Oregon lawmakers will try once again next year to round up support for a major transportation funding package. Their most recent attempt got sidelined amid a dispute over a separate bill. As part of the effort to craft a new next version, a legislative committee is touring the state to try to figure out what to include.

'Week in Review' panel Paul Guppy, Bill Radke, Erica C. Barnett and Mike McGinn.
KUOW Photo/Kara McDermott

Duvall, Carnation, North Bend, Snoqualmie and Covington all want to grow. The Puget Sound Regional Council, which oversees the growth and development of the region, says not too big and not too fast. Who gets to decide how rapidly a city grows?

Aubrey and Irene Beausoleil aren't afraid of transit oriented development. They just wish it wouldn't bury their home and community.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

Irene Beausoleil and her husband recently moved to Pinehurst, just north of Northgate. She went to her very first community meeting just this week.

Beausoleil: “It’s the first time I found a community where I wanted to participate. Because I knew that I would be here for awhile. And it was at this meeting that I learned that there’s a very good chance that my house will be knocked down.”

 


Sound Transit's light rail shot from the SeaTac Airport Station.
Flickr Photo/Michael @NW Lens (CC BY NC ND 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/9P9hnJ

It's official: Voters throughout the region will decide on a giant transportation plan on November's ballot.

The Sound Transit board unanimously approved the $54 billion ST-3 plan on Thursday.

It’s Union Pacific’s fault. That’s the basic thrust of a preliminary report from federal railroad regulators on Thursday. It investigates why a nearly 100-car oil train partially derailed and caught fire in the Columbia River Gorge on June 3.

OPB's Kate Davidson spoke to Sarah Feinberg, the head of the Federal Railroad Administration to learn more. The following exchange has been edited for clarity and brevity.

You can hear their full conversation by clicking play on the audio player at the top of the article.

Sound Transit bus.
Flickr Photo/wings777 (CC BY NC ND 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/63X142

Kim Malcolm talks with growth and development reporter Joshua McNichols about Sound Transit's final proposal for ST3. The $50 billion transportation package will be decided on by voters this fall.

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