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transportation

Union Pacific Railroad is suing Oregon's Wasco County and Columbia River Gorge commissioners in an effort to push through a proposed track expansion.

In a lawsuit filed Tuesday, the company asked a federal court to preempt a Wasco County ordinance that is blocking the company from expanding its track through the Columbia River Gorge.

State Representative John Lovick in his car. The former state trooper and Snohomish County Executive offered to drive a reporter around in the early morning to demonstrate a particular form of suffering felt by commuters North of Seattle.
KUOW Photo/Carolyn Adolph

Bill Radke speaks with Carolyn Adolph about how — and why — she ended up stuck in traffic with state Representative John Lovick.

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.

Coal Train Derails Near Vancouver, Washington

Dec 28, 2016

A single Burlington Northern Santa Fe train car carrying coal derailed early Wednesday about 5 miles east of Vancouver, Washington.

The train was traveling from Montana to British Columbia, Canada.

Gus Melonas, a spokesperson with BNSF, said the railroad has a team on site that's investigating the cause of the derailment, but so far it has ruled out track failure.

Deborah Daoust of Seattle Center says when Harrison Street busts through Aurora in 2019, it'll be much easier for people to get from South Lake Union to the Seattle Center. Thomas and John streets will also break through later.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

The tunnel boring machine called Bertha is currently about a half mile from the end of its journey. Contractors expect to be pulling it out of the ground by June. But the tunnel through downtown Seattle is only part of the project. 

The neighborhood around the tunnel’s northern entrance is also getting a makeover.


After years of requests from drivers, Uber has added a tipping function on its app
Flickr photo/Jason Tester Guerrilla Futures (CC BY-ND 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/kAYh8Z

Many commuters drive from home to transit, often because there isn’t a bus or Vanpool that works for them. 


Park and rides like this one at Mountlake and I-5 are filling too early
Flickr photo/SounderBruce (CC BY-SA 2.0) http://bit.ly/2hjshle

6:30 a.m. 

That's how early you better show up to a park and ride lot to land a spot these days. 

As traffic worsens in King and Snohomish counties, drivers are avoiding the gridlocked highways by driving to a free park and ride lot where they pick up the bus or train. As such, those park and rides are filling up at increasingly early hours.

Uber and Lyft are gradually expanding their coverage in the Pacific Northwest beyond the major metro areas. Uber launched its smartphone ride-booking service in Kennewick and Yakima, Washington, last week and similar-sized Oregon cities may get their shot in 2017.

When Donald Trump won the presidential election, he made a pledge to every citizen: that he would be president for all Americans. In the weeks before Trump's inauguration, we're going to hear about some of the communities that make up this nation, from the people who know them best, in our series Finding America.

The No. 48 bus runs through the Central District of Seattle.

seattle snow man
Flickr Photo/Panchenks (CC BY NC ND 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/bhfYon

Kim Malcolm talks with Seattle Department of Transportation spokesperson Sue Romero about how Seattle is preparing for snow. Between one and three inches is expected to fall in the Seattle area on Thursday night.

An Uber driver near the San Francisco International Airport.
AP Photo/Jeff Chiu

Uber drivers packed themselves into a public hearing hosted by the City of Seattle Tuesday. The topic: an ordinance that lets drivers vote on whether to unionize.

The debate now is over which drivers will get to vote on whether to form a union. The city's proposal would give most drivers a vote, except those that only give a few rides a week.

How a boat named Nap Tyme crashed into a ferry

Dec 6, 2016
A still from a video taken aboard a Washington state ferry as it crashed into Nap Tyme.
YouTube/Amanda Shuffield

How appropriate that the captain of Nap Tyme was sitting on the pot when a Washington state ferry rammed into the side of his boat.

“A convenient place considering how he must have felt at the time of collision,” said Jake Beattie, executive director of the Northwest Maritime Center in Port Townsend.

Traffic safety officials regularly warn us of the risks of driving while drunk or distracted.

But Americans still need to wake up to the dangers of getting behind the wheel when sleepy, according to a recent study of crash rates.

A report released Tuesday by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety suggests that drivers who sleep only five or six hours in a 24-hour period are twice as likely to crash as drivers who get seven hours of sleep or more.

An oil tanker and a container ship about to cross paths near Seattle.
KUOW Photo/John Ryan

Bill Radke speaks with Vancouver Sun columnist Vaughn Palmer about a major expansion of the Trans Mountain Pipeline. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau approved the expansion Tuesday. It could mean a large increase in the number of oil tankers going through the Strait of Juan de Fuca. 

R
Bob Strong/Reuters 

The city of Copenhagen is known as a place where bicycles rule. 

But now they really rule.

The capital of Denmark reached a milestone last month: More people now ride their bikes downtown than drive. This didn't happen by magic or from public goodwill. The process could actually be a model for other cities to follow, as traffic and population increase.

President-elect Donald Trump ran an insurgent, anti-establishment campaign, but the latest addition to his prospective Cabinet is about as establishment as it gets.

Elaine Chao, whom Trump picked Tuesday to head the Department of Transportation, worked in both Bush administrations, has ties to the conservative Heritage Foundation, has sat on numerous corporate boards and spent several years running the United Way of America. She also happens to be married to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

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.

Bill Radke speaks with Port of Seattle spokesman Brian DeRoy about planned improvements to the walkway between Sound Transit's Airport Station and Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. Among the improvements to the approximately quarter-mile walk: wind screens, heat lamps and golf carts.

Mechanical failure caused the fatal Ride the Ducks Seattle crash in 2015. The National Transportation Safety Board issued that formal ruling Tuesday.


A federal civil trial in Seattle against Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway is on hold pending a tentative settlement in a case brought by seven environmental groups that has been in litigation since 2013.

Plaintiffs argued coal dust and pieces of coal the company ships from Wyoming’s Powder River Basin across the Northwest have been polluting Washington’s waterways for years in violation of the federal Clean Water Act.

King County Executive Dow Constantine and others tried to spin Sound Transit's win into a reason to stay optimistic as presidential politics and Pacific Northwest values seemed to go in opposite directions.
KUOW Photo/Ann Kane

In Washington state, the presidential election didn’t go the way most voters wanted. But one thing drew faint, complicated cheers in the greater Seattle Area: Sound Transit 3 passed.


File photo of Interstate 5 passing through downtown Seattle.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

Bill Radke speaks with senior editor at The Urbanist, Doug Trumm, about his idea to rip out I-5 from downtown Seattle.

In an recent article, Trumm argued that I-5 should be removed from I-90 to 520 and the land used for parks, affordable housing and business development. 

Seven environmental groups want to prove coal being hauled by rail is polluting Washington’s waterways. If they are successful, the outcome could have huge implications for the way trains are regulated going forward.

The case is scheduled to go to trial in Seattle Monday.

Northwest oil train opponents are celebrating after a county in the Columbia River Gorge rejected a track-expansion request from Union Pacific Railroad.

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. 

Detta Hayes, 9 year driver for Microsoft's connector bus and vanpool service. Hayes is prone to frequent bursts of laughter, such as when I asked her if her bus ever gets stuck in traffic.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

Chuck Collins is the guy who ran Metro in the 1970s.

He should be the kind of guy who salivates over light rail. But instead, he’s dreaming of more vanpools.

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

A lot of claims are floating around in the public relations struggle over the $54 billion Sound Transit 3 proposal that voters will decide Nov. 8. Who's right?

This week, ST3 supporter Shefali Ranganathan of Transportation Choices Coalition and detractor Maggie Fimia of Smarter Transit debated on KUOW's "The Record."


Our cars and trucks are being made with more safety features. New technologies such as lane departure warnings, blind spot detection, vehicle stabilizers and anti-lock brakes can, and do, save lives.

Yet more people are dying on the nation's roadways — nearly 18,000 in the first six months of this year. That's a huge jump of 10.4 percent over the same time period in 2015, and it's part of a disturbing trend, according to federal officials, because traffic fatalities rose significantly last year, too.

Is the Sound Transit plan worth $54 billion?

Oct 18, 2016
Sound Transit
Flickr photo/ Atomic Taco (CC BY SA 2.0)/http://bit.ly/1Uf2PYF

Bill Radke sits down with Maggie Fimia of SmarterTransit.org, and Shefali Ranganathan, executive director of the Transportation Choices Coalition, to discuss the proposed $54 billion Sound Transit expansion. The plan is on the ballot this November, with Fimia claiming it's not worth the cost and Ranganathan saying it's a once-in-a-generation opportunity. 

Bicycles are a type of vehicle so they belong on the road, right?

This is how the wheels turn in places such as New York City and San Francisco, where bicyclists older than age 13 are banned from riding on the sidewalk. Similar laws exist in many cities and towns throughout the country, such as Columbus, Ohio, and Chapel Hill, N.C.

That's not the case everywhere, though. In Boston and Washington, D.C., sidewalk cycling is allowed — with the exception of the downtown areas. But just because bicyclists are allowed to ride on the sidewalk doesn't mean they are welcome there.

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