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transportation

oil train, transportation
Flickr Photo/Russ Allison Loar (CC BY NC ND 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/aqtNAn

The oil train spill June 3 in Mosier, Oregon was the latest of about 20 oil train derailments in the US since 2013. The group Earth Justice tracks derailments and spills with an online map.

One Washington lawmaker says there's a way to limit the danger of derailments or oil spills in this state: build an oil pipeline. (The state already has some fuel pipelines, but not one that's state-wide.)

Sound Transit CEO Peter Rogoff, King County Executive Dow Constantine and Seattle Mayor Ed Murray at Capitol Hill's light rail station.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

Seattle-based Sound Transit has made its plan to expand regional transit slightly faster and slightly more expensive.


Washington state officials are holding a public hearing Friday in Vancouver on new rules targeting oil train safety.

One proposed rule would require trains carrying refined or crude oil to submit spill response plans that the state would approve.

Another proposed rule would make oil terminals and refineries alert the state that they plan to receive crude oil. Right now, companies that move oil by rail aren’t required to share that information with state officials.

This week we're making it up as we go

May 27, 2016
'Week in Review' panel Sydney Brownstone, C.R. Douglas, Rob McKenna and Ron Sims.
KUOW Photo/Bond Huberman

Seattle's Mayor is combating the city's homeless problem by "making it up as we go." That means, in part, shutting down the homeless encampment known as the Jungle. So where will those people go?

And how did Bernie Sanders go from winning the caucus to losing the primary? 

We'll tackle these subjects and more on Week in Review.

Listen to the live discussion Friday at noon, join in by following @KUOW and using #KUOWwir. Audio and podcast for this show will be available at 3 p.m.

Sound Transit

Everett could get light rail in 20 years instead of 25 under a new plan discussed by the Sound Transit board Thursday afternoon.

Light rail would reach Ballard in 19 years instead of 22.


You may have heard about "rails-to-trails" conversions. Thanks to some entrepreneurial bicycle enthusiasts, you don't need to wait for the rails to come out in two Oregon counties. Friday, a company begins offering scenic tours along Tillamook Bay using pedal-powered contraptions that ride on the rails.

Has Seattle declared a war on cars?

May 26, 2016
Traffic on Second Avenue in downtown Seattle.
Flickr Photo/Oran Viriyincy (CC-BY-NC-ND)/http://bit.ly/1irsJLd

Bill Radke speaks with Brier Dudley about his recent column in the Seattle Times about what he argues is Mayor Ed Murray's attack on single occupancy cars. Also, Tom Fucoloro from the Seattle Bike Blog joins the conversation. He wrote a response to Dudley's article here.

Efforts to ban future crude oil projects in Vancouver are moving forward. The city of Vancouver’s planning commission voted Tuesday to prohibit future crude oil storage facilities.

“And to prohibit the expansion of any existing crude oil facilities," said Sandra Towne, the city’s long-range planning manager.

The proposal would also prohibit petroleum refineries, she said.

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

The Seattle City Council wants two more light rail stations added to Sound Transit 3, the expansion plan that will be on the November ballot.

Monday, the City Council unanimously passed a wish list for what they want added to ST3. It includes light rail stops at South Graham St. in south Seattle and Northeast 130th St. in north Seattle's Olympic Hills.

'Week in Review' panel Erica C. Barnett, Ross Reynolds, Gyasi Ross and Jonathan Martin.
KUOW Photo/Bond Huberman

Ever heard of Seattle's 20-year plan? We discuss why you should care about it.  And what kind of hope should we have for the new approach to the homeless encampment known as the Jungle? Also, as Sound Transit move towards a light-rail future, are they spending too much on the opening day festivities? What does it mean for Washington state now that the Army Corps of Engineers has put a stop to a new deep water terminal in Cherry Point? 

Ross Reynolds talks over the week's news with writer Erica C. Barnett, columnist Jonathan Martin and lawyer and activist Gyasi Ross.  

Drivers on Interstate 90 through eastern Washington won’t be able to legally go 75 miles per hour. That was the announcement Wednesday from the Washington Department of Transportation, the State Patrol and the state’s Traffic Safety Commission.

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

Stricter security is needed when it comes to people's payment information for Washington’s four highway tolls.

Overall, the toll system needs improvement. That's the summary of a state audit on WSDOT’s toll division.

A new study conducted in Portland neighborhoods confirms that the more traffic there is on a street, the more air pollution cyclists are breathing.

A number of studies have measured air quality along bike routes, but Alex Bigazzi wanted to see how much pollution got into cyclists’ lungs.

A photo from the Seattle Fire Department's Twitter feed shows the side of a bus ripped open after a collision with a duck amphibious vehicle on the Aurora Bridge in Seattle.
Seattle Fire Department

The penalty that Ride the Ducks of Seattle faces over a fatal crash just went up.

The company had already agreed to a proposed $220,000 settlement with the state. But the Utilities and Transportation Commission decided that wasn't enough. It's proposing $308,000.

This week on Hidden Brain: Traffic. You hate it, we hate it, the rest of the world hates it, and it only seems to be getting worse. But is there a way to make roads safer and faster? Of course! (We just normally do the opposite).

Updated at 2:36 p.m. ET with an editor's note at the end of the story.

Sometimes you call an Uber, and what you thought would be an $8 ride is going to be two, three, even four times more — the result of greater demand brought on by a blizzard, or a baseball game. Whatever the reason, surge pricing is not fun.

It turns out Uber is working to fix it — or, should we say, end it. The move likely will be great for riders, but not for drivers.

Hunting For Surge

KUOW Photo/John Ryan

Transit riders around the region have told Sound Transit that the agency's proposal to build 58 miles of light rail over the next 25 years is too slow.

It's been a clear theme in the more than 30,000 comments the agency has received as it gears up for the Sound Transit 3 ballot measure this fall.

'Week in Review' panel Ross Reynolds, Claudia Balducci, Joni Balter and Rob McKenna.
KUOW Photo/Bond Huberman

Will the city come to a standstill with the viaduct closed? That isn't the only transportation story this week, we're also talking about Sound Transit 3.  And can you win an election without big donations? Why aren't more people furious about Troy Kelley? Plus, a round up of this week in pot. 

Ross Reynolds talks the week's news with former Attorney General Rob McKenna, Seattle Channel's Joni Balter and King County Councilmember Claudia Balducci. 

On the eve of a two-week closure of the Alaskan Way Viaduct, former Washington Governor Chris Gregoire said she’s confident the tunneling project under Seattle’s waterfront will ultimately succeed.

The viaduct is closing to allow the tunnel-boring machine known as Bertha to dig underneath the double-decker structure. Under the original timeline the tunnel was supposed to be open by now and the viaduct long ago torn down.

Two workers walk through the first rings of the tunnel toward Bertha, the SR 99 tunneling machine.
Flickr Photo/WSDOT (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Bertha the tunneling machine will slowly grind its way below the foundations of the viaduct over the next two weeks.

Bill Radke talks to The Seattle Times transportation reporter Mike Lindblom about the mass transit proposal Sound Transit 3 and how the plan will reach residents in Everett. 

A bus moves into traffic on Delridge Way in West Seattle.
KUOW Photo/Kara McDermott

King County Metro plans to increase transit service in the next five years, and it plans to do so without adding more greenhouse gas emissions.

Herrera Beutler Pushes More Oil Train Spill Planning

Apr 22, 2016

Washington Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler has introduced a bill that would help firefighters around the country get grant money for oil train derailment and accident planning.

The bill doesn’t actually call for more dollars. Instead, it would create a higher priority for funding plans in communities where oil trains regularly travel.

Uber drivers will stay independent contractors, not employees, in California and Massachusetts, just as the ride-booking company had maintained they were. Uber is settling class action lawsuits by drivers in the two states for a maximum of $100 million.

In a statement, the company says it will pay the plaintiffs $84 million, plus another $16 million if Uber goes public and within a year increases in value by one and a half times over its worth in December.

People cover the westbound lanes (right) of state Route 520 during festivities on April 2.
Flickr Photo/Washington State Department of Transportation CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

The new 520 floating bridge has only been open a little over a week. But apparently it's been grating on the ears of some Medina residents.

When you ride on buses or trains in many parts of the United States, what you say could be recorded. Get on a New Jersey Transit light rail train in Hoboken or Jersey City, for example, and you might notice an inconspicuous sign that says "video and audio systems in use."

A lot of riders are not happy about it.

"Yeah I don't like that," says Michael Dolan of Bayonne, N.J. "I don't want conversations being picked up because it's too Orwellian for me. It reeks of Big Brother."

Gilbert Ruiz of the Depot Cafe and Smokehouse. He could throw a brisket and hit the future light rail station in downtown Everett.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

Sound Transit is halfway through the public comment period on its big expansion plan, called Sound Transit 3. The current plan puts downtown Everett last in line for light rail. KUOW went to Everett to see how people feel about that.

Around the world, subway projects are booming. New metros have sprung up or are in the works in Brazil, Saudi Arabia and India, and China announced several years ago that it would build 25 new subway systems. But in the United States, investment in new subways has lagged.

Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson talks to Fred Salvucci, senior lecturer in civil and environmental engineering at MIT and former Massachusetts Secretary of Transportation, about what state and local governments should be doing about transportation for the future.

Vancouver Port Hears From Public On Oil Terminal Lease

Apr 12, 2016

Commissioners at the Port of Vancouver are weighing whether or not to breathe new life into what could be the nation’s largest oil-by-rail terminal.

The project’s backers, oil company Tesoro Corp. and logistics firm Savage Industries, have asked the port to extend the terms of their lease by two years.

In its first-ever transparency report, Uber has revealed that it has given federal and local U.S. agencies information on more than 12 million riders and drivers between July and December 2015.

This kind of report is not uncommon in the tech industry, but this particular one does something extra: It uses the report to take regulators to task for what Uber sees as excessive data sharing, making a case that it frequently tries to narrow the scope of requested information.

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