Transportation In General

As I was walking northbound on 3rd Avenue this morning, toward Cherry Street Coffee House for a delicious breakfast sandwich before work, I saw a car moving southbound along 3rd. It was a nondescript  older sedan, just moving along, its driver ignoring all the transit-only peak hour traffic restrictions, going right past lighted “Do Not Enter” signs. It’s a common sight, unfortunately.

A moment or two later, a Seattle Police Department SUV passed me, going north along 3rd. The SUV made a sudden U-turn a block later, and sped off fast southbound.

I turned around to look. The SUV had its police lights on. It was pulling the sedan over.

The driver of that sedan was having a bad start to the morning, I thought to myself.

I then remembered how bad traffic was on 3rd Avenue in the 80s, back when I drove Metro buses. That was right before construction began on the transit tunnel. At peak hours, traffic was a solid block of cars and buses all the way from Yesler to Stewart. The average person could walk faster than traffic moved back then.

The driver of that sedan deserved the ticket, if they were purposely ignoring the traffic signs. If they were oblivious to the signs, they especially deserved it.

This afternoon, Phillip emailed me, asking how much he owed me for the toll. Earlier this month, Phillip drove over the Highway 520 bridge, for some NorWesCon business, and later drove back over the bridge to get home. The Evergreen Point Floating Bridge is currently a toll bridge, to pay for upgrades. I replied that I’d forgotten to check.

Phillip and I, with our socialist leanings, had voted for a tax to pay for improving the 520 bridge – spread the cost among the general population, we figured. But, of course, the tax got voted down – the popular argument was that you shouldn’t have to pay for something you might not use – so an electronic toll system was installed.

When the toll went into effect, we still wanted to chip in, even though we rarely use the bridge. We looked into buying a monthly “Good To Go” pass for our car. We discovered that no such pass exists. Even with a “Good To Go” pass, we couldn’t help pay for the bridge unless we crossed it.

I checked online to see how much we owed for the toll. I discovered that I couldn’t find out unless we had an account. (I was thinking I’d be able to enter our car’s license plate and my name, and it would tell me. That’s how I paid for the license tabs.) I also discovered that, even if I did know how much we owed, we couldn’t pay it online without an account. And, I discovered, even if I were to set up an account, the toll we owed wouldn’t be added to it – I’d have to call WSDOT to have them do it.

So, we’re just going to have to wait for the bill to arrive in the mail. Phillip thinks there’s a service charge for paying by mail, and I think he’s right.

So, I guess the next time we plan to cross the bridge, we’ll have to remember to set up an account beforehand.

What an inconvenient system. I wish the tax had been approved.

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