RVs make themselves at home on streets

Q: Capitol Hill resident Mimi Krsak would be happy just to get City Hall's attention. She says her Central Seattle neighborhood has been plagued by two large recreational vehicles routinely parked on the street for extended periods.

"I know they can be parked 72 hours, but this stretches into many weeks," she said, noting that the RVs have been ticketed and even tagged for towing before they are moved to another spot in the neighborhood.

"In a perfect world, the owners would find appropriate off-street parking, but I know we can't force that," she said. So, how does one get the city to enforce its neighborhood parking restrictions?

A: Seattle Police Department spokesman Sean Whitcomb says if the problem is a detached camper or trailer, the answer is simple: "They cannot be legally parked on city streets."

But, if the question is a motor home, enforcement becomes the same as if the vehicle were a car or a motorcycle. "That is to say, all vehicles parked on city streets must be moved every 72 hours," he said. And, the vehicle would need to be moved into the next block or around the corner, not just to another spot in the same block, even if it's across the street.

Police have the license numbers of the RVs that Krsak complained about. But anyone can report a vehicle that appears to be violating the law by calling 206-625-5011, a police nonemergency line.

Whitcomb says an officer should be dispatched, and a warning tag placed on the vehicle. If the vehicle remains unmoved after 72 more hours, a ticket may be issued, he said.

Q: Dave Gardner, a West Seattle resident for nearly three decades, has declared a two-mile strip of California Avenue Southwest in West Seattle a mess, from Southwest Admiral Way to Southwest Morgan Street. "It's full of patches, potholes and piece-meal repairs," he complained. "The roadway is literally crumbling away."

Gardner wants to know if the city has plans to repave it, and when will that be?

A: California Avenue Southwest, from the Duwamish Head to the Lincoln Park area — far more than the strip Gardner has pointed out — is on the city's list of streets "likely" to be repaved, but probably not until the summer of 2007 at the earliest, said Charles Bookman, a Seattle Department of Transportation manager.

The problem, he says, is a lack of money.

Until the street can be resurfaced, Bookman says the department's pothole rangers will continue to make small safety repairs. He suggests calling 206-386-1218 to report potholes.

Bumper feedback

• In a Bumper item last Sunday, Megan Warfield, the state Department of Ecology's litter-program coordinator, said this state's litter problem — specifically trash that piles up along state roadways — is no worse than in other states, particularly when one considers states relative to ours in terms of highway miles and population density.

But Teresa Lyman of Covington doesn't go along with that. "[Warfield] only needs to travel the highways of other states to see that we indeed have a problem," Lyman responded. "My family and I have not only traveled the Northwest but the Northeast, Southeast [and] Southwest. "The litter along the roadways of our environmentally-friendly state is appalling in comparison to other states.

"The Department of Ecology needs to make litter a priority and study what other states have done to reduce litter."

Bumper soapbox

• Just last week, the state Department of Transportation turned on freeway signs at five locations to display travel times between major destinations from Interstate 90 to the Canadian border.

You might think that anything that helps drivers better plan their commute time would be a good thing, embraced by all. Not necessarily so.

"While it may seem spiffy to have the ability to read how long the travel times are, I fail to see the value," says Robert Hill of Bothell. For one, he says, those signs may divert a driver's attention from vehicles ahead and increase the possibility of a rear-end collision.

"Second," he said, "I really don't want to be reminded how long I'm going to be stuck in traffic."

According to the state, here's how those signs work: Travel times are posted during the morning commute, from 6 to 9 a.m., at five locations: the U.S.-Canadian border on Interstate 5 to display border wait-time information; on southbound I-5 at the Swamp Creek interchange in Lynnwood, where Interstates 5 and 405 merge, to give travel times from the interchange to downtown Seattle and downtown Bellevue; on northbound I-5 at Southcenter, to give travel times from Southcenter to downtown Seattle and downtown Bellevue; on westbound I-90 at Eastgate, to display travel times between Eastgate and downtown Seattle via Highway 520 or I-90, and on southbound I-405 in Bothell, to give travel times to downtown Bellevue.

Afternoon commute times are posted only on the westbound I-90 sign at Eastgate, from 3 to 7 p.m., but the Transportation Department plans to add afternoon commute times to the other signs.

It also plans to add 13 more signs in mid-March and more in the summer.

Dear Reader


Got a traffic-related question or comment? E-mail bumper@seattletimes.com or call Charles E. Brown at 206-464-2206. Please include your name and city if you agree to publication.